Sunday, July 17, 2011

Day 4 - Into Canada and Montague Harbor

Sunday, July 17, 2011.
After a very calm and peaceful night, we left Prevost Harbor under partly cloudy skies for Bedwell Harbor to check in to Canada Customs.  We motored out of Prevost Harbor under slow bell being careful to avoid the many crab pot buoys located at the west end of bay.  I have never seen so many crab pots here before.  Poor crabs just didn't stand a chance.  

Just after we got out of Prevost Harbor proper we called the Canada Customs line to gain entry into Canada.  I learned from last year that to enter Canada using the CanPass telephone system you need to call at a minimum of 30 minutes prior to your arrival.  I answered the requisite questions on the phone - no guns or mace, no large amounts of cash, no gifts or products to stay in Canada, how much tobacco and alcohol we had and more.  Finally after all the questions we got our clearance #20111980292.  The Customs Officer wanted to know exactly when we would be in Bedwell and I told him 0915.  He reinforced to me that I had to be there at 0915.  Hmm, I wondered what was that about?  Crossing Haro Strait was easy.  To make the appointed time for customs, I slowed the boat way down to almost an idle as we rode a good current into Bedwell Harbor.  I was doing 1250 RPM and making well over 5 knots.  I finally took the boat out of gear to tie up the Zipper along the port side so we could easily tie up at the customs dock.  We were in no hurry.  There were no other boats at the customs float.  We tied up at exactly 0915 and there was no customs officer there to greet us.  The customs dock was very quiet and it was unusual that there were no other boats.  Still a bit concerned about the Custom Officer's mention of me having to be there at 0915 had me venturing up the dock to call the Canada Customs from the Customs outstation.  They said if there’s no agent there we were free to leave.  Not seeing any Customs Agent, we left Bedwell at 0928 and continued on. We were now officially in Canada and I hoisted the Canadian flag on the port spreader.

To save time, we motored through Pender Canal which separates the North and South Pender Islands.  This is a bit of a navigational/boating challenge which I enjoy.  The alternative is to exit Bedwell and go west up Swanson Channel.  By going via Pender Canal you'll save about 5 nautical miles which is almost an hour of cruising time for me.  On the Bedwell side the channel is well marked with red and green buoys.  The tide was rising and the current was flooding from the north going through the canal at about 2 or 3 knots.  A smaller runabout came through the canal heading south giving me a look like, "you're gonna take that through there?"  Just before the bridge is the shallowest portion of the canal which we motored through with well over 8' of water below us - we were at about half tide.  I was glad the current was flowing against us which provided me much more control than if we were going with it.  Going under the bridge we had about 5-6 feet on each side separating us from the bridge pilings.  If you go at slow bell it really is no problem, although it is a bit scary seeing all those barnacles and mussels on the bridge pilings and imagining your boat scraping on them.  Once past the bridge you are into Shark Cove and then into Port Browning.  We traveled down Port Browning enjoying a bit of a late breakfast and into Plumper Sound making sure to keep the rocks at the end of Razor Point well to our port side.

We traveled up Plumper Sound, past Fane Island on our port and Conconi Reef to our starboard and into the busy marine intersection of Swanson Channel to the south, Trincomali Channel to the west, and Active Pass to the north.  I payed particular attention to the marine radio listening for the BC Ferries announcing their passage to and from Active Pass by Enterprise Reef.  Once past this busy intersection the course to Montague Harbor is easy.  We passed around Phillimore Point on Galiano Island keeping it to our starboard as we entered the channel between Julia Island and Galiano Island and the entrance to Montague Harbor.  As we traveled the weather became cloudy and cool and the threat of rain increased.  At Montague Harbor  we got a mooring buoy at 1157.  They now cost $12 per night versus $10 per night last year.  It was a short cruising day.

We had a lazy afternoon.  In past years we would take the Zipper the 7 or so nautical miles into Ganges.  However this year we had all the groceries and supplies we needed so no Zipper trip was needed.  Later in the day it sprinkled a few drops of rain as expected.  I stayed on the boat while Kim took the dogs for a walk on the Pt. Grey trail.  For dinner I made an Italian Sausage sauce with diced tomatoes, capers, a bit of bell pepper, and onions.  It was a real treat.  The day ended with a spectacular sunset.
Sunset from beautiful Montague Harbor on Galiano Island.
Stats: Ending engjne hours: 6116.0, elapsed engine hours: 3.9, 18.3 nm, average speed 5.1 kts., 3:33 hrs motoring

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