Thursday, August 8, 2013

Day 58: Bamfield to Sooke

Transiting the Strait of Juan de Fuca requires fair winds and good current conditions. Currents run several knots in the Strait, and it makes little sense to burn a lot of extra fuel fighting the current.

The winds were forecast to be light and the currents would be favorable beginning around eight or nine in the morning. Since current wouldn’t be much of an issue for the first 25 miles, I decided to depart at 6:00 am. This got me out early enough to beat the afternoon winds, but late enough to avoid unfavorable currents.

I woke up at 5:30, checked the weather, and got the boat ready. The weather was perfect: light winds and rippled seas. No fog, either.

I shoved off before 6:00 and joined a sizeable fleet of sport fishing boats heading out. Once clear of the harbor, I throttled up. The autopilot worked perfectly!

The next four hours were pretty boring. Low swells, no waves, low clouds, no boats. Altogether a pleasant trip into Port Renfrew.
Calm water and low clouds. It may look foggy, but visibility was a couple of miles.
I’d expected to stay the night in Port Renfrew, but there wasn’t much there. A couple small marinas, catering mainly to sport fishing boats (with the attendant smells) were all that was around. I stopped and gathered some info for the Waggoner. The weather was so nice that I decided to continue to Sooke.

After another couple of uneventful hours, I pulled into Sooke. I tied up at the public dock and settled in. A note at the top of the dock said the harbormaster would be by in the evening to collect moorage fees.

An hour later a fisherman informed me that I was in “his” spot. Now, some of the spots did have little signs that said “reserved,” but not the spot I was in. He’d left no fenders or lines, no indication that this was a reserved spot. Not wanting a confrontation, I agreed to move. He suggested I raft off an old, rusty behemoth…I pulled along side and quickly realized it wouldn’t work. So, off to anchor. I tucked in behind Whiffen Spit and dropped the hook, between endless crab trap buoys. Fishing boats came and went, typically at the perfect speed for throwing the largest wake.
Whiffen Spit Park
Last light on Whiffen Spit
On the plus side, Whiffen Spit is a large, beautiful park. It reminded me of Dungeness Spit, on the other side of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Still, Sooke ranks pretty low on the destinations I’ve boated to…

80.5 nm today
1157.8 nm total

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