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Fog and ships leave Strait paddleboarders just short of non-stop crossing

July 15th, 2014 - 2:05pm

(Port Angeles) – Heavy fog and ship traffic on the Strait of Juan de Fuca kept a Canadian duo from making the first non-stop paddleboard crossing from Vancouver Island to the North Olympic Peninsula Tuesday.

A support boat safely moved Darren Bachiu and Shane Battley outside the Strait's eastbound vessel traffic lane, out of the reach of several approaching ships, leaving the men 4 miles short of a full 25-mile crossing from a marina west of Victoria.

The men paddled up to the Port Angeles Landing Mall after waiting for the ferry M-V Coho's noon arrival at the adjacent Black Ball Ferry dock, more than 7 hours after leaving Canada.

The 36-year-old Bachiu and 32-year-old Battley did not set foot on American soil, but talked with local media from their 12-and-a-half foot standup paddleboards within shouting distance of the Landing Mall dock.

Bachiu said the fog made it disheartening at times because they didn't know how far it was to shore, unlike his previous trip over the same route by kayak in June, when he could see land.

Battley, who decided to make the trip with Bachiu yesterday, added conditions were less than ideal for the journey as they faced 10-to-12-foot swells in the Strait.

“We were surfing a lot of it too”, Battley laughed.

Battley says he's a paddleboard instructor at Ocean River Sports in Victoria.

The duo says they plan to make another non-stop attempt for the Strait crossing, possibly next month.

Bachiu added he would like to swim, paddleboard and kayak during another crossing attempt.

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