Pan-Pacific Adventure 22

16 Days at sea…

And we’re almost there! Our course has described a slight Northerly arc over
the last 24 hours owing to the building breeze. We decided to keep it high
and “put some in the bank” as they say to have a greater apparent wind angle
for the final approach. It is midnight and already blowing 20 knots with
8-10 foot breaking seas so the more downwind we can go the more comfortable
we are. We were actually almost abeam of northern Vancouver Island before we
turned south on a course directly to Strait of Juan de Fuca which lies a
mere 200 miles away! Even with a reefed main little jib we are averaging 8-9
knots and I even hit an 11-knot high on the wheel last night! Our record for
the trip actually was 16.2 knots surfing down one particularly steep wave a
couple nights ago, when we still had the code 0 up. At that speed though the
wheel unloads and the entire hull seems to just float momentarily while the
speed somehow keeps climbing; water fans outward from the bow in a frothy
mist and a slight harmonic can be heard from somewhere beneath the
waterline… until the wave overtakes you and all the forces are re-applied
to the boat as she sways desperately to one side heeling right over onto her
ear before sliding out of the turn and back to level; then repeat. Kind of
like taking a car out of a tailspin I guess.

Anyways I must also illuminate this seemingly uncanny climatic juxtaposition
between you, the readers, and us the characters: All we have been hearing
about in our emails is how this is basically the hottest summer anyone has
seen in years, record temperatures, forest fires, etc. Well out here, in the
biting Northerly wind damn. Clingy fog, it is bloody cold! Even in
head-to-toe thermal underwear, fleece, and full foul weather gear I am still
shivering at night. We all look forward to this mystery heat wave no one can
stop talking about. Anyways, with the wind and seas heavy on our port
quarter we are being swung about with some force and poor “Auto” is working
so hard to keep us in a straight line – alas when under any load, he squeaks
and groans and generally voices his sincere disapproval. Actually our
chicken cache tori dinner was no match for the zealous rolling of our
vessel. The torque and inertia generated by simultaneously sliding down a
wave and turning sharply into it, coupled with the rolling action is enough
to wrench one out of their seat and basically pull them across the cabin;
spaghetti, unfortunately, is bound to the same laws of physics and
consequently our 5 star dinner ended up painting the settee red.

It must also be said that as we near Cape Flattery (and the commercial
traffic bottleneck) the chances of close quarters situations with other
vessels increases dramatically and therefore we must be vigilant in our
watch-keeping keep a weather eye on the radar. Into the 25 knot zone
tomorrow morning and then onward to the straits! Can’t wait to see my beloved
BC Coast once again!!!

It has been 3 months since I flew out from YVR and nearly that long living
on ZULU… 8000 miles later, here I am again. Weird.

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