Posted by: Mike Fossl | July 23, 2014

Neah Bay

If we needed any reminder, the 15 degree morning temperature inside the boat was certainly enough.  We both slept amazingly well and apart from the cold, have the luxury of a perfect anchorage to start our cruise to Victoria and through the Gulf Islands on our way to Qualicum Beach.

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Neah Bay is a quiet spot, part of a native reservation.  It has everything we need, coffee shop, groceries, fuel (at rock bottom prices) and even internet.

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We plan on making our way up the strait in a couple of easy hops.  At this point we have no appetite for any overnight passages to speed things along.  The settled weather should make anchoring out reasonable.

 

 

 

Once we got connected, we realized that our updates to the blog during our passage weren’t all getting through.  I’ve now posted them all in the correct order, just to keep things together.  We’ll also be adding some pictures from the passage in a few days.

Posted by: Mike Fossl | July 23, 2014

Passage Photos

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Posted by: Mike Fossl | July 22, 2014

Arrived!

Apart from what all of our electronic navigation was telling us, the first real indication that we were getting close to land was the increased radio communication along with some significant ship traffic at the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  The wind died almost completely about 50 miles out so we were motoring in, monitoring the VHF and listening to bilingual Canadian weather reports.  Nothing says home like bilingualism.

We threaded our way across the ship traffic lanes between the 600 ft long behemoths lumbering along at more than twice our speed.  As we approached the entrance to the straight we noticed a sailboat coming out.  They passed quite close so I hailed them on the radio and asked them where they were headed.  It turns out they were starting a multi-year transpacific cruise, heading to California, on to Mexico and then across the Pacific.  I guess that keeps things in balance.  The world will continue to spin on its axis.

We somehow managed to time our arrival perfectly to take advantage of the tidal current and made good time to Neah Bay where we dropped the hook just outside of the boat harbour in a perfectly protected anchorage.  For the first time in three weeks, we’ll be sleeping at the same time for longer than 4 hours.  The cold will take some time to get used to but we’re happy to be home.

All Safe on Second Jump

Posted by: Mike Fossl | July 22, 2014

Passage Update Day 22

Position 48 25 N 125 19 W
Wind  3 NW kts
Temp 18 C
Seas 2-3 ft

Better late then never, we finally saw whales!  The wind had been
remarkably steady all day and we maintained a good pace.  The sun was
making a valiant but mostly unsuccessful attempt at breaking through the
clouds.  HaeSung continued to resist my repeated shouts "Spinn-a-ker,
Spinn-a-ker!".  Early in the afternoon we were visited by a huge pod of
dolphins.  They cavorted about the boat for the better part of an hour.
Near the end of the day we had given up on seeing whales but we on the
lookout for possibly sighting land.  The height of the coastal range on
Vancouver Island made that almost possible from where we were but required
clear air to do it and in this we were in short supply.  It was then that
we sighted the first column of mist from a whale a few hundred meters away.
We tracked the group for a while, watching for the spout of spray when
they returned to the surface to breath and occasionally seeing their dorsal
fin and back break the surface.

More ships have started to pop up on AIS.  Ships leaving for destinations
in China, Mexico, Japan and Alaska.  Ships arriving, heading to Vancouver,
Seattle and Nanaimo.  And for the first time, fishing boats heading all
over.  The radio has also come to life.  We get three separate weather
channels on our VHF now, the Canadian one being bilingual of course, which
really is a sign that we’re coming home.

By 1 AM the wind finally subsided and I reluctantly started the engine and
dropped the sails.  We still had 50 miles to go but having carefully
rationed our fuel until now we could motor the rest of the way with ease.

We now have 30 miles to go until Neah Bay and our first landfall in three
weeks.  This will be the last ‘Passage’ update.

All Safe on Second Jump

Posted by: Mike Fossl | July 21, 2014

Passage Update Day 21

Position 48 N 128 33 W
Wind  18 kts
Temp 20 C
Seas 3-5 ft

Yesterday the wind and seas very slowly moderated.  Occasionally we would
have to retract the jib a bit when the wind gusted higher for a while.
With the seas still pretty big, we would oscillate back and forth if we
pushed too hard.  A couple of times we accidentally gybed and while that
created a bit of drama, it only took a bit of effort to set right.  Pretty
soon the wind had backed enough for us to take off the pole and sail on a
broad reach almost due east.

We had a fair bit off sun off and on later in the day and that put a
surprising amount of power back into the batteries.  The night also brought
the occasional starry patch of sky but by morning we still had plenty of
cloud.  Also, the temperature inside the boat is 2 degrees colder then
outside, likely due to the cold water.

This morning we begin our last full day at sea.  We’re less then 150 miles
from our destination.  With the high mountains of the coast, I’m wondering
if we will actually see land before dark.  With the wind going lighter,
we’ll be piling on the canvas to find out!

