4th UPDATE — Canadian paddleboard riders arrive in Port Angeles
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Darren Bachiu, left, and Shane Battley, both of Victoria, celebrate their arrival in Port Angeles after crossing the vast majority of the Strait of Juan de Fuca from near Sooke, B.C., on Vancouver Island on paddle boards.
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Darren Bachiu is shown on his paddleboard during a practice run last month.

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Two Victoria paddleboard riders arrived in Port Angeles at about 12:30 p.m. today, tired and slightly frustrated because their attempt to cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca was interrupted by heavy fog and busy ship traffic.

Darren Bachiu, 36, and Shane Battley, 32, said they plan to try again in about a month, after being plucked from the water by Rick Gordon, pilot of the effort’s escort boat, after being surrounded by large ships that they were unable to see in the dense fog.

Conditions on the Strait were worse than they expected as they paddled through the fog, 10-foot swells and a southwesterly wind, they said.

“It was ill-advised in the first place,” said Battley, a paddleboard instructor who only decided to join Bachiu the trip on Monday, when he met Bachiu at a surf shop picking up supplies for the trip.

The pair were returned to their paddleboards and the water 4 miles from the point they were removed from shipping lanes, and they completed the trip.

Bachiu said he believes that he and Battley were the first paddleboard riders to ever make the cross-Strait attempt on the surfboard-like craft, and still hope to be the first to succeed.

They began the 6-hour, 26.7-mile trip at Cheanuh Marina, 20 miles west of Victoria, and crossed southeast toward Port Angeles. They immediately returned to Canada on Gordon’s boat.

Bachiu had two windows of opportunity to make his trip — July 5-7 and today. Tidal conditions and the lack of availability of his support boat eliminated his chances for the first window.

Last modified: July 15. 2014 2:18PM
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