Monday, May 19, 2008

Strait of Juan de Fuca

We are traveling east through the Strait of Juan de Fuca on a gray, rainy morning. The sketch above is of the lighthouse at Sheringham Point. We have just crossed over the the northern, Canadian shore of the Strait where the incoming flood tide provides a strong easterly push. The wind is low, and the water calm, with only the barest remainder of the open ocean swell. It seems very placid in comparison to the rolling swells of the open Pacific we traveled Saturday and Sunday; we hardly have to hang on to move around the boat. And those were some of the mildest ocean conditions ever found off the Oregon and Washington coast.

On the other hand, I can clearly remember the first time I got brave enough to cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It is a big body of water, and the twenty mile crossing seemed daunting. Eventually I agreed with the captain to give it a try. The day we chose was warm and sunny, and as it turned out, the waters of the Strait were as calm and glassy as a lake. With no possibility of sailing, we motored along. It was even a little dull. But it served the purpose of dispelling some of the fear, and served as another notch on the learning curve.







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