We left Madrona Bay at Saltspring Island after a rough couple of days of weather. Canada requires that we take the boat out of Canadian waters before 1 year passes. We had depleted ourselves of most food purposely, because the USA has a lot of rules about what you can bring across the border. We decided to go to Roche Harbor on San Juan Island, which was about a 15-20 nautical mile trip.
We cleared customs over the phone with no problem thanks to the Nexus program, which Ralph and I applied for and were accepted into in May. That program enables us to call into customs rather than appear in person, which saves a lot of time and hassle. We called Roche Harbor marina to see if they had space for us at the docks and we were in luck! We tied up and had a really nice stay there for 4 days (we intended to stay for 2 days). Roche Harbor is party central! All three of us had fun (Charlie especially liked the dog park). Every evening they do a flag ceremony, which includes a canon salute for old glory and several anthems. They have nice restaurants and fresh seafood on the docks plus a great little market right in the marina. We loved it and will definitely go back someday. We were kind of bummed out that we didn’t buy Washington fishing licenses because everyone was catching so many crabs! We were jealous.
We decided to go to Friday Harbor next because it is the “big city” of the San Juan Islands (in fact, the only incorporated town) and we needed to do some big grocery shopping and get fuel for the boat. We loaded up with water and did laundry at Roche Harbor, so that was out of the way. When we got to Friday Harbor, the docks were packed so we just anchored in one of the coves there for the night. We discovered that the property rules in Washington are different than California in that a property owner seems to own the waterfront down to the low tide line, rather than the high tide line. So, we did some trespassing on the beach and got yelled at. But we did see some otters, so it was worth it. The next day we had heavy rain in the morning, but by afternoon the weather was great. We did one round of shopping by taking the dinghy in to town. The next day we stayed at the day moorage dock and did another 2 rounds of shopping (important to note that we have to carry everything we buy). We filled up our fuel and headed northward to Jones Island.
Jones Island is a truly picturesque and serene place. It is a small island with bays on the north and south. We anchored on the north side and it was dreamy: wonderful kayaking and quiet. There was a really nice trail and we saw several deer. The next day we headed northward again, this time to