Log - 6/25/2001 to 6/27/2001
Neah Bay to Victoria (and time around Victoria)

Straights of Juan de Fucca. Click for more enlargement.

Comments by Wally
We departed Neah Bay about 5 am. The Strait of Juan de Fuca was gorgeous, smooth, and mostly sunny. No useful wind again. Katherine & Alan refer to it as the Strait of Juan de Puka. Not this day. It was flat water, except the last couple hours which added a little texture and minor swells.

There were several hours during which we couldn't see another vessel anywhere: not on land, on the water or in the air. Miles of lush green forests. I thought the Canadian side looked more extensively logged, but with lots of bright fresh green new growth. After turning at Race Rocks, about 10 miles from Victoria Harbor, we did manage to sail a bit: three or four minutes for real -- no engine. We had the sails up for a few hours, which possibly might have sped us up a bit. The last 20 miles we saw many seal, usually solitary swimmers checking us out from a few hundred feet away. If we so much as thought of reaching for a camera, they ducked under. Several times we thought we saw small pods of porpoise, but never long enough nor near enough for definitive ID.

As we entered the outer harbor, the air warmed considerably; the forecast clouds and rain never materialized. Compared to the previous two days, this cruise was a piece of cake. Almost flat calm water, and only a twelve hour sail. The greatest navigation obstacle was the frequent clumps of unattached bull kelp. They probably don't pose any danger, but could hide logs or clog the seawater intakes if we went through them. But it was good practice to evade obstacles and gave the helmsman something to do.

Victoria looked completely different than the bits and pieces seen from car, bicycle or a ferry. Inviting, clean, and unimposing but with an intensely bustling port. Right away we saw a Canadian navy destroyer sailing somewhat aimlessly, big hydrofoil boats roaring in, civilian helicopters landing and departing every few minutes at a heliport at the harbor entrance, passenger float planes every few minutes, water taxis zipping to and fro and all sorts of pleasure craft of every size, at least half a dozen whale watching operations operating.

After quickly clearing customs formalities (by phone as it turned out), we radioed for the most prestigious dock moorage in this part of the world: right in front of the Empress Hotel, a large grand old hotel in the finest British tradition. Dock assistance was prompt and friendly. Their idea of "plenty of space" was a bit more optimistic than ours. Using shoehorns and 4 or 5 people (mostly our new moorage neighbors) we tied up such that 1/3 to 1/2 our boat was along the dock.

Tue. 2001-6-26
Moved to less prestigious dock. Neighboring moorage guys Skip & Mike came over to shoot the breeze. Both from the Seattle area, they had been doing this sort of thing for more than ten years. They have wives, but not the kind that like to sail. So the guys seem to alternate boats, this trip was on Mike's.

Wed 2001-6-27
This was a day of great satisfaction. Went to Buchart Gardens. Had a yummy meal of turbo powered leftovers.