June on the Hook 2017 – Day 11 – Annette Inlet
O Canada! I left Sucia in a nice SE breeze, sailing off the anchor and out of Shallow Bay. The wind was fitful in the bay, as to be expected, because it provided good protection from the SE, but once clear, progress was great. Fair winds as they say. I guided the boat through the islets just north of Waldren Island and dodged a couple freighters heading across Boundary Pass. This is the strip of water that separates the US San Juan Islands from the Canadian Gulf Islands and is a major shipping channel. Beautiful skies and clear visibility made it a safe crossing. I headed to Bedwell Harbor in South Pender Island, a Canadian customs check in station. This will be the third time that I have used this station so its old hat for me and I decide to see if I could sail up to the customs dock. There are already three boats on the dock as it was a busy day. I make it into the dock area, but the winds, blocked by the surrounding bluffs, become variable and unpredictable, so at the last moment I lower the motor and start it up. The landing required a quick burst of of reverse to stick and and I hopped off and secured the lines.
Canadian customs check-in has always been a fairly easy affair on my boat. When you land your crew can get off the boat to help with the lines(I have no crew) and then they are supposed to get back on the boat. Only the captain (that’s me) is allowed to leave the boat with everyone’s passports, info (only mine) and ships papers and proceed. You go to a designated check in station ( I’m there already) and you pick up one of the telephones marked for this purpose. It automatically dials Ottawa and connects you to an agent. They ask a few questions about who you are, how many people on board, your purpose, how long you plan to stay, do you have any alcohol on board and your boats registration number. I can tell I am in there data base already by the brevity and then they ask if I am bringing in any live plants or animals. The answers are short and correct. “Enjoy your stay.” The conversation lasted about a minute. There is always the possibility they will ask you to wait while officials come out and meet with you. The officials may be there already or they may need to come in from who knows where by skiff. I have never had this happen on my boat. In fact, if there are officials there already, they will tell you to use the phone process and Ottawa will inform them if they need to speak with you. Its all very awkwardly simple.
So, after my one minute phone conversation, I hop back on the boat, start the motor and pull off the dock. I have the sails up in no time and beat my way out of the harbor. I go through a strange lull in the breeze where I am bounced around in the rip and chop while trying to prepare and eat a lunch of cheese sandwiches. The wind fills in and I broad reach my way up Swanson Channel with the jib and a reefed main at 4.5-5 knots. It is Friday, so I consider going to Ganges on Salt Spring Island as I have heard from multiple sources that they have a great Saturday Farmer’s Market. I think it through and decide against it because, a)the wind is blowing good from the south and the anchorage there is very open from that direction so I am likely to be exposed to a bit of chop and discomfort. b) I do not want to stay in a marina and I prefer to not be in the crowds. c) I do not need provisions at this time and since I do not gravitate toward the shopping experience, the utility and entertainment is lost on me.
I decide I will give Annette Inlet on Prevost Island a go. It looks well protected and shallow. The entrance has a couple of difficult to see obstructions to look out for but the tide is on the rise so I am feeling confident. I am not bold enough to sail into this narrow and shallow inlet, so I start the motor at its entrance. There are a few boats in the inlet already but I easily find a place of my own and I anchor in about 15 ft of water and put out 70 ft of scope. The kayak is in tow so after I go through my post sail routine, I go for a paddle to the head of the inlet observing the geese and herons and getting some exercise. There are a couple more boats anchored further in that can’t be seen from the Flicka, so my spot is both good and as good as it gets. Another boat comes in while I am out and there are a total of 6 boats for the night.
Stats: TO – 27.61NM, MS – 6.3kts, MA – 3.6kts, TT – 8hr 23min, AD – 15ft, AS – 70ft
Misc: Motor Time – 45mins (A little bit at the customs dock and getting into Annette Inlet)