2016-07-27 1:00PM UTC, 48°27'N 126°03'W
2016-07-27 3:45PM UTC, 48°27'N 125°43'W # motoring
2016-07-27 7:00PM UTC, 48°27'N 125°14'W # noon
2016-07-28 12:30AM UTC, 48°22.30'N 124°37.12'W # Anchored in Neah Bay
Sea temperature: 51.8deg
I'm anchored in Neah Bay!
The final day was quite varied. After the last blog post, I entered the stronger wind band. The wind picked up from 15, to 20 and then into 'near gale' strength which is 28-33 kts (gale starts at 34kts.) During the stronger winds I was doing my 20min sleep cycles, so the wind strength may have been higher. The forecast was for the wind to reduce the next day to 20 at 5am and then 15 by 11am. At 6am the winds were reducing into the 20-24 range. At 7:30am the winds had fallen to 16 and I was rolling out my genoa to keep the boat speed up. By 8am the wind had fallen to 4-8kts, from the NW, which was behind me as I headed directly East. At this point, the seas were still quite active and I had slowed dramatically.
I decided to motor at 8am. I started the engine and started to furl (roll away) the genoa (big head sail) when I felt the wind increase and I started to sail again, and ended up sailing at 5kts. This lasted for 10min when the wind faded again. I decided to slow down my decisions, give the wind a chance to recover - so I finished drinking my pot of coffee. No wind. So I started the engine again and again started to furl the sail at 8:30am. Again some wind arrived - I started to sail in it, and by 8:45am it had faded again. This time I started the engine, furled the sail and ignored any little puffs of wind. By 9:40am the wind was basically zero and it stayed there until I was 5nm from Neah Bay. I motored the remaining 41nm to anchor.
Shortly after the wind faded to zero, some fog arrived and then got gradually denser until the visibility dropped to less than 1/2 a mile. The fog stayed for the rest of the day, until I got to Neah Bay where it lifted - as I write this there is still a dense fog bank out to sea, but Neah Bay has sunshine - its glorious! As I arrived I could smell the pine forests and it really reminded me of home - various homes, pine forests have a strong association with me - mountains, hiking, creeks - things I am looking forward to exploring again.
The other notable thing about the day is that there were a *lot* of AIS contacts. While I was far offshore in the early morning, around 4am I had three cargo ships displaying on AIS, all with a closest point of approach to me of less than 5nm. There were two which would pass me within 20min and then one further away, 45min away. I decided to stay up to make sure there wasn't a wind shift which would have me alter course into them. As the third contact was approaching, two more appeared, again close CPA's, so I decided to not sleep until *those* two passed. This kept happening. At one point I had 12 AIS contacts, with 8 of them passing within 10nm of me - this at something like 70nm from shore. Its been a long day, as I slept poorly through the gale.
It feels so good to have finished this huge passage! I left New Zealand on May 1st and arrived in Hawaii on June 20 - 50 days at sea. I was in Hawaii for 14 days, but when you subtract the 2 1/2 days I was on passage from Hilo to Hanalei, thats down to 11. If you subtract the days when I was either arriving or departing, that's down to 9. So 9 full days in Hawaii. Over the past 88 days, I've sailed on 79 of them.
Its been a long day and a lot of sailing. Its time for a short break now.
I'm going to make a quick dinner, eat and go to sleep. I'll stay in Neah Bay for a few days, perhaps more. Over the next month or so, I'll slowly cruise back toward the San Juan Islands and Seattle, where I hope a slip at Shilshole Marine will open up for me, sometime in September.
All is very well onboard.
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