Today is Geoff’s birthday! And no one will let him forget it for a minute! Ha. Sound familiar? We have decided we are living groundhog day every shift. We have a “routine” of get up, get food, get dressed, look for land, take the helm.
I’ve actually noticed more air traffic going overhead so we know we are getting closer to land! Wren mixed up some hand squeezed orange juice for Geoff for his birthday and we polished off a bottle of wine while sitting in some sun.
We have spotted a couple of larger fishing vessels in the area and we have a rookery of Albatross hanging around (which is a bit odd since they like to be alone for the most part). We have also just received a tail wave from a whale! She surfaced about 50 ft away and then dove with her spectacular tail going right up int he air for us all to see. One more thing of my trip bucket list!
NOTE: Not my photo. None of us were fast enough to get a photo, but this is what it looked like, but a bit further (thanks Pinterest)
Geoff is convinced that we are being watched. We keep seeing these large fins sticking up over the water and I keep thinking they are sharks. Turns out they are giant sunfish!! They can grow to be over 1,000 kg (2,200 lbs!!) and over 3m long. They hang out close to the surface eating the Vallela Vallelas (jellyfish – their primary source of food) and they use the sun rays close to the surface of the water to regulate their body temperatures.
Land ho! We can see Vancouver Island! Spirits are high as we know we are not far from loved-ones and hot showers. Traffic is picking up as well and we are enjoying listening to the Coast Guard hail a Russian ship that has a faulty EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon). There’s real confusion on the ship as to what the Coast Guard is talking about. It takes a couple hours, but the ship is eventually ok’d to continue on its way.
The Cape Flattery lighthouse leads us into the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the excitement is building. We have not see this much action in 2 weeks and all of the various lights and radio chatter is causing a bit of sensory overload! We navigate the Salish Sea during the night and there are fishing boats EVERYWHERE. The boats keep putting on their spotlights wondering what the heck we are doing in their “territory”. It’s causing us to duck and weave about to avoid the nets and, unfortunately, Captain Travis is not getting much sleep.
We have finally arrived in Victoria and the harbour pilots lead us in. If you have never boated or even seen the water traffic in this area, it is a must. There are ferries, whale watching tours, sea taxis, air taxis, tourism boats, and other recreational boaters. We are arriving in the Inner Victoria Marina and realize there are hundreds of people watching us arrive. What a welcome committee! Turns out, the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival is on!
We are greeted at the dock by Charlotte Gann who has been updating our FaceBook page for us. We tie off and head off to the nearest pub for a pint and burger. It feels so weird to be on land and I can’t seem to stop swaying. I miss the boat already and feel out of place surrounded by these land lubbers. I get reception on my phone and the messages start flooding in. Time to call home and book a flight!
This has been quite an adventure and I am sad to see it end. However, writing about it has let me relive it all over again and I look forward to my next big blue trip! Thanks to Travis for letting me join the trip and to all my fellow scallywags for a fun crossing.
Up Next: The Commandments of Ocean Sailing