Galley Wench Tales

Exploring the world through the people we meet
and the food they eat.

San Juans in full flow tide feels more violent than this cool computer-generated displacement map. If you love it feel free to its creator.

Fortunately for us, this is not our first “rodeo” in the San Juans, and sallying across the Salish Sea. We learned a lesson or two since my “bowing to Captain Nemo” episode crossing the Straits of Juan de Fuca in 2012.

Going through the San Juans’s Juan de Fuca Strait at the wrong time can feel like this.
Photo credit: Rene Schwietze 

Wayne’s become particularly proficient timing our passages with the flow. Thanks to our new-to-us copy of Current Atlas Juan de Fuca Strait to Strait of Georgia* we knew when to time our passage across the Straits of San Juan de Fuca and through the San Juan Islands. 

Image liberated from ThreeSheetsNW review of The PNW Current Atlas.

*After paying $29.95 + tax for a used version of it, we found out there’s an even easier-to-use app giving Salish Sea currents for a one-time fee of $20, The PNW Current Atlas.

Instead of our usual boat speed of 7 knots, we zipped on the wake of the flow tide, our peak speed hitting 12.4 knots. There was one “Whoa!” moment as the current had its way with where we went. Fortunately, we were far from the shoreline, rocks, logs, other boats or anything else a that could wreck your day with an overly close encounter.

C’mon — we’re not that slow! Tortoise, photo taken in our 2015 cruising stop in the Galapagos.

Our peak speed may seems a bit slow — and compared to many boats out there it is.  Likely those other boats use a lot more fuel than ours does, ~1.6 gal/hour. However, for a little more perspective, our 3,000+ mile, month-long 24/7 sailboat passage from Galapagos to the French Marquesas averaged 3 knots. Most of us can walk faster than that.

San Juan Rosario Strait current at flow tide. Doesn’t look that impressive,
but it nearly doubled our boat speed as we rode it.

Like most cruisers, we are able to time our visits to places when they’re safe. 

Limpet and seaweed on a calm shoreline day in the San Juan Islands.
This was taken at Jakles Lagoon, San Juan Island, our first stop.

In the wake of hurricane Dorian slamming our former cruising grounds in the Bahamas, it feels almost embarrassing describing our recent “tough” cruising challenges, which are so mellow, comparatively. Our heart goes out to the kind folks we met who live in the Abacos (and those we haven’t in the Grand Bahamas). If you are interested in what learning more about Dorian from the locals and you can do for the folks there, here is a good link (thanks to cruiser friend Rich Kallerud for finding this).

Christine Joseph and others await evacuation at a dock in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas, on September 7
Marsh Harbour Hurricane Dorian evacuees. Image from Axios.

Location Location
At the moment, we are in Garrison Bay (N48 35.357 W123 09.574), off the island of San Juan, in the San Juans. We’ve been tooling (48 35.around the San Juan islands for a week now, and are a day or two away from crossing into Canada. More on our time here in the San Juans in another post or two.

Is GalleyWenchTales now more readable on your mobile, if that’s how you read it?
Photo credit: Marco Verch

As more folks read just about everything on their mobiles, I’m pumping up the font size for GalleyWenchTales. Let me know how it works. Ultimately I’m mulling over what to do with this blog as Blogger is not that subscriber or comment-friendly or portable to WordPress. Suggestions are always welcome.