(August 13th, 2017)
Morning of the 13th – Morgan’s 7th Birthday!! We had a fun breakfast on the boat, then sat around and relaxed, since it was still dumping rain. Devon took Ellie with her to look at gifts for Morgan, while Morgan and I hung out on the boat. When they got back we headed to McDonald’s for lunch, and wi-fi, did a little shopping for gifts (Morgan looked at gifts for Ellie’s upcoming birthday and Morgan and I picked up cupcakes for her birthday treat). Then we walked back to the boat in the rain again, though it had subsided some.
Morgan wanted to go to Fat Stan’s Pizzeria for her birthday party, and after confirming that they would be showing the Seahawks game, we decided that was a great plan. We took the free shuttle downtown and got there about an hour before the game, commandeering a couple of tables for the girls and ourselves and any others who might join. We were excited to see several crews (Breakaway, Foxy, and others) show up as well. Corvidae even brought gifts, shells they had collected from Sea of Cortez and Fiji on their own South Pacific cruise. The girls had a great time eating pizza and playing with crafts they also got as gifts, while we had a few drinks and watched the Seahawks slaughter their foes.
Back at the boat we had some cupcakes and watched a movie.
During the day we had also started our passage planning for Dixon Entrance, and found that there were several storms coming through, with a few crossing windows mixed in. We had essentially two choices, Monday or Wednesday. There were gales forecast for both Tuesday and Thursday, the latter being the worse of the two, and we really didn’t want to be out in mostly unprotected waters, in 40 knots of wind, or even 25+ if we can help it. Unfortunately for the Monday opening, we hadn’t yet refueled, nor done laundry, or any grocery shopping. So we decided to use Monday for that, wait out the Tuesday winds, then hot foot it down to Prince Rupert on Wednesday.
Monday turned out to be a pretty mild day and several of the Sail Alaska boats departed in the morning, some stopping in Foggy Bay, others going all the way to Prince Rupert. Devon finally had time to get some laundry done with the girls and the rain was light and spotty. We kept watching the weather and by the end of the day we had decided we would actually make our crossing attempt on Tuesday, leaving at 5am, with Foggy Bay as our bail out if the weather was too nasty. Winds were forecast to start out light and get up to maybe 25 peak later in the day, and the local knowledge suggests that if you hug the mainland coast you are fairly protected so the seas would be smaller.
Tuesday morning, we woke at 5am, suited up in our foul weather gear and started up the electronics. The wind was already 15+knots in the harbor and we sat there for about 15 minutes pondering our plans before deciding we didn’t want to go, expecting the wind to be stronger in Dixon than we saw at the marina. Throughout the day, the wind got stronger and the rain came down harder—it was WET!. We saw consistent winds >25 knots right at our slip and every time one of us left the boat for even 30 seconds we came back dripping wet like we’d never experienced before. We watched Breakaway on AIS leaving Foggy Bay for Prince Rupert and wondered what the weather was like our there, but they were too far to hail them on the VHF.
We finally decided that we’d made the right decision not to go, and even asked ourselves why we had even thought of leaving when we had previously decided Tuesday was a no go. Secure in our decision-making process we went to bed early, prepared for another 5am start, when we will check the wind when we woke, and depart if the forecast looks correct. We wouldn’t be able to refuel but I was confident we could get to Prince Rupert on the fuel we had with extra in reserve as well.