Airship Goes to Alaska – Day 1
We left Anacortes at 7am on Sunday morning, and headed for Bedwell Harbour where we were to clear Canadian Customs before continuing on to Salt Spring Marina in Ganges Harbour (on Salt Spring Island) for our first night. There are 7 boats in the flotilla right now, and we'll be joining up with an 8th in a day or two.
Just before 7am, about to cast off lines and leave Cap Sante Marina:
Gray and calm heading out of Anacortes:
The cruise to Bedwell Harbour was calm the whole way, and when we were about 2 hours out, I called the number listed on our new CANPASS authorization to let Customs know our ETA.
Me: Good morning. We're expecting to arrive in Bedwell Harbor at about 11:20am.
Customs lady: By boat?
Me: Yes. I have our CANPASS numbers here if you'd like them.
Customs lady: You have to have NEXUS to call by phone.
Me: Hmmm, it says right here on our CANPASS Authorization form to call this number between 30 minutes and 4 hours prior to your arrival at a Canadian Customs port.
Customs lady: That's only for private aircraft.
Me: The box is checked that says "Private Boat Authorization" right here on my authorization.
Customs lady: Okay, hold on.
Then she comes back on the line, and starts asking the usual questions… our boat registration number, asks if I'm Laura Domela and if Kevin Morris is with me, and then all the questions about whether we are carrying any weapons, alcohol, tobacco, and then food. I tell her we have no produce and no poultry products at all (those are not allowed right now), and that we have some frozen cooked pork, beef, and some frozen vegetables.
Customs lady: Do you have any frozen chicken?
Me: No. No poultry products.
Customs lady: No poultry products at all?
Customs lady: Any eggs?
Customs lady: So, no poultry products at all?
She then told me to go to the customs dock in Bedwell Harbour and if I didn't see a customs agent by 11:30, to call that number back and they'd try to find out where one was. When we got to Bedwell Harbour, we were informed by the very helpful customs agent right there on the dock (they're all over…up in the office, on the dock…) that things should have gone very differently on my phone call. (No surprise.)
The agent on the phone should have given us a clearance number, and then when we arrived at Bedwell Harbor and came up to the customs dock, the customs agent would have already had all our information and we could have even cleared without docking as long as we communicated and all was square. Oh well…the Bedwell Harbour agent gave us a bunch of good info and was super nice. She said we did everything right, and that next time we'll know how it's supposed to work.
And now, we're in Canada!
On to Ganges Harbour!
We got our slip assignments and then took the dinghy over to the public dock (which happens to be REALLY close to the grocery store) and picked up some eggs, vegetables, and wine. We hung out on Airship for a bit after that and did some work, and then the whole group met up for dinner at Moby's Pub last night:
Kevin and I shared an order of fish & chips and the bistro burger (both were delicious) and had a couple of local beers. There was a great band playing last night (the Ange Hehr Band) so that was a total bonus.
We went to bed earlyish, and got up at 6am for another 7am departure. Next stop: Silva Bay on Gabriola Island. Here's Sunday's route (45.67 nautical miles, 6 hours 40 minutes):