Monday 22nd October 2012 - 'Nereida' crossed the 'start line' off Pt Ogden at Victoria Harbour entrance around 11:30a.m.
Not much sleep overnight beforehand..too much to do to be ready...
Having to cross over to Roche Hbr (San Juan Island, USA) on Saturday to enable tax exemption on work done in Canada was useful in that it gave me a chance to check boat systems out - and discover an overcharging and engine problem and a possible rudder reference 'glitch' also.. Before leaving Oak Bay, Shawn (of Vela Yacht Sales) and Warren K. helped fix the hydrostatic release on my newly-serviced liferaft.
I had a lovely meal at McMillin's after completing clearing in formailities in Roche Hbr - treated myself, with 8 months at sea in mind - and then found my bill was being waived by the manager - a very pleasant surprise - many thanks! Chatted to Victor, the excellent chef, afterwards and then we both enjoyed some unexpected choral singing by a group of wedding guests at the resort - adding an unusual 'flavour' to a very enjoyable evening!
The overcharging problem was a great worry - Robert & Rose came by to look at it after I'd cleared back in to Canada in Victoria Hbr & found the one & only empty berth on the Causeway (Empress) Dock. Thanks to Robert, I now know where the secondary alternator field wire is - to disconnect if the problem arises again (there was no such problem on my return journey - an intermittent regulator fault?) and we also located the engine fuel cut-off switch (hidden away!) to stop the engine in future if, as happened on my way over to Roche, the engine won't stop using the cockpit 'off' switch... The rudder ref unit 'glitch' I decided was nothing to worry about (wrongly, as it now turns out!) ...
Michael and Windy ('Del Viento') determinedly brought me over some lovely lentil soup on seeing me too busy to eat anything Sunday evening and several friends came by to offer help, wish me luck or to arrange to see me off in the morning. All the fresh food items I'd had to remove from the boat before making for Roche Hbr had to be re-stowed firmly in place again... Warren K helped with several last minute things - like topping up on diesel used on my way back from Roche. Both he and Michael have given me lots of welcome help over the last few days - very much appreciated!
Tony G came by to fix my propshaft in place so I can't use the engine for motive power and I fixed the 'black box' (WSSRC 'official' GPS position recorder) in place and made sure it was flashing OK. He was back soon after 8am to check all was ready for starting, wish me luck and then make his way to Ogden Pt so he could time me crossing my 'start line'.
Monday morning, a 'Prince of Whales' boat came to tow us to near Ogden Pt. Several helpers came on board - there were a few more last-minute items in need of attention on deck - and Corine & Jak, from Port Townsend, were in the tow-boat, We finally got under way, after mainsail was hoisted & tow lines let free... The wind was a little tricky, but with genoa unfurled and after getting some speed up, I managed to tack around from the nearby shore and head for the line around 11:15am... to lots of cheering, waving and shouts of encouragement from the towboat and breakwater!
I had a good East wind and an ebb tide -so I had a great aftenoon sail under full canvas towards the Strait of Juan de Fuca W entrance, seeing lots of penguin guillemots diving out of the way or skittering across the surface as I came close to them in the almost deserted waters.. With frequent SOG of up to 8 knots or more, I made the entrance by nightfall - an excellent start!
Not much sleep ovenight, with plenty to keep a careful eye on - lots of ships coming and going in the shipping lanes approaching the Strait entrance and flashing lights marking theTSS junction to avoid in the strengthening, gusty winds...Heeling in up to 24 knots, we ended up with two reefs and well-furled genoa in a good Pacific swell. Later, I had lots of piping hot ratatouille - I needed to warm up - the air is very cold!!
Tuesday 23rd October (Day 2)
Winds are mostly from the SE but have been highly variable with very cloudy, squally conditions giving frequent strong winds and light intervals in between. I 'm sailing very 'conservatively' now... Having seen a beautiful clear starry sky at 4.30am and thinking I could safely take to my bunk for some much-needed sleep, I was woken a short time later, caught out with far too much canvas up -close-hauled with full genoa and staysail - which I found really difficut to deal with in the strong wind .... but deal with them we had to, so eventually things were back under control, with our track wandering all over the place in the meantime..!! Back to my lovely warm bunk around dawn ... and a late breakfast near to lunch-time!
I've changed into my thermal underwear with fleece layers over- It's COLD! The menu over the next few days is definitely going to include lots of hot, thick stews.... I've ratatouille to finish tonight - including some potato has made it thick - and I'll make a fresh thick soup with beans and lentils tomorrow - they're soaking overnight ready...
It's been an excellent day for birds! I've now seen my first Black-footed albatross - couldn't believe my eyes on finding an albatross by the boat on my first day out!! (The other albatross up here in the N. Pacific is the Laysan - looking quite different...) Also a Sooty shearwater came by & there were other birds I couldn't see too clearly....
DMG yesterday was 42n.ml. from the start (at ~1830GMT) to 0100GMT - averaging just under7 kt with the ebb tide helping...
Today, over 22hr from 0100-2300GMT, DMG was 88 n.ml.(72ml to J. de Fuca entrance)
Apart from my own daily position/weather report to Winlink/Shiptrak/Yotreps, accessed via my website's 'Travels' page link ("Where is 'Nereida'? etc), there are two sources of automatic tracking:
Using my AIS signal: http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/
Using a GPS transmitter: http://oceantracker.net?event=nereida