Sunday, Aug 27, 2006

Depart: Bamfield, 8 am
Breakfast: eggs & bread aboard
Weather: heavy fog

Despite being unable to see across Bamfield’s narrow harbour, Wai Whare set off in dense fog. The crew was optimistic that the fog would dissipate early as it had in Ucluelet, and there was a long day ahead. Wai Whare lost sight on land at the entrance to Bamfield harbour and would not see land again until inside Port San Juan nine hours later.

We motored a compass course toward Cape Beale in fog, light swell and even lighter wind. Relying on the GPS to accurately determine our position, we turned off Cape Beale toward Juan de Fuca. We motored for hours in light wind and 1-2 m swell. The fog stayed with us; sometimes visibility was several hundred metres, but mostly we could see 2-3 waves away, perhaps 100m.

We heard a mayday on the radio, and determined that the vessel in distress was nearby and along our planned route. We kept a sharper lookout but we passed in the mist, as the Coast Guard arrived at their location.

We also encountered a 40ish foot sloop from Gibraltar, adrift as there was no wind and its engine had failed. We circled and discussed the situation. We could not safely come alongside in the 2 m swell, and had nothing to offer anyway, so we left her (we saw her later motoring in Port Renfrew).

Plotting our position regularly, we were rewarded by hearing and finally seeing the buoy outside Port San Juan. We turned to enter the bay and the outboard started to stutter. Suspecting that the gas tank was empty, we turned off the engine and clumsily refilled from the spare tank. Of course, this all occurred with land finally in sight – several rocks formed a dangerous lee shore. The engine was a little better after filling the tank, so we puttered into the fog toward the harbour, only to catch sea weed on the rudder. Another long five minutes fighting the sea weed in sight of the rocks then we motored off, with the engine sounding better.

There is only one dock in Port Renfrew. It isn’t a public harbour; it isn’t sheltered. It is full and falling apart. We found one free spot and took it to discover that it was reserved by the hotel. We walked a block to the nice-looking hotel to discover that the spot was reserved. As the dock was otherwise full, we departed.

We went to anchor behind a tiny breakwater, only to find other vessels there. We found a spot and dropped the hook in 15 kt wind, 2′ chop and mist that made it difficult to see. Our first drop set the anchor, but was too shallow in the falling tide, so we motored to a deeper less sheltered spot. The night, however, was calm and we had a restful night.

One Response to “Sunday, Aug 27, 2006”

  1. Travels with Wai Whare » Blog Archive » Port Renfrew Says:

    […] Travels with Wai Whare Steven and Darusha’s Logbook « Friday, Aug 25, 2006 Sunday, Aug 27, 2006 » […]

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