We’ve been together for a year, and Rubi and I are on our first international trip.
We left Friday Harbor a bit later than planned due to a pile of errands that….well, piled up. There was no wind, so we motored up San Juan Channel then through Spieden Channel to take advantage of the current. Just outside Friday Harbor there was a debris field that seemed to be everywhere. There were logs, planks, and what looked like someone’s door. Despite a close look out, I had a minor collision or two with something unseen, so I was on high alert. It wasn’t quite the vision I had in mind.
There are a couple of markers between Roche and the west end of Spieden that you would do well to heed. The chart shows kelp, and Holy Moly was there kelp! I’m not a good distance guesser, but I would say at least a football field of kelp extended from the marker toward Spieden. After that it was a pretty easy course to the west end of Stuart Island, round Turn Point Light House, then north to South Pender.
I had prepared myself thoroughly for my first boating customs stop, and was a bit nervous. As I came into Bedwell Harbor I was a bit confused about the customs dock. There was a large sign pointing to the customs dock, but a smaller sign on the end saying not to dock on the inside of that dock. The other dock had red and white paint which said STAY AWAY to me (it was the float plane dock). I was rigged for starboard, and the ‘outside’ of the dock would have required a U-Turn very, very close to shore. Against my better judgement, I went to the inside of the dock and discovered why you shouldn’t dock there. There is nothing to tie to…nothing! Nada! No cleat, no bar, nothing! I kicked the bow off and jumped back aboard with my lines and did a slow doughnut to reassess, grateful there wasn’t a wind issue.
About that time, my friends who had taken the ferry to North Pender and hitch hiked down to Bedwell Harbour, showed up at the dock and waved. Wanting to avoid an international incident, they stayed out of the customs area. Yes, I went to the red and white area on the other side behind a power boat and hoped for the best. I went to the phones as directed and it was the easiest customs check in of my life. OK, it was my first boat customs, but I have been to a few places. The phone rang to some distant place and a polite but bored customs agent answered. I was prepared to declare my extra alcohol and she stopped me saying “is it just boat bar stuff?”. Um, yes. Then I had to declare Logan and asked if she needed his rabies tag number. “No, just have it with you, are you ready to write down your clearance number?” Um, yes. Thank you.
My friends hopped aboard and we went to our assigned slip in Poet’s Cove Marina and I prescribed the pub STAT. Backpacks were stowed and Logan was fed and watered. John, Lisa and I were then also fed and watered, then headed back to the boat. The plan was to sail them up to Otter Bay to catch the ferry the next day. That evening the wind arrived in spades.
The radio was predicting gale force winds in the Strait of Juan de Fuca south of us, and in the Strait of Georgia to the east of us. Halyards were clanging in the protected marina. I made the decision not to go, and it appeared I was not alone because very few boats left. Our plight wasn’t too terrible because we took advantage of the pool and hot tub. My fate was even better, because after my friends took the shuttle to the ferry, I had a massage, some time in the steam cave and another hot tub visit. An early birthday present to myself!
Poet’s Cove resort shuts down for the most part September 30. The marina is still open, and the spa will take advanced appointments, but don’t expect much else. There are two pools and hot tubs for guests, and the steam cave and another hot tub for spa customers. There are laundry and showers as well. The marina has water, electric and fuel. There is no boat washing here in the islands in general because of limited resources, but Rubi and I are used to going awhile between showers.
We’ll be back!