Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends!
I hope you're enjoying the same lovely sunshine as we're getting here onboard 'Nereida' as we make our way S, well off the Washington/Oregon coast. We rounded Cape Flattery last night as darkness was falling, having passed Neah Bay at sunset - glorious colours and calm water with slight ocean swell. There was almost no wind in the Strait both Friday and Saturday, so I had to motor - nice to have the option of doing that, instead of drifting around helplessly...!!
I left Philbrook's dock at Van Isle marina on Tues 1st October. having delayed partly due to a forecast of bad weather with very high winds - sure enough, Sunday evening (29Sept) saw very strong gusty conditions but we were perfectly safe.
It was a pleasant short trip over to the Visitors' dock at Royal Victoria Y.C., where they'd kindly offered me moorage for my time with them until my proposed departure from Canada around 11th October, and my stay there has been made most enjoyable by the very friendly welcome I've received. Thanks to all of you who made that happen!
The only downside to my stay has been finally taking back several items I'd offloaded while making my last two nonstop RTW attempts - very many thanks to Michael Cooper and to Ian & Susan Grant for use of their garage space. I'm looking forward to pausing somewhere long enough soon, to sort out the storage problem I now have, as a result of having also picked up doors, cushions, dinghy and outboard from Rob Parish in Port Townsend in August! ( Think I need a bigger boat!)
My time was made good use of while at RVicYC, apart from working on radio (Thanks, Doug & Rick!) and other problems onboard, by preparation for several presentations on my circumnavigations. I finally gave two at Sidney N.Saanich Y.C. - so many people wanted to come on the first evening I agreed to give a second - which was again over-booked. I also gave a talk to the Thermopylae Club in the old Maritime Museum in Victoria - an interesting venue... I felt just slightly uncomfortable speaking from the seat of the 'Hanging Judge' in the old Assize Courtroom... All three were enjoyable events - thanks to those who organized the evenings and to all who came. It was great to meet up with some of the people who'd been following and supporting me on my way around.
The trees are looking magnificent in their autumn colours now and I enjoyed seeing them on my trips out to friends' places for evenings spent with them.
Despite all the other things I was busy with, I just about managed to find time to study for my Canadian Ham radio licence - nights got rather shortened as I burned the candle at both ends reading through a lot of material and practising exam questions. I was delighted with the news that I'd passed the Basic exam with Honours (91%!) - Alan Mallett had very kindly organized the exam (which I sat Friday 4th October at RVicYC), having provided me, soon after my return in July, with all the necessary material to learn in readiness. So I now have the callsigns VA7NER (shore-based) and VE0JSJ (offshore) to add to my US callsign KC2IOV. That enables me to have unrestricted use of the available Ham frequencies.
With a new mainsail from Leitch and McBride delivered by Paul last Monday, a quick visit to Costco and no stormy weather forecast, and having regretfully turned down a Thanksgiving Dinner invitation due to pressure of time, I got underway Friday afternoon and cleared Customs into the USA that evening - a delightfully easy telephone experience from the Fuel Dock in Port Angeles - the best ever!! Weather crossing the Strait of Juan de Fuca was dull, cold and damp on Friday, but by 2pm on Saturday, after heavy overnight rain and an unexpectedly long sleep (the expected early awakening by people needing fuel by 7am didn't happen), the sky had cleared and the sun was out - quite a few logs and lumps of kelp to avoid in the Strait but a lovely exit from the Strait into a slight ocean swell and lots of shipping to keep an eye on overnight.
I'm about to turn off the engine, having been gently motor-sailing up to now, with the wind having finally increased to around 15kt from the N. We're running downwind and it gets very rolly at times, but it will be nice to have a peaceful sail overnight and on to the San Francisco Y.C. in Tiburon, in San Francisco Bay.... ETA Friday 18th if all goes well.
I'm posting my usual regular position reports (see 'Travels' page on www.svnereida.com) and also checking in daily to the Pacific Seafarers' Net. It was great to make unexpected contact last night with Glenn Wakefield - I wish him luck and hope all goes well for him on this, his second West-about nonstop RTW attempt from Victoria, B.C.