Friday Harbor to Cortes Island

We’ve been warned, by the helpful sailing community online, that thou shalt not bring fresh vegetables and fruits into Canada… and get all the diesel you can carry from the US! We are not smokers or drinkers, so tobacco and alcohol are not a problem for us.

Customs dock Bedwell Harbor. Many boats are checking in in this Sat aft.

Customs dock Bedwell Harbor. Many boats are checking in in this Sat aft.

Ok, sure it was painful for us that we don’t  have fresh leafy salad or that breakfast banana that Doug needs… Just to be on the safe side, we cooked all the meats in a huge pot of fried rice, so that the fridgie is all canned sodas.

13th Jun (I must emphasize that its a SATURDAY!)…. Cos we are not leaving port on a Friday, especially if its 13th! Cant believe Doug is so stuck on that… but its not a problem for me, so we keep that habit going. 0900hrs, have our full load of diesel in jugs from the fuel dock at Friday Harbor and underway. Its about 15 miles to Bedwell, with current going mostly with us, made it at 1300hrs. On approaching Bedwell, Doug run us in a course close to the southern tip of South Pender, where we encounter a strong riptide current that reduced our SOG to 1.5kn! After passing the entrance, current picked up and we moved along at 6kns. Just a note that riptides does a lot in this area.

Just us and 2 others in the last cove in Annette. Lots of room.

Just us and 2 others in the last cove in Annette. Lots of room.

It was quite challenging bringing Calliste to the customs dock tie up. Quite a number of boats were already in there for customs clearing. With the wind gusting thru the crack in the hills, and current pushing us around, we had to try tie up on the outside face. It was rather difficult to bring Calliste alongside, success on the 2nd try. Phew.

Captain Doug heads up to the customs office with our docs and Crew Lang stays within 5 ft of Calliste… The crew on the boat next to us was ticked off for walking up the gangway, by the customs officer that was combing his boat. Says its trespassing! Yup, they are strict. And I watch them take out the seat cushions, opened all the cabinets, and separately interview the crew and captain… overheard that they found something that was not declared, and its time to own up what else they did not declare, else if more stuff found, it will be really serious police case… Wow…!

Pin stripped dancing water. Its mesmerizing.

Pin stripped dancing water. Its mesmerizing.

Doug is back in about 20 mins. … And no search for Calliste. We are cleared to go… my jaw dropped… a mere 5 ft away was a boat in customs distress and here we are clear just like that….

1330hrs, Calliste heads out, bound Annette Inlet on Prevost Island… where I read is a gorgeous small anchorage. Just 10 miles from Bedwell, so we motored up in 2 hrs. Its a good thing that we have good digital navigation equipment that gives us small scale positioning on a chart. There are underwater rocks on both sides of the entrance to Annette and inside is shallow everywhere. We had readings of 8ft going in where the charts showed that would be that shallow. If not for the charts, we would have turned around and head out. So we trusted the charts, went in further and anchored in 20ft in the last cove.

Bed of oysters, just there, right behind our stern.

Bed of oysters, just there, right behind our stern.

1600hrs, anchored. Its so flat calm in here and quiet… I sat in the cockpit and was mesmerized but the moving dark grey pinstripes on the emerald green water. It was beautiful! Was so happy we made it here… with no customs problem no less. 🙂

14th Jun 0800hrs, woke up to see a bed of oysters by our stern. My 1st sighting of a whole bed of beach oysters… I can only drool…. So tempted to harvest a couple… but I dun wanna be caught illegal harvesting with no license..

Overnight, we decided we like it here so much that we are staying for another night … 🙂 … And I took out my drawing kit and sketched! That’s a sign that I am really at peace and kinda inspired by the area.

Single file only in Dodd Narrows. Traffic flows in 1 direction at a time.

Single file only in Dodd Narrows. Traffic flows in 1 direction at a time.

15th Jun 1000hrs, underway. We have to make Dodd narrows 1645hrs, and its a slow motoring distance away. Sailboats around shamed us into raising our sails … yup as soon as we did, the gusty puffs went away. .. Kept sails up for 6 hrs, sailed for 2hrs, motor sailed 4hrs.

It was critical that we make it thru Dodd narrows by 1645hrs. Traffic flows in 1 direction each time and that’s determined by the current flow. At peak current, it could be as much as 7kns, whirlpools are expected, making it possibly dangerous. All guides recommend going at 30 mins before the current change to the other direction.

1630hrs, made it to Dodd narrows just in time for the slack tide… we were the last 2nd boat making it thru… phew! Now to slog our way to Nanaimo. Only 5 miles, but it took almost 1.5 hrs.

The waterfront at city of Nanaimo.

The waterfront at city of Nanaimo.

1830hrs, anchor down among the many anchored boats outside Mark’s Bay. Now we have gone 3 days without fresh food and internet, we are desperate to get something. 1900hrs, thank God for long days, kayaks launched and headed to the Port of Nanaimo marina. There is a free 3 hrs tie up, 2 times a week. Being this late, we just tied up to what we thought was the dinghy dock… but nope, we have to tie up to “C” dock next time. .. at least this one was not on the record so we get 2 more tie up. Walked 5 minutes to Thrifty foods. Was impressed by the selection 🙂 . We grabbed what we can carry and head back to Calliste for the night.

16th Jun morn, paddle up to the Newcastle Island provincial park. Wagoner recommends a shower here. $1 for 2 mins water… that’s pricy… but its warm and clean. Doug enjoyed his $2 shower and I got by with $1.

Aft, out to discover Nanaimo in 3 hrs. Found internet was available at the marina, on the docks only. So that’s something. Consider buying mobile internet, but for $30/Gb?… well…. maybe not. Did a long walk, found the chart store… its closing down (..:( ..) , found the chandlery, surprisingly well stocked and has cheaper ropes :). More provisioning at Thrifty before heading back… all in 3.5hrs…. opps… kayaks still there and not chained up… phew!

17th Jun aft, laundry at marina and internet games for me 🙂 … got directions to Asian market and headed that way. Less than 5 mins walk, if you knew the streets to get there… Was surprised by the selection of Myojo noodles and brand names from Singapore! Of course I wouldn’t afford 5pk Mee Goreng for C$5! … but maybe some other people would… Nevertheless, I can drool …. got relatively cheap stuff, like garlic, ginger and chili padi!

18th Jun 1100hrs, motor over to dock at the park. Daytime tie up is free, overnight parking is C$20… Anyway, we just need to dump a bit of garbage and get 2 jugs water…. and Doug got another C$2 shower…

1200hrs, underway, 25 miles to our next anchorage in Bull Passage. There is a military exercise area marked on our charts, so we watch what the tugs are doing and follow their lead. We were at the edge of the zone and did see frigates and military aircrafts… 1800hrs, we are into Bull Passage, next to find a anchoring spot… 1st cove was too deep, next 2 coves had boats in them already… 1930hrs, in waning daylight, anchor down in the 4th cove in 30ft. Not our favorite place to find anchoring spot.

The narrow entrance to Cortes Bay.

The narrow entrance to Cortes Bay.

19th Jun 0700hrs, moving out with current going our way. 45 miles to Cortes Island = 9 hrs motoring at 5kns avg. Passage between Bulls passage and Cortes is boring Texada Island. …

1400hrs, at the lower end of Cortes Island, going up the small passage in the bay of Cortes. Carefully checking our position on our trusty Standard Horizon Cmap chartplotter. There are rocks! Waiting for the unwary navigator.

1500hrs, did a pass around the bay before anchoring in the middle. Its 30ft everywhere, perfect anchoring depth for us. Kayaks launched, off to find Jonathans’ and the Mcqueens’ dock. .. and internet! … Hey we made it! We be staying around here for a while.


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Sailing 2015: Port Townsend(WA, US) -> Costes Island (BC, Canada)

Sailing 2013: Singapore -> Okinawa -> Kobe

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