Saturday, June 2, 2012

Day 1-Anacortes to Powell River

The first day out was long and surprisingly productive.  We pulled out of Twin Bridges a little after 7:00 AM expecting to get to Nanaimo in the early afternoon and evaluate conditions on the Strait of Georgia.  Based on the forecast, I doubted that we’d get across.

The first part of the trip took us northwest, past Matia and Sucia Islands, then west to Bedwell Harbour to clear customs.  Seas were calm most of the time and rain, sometimes heavy, was falling.  We arrived at Bedwell Harbour around 10:30 and I phoned into customs.  Apparently I answered all the questions correctly, since we were quickly issued a clearance number and welcomed to Canada.  Interestingly, a 40 foot Tolly was at the dock and her owners were standing outside waiting for the customs officials to finish physically inspecting their boat.  I’ve never even seen a customs employee at Bedwell Harbour, so that was a first.  We had nothing to hide, but it’s still nice to avoid the hassle of a full on inspection.

Cruising through the Gulf Islands

After clearing customs we quickly made our way through Pender Canal and continued towards Nanaimo.  We passed through Dodd Narrows near slack water and proceeded to check out the conditions on the Strait.  Environment Canada had issues a high wind warning and buoys on the Strait were reporting winds gusting to nearly 30 knots…not good conditions for crossing!  But we were pleasantly surprised to find nearly calm seas and we blasted across the first half of the Strait at 16 knots.  About midway through seas built to around 3 feet, but they were adequately spaced beam seas that weren’t too uncomfortable.  No problem making 12-14 knots the rest of the way to Secret Cove.

We took on 150 liters of gas in Secret Cove at 1.49 a liter, used their restrooms, and headed back out around 4:30 bound for Pender Harbour.  Conditions weren’t bad, though, and we still had plenty of daylight, so we changed course for Powell River, roughly 20 nm further up the coast.  About 5 nm of the trip were surprisingly rough; some closely spaced 3 footers, but again the seas were on the beam and rolling (to me) is much more comfortable than pounding into a head sea.

We pulled into Powell River around 7:00, after putting 130 nm of water behind us.  A quick walk up to the Safeway was in order to pick up fresh fruits that we weren’t allowed to bring into Canada, then dinner and a few episodes of The West Wing, and a much-deserved early bedtime.

As we move into the Broughtons we’ll slow the pace a bit hopefully (unless there looks like a weather window for Queen Charlotte Strait and Sound that is too good to pass up) and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Desolation Sound, 10 AM

Cruising through Desolation Sound right now.  Sunny, calm winds…beautiful!  The plan is to spend tonight in Charles Bay, just before Greene Point Rapids.  Then hopefully to the Broughtons tomorrow morning.

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