Log - 6/25/2001 to 6/27/2001
Neah Bay to Victoria (and time around Victoria)
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
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.
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.
This was a day of great satisfaction. Went to Buchart Gardens. Had
a yummy meal of turbo powered leftovers.