Monday, July 14, 2014

Willie's Tug Survives Fog in the Strait of Juan de Fuca -- 7/9/2014

Today looks to be a great day for crossing the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which can be rough due to the fetch from the ocean to the west.  Herb sees the predicted current to give us a good push in Admiralty Inlet, so he plans to leave early.


That is early.

No wind here in Shilshole (sailboat masts perpendicular to the water) and we admire some pretty boats as we prepare to leave.

Find another pretty boat....

A big yellow ball in the eastern sky greets us and lights the way as we have our morning coffee.  So excited to be 'on the road again,' cruising about, anticipation increases as we exit Shilshole Marina to continue north in Puget Sound.  Harbor seals lazily acknowledge us as we pass.

A fishing boat drifts nears us and we watch carefully, so as to make a correction if needed to avoid a collision.  I do see one person looking our way, but he is not at the helm.  Hmmm....fog in the background.

Patchy fog is predicted and seas are one foot or less.

We scan the horizon for traffic and see the Kingston Ferry depart, but happily we are north of her route at Appletree Cove.  As soon as we pass Point No Point, fog sets in big time and we depend on Channel 16, AIS, radar and the Traffic channel for information.  Our eyesight also works overtime to get a visual on anything reported to be near our location.

Plan is to try the Strait of Juan de Fuca, but if it gets rough, we will turn back to Port Townsend.  I quickly look up Cindy's phone number and a Yacht Club for reciprocal.  We do a direct cross of the shipping lanes in order to be there quickly.  Traffic announces a tug and tow on the starboard but we never see them in the quarter mile visibility.

Seas are now just swells as we near the Strait and see on radar a vessel coming across on our port side.  We watch for intersection.  No collision, as she finally turns to starboard and passes port to port.  As we continue to search the fog, she appears.

Do you see the vessel in the photo below?  It is faintly visible just to the right of center.  We see its AIS and always try to locate them.  At one point we hear of the Victoria Clipper being on our starboard, but never see her.  I guess that is good....

We come very close to a small fishing boat with a large dip net.  Apparently, he has good luck with fish.  

Fishing is also good for the birds, who are having a feeding frenzy at Point Wilson.

Herb reports to Seattle Traffic that he would like to cross the shipping lanes to follow his planned route after the Victoria Clipper and the Crowley tug and tow, Protector, are south of us.  Traffic responds that there is no reported traffic. We hear Protector say she has received a change of orders and will turn around to go back to Anacortes.  

We go through a short period of three foot seas, then calmer waters as we approach Partridge Point at the beginning of the Strait. 

Ah, nice!  The Strait is kind to us today.  We will continue ahead.   TBTG.  Since we are still in the fog, we don't see other boats until they pop out of the fog, so we continue to stare, stare, stare.

We hear the Victoria Clipper call Traffic to say she will come out of Deception Pass at 10 knots against a 5 knot current.  We will never see it.

Suddenly we have sunshine!!!  

As we approach Burrows Island off Fidalgo Island, we see the lovely Mt. Baker with glistening white snow, framing the passing of the ferry Elwha!  After a cruise through Guemes Channel, we arrive at Cap Sante.  Herb calls Traffic to say we are safe in Anacortes and signs out.

Seeing clearly now in Guemes Channel, we look back at what we just came through.

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Wednesday, July 9, 2014


  1. Sorry we missed you but we are perched above the Pacific in our RV! Calm seas and save travels! Cindy (Celtic Sun)

    1. I know you are having fun! Maybe later.....