All Safe on Second Jump

Posted by: Mike Fossl | July 20, 2014

Passage Update Day 20

Position 48 N 131 52
Wind  25 kts
Temp 19 C
Seas 5-7 ft

In the morning the wind continued to build but by noon settled in at a
steady 25 knots with higher gusts.  The seas also rose slowly.  Our speed
stayed up around 6.5 knots with the occasional burst of 7-8 as we surfed
down a wave.  I’m sure her fuzzy bottom and the extra weight we’ve added to
her in the last 5 years have slowed Second Jump a bit.  We got used to the
oscilations as they quickly became our new normal.  Despite the chaotic
movement, HaeSung managed to put together some tasty tuna sandwiches for
lunch along with a pickled vegetable salad although the occasional chickpea
would roll off the plate and across the cabin sole.

In the afternoon the VHF radio crackled to life.  A Canadian patrol
aircraft was hailing ships on the ocean around us.  They would hail each
ship in turn, switch to a working channel and then quiz them on the details
of their voyage, ending with a polite reminder to not pollute the ocean.
We waited for our turn to be hailed but sadly, we were ignored.

The day ended without any whale sightings although we did barely miss
hitting a log which swept past, inches from the hull.

I went to bed at 7 PM and awoke just before 11 to start my shift.  HaeSung
was calmly updating the logbook with the boat positively vibrating.  The
winds were gusting to well over 30 knots.  Apparently this had been
happening off and on for the last hour or so.  With the sails still wing
and wing, our sailing angle was relatively narrow with a possible gybe if
we veered to far to starboard and backing the jib if we went too far to
port.  With the increased speed came more extreme oscilations.  We were
starting to push the limit a bit, especially for night time sailing.
The partially furled jib was our accelerator.  If the wind dropped we could
quickly unfurl more sail and keep our speed up.  Now it was time to take
our foot right off the gas.  We furled the jib completely, leaving the pole
attached, resting against the forestay.  Our speed settled back down to a
more pedestrian 6.5 knots.

This morning the winds are still 25 knots but not gusting up like last night.
We even unfurled a bit of the jib, cautiously pressing the accelerator
again.

All safe on Second Jump

Posted by: Mike Fossl | July 19, 2014

Passage Update Day 19

Position 48 9 N 135 40 W
Wind WSW 22 kts
Temp 19 C
Seas 3-5 ft

The wind started to fill in nicely from the west.  Initially we set up the
sails with a single reef in the main and poled out jib, wing on wing.  The
seas were still quite settled so we moved along quite well with a relaxed
motion.

We tackled the flexible tank repair, pumping it up using the dinghy pump
and soapy water to check for leaks.  We found a pinhole and patched it with
more Marine Goop.  After that we started to get ready for heavier weather.
HaeSung made some poke and prepared some fish to be able to cook up
quickly.  By the way, we’re on our 10th day in a row of eating fresh caught
fish.  The tuna is a nice change from the mahi but we’ll be eating it for
at least a week.  Also as a correction to the previous post, HaeSung
weighed the tuna fillets with our luggage scale and it cam to 13 lbs which
means the fish was probably more than 20 lbs.  Probably worth $150 on ice
at the fish market.  I also baked a quick loaf of bread, taking advantage of
the still warm engine to help with rising.  We’re no longer worried about
heating up the cabin with the oven.

By evening the wind had risen to a steady 20 kts with higher gusts.  We
went to the second reef and rolled up a bit of the jib.  Both sails are
about the same size which keeps us balanced.  The glue on the tank repair
had cured enough so we put it back into place and poured in one of our
jerry jugs of fresh water.  No leaks.

We are approaching the point where two other boats ahead of us had reported
whale sightings.  HaeSung is especially keen on spotting them.  The morning
is grey, with a fine misty rain falling and a steady 22 knots with gusts to
almost 30.  I’m not sure if that’s whale weather.  We’re still sailing
comfortably wing on wing albeit with the jib rolled in a bit more.

All safe on Second Jump

Posted by: Mike Fossl | July 18, 2014

Passage Update Day 18

Position 47 22 N 140 59 W
Wind WNW 8 kts
Temp 18 C
Seas < 2 ft

Yesterday we noticed that we were pumping out more then the usual amount of
water from the bilge.  On further investigation, HaeSung found that our
main water tank (a flexible plastic bladder) was only a quarter full even
though we had filled it a few days ago.  Testing the water from the
bilge revealed brackish, not fully salt water and the final piece to the
puzzle was in place.  For the next few hours we were especially liberal
with our water use and by early afternoon we had drained the tank and
pulled it out.  With some perhaps over aggressive prodding, a crack in the
plastic near the outlet fitting quickly spread apart into a significant tear.
While my initial thought was that we would simply make do with our reserve
tank, HaeSung insisted that we try and fix it.  We turned again to the
sailors little helper, Marine Goop.  The jury is still out on that
repair as we wait for the glue to cure.

