Had to furl in the headsails just before sunset last night and motor. A fog layer seemed to be forming on the sea surface not so far away and a grey cloud layer was off to the S and W but stars were beginning to appear overhead.
The swell wasn't too bad and it occurred to me that I shouldn't leave topping up the fuel tank any longer - it could be raining tomorrow - who knows? In the twilight, I transferred three lots of diesel - 65 l in all, making over 200l in the tank - giving two days of hard motoring if needed, with spare fuel available.
I'm hoping that the strong Northerlies will reach us at the point where our course can swing around to the East, so the winds will be helpful to lay Cape Flattery under sail. If they're more from the NNW than N, so much the better. Just past Cape Flattery lies Neah Bay anchorage and marina and the Makah fuel dock - a useful refuelling spot in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. If the two-day sail there is as rough as it looks it might be, with 25+ knot winds forecast, it could be a good spot to rest before moving on down the Strait to Victoria..
9 a.m. (Wed) Cloudy sky with blue patches between cirrus overhead, sea fairly calm with noticeable 2-3m swell from WNW every 8 sec - so much easier to see the swell clearly without the rough seas on top.
Time for coffee and breakfast after morning radio chats. No problem putting on my Bialetti coffee-pot in these light conditions, despite the 2-3m swell - the coffee ends high up in the top section and I've had few messy incidents in not-so-calm seas - but not today, I hope... It was great to make voice contact with Barbara, VE7KLU, near Sidney this morning on the Gt Norther Boaters' Net and I'm looking forward to seeing her and other friends in B.C. shortly.
I'm feeling really pleased that my present passage plan seems to be working out fine. I'll get to my waypoint north of here just before sunset with a good angle to turn onto my course making directly for the Strait entrance, ready for the strong NNW winds that are expected to build. I should be able to sail the rest of the way in good winds - but I might take in my second reef early on, just to be safe - nothing like being cautious and I'm in no rush. If we average 5 knots or less, that would be fine.
Two days to Neah Bay and a Friday afternoon arrival there means I'll probably drop anchor (or go into the marina) and get some sleep overnight before continuing on at first light up the Strait to PT Angeles (<50 mls) for fuel, then make for Victoria (<20 mls), to clear in to Canada - maybe on Sunday. There was no fuel at the dock in Neah Bay yesterday, so I heard today!
1:30 p.m. Passing the mighty Columbia River mouth! Early this morning, passed Cape Meares, Portland and Vancouver, OR, ... but everything about 225 miles offshore. Wind up and down a bit, but still mainly ~8 kt, WNW.
7 p.m. It's been a lovely, relaxing, sunny afternoon, with just a few fluffy white clouds around. Pressure has been steadily increasing - now 1029 - that's high! Current weather-fax shows the High has now moved, with a Low to its NW pushing it E, and its centre is now just NE of 40N 140W. We're at 46.7N 129.2W so it's much closer to here than usual.
We're still 2 1/2hrs (13ml) from my waypoint for the turn to Cape Flattery but we're bouncing around quite bit now with bigger wave action caused by the increased wind, now 12-13 kt from NW, so it's time to get the sails working. If the wind is good, it's a pity not to make use of it and save diesel. It means we'll have to come off the wind more but I think my waypoint is close enough for the slight change of course not to matter.
I hope the winds don't get too strong over the next two days - I'm expecting mostly around 20kt, with 25 kt forecast for around dawn on Friday, which could mean gusts to 30 kt - but they might have got that wrong!!