July 7 – Montague to West Sound

Trincomali Channel looking north

We left Montague Harbour and headed south in Trincomali Channel. This is the view looking north in the channel.

Okay, okay. I’m late in finishing the posts from our cruise a couple of weeks ago. Two more posts yet to do, and I’ll do one today and will get to the last one as soon as possible. We’ve just been too busy with eye doctor appointments, spotty WiFi service, and other distractions…and I haven’t been able to get to the blog as much as I hoped.

So, back to our cruise… We left Montague on Saturday, July 7th. We planned to head to Ganges and take in the Saltspring Saturday Market (http://www.saltspringmarket.com) before returning to the States. The Saturday Market in Ganges is quite an event, and we look forward to opportunities to be in Ganges on Saturdays during the summer so we can go to the market as well as visit other favorite shopping venues in Ganges.

It was calm in the anchorage at Montague Harbour in the morning, but afternoon wind predictions encouraged us to skip the Saturday Market and head for the San Juans instead. We have to be back for Jim’s July 10th eye exam in Seattle, so didn’t want to be caught by weather and end up too far away from Anacortes. We’ll be sure to plan our cruising in September so that we’ll be able to visit the Saltspring Saturday Market!

We decided to bypass all the currents and whirlpools where Haro Strait meets Boundary Pass, so rather than returning through Swanson Channel, we headed south in Trincomali Channel to Navy Channel, then through Plumper Sound and across Boundary Pass — which is a direct route into the San Juans through Spring Passage, then Deer Harbor and Pole Pass. This route also bypasses all the whirlpools around Speiden Island.

BC ferry leaving Active Pass

This morning, we encountered only one B.C. ferry coming through Active Pass.

We decided to time our passage to hit Boundary Pass at slack tide, to minimize the whirlpools and tide races. We had the current with us almost all the way, as we left Montague at 0800 to catch the 0900 slack in Boundary Pass. Everything turned to ebb (including Pole Pass), and we got a great lift from the current.

Boundary Pass Gulf Islands

It was calm all the way across Boundary Pass. This view is looking back toward the Gulf Islands.

Once we got into the bay outside Deer Harbor, we were able to power down and idle to call U. S. Customs for our clearance to return to the U.S. With our Nexus passes, we were allowed to clear over the cell phone. Since it was Saturday, we encountered lots of pleasure boats in Harney Channel.

Boundary Pass Orcas Island

We plotted our course from Boundary Pass to enter the San Juan Islands through Spring Passage. This view is looking ahead toward the San Juans, with Orcas Island on the left.

As we passed West Sound, we decided to check the Double Island anchorage in West Sound, and found only two other boats there. So, we decided to stop there for the night, rather than continuing on to Blind Bay. Another powerboat and 3 more sailboats came in later in the afternoon…more boats than we’ve ever seen in this anchorage.

It was relatively calm and sunny for the afternoon and evening. We were glad to have U.S. Internet service again so we could get caught up on bank stuff and emails. We fixed BLTs on rye bread for dinner. We don’t usually have bacon onboard, but made an exception and brought some along this time, with the intention of fixing a nice breakfast somewhere…and since we hadn’t fixed such a meal, this was a good way to use the bacon!

July 5 – Reid Harbor to Montague Harbour

Reid Harbor Sunrise July 5

The sun rises on a gorgeous morning in Reid Harbor.

The morning at Reid Harbor was wonderful…calm and sunny…even though it was a little cool with temps in the 50s. We have to be back in Anacortes in 4 days, so we pondered where to go. We thought about going to Sucia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sucia_Island), but had concerns about the anchorage being crowded since this is the Fourth of July week, and we were looking for a quiet place where we could continue our relaxing.

Rosie at Reid Harbor

Rosie looks out at today’s sunny morning in Reid Harbor.

Nothing in the San Juans seemed right, so we finally decided to head into Canada, and go to Montague Harbour. Montague is one of our favorite anchorages in the Gulf Islands, particularly because it offers a very large anchoring area as well as some enjoyable hiking and a small store at the Montague Harbour Marina (http://www.montagueharbour.com). With our Nexus passes, we can clear Canadian Customs by cell phone in Boundary Pass and arrange to stop in Montague for a customs inspection, if they want to board us. They did not.

Turn Point Lighthouse Haro Strait

We passed the Turn Point Lighthouse as we navigated from Haro Strait to Boundary Pass.

We hadn’t planned on going to Canada, so needed to check what liquor and food we had on board. Only had some beer and a few half full bottles of booze, so we were within the limit for alcohol. However, we did have potatoes on board. Potatoes are not allowed to be brought into Canada. So, when we called Customs for our clearance, we disclosed the potatoes. The customs agent suggested we peel the potatoes and put them in the freezer…so that’s what we did! Used them later to make potato salad.

BE Ferries in Swanson Channel

Two of the BC ferries we encountered in Swanson Channel…one headed for Active Pass and one that just came through the pass.

This week had spring tides, and we encountered strong currents in Haro Strait and Swanson Channel…lots of whirlpools and some tide races. Even though there wasn’t a lot of wind, we bounced around quite a bit. We also encountered 5 or 6 ferries as we crossed Swanson Channel near Active Pass, and their wakes added to the bouncing.

The trip from Reid Harbor to Montague took about 3 hours. We motored slowly so that we didn’t get to Montague too far ahead of the time we told Customs we would arrive. The knot meter is still not working, and AIS is also not working. Later, we found that the data rate between AIS and Nobeltec was incorrectly set, which explains the AIS problem, but we still don’t have a clue about what’s wrong with the knot meter.

Montague Harbour

There weren’t as many boats anchored in Montague Harbour as we expected.

Montague Harbour Marina

Montague Harbour Marina has a small store and a modest restaurant. Moorage and fuel is available.

There were not as many boats in Montague as we expected, and it was sunny, warm, and fairly calm with a gentle breeze in the anchorage. A great afternoon to sit on the flybridge and catch up on more reading! Due to the high tides this week, we noticed a lot of floating debris that came through the anchorage from time to time. Even some big logs. Good thing the tide doesn’t push that stuff very fast…

Jim reading on flybridge

Jim enjoys some relaxing time for reading on the flybridge while we were anchored in Montague Harbour.

Kitties at Montague

The kitties enjoyed some relaxing time too. Rosie curled up on the left and Mickey REALLY relaxing on the right.