By late afternoon, the wind had freshened just enough to set the sails.  With
the engine off, HaeSung prepared dinner and we settled in for a quiet meal
including watching a show on the laptop.  Just as we were tucking in to a
tasty fish curry with rice and pickled vegetables, we heard the familiar zing.
A fish!  We set aside the meal and rushed to the cockpit.  I took the rod
and started reeling in while HaeSung prepped the boat to hove-to.  This fish
was different though, bending the rod over 90 degrees and veering off to the
side.  We had to pass the rod around the back of the stern arch and I walked
completely around the deck, passing the rod around the fore stay until I was
back where I started.  Eventually we saw a large streak of silver darting
back and forth just below the surface.  Initially I thought it was another
big mahi, then I thought maybe a shark.  Finally, as the fish broke the
surface we realised that we had hooked a good sized tuna, probably the
biggest fish that we could hope to land.  I gaffed it and immediately hoisted
it into the cockpit. HaeSung poured copious amounts of cheap Tanduay rum
onto the gills.  After an interesting time gutting, filleting and cleaning
up, we were back to our meal and show with 8 lbs of fresh fish in the fridge.

We nursed the breeze until midnight after which we were back motoring
again.  The winds are expected to build during the day and then rise to near
gale force for a day or two.  The North Pacific high, which has been coyly
moving around, appearing and dissipating, is now, finally, south west of us.
A big low is dipping down from the north west and we are in what’s called the
squeeze zone where the winds pick up.  Lows spin clockwise and highs
spin counter-clockwise so these winds will blow us directly where we want to
go so, due east.  We should be in for quite a ride.

All safe on Second Jump

Posted by: Mike Fossl | July 18, 2014

Passage Update Day 18 Addendum

Position 47 57 N 138 42 W
Wind NW 8 kts
Temp 18 C
Seas < 2 ft

Sorry, the previous post’s position was from last night. We’re still eking out 3-4 knots from 7-10 knots of wind. Waiting for the blow to start.

The fresh water bladder repair looks good. Now we need some fresh water to put in it!

Still safe on Second Jump

Posted by: Mike Fossl | July 17, 2014

Passage Update Day 18

Position 47 22 N 140 59 W
Wind WNW 8 kts
Temp 18 C
Seas < 2 ft

Yesterday we noticed that we were pumping out more then the usual amount of water from the bilge. On further investigation, HaeSung found that our main water tank (a flexible plastic bladder) was only a quarter full even though we had filled it a few days ago. Testing the water from the bilge revealed brackish, not fully salt water and the final piece to the puzzle was in place. For the next few hours we were especially liberal with our water use and by early afternoon we had drained the tank and pulled it out. With some perhaps over aggressive prodding, a crack in the plastic near the outlet fitting quickly spread apart into a significant tear. While my initial thought was that we would simply make do with our reserve tank, HaeSung insisted that we try and fix it. We turned again to the sailors little helper, Marine Goop. The jury is still out on that repair as we wait for the glue to cure.

By late afternoon, the wind had freshened just enough to set the sails. With the engine off, HaeSung prepared dinner and we settled in for a quiet meal including watching a show on the laptop. Just as we were tucking in to a tasty fish curry with rice and pickled vegetables, we heard the familiar zing. A fish! We set aside the meal and rushed to the cockpit. I took the rod and started reeling in while HaeSung prepped the boat to hove-to. This fish was different though, bending the rod over 90 degrees and veering off to the side. We had to pass the rod around the back of the stern arch and I walked completely around the deck, passing the rod around the fore stay until I was back where I started. Eventually we saw a large streak of silver darting back and forth just below the surface. Initially I thought it was another big mahi, then I thought maybe a shark. Finally, as the fish broke the surface we realised that we had hooked a good sized tuna, probably the biggest fish that we could hope to land. I gaffed it and immediately hoisted it into the cockpit. HaeSung poured copious amounts of cheap Tanduay rum onto the gills. After an interesting time gutting, filleting and cleaning up, we were back to our meal and show with 8 lbs of fresh fish in the fridge.

We nursed the breeze until midnight after which we were back motoring again. The winds are expected to build during the day and then rise to near gale force for a day or two. The North Pacific high, which has been coyly moving around, appearing and dissipating, is now, finally, south west of us. A big low is dipping down from the north west and we are in what’s called the squeeze zone where the winds pick up. Lows spin clockwise and highs spin counter-clockwise so these winds will blow us directly where we want to go so, due east. We should be in for quite a ride.

All safe on Second Jump

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