It was glassy calm and clear at o-dark-thirty this morning. The forecast calls for wind to fill in later in the day, but it sounds like there will be less wind in the San Juan Islands than in the Gulf Islands. Today might be a good day to get back to Anacortes.
It was breezy in Prevost Harbor this morning, but clear and sunny. After coffee and a snack, we decided to head out of the anchorage and see if it was windy in Boundary Pass. We called Canadian Customs before we left U. S. waters to get clearance for entry at Montague, with an arrival time of 1200. With our Nexus passes, we’re able to clear Canadian Customs at Montague Harbour, Galiano Island.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
Yesterday’s weather was pretty wet and windy. It was a great day to drive to Blaine to take care of updating our NEXUS cards. We renewed our passports this spring, and we were required to present the new passports to the CBP so that they could update our records with our new passport information.
Once we got to the NEXUS office, the process of updating our records took only about 10 minutes. However, trying to find the correct route to reach the NEXUS parking lot and not end up in the NEXUS lane to cross the border proved too hard for us, and we ended up in the lane to Canada with no way to turn around. So, we had TWO border crossings…first to enter Canada and then to return to the U.S. where the NEXUS office is located. THAT adventure took far longer than the updating of the cards!
For those of you who aren’t familiar with NEXUS, the cards are explained on their website at http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/trusted_traveler/nexus_prog/. We got our NEXUS cards to facilitate the customs process when we take our boat across the border between the U.S. and Canada. The cards are good for five years, so we will have to apply for new cards next year.