Yesterday’s passage took us from Port Townsend, across the Strait of Juan de Fuca, through Cattle Pass, and into Fisherman Bay on Lopez Island. As the crow flies, it’s about 30.6 nautical miles. In the end we likely traveled several extra miles since we were sailing. Because we are badasses.
The day started extra early so that we could round Pt. Wilson at slack tide and avoid “The Rip”. The current is notorious during the ebb tide and can cause some serious damage because it creates turbulent seas. While stowing a few last items, Craig dropped, scratch that, he launched one of the oarlocks into the water. All of a sudden, Emmy and I hear, “We’re totally fucked! God damnit. Shit!” Don’t worry dear readers, we are not. But we will be calling Portland Pudgy to order many extra oarlocks and will be taking precautions to secure them. Lesson learned.
Even though the winds calmed down over night and there were hardly any waves as we left our anchorage, the swell within the strait was stacked and uncomfortable. By the time we went down the back end of one wave, the next one was greeting our bowsprit. Using the forward head was an adventure. An adventure that left Emmy and me feeling seasick. We put on the pressure wrist bands and took some ginger pills and stared desperately at the horizon for relief without luck. To ensure that we wouldn’t upchuck and ruin the day, I took two naps and Emmy took one. Then Craig came up from down below to announce, “Now I’m feeling it, too.” I won’t lie, there was a small part of me that rejoiced in the moment; the first time I ever saw Craig feel seasick. He sat in the cockpit, stared at the horizon for a couple minutes, and was headed back to work on projects. Emmy and I voice our confusion because feeling seasick is debilitating. He looks back and proclaims, “It’s just a passing wave of nausea.” It was the closest I’ve ever come to throwing him overboard, but I couldn’t imagine standing up.
As we were sailing, we decided to take a cautious approach and use less sail and then add more if it felt appropriate. We set the stays’l and mizzen and thought we would be good to go with the 15-20+ knots of wind that were predicted. Instead, we were moving about 1 knot and getting destroyed by the swell. We set the jib with two reefs in it and didn’t gain much speed. We shook out one of the reefs and still didn’t gain much speed. At that point I looked at Emmy and said, “How long do you think it will take Craig to try and get us to set the full jib? I give it 3 minutes.” Emmy guessed 10 considering he had already moved on to futz with other stuff. Four minutes later, I won the bet.
The approach to Fisherman Bay is narrow and shallow. We entered just after low tide, exactly as the guide book warned us not to do. The depth sounder was freaking out almost as much as I was as we drove in. At one point, when it wasn’t blinking “—” it read 7.6 ft. We draw 6 ft. Having only a foot and a half of water below the keel raised my blood pressure and earned all of us a drink. As we enjoyed our dark and stormies, we checked out the neighboring boats and wondered about their owners, origins, and destinations. Suddenly, two kids emerged from the closest boat and ran to the bow. The next thing we knew, they had pissed all over their damn sail covers! Kids these days.
We have decided to stay another full day here at this anchorage and try to get some supplies before we head to the more remote islands. We are already lacking cell and internet service, so updates will come as we can provide them!