I awoke as my body slammed back down onto the v berth mattress. Funny. I don’t remember levitating in my dream. Wham! There it went again. I was airborne without ever learning how to fly. Something appeared to be amiss. Looking through the port I could see only white. Sigh. This was not a good sign. I had gone below to have a rest after a morning of heading upwind, bound for Port San Juan. We hoped to make it there and anchor for the night before the final stretch to Barkley Sound. There is no safe anchorage between Port San Juan and Barkely, so you have to be able to do that in one stretch. The last trip we made to this area, that worked great. This time, we knew we would have exactly one chance to make it because gale force winds were expected off the coast and we wanted to get into the sheltered area before they hit. It was sunny and mild with reasonable winds when I went below. But that was then. And this is now.
Rightfully alarmed at the booming sounds coming from the forward part of the boat, I poked my head out of the cabin and looked out. I saw only white. White sky, and white water. Everywhere. The booming was the sound of our hull crashing down onto the sea about every third wave. We were getting nowhere fast.
I look at Mike, who is steering, grim faced. It’s a look I’ve learned to know and it doesn’t bode well. He is at the wheel, having put Stella on standby for this part of the trip. ‘What gives?’, I ask, as though I didn’t know. “We’re 14 miles from Port San Juan. It’s 2:00 pm. The wind is picking up and is expected to get stronger and we are against the tide. We are making about 2.8 knots. Sooke Harbor is 18 miles behind us, back toward Victoria. We have a choice to make.”
I look at the foaming, angry sea, the white fog, the gps. Really? Seems pretty clear to me. “Really?”, I reply very calmly. “Seems pretty clear to me. Turn this boat around. We have to go back. This is f***ing ridculous.”
And that’s how we ended up turning around and running from weather two days in a row. From 2.8 knots over ground to 8.5 knots over ground in less that 30 seconds. Call us crazy, but we are not interested in deliberately going into gale force winds in a Cal 34. It’s not that she wouldn’t take it, it’s just that we don’t have to. This is another one of those times that just irk me beyond the pale. If we didn’t have to worry about how long it took us to get there, we could have stayed securely in Victoria for a week and waited out the gales, then made for Barkley Sound. But that would have taken a third of our vacation.
So we pulled the plug on that plan and are sitting pretty back in the Gulf Islands and are happy to be here. We’re nothing if not flexible when it comes to having fun. This brief post is from Sidney Harbor, where we stopped for much needed showers and to quickly check for messages from our kids. Then we’re going exploring to places we’ve not seen before. We dream of spending summers on our boat in this incredible cruising area.
So just a brief post to say plans have changed. That Mother Nature. She’s such a control freak.
Sorry for no photos on this post, but cafe wifi takes pretty long for downloading.