Strait of Juan de Fuca
This image of the Strait of Juan de Fuca is a cropped image taken by NASA and comes form the
visibaleearth.nasa.gov web site.
The Strait of Juan de Fuca is a place that a lot of cruisers avoid. It can be nasty at times. The weather channel will forecast gales in the Strait a lot. They also forecast gales at times when there are no gales; however, when the weather is bad it is not a very nice place to be. You also need to make sure the current is going with you. The current can be 6 or more knots in places. There are times when the current can suck you threw and there is nothing you can do about it. You can also use the current to help you get places fast. It is possible to leave Shilshole marina (near Seattle) at 6 am as the tide starts to ebb and make it to Friday Harbor by 2 pm (a distance of about 60 miles). You can do that motoring at 5 knots. As you pass threw Admiralty Inlet you can pick up a 6 knot current. We have passed Port Townsend doing 11 knots over the ground. If you have timed it correctly you will get to the middle of the Strait of Juan de Fuca about the same time as the tide will change and you can ride the tide into Cattle Pass on the other side. The buoy in the picture is located on the Juan de Fuca side of Admiralty Inlet near Port Townsend and doing a little over 5 knots.
If you are getting ready to go cruising and want to get some experience in strong winds, you should consider spending some time here in the spring. It will help you get ready for what cruising will be like in other parts of the world. You will need some warm clothes as it can be really cold with a 25 knot wind. Even in July. Work your way into it gently as it can be exciting.