54-knot winds in Watmough Bay

With gale force winds forecast for the Strait of Juan de Fuca, we anchored last night in Watmough Bay at the southeast tip of Lopez Island. The bay appears to have good protection from southeast weather, but we saw exactly the same winds as at unprotected Smith Island at the eastern end of the strait: steady winds above 30 knots with gusts to 54. This is the highest winds we’ve seen at anchor. The wind speed slightly topped the 52-knot gusts we saw in Pender Harbour a couple of winters back that blew our patio table overboard.


The waves certainly were much smaller than out in the strait, but big waves rolled into the anchorage all night, tossing our boat and making for a sleepless night for both of us. Our 66-lb Bruce held well with a 6:1 all-chain scope, and boy, was it in there when we left.



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