Spirit Log – Day 0 to 1
May 6, 2021
The first stage of our 2021 Alaska Journey was a positioning cruise to Roche Harbor in order to be close to the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) marine reporting terminal at Van Isle Marina, Sidney. Arriving at Roche Harbor we met up with the Selene 55 Rendezvous who are also headed to Alaska. The cruise provided a good opportunity to test out the towing bridle for the Johnson’s 18 foot aluminum fishing boat. We departed Anacortes Marina for the fuel dock at 0745 and after taking on 460 gallons of fuel departed Cap Sante at 0830. Underway we tested out the towing bridle and the procedures for deploying and retrieving the fishing boat.
The towing bride worked fine but was more effective when we shortened the overall length by about 20 feet to 130 feet.
Arriving at Roche Harbor Marina at 1145, after a short 27.5 NM journey, our assigned slip was Slip 1 on the main guest dock, close for Miriam to get up to McMillin’s Restaurant where we were scheduled for a sendoff dinner with the crew from Rendezvous. Dinner and adult beverages were excellent, but the summer prices were a shock compared to just weeks ago during the Selene Owner’s Rendezvous. Likewise, the moorage prices between winter and summer went from $88 to $203 for the same boat.
Following dinner we watched the traditional summertime Colors Ceremony as the sun slipped below the horizon in a blaze of light.
Later that evening Patrick finished scanning passports into the ArriveCan app, required for entry in Canada, along with our proposed quarantine plan for the mandatory 14 day period. The app accepted the entries and we received a 0800 appointment at Van Isle Marina for the next morning.
Our departure from Roche Harbor was uneventful, but early, at 0545. Heading the ten miles to Van Isle Marina we called in as we crossed the border and CBSA confirmed our time of 0800. Arriving at the CBSA float we found a small sailboat with nobody aboard blocking most of the float. There were also no CBSA officers. We managed to place Spirit mostly on the dock, with about 20 feet of the stern hanging out into the fairway. Fortunately there was little traffic, and the only way on and off was by climbing over the side rail. The CBSA officers arrived about 0825, since they start work at 0800, but at the Victoria Airport. The inspectors were courteous and professional and after a series of questions about alcohol, fruits and vegetables, cash, cannabis products and firearms, they performed a brief on-board inspection while we waited in the cockpit, leaving the boat neat. By 0845, just twenty minutes later, we were on our way north, with the officers even helping with our lines. Overall, this was a pleasant surprise after reading other crossing reports.
Since the process took less time than we expected, in consultation with the crew of Rendezvous, who were cleared shortly after us, we decided to try for slack water at Dodd Narrows, which shortened the distance to our first stop by a few miles. We actually rode the last of the favorable current through the narrows, hitting speeds of 13 knots over the ground.
Entering the Straits of Georgia and threading our way between the bulk carriers waiting to load/unload east of Protection Island we found very favorable wind and sea conditions at we skirted the western boundary of the acoustic range WG (Whiskey Golf) which was not active this day. Passing Ballenas Islands the normal brisk winds spilling over Vancouver Island near Qualicum Beach, reaching 33 knots and the associated beam seas for the last ten mile run into Tribune Bay on Hornby Island coated Spirit with salt. As we approached the anchorage, the wind and seas abated and we anchored in 30 feet of water at 1844, having covered a total of 88 NM since leaving Roche Harbor. Rendezvous anchored shortly after us.
The somewhat exhausted crew enjoyed Chicken Piccata prepared by Teri Johnson before retiring for the evening.