Thursday, August 28, 2014

August 28, 2014 - Transiting the Straight of Juan De Fuca

What a long day today of motoring from east to west through the Strait of Juan De Fuca.  We looked at the weather at 5:45am and made the decision to delay our start of the long day as the winds were higher than desired.  Gale force winds were forecast for one portion.  Heavy fog also rolled in but then cleared a few hours later so we decided to head out.  The coastal weather forecast is ideal, but the conditions were poor in the Strait for the next few days.  We decided to tough it out for the first half of the day so we could get past the bad weather section and begin our transit of the coast while the calm remains.  We started at 9am, reaching Neah Bay at 7:40pm.  We experienced fog, choppy seas, and even a coast guard boat that rapidly passed us going the opposite direction, and then make a U-turn and pulled up right behind us.  The thought of stopping to be boarded was scary in the seas we were in.  They hailed us on VHF and asked a few questions.  They had some pauses where I imagine they were looking us up via some expensive US government wireless technology only to find that we are squeeky clean with no criminal records, or even speeding tickets.  Steve has a US Coast Guard Captain's license, and we all have passports and Nexus cards.  I doubt they could find any meaningful reason to board our boat, so they sent us on our way without boarding, thankfully.  We were pressed for time to get to Neah bay before dark and a boarding would have likely made it a nighttime arrival in an unfamiliar port.  The situation was a bit scary but we know we have nothing onboard to cause us to be worried.

Later Steve hailed a Coast Guard cutter than was involved in some sort of military practice.  We were just entering the "danger zone" and wanted to find out if we were safe to transit this section of the Strait.  They told the operations were over and it was safe.  A few minutes later the Coast Guard made an announcement to all boaters on the VHF stating the operations were over.

Just as we were nearing Neah Bay, a very strange looking boat appeared out of the fog.  We had been tracking it for a while on radar and AIS.  When it's shape appeared Steve recognized it from pictures he'd seen in various boating magazines.  It looks like a submarine, and is almost 400 feet long.  It's one of the largest private yachts in the world, and it is named "A".  It is very distinctive looking.  I just came in from the ocean and was headed toward Puget Sound or Canadian waters.

We are presently anchored just off the marina in Neah Bay.  Tomorrow we fill the fuel tanks and possibly head to La Push, about a 6 hour journey.  We will turn the corner at Cape Flattery and begin our journey south.  Another monumental day for us!  There is not much in La Push and understand cell coverage is poor so it may be a day or two before an update.  But you can always follow our progress with the SPOT satellite tracker.  The link is at the top of the page.

A "tall ship" sailing by.

Entering a fog bank in the Strait of Juan De Fuca

Hanging out in the pilothouse.  Almost to Neah Bay.  Foggy.

The unusual megayacht "A", owned by a Russian Billionaire.

Sunset as we near Neah Bay, Washington

1 comment:

  1. That Russian ship is in Seattle on it's way to the San Juans. The Seattle PI posted an interesting article about it: