Velella's Drift

An account of Velella's voyage from Seattle to New York via Panama, 2009-2011

Fighting the Strait of Juan de Fuca

Sequim Bay anchorage

Sequim Bay anchorage

We woke up in the morning after our first night on the hook at Sequim Bay, and the fog was so thick we could barely see the bow of our own boat. It didn’t take much to persuade us to scrap the 5am wake up call and sleep in until 8:30 or so. By that time the fog had lifted somewhat (see the picture above), so we hauled up the anchor and motored over to the marina to top off. The water here was noticeably clearer than the Shilshole gunk we’re used to, and the sun broke through just in time to illuminate the difficult entrance Prescott and Andrew had navigated the night before.


John Wayne Marina in Sequim

John Wayne Marina in Sequim

We headed out to the Strait to what looked like a perfect day–full sun, excellent visibility, and brisk breezes. Turns out brisk breezes right on the nose don’t work so well… We spent the better part of the day screwing around with different sail wardrobes and trims to find the most power with least heel (which was yah-hoo! for all of about 10 minutes). In the end, we basically made no way at all, and chose to pull in to Port Angeles, which is only about 25 miles west of Sequim, for some real sleep (the not moving kind). When we finally stopped spinning around in that horribly confused body of water, we slept hard; it was the first chance we’d had in hours to unclench our muscles.

Strait of Juan de Fuca

Strait of Juan de Fuca

Prescott woke at 1am with me to push out of Port Angeles, and because I’d been the most seasick the previous day and was feeling better, I opted to take the graveyard shift from 1-3am. Let’s just suffice it to say that in retrospect, I apparently wasn’t well enough still, having not been able to hold down food or water for 2 days. In addition to some crazy schools of sliver jumping fish (quite likely a figment of my exhausted imagination), I also saw noted a number of tankers coming our way, and even went so far as to coordinate with Seattle Vessel Traffic Control on the radio to frantically hail them, until I woke up Andrew for his shift in the middle of a complete meltdown with the throttle full boar. He informed me that I’d been “running away from lights on shore.” So. Rule number 23: No more seasick night watch.

Prescott and Andrew put me to bed without indicating how crazy I was, and took over for the rest of the night. In the morning we were in soft rolling seas at the West Entrance, and only about 3 hours out from Neah Bay.

sunrise in the West Strait

sunrise in the West Strait


1 Comment»

  Lin wrote @

Awesome tale…and pictures! Keep ’em coming because us landlubbers are enjoying the ride! What a beautiful adventure…imaginary ships and all.

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