By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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Darren Bachiu, 36, had two windows of opportunity — July 5-7 and this Tuesday, but tidal conditions and the lack of availability of his support boat eliminated his chances last week.
“As the 15th approaches, the marine weather forecasts will be more accurate. I’ll be watching the forecasts closely, and the final forecast on the evening of July 14 will be the ultimate decision maker,” Bachiu said.
Bachiu said thinks he may be the first person to ever make the attempt on the surfboard-like craft.
He cannot find any record of anyone making the crossing on a paddleboard.
Bachiu intends to begin the 26.7-mile trip at Cheanuh Marina, 20 miles west of Victoria, and cross southeast toward Port Angeles.
He said he plans to set out at about 4:30 a.m., just as dawn lights the sky, but was uncertain as to how long the trip will take.
“I’m not sure about time, always weather and water dependent, but I hope to finish in eight hours or less,” he said.
If all goes well, Bachiu expects to land in Port Angeles near the Railroad Avenue pier of the Black Ball Ferry Line Terminal, which operates the MV Coho ferry, then return to Victoria on his support boat.
“It saves customs in the U.S. and in Canada,” he said.
In June, Bachiu paddled a kayak across the Strait in a practice run to get used to the behavior of the water away from Vancouver Island, where he trains.
The kayak run took about six hours, including a mile or two of extra distance that was added on when he mistakenly approached Ediz Hook on the western side, Bachiu said.
Paddleboards are not as fast as a kayak, due to having a different profile in the water, he said.
Bachiu said the practice trip allowed him to learn to recognize Port Angeles landmarks that will guide him to the most efficient route into Port Angeles Harbor.
He has been training by taking practice trips along the Haro Strait from Victoria to Sidney, B.C., about 15 miles each way, in order to prepare for the crossing.
“Haro Strait can have rough conditions as well, but generally, it is a calmer body of water,” Bachiu said.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.