Thursday, August 4, 2011

Day 22 - Montague to Friday Harbor

Thursday, August 4, 2011.
Left at 0620 to go to Friday Harbor.  Skies are clear with little or no wind.  We motored past Enterprise Reef and down past Conconi Reef where we enjoyed a very good ebb making 8 knots or more.  Then down into Plumper Sound again making good speed.  You've always got to be vigilant when in Plumper Sound for floating debris and commercial crab pots.  We did see quite a bit of debris and had to steer around it here and there.  We were enjoying clear cruising conditions but that was not the case everywhere.  The US Coast Guard was mentioning via the VHF radio that thick fog was in Rosario Strait, Admiralty Inlet, and Juan de Fuca Strait.  I could see no fog on our route for crossing Haro Strait.  However, I could see fog in the distant east towards Rosario Strait.

Crossing Haro Strait was a snap.  We did have to adjust course to steer behind a freighter that was moving east towards Vancouver.  Many times we have crossed Haro Strait with strong currents, confused seas, and winds.  Today crossing Haro Strait was a snap.  We crossed international border from Canada into the US at about 0830.  It was good to be back in the US.  I went out and took down the Canadian courtesy flag and sang "O Canada" in which the crew joined in.  Funny that we know the Canadian national anthem, perhaps its from watching too much hockey.  The current continued to favor us almost all the way to Friday Harbor always pushing us so we were making more than 6 knots and I was only cruising at 1,700 rpm or less.

Since all of the crew had NEXUS permits I thought I would take advantage of this by calling in versus stopping at the customs dock in Friday Harbor.  I've learned that you cannot use your cell phone for reliable service until you are well into the San Juan islands.  The Canadian mobile signals extend far into the US.  I called Customs at about Jones Island and went through the lengthy first time reporting procedure using NEXUS.  We were given a "BR" number for each person and this needs to be used each time when entering the US via a private boat. Next time all I have to do is mention the "BR" number and be asked a few questions - pretty simple. I then received our clearance number and were officially in the US.  While I was on the phone the crew piloted the boat for me.  San Juan Channel wasn't too crowded so it wasn't of too much concern to me.  Once the Customs "stuff" was finished I resumed taking the helm and went on to Friday Harbor.

We radioed the Port of Friday Harbor and got a slip assignment.  The crew then boarded the Zipper and took that in to port and would assist me getting in to the dock.  I like this arrangement.  I have found over the years that docking in Friday Harbor can be challenging because of the currents that sweep through the bay.  When the crew gets to the dock they radioed to me which direction the kelp off of the finger piers is pointing.  This then helps me understand how to approach the slip.  Today the kelp was pointed towards the NW and it was pointing mostly down.  So, it will push me into the finger pier but it's not that strong.  All too many times I have seen boaters get in trouble with this current.  We tied up in our slip at 1055.

It's still sunny and clear out.  We had a long lazy afternoon taking naps and generally doing nothing.  For supper we went up to the new eatery called "Cask & Schooner" which has taken the place of the old Front Street Ale House.  The food was okay, it did not meet what I remember that the Ale House provided.  We ordered Poutine as an appetizer which any Canadian would have been ashamed of. Poutine is a simple dish of french fries with cheese curds sprinkled throughout and rich brown gravy poured over the cheese and fries.  When made properly it is absolutely delicious.  Unfortunately this Poutine had very little gravy, the gravy was more red than brown, and only a few cheese curds.  The crew and I were very disappointed.  They've tried to replicate many of the old menu items that were on the old Ale House menu.  I ordered "Bangers and Mash" which was okay, but I had to order gravy separately and again it was a reddish gravy rather than a dark, rich brown gravy.  I miss the Ale House.

After supper we came back to the boat and had some drinks and listened to music and enjoyed the cool evening until it was time for bed.
Stats: 28.2 nm, average speed 6.3 knots, 4:27 hrs. motoring, ending engine hours 6174.1
Relaxing in Friday Harbor

No comments: