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Strait of Juan de Fuca

Oct 22, 2014
11,662
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
There are waters that sailors seek to sail which can one day be peaceful like a lake or the next a wild tempest.

The Strait of Juan de Fuca is one of these waters. Named by Charles W Barkely in 1787 after a Greek Maritime pilot who, while in the service of the Spanish King Phillip II, first entered the waters around 1592 searching for a route from Spain to Asia. The large open sea entrance must have looked inviting. Of course 'this must be an entrance to the route through North America to Spain'. Who wants to sail around South America's - Cape Horn again?

Sadly they learned their search for the Strait of Anián was but a fable.

We enjoy the gifts of this water body. It is the path to riches for many mariners: be it the abundant sea life or the sea route to Asia. For us sailors it is an opportunity to test our seamanship skills: Navigation, Weather planning, Heavy wind reefing or big water storm survival. Yes the Strait of Juan de Fuca can give sailors a glimpse at what ocean sailing is like.

Crossing these waters to the ever tempting fun of the San Juan Islands should be done with a careful eye to weather.
As this link to 2 boat stories attests sailing in the waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca should be carefully considered.

https://www.threesheetsnw.com/two-boats-battle-terrifying-storm-on-strait-of-juan-de-fuca/

What do you look for when considering your passage?
 
Feb 26, 2004
20,918
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
There was a nice post here last year, John, about one of the forum's respondents and his ride from Victoria south in heavy winds. IIRC, he included a video which was good fun to watch.
When we first came up, it was cold and foggy in Neah Bay, and when we left to head east the fog lifted off the deck, the sun eventually came out, and we motored on a glass flat surface getting to Victoria in late afternoon, an entire run at 090M.
Interesting body of water, crossed it many times over the years on the Coho ferry to Pt. Angeles. More fun on our boat.
Yes, very important to take it very seriously.
 
Oct 22, 2014
11,662
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
Hi there Stu... As I recall you and Les had an opportunity to venture into the Strait this past Summer. Something about Les able to inspect your keel as you tried to top the incoming ocean swells.
 
Feb 26, 2004
20,918
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
John, Les & I never got that far, we were still in Haro Strait when we turned back. Something to do with how ugly the bottom of my boat was, you know as compared to the top of my boat! :beer::beer::beer:
 
Aug 28, 2006
369
Bavaria 35E seattle
Thanks for the post. I concur! Traveling from the south, I will cess out the conditions and determine if it's better to get into the San Juans through Deception Pass and Rosario Strait as opposed to traversing the San Juan de Fuca. The same thing returning. Although, Rosario will be knarly if Wanda Fuca is, too. I've been heading southward into Wanda Fuca and it will be decent only to get very choppy beyond Smith Island. I guess it all serves to improve one's skills but careful planning and listening to the WX is the watchword.

Brad L.
 
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Nov 8, 2007
1,234
Hunter 27_75-84 Lady Lillie Sandusky Harbor Marina, Ohio
On our two charters in the area, we started both times going to anchor in Aleck Bay, then on in the Strait of San Juan de Fuca. The first time we turned north to take the Haro Strait to Roche Harbor. The second, we sailed west to Victoria, and then back to Roche after a great stay. We saw Orca, and lots of other wildlife both times, but had no particular weather issues. Had rough weather been forecast, we would have stayed in port - we always leave enough cushion in our plans to avoid it.

We’ve chartered in many places, but the San Juans are one of the best!
 
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Dec 25, 2000
4,255
Hunter Passage 42 Shelter Bay, WA
First and only time crossing was on the Kalakala circa 1953-54. That was from Port Angeles to Victoria.
 
Oct 22, 2014
11,662
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
Oh Terry. A lot has changed since 1953... But the Strait is pretty much the same.
Considerably more busy.
 
Dec 25, 2000
4,255
Hunter Passage 42 Shelter Bay, WA
A lot has changed since 1953...
For sure. Just a few years older now, but the distance has not changed one iota. The towns on each end a bit larger. Weather within remains, as always, a changing. Weather Honcho can weigh in there.
 
Jul 27, 2011
3,576
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
My experience has been as a “distant” observer. Crossed to Victoria from Port Angeles twice on the car ferry; once from Seattle on the ferry. Drove out to Neah Bay once, climbed a steep bank on the peninsula near there to look out over the Pacific; saw only fog—dense fog at that. Took a picture of the salmon man statue at the harbor; very funny. I have it somewhere. I’d love to sail across the JdF from Port Angeles to Sooke someday.
 
Oct 22, 2014
11,662
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
How about next summer? Come join our 360 Vancouver Isle adventure.
 
Jul 27, 2011
3,576
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
How about next summer? Come join our 360 Vancouver Isle adventure.
Love to, be an honor; but I don’t know. Admiral has been asking for a trip to Alaska up the passage for the past few summers. We’re looking at that right now. Probably use the car ferries if we don’t get the Bavaria up there; might bring the car for excursions if we do. That could take a couple of weeks to a month or more depending on how we do it. Be nice to work ‘em in together in some manner. So many cruises, so little time.:beer:
 
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Oct 22, 2014
11,662
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
Yes. For your consideration, Current planning is to start in Victoria around the 15th of June. Using an average travel plan of 23 nm per day, we have a 12 day trip from Victoria to Hope Bay on the Northern end of Vancouver Isle. Not being in a hurry it will more likely be 20 or so days north bound up the inside. There are many pubs to sample, and folks to meet along the way. Once we reach the North end we will be seeking a harbor to replenish our cupboards, and prep for the trip south along the West side. Weather will be our key factor in deciding to sail around the headland and out into the Pacific. Our route south will take us into the many bays and fjords that make up this wild and beautiful side of the Island. We have sketched out some rough ideas but the West side of the trip is still in progress. The finish is planned in Victoria and a grand celebratory Italian dinner (I know a place that shared fine wine, great food and enjoyable service).

Well that is the current sketch. I am working on more of the detail if you're interested.
 
Jun 25, 2004
821
Corsair F24 Mk1 003 San Francisco Bay, CA
Yes. For your consideration, Current planning is to start in Victoria around the 15th of June. Using an average travel plan of 23 nm per day, we have a 12 day trip from Victoria to Hope Bay on the Northern end of Vancouver Isle. Not being in a hurry it will more likely be 20 or so days north bound up the inside. There are many pubs to sample, and folks to meet along the way. Once we reach the North end we will be seeking a harbor to replenish our cupboards, and prep for the trip south along the West side. Weather will be our key factor in deciding to sail around the headland and out into the Pacific. Our route south will take us into the many bays and fjords that make up this wild and beautiful side of the Island. We have sketched out some rough ideas but the West side of the trip is still in progress. The finish is planned in Victoria and a grand celebratory Italian dinner (I know a place that shared fine wine, great food and enjoyable service).

Well that is the current sketch. I am working on more of the detail if you're interested.
I like your cruising perspective. That sounds like a wonderful trip. About How many days total do you estimate to do the whole thing? I sure wish my hubby were retired and I/ we could go cruising for longer than two weeks at a time.
 
Jan 5, 2017
1,612
Beneteau First 38 Lyall Harbour Saturna Island
About How many days total do you estimate to do the whole thing?
Judy, 30 years ago I did it in 21 days with my Dad in a CT-37, summer before last, Bev and I took 5 1/2 months to make the trip. Plan for 2020 is to complete the trip between school out and school in while keeping an eye on the weather. The longer it takes the more we will see. Should be a lot of fun.
 
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Oct 22, 2014
11,662
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
Judy, I have conspired with Michael on the timing..:biggrin:

I tell my wife it will be somewhere between 45 :liar: and 60 days. She has suggested she will be there for the Victoria stops.:cool:

As Michael indicates the timing will be weather and likely equipment/provisions driven. I am working on equipment, power and provision holding concerns on my boat at the moment. Trying to extend all of these resources.

Michel assures me that we will find adequate provision from the sea.:oops: If this means fish and crabs that sounds great.:dancing: If it means seaweed salads for days on end :yikes: I might just rebel.:kick:

Hopefully SBO members will join us in this adventure either as sailors/crew, land based resources for fun and replenishment, or just voyeurs with comments and suggestions as to where to go and what to see along the route.
 
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Jan 5, 2017
1,612
Beneteau First 38 Lyall Harbour Saturna Island
If it means seaweed salads for days on end :yikes: I might just rebel.
I'm with you John. Fortunately the freezer holds lots of steaks etc. for the BBQ. Neither Bev or I fish or crab but we always find some fresh along the way. Food has never been a problem though fresh veggies can be. May just get a fishing licence this year, I have a new reel that doesn't have line on it yet.
 
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Jul 27, 2011
3,576
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
The best fish to take along is canned chunky white albacore that you can eat with olive oil dressing if not mayonnaise; throw in a dill pickle and freshly chopped garlic or onion, and you have lunch two or three times a week if you like. No refrigeration needed for that if the pickles don’t sit too long after opening. Just start with small jars. After that, “Tiny Tots” sardines. For fresh, I saw lots salmon being caught near Port Hardy—Coho, I think. Lentils, in a hot cup, make good lunches as well. Cooks fast; lots of flavor. Throw in meat scrap for extra flavor.
 
Jul 27, 2011
3,576
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
@Kings Gambit ,want to sign on as cook?
Whenever I’m skipper and Admiral is not along on overnighters, but I have other crew, I usually get that job too. Cook. Lots of practice! On the last trip, to Port San Luis, me mate was actually taking pictures of the meals I was preparing and sending them home as meal ideas for their cruise coming up then. To me, it was all basic stuff although not once PB & J. Nothing really fancy. No microwave on my boat. Everything from the stove, grill, or as is. People do a lot of microwave “cooking” at home it seems, so some might be a little “lost” on the boat. [Truth in advertising: Admiral provisions the boat even if not coming along!]:)
 
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