This year’s 1-month cruise took us from Seattle all the way to Nootka Sound, more than half way up Vancouver Island’s west coast.
Starting from Seattle, we had an upwind slog getting out the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca to Victoria, followed by a relaxing five days exploring Barkley Sound’s quiet anchorages. We next went up to Clayoquot Sound (after one false start due to awful wave conditions). We didn’t stay long in Clayoquot, heading up to Nootka Sound to see how far we could get. We had fun exploring Friendly Cove, but someday will have to come back when we have more time to explore Nootka.
It was time to turn around back south, so we headed to Tofino and picked up an unwelcome stowaway for one night. We stopped in Barkley Sound again, regretting we didn’t have more time to stay in this most epic of sounds, and headed back down the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Fortunately we had some time to relax in Victoria, checking out some anchorages we normally wouldn’t have time for. Passing through the San Juans they were as beautiful as always, but sadly it was soon time to return to Seattle.
A month sounds like a lot of time, but it’s really not, at least not when you’re trying to cover ground by sail. About 3 weeks in we realized we had packed the schedule a bit too tight, and probably shouldn’t have stretched to go to Nootka Sound. While it was cool to reach our farthest point north on the west coast ever, we had many long and tiring days and not quite enough short days or lay days.
It’s important to have balance in a cruising schedule. I often think of it like a video game – if you always have the difficulty setting on “hard”, you’ll get burnt out. Most days going up the west coast are medium or hard difficulty, so we needed a few more easy days in the mix. Fortunately the last week, in the Victoria area and San Juans, provided some nice easy days.
- Nights at anchor: 27
- Nights in a marina: 3
- # times stern tied: 0
- Distance Traveled, as the motor boat travels: 600 nautical miles
- Distance Traveled, as sailed (approximated): 800-900 nautical miles
- % time spent sailing (approx): 75%
- % distance spent sailing (approx): 50%
- Engine Hours: 64 (15 hrs per week, 2 hrs per day) – 50% more than last year
- Diesel Used: 37 gallons (9 gallons per week) – 80% more than last year
- Highest wind speed while sailing: 21 kts – 25% lower than last year
- Highest wind speed at anchor: maybe 15 kts? – 40% lower than last year