Passage Route Bora Bora to Hawaii to Canada
22 June 2017 | Bora Bora, French Polynesia
During a relaxed time at one of the scenic Bora Bora anchorages we were chatting, as one does, about our plans going forward. Up until this time we were to continue westward toward Tonga, Fiji and then north to the Marshall's and Micronesia. Then we realized there was an opportunity to leave French Polynesia now and head north up to Hawaii, Canada and into the Pacific North West. It took a week or so to mull it over and do the research and in the end we decided Canada was where we wanted to head to next. The weather was favorable at this time of year for such a passage where the best months for routing from Hawaii to British Columbia is June to August. It meant leaving Bora Bora before the end of June to be in Victoria before the end of August. I studied the weather patterns, routes, the North Pacific High and its associated lows and also corresponded with Jim Innes, a tactician for the Transpac rally that runs from PNW to Hawaii who provided me with guidance.
The passage from Bora Bora to Hawaii will be relatively easy going with reliable easterly trades moving us along nicely. We expect to clear into Honolulu and stay for a week. Leaving Hawaii toward Canada will be a bit more challenging. A rhumb line from Hawaii to Victoria takes you thru the N Pacific High which entails no winds and a days and days of motoring.
So the passage plan from Hawaii is expected to take us on a course of 350 degrees for at least 1100nm and try not to be temped to point for BC. This route will take us around the High to the west of the center and keep us in the breeze. It also positions us so that when we do penetrate the High it keeps motoring to a minimum. Then we drew a line out of the entrance of Juan de Fuca bearing 280 degrees for 350nm and marked a waypoint. This is our entry into the straits (about equivalent attitude as the top of Vancouver Island) and the reason for aiming for this point is that if gales from the NW are forecasted and materialize then the ride from that point puts the wind on a favorable broad reach.
We are expecting to have to get out our cold weather gear. And low visibility and cool fog can be expected on the Swiftsure Bank and along the Juan De Fuca Straits to Victoria. Juan De Fuca Straits are a busy shipping channel for merchant ships heading into Canada and the US, predominately to Vancouver and Seattle. Plenty of fishing boats and humpback whales are expected - let's not get too close! And fishing should be good!
Soooo looking forward to Victoria!