Final Leap up Juan de Fuca

June 27 – 30

Rain overnight and heavy wind, but the gale we hide from at Effingham stays well to the north. Rain in the morning. We do chores below decks. Kurt swaps out the primary fuel filter and wonders if we will ever solve the engine problems. He rebuilt it, an old Mercedes, over the winter. It starts with the least effort and runs with a confident, brassy beat … until it doesn’t. It must be starved for fuel. But how?

By afternoon wind has filled-in from the southeast, and we decide to wait tomorrow’s forecast. We row ashore and hike the trail across Effingham to the remains of an Indian village. The trail is a wet tangle of wood and fern consistently marked with hanging fishnet buoys and string and without which we would have been lost five steps from the beach. The remains are mere mounds when we find them, but in the detritus of the beach, we spy a plastic gas can with Kanji markings, likely debris from the Japanese Tsunami of 2011.

Another boat is anchored in Effingham. On the row back to RAVEN we meet Mike and Sue of WINDBORNE and are invited aboard for “sundowners,” a word coined by tropical cruisers for happy hour and strikingly unsuited as a description of such festivities in the chronically overcast Pacific Northwest. We learn Mike and Sue are also transiting the west side of Vancouver Island to Sidney.

Over the course of the evening Mike and Kurt convince each other to make the long, 70 mile leap to Sooke Harbor next day. The forecast calls for clearing and sailable northwesterlies to 20 knots. The two boats depart together at 5AM and are anchors down in the mud of Sooke by 7PM, having motored in winds from the south and east turning in the afternoon to dead calm.

Once we enter Juan de Fuca, the cruise is essentially over. Forty miles separate us from Sidney, but the constant traffic in the strait made up of ships and tugs and ferries and commercial fishermen remove any sense of wilderness. Kurt talks of putting RAVEN away for the summer, and I am thinking of nothing but my upcoming Northwest Passage.

In the early morning we are underway again, now for Roche Harbor (to repatriate RAVEN before her return to Canada) and then Canoe Cove. By noon we’ve rounded Trial Island on a screaming flood, and with this Kurt and I realize we’ve each closed a loop. In 2012 MURRE and I passed this rock from the east, bound for Victoria on a southward transit of the inside passage, and Kurt had done the same aboard RAVEN in 2011.

With this second passage around Trial, this time from the west, we have completed a circumnavigation our Vancouver Island.


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