June 9, 2020
It was a beautiful misty morning with snowy mountain peaks in the background. Our voyage of more than 5500 nautical miles, 44 days at sea, 22 days of Hilo quarantine, and roughly 11 weeks away from our home in Durango, Colorado, was winding down…almost. We still had the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
I had heard stories and read accounts of the dreaded Strait. Some called it the Strait of “wanna-puke-ah” as it is known for its high seas, amazingly strong currents, and unpredictable winds. The Strait had all the right ingredients to make for an unpleasant final leg. And let me not forget to mention the incredible number of tankers, freighters, and cargo vessels, some 700 to 1000 feet long and longer, coming and going through the Strait faster than Estelle and with limited mobility. Oh goody!
Entering the Strait was magical. During a gybe to set us up for our assigned lane thru the Strait, we had a close encounter with two humpback whales! Probably a mom and her one year old. They surfaced just feet from our starboard side. The young one was curious and came to check us out! We even got a tail slap.
Three to four meter, rounded swells pushed us through the beginning of the Strait. They were friendly swells that did not break on top of us. We had fifteen to twenty knot winds on our beam to push us through the Strait and swells. That night, dark clouds off of our stern and white clouds or fog off of our bow were illuminated by a nearly full moon. Beautiful sailing conditions to our early morning landfall at Port Angeles.
We said farewell to crew mates Bob and Gregg in Port Angeles and set out immediately for Friday Harbor. What a wonderful day! Winds in the high teens and low twenty’s allowed the sails to fly. The sun popped its head out from the clouds periodically, warming our bodies and our hearts. Commercial vessels were conspicuously absent and the surrounding islands with their stunning landscapes filled our eyes with sights not seen in weeks. We were in wonderland.
By 4 pm pacific daylight time we made it to safely to Friday Harbor with warm welcomes from Heidi and Anne Marie. Both Rob and I were a bit verklempted and emotional; maybe even a tear? How did this journey end so fast? Did we really just finish? Did we really sail across the Pacific? Twice? Did we really go from bathing suits to snowy peaks? Is it over? Now what?
We are grateful for the support provided to us over these past weeks and months. It gets lonely out at sea. Knowing we had family and friends cheering us on and sending warm greetings filled our hearts. We are thankful to Heidi (my big sis) for keeping the blog running and translating our words and pictures into a story. We are appreciative of our crew mates Bob and Gregg who helped fill the hours with levity, laughter, and canasta. and… we are forever indebted to our brother-in-law and the Captain of Estelle, Mark, who allowed us this truly unbelievable experience. His remarkable knowledge of sea and sail, his trust in our abilities and lack of abilities, along with his confidence and resilience kept us safe and sane. Thank-you.
Signing off – W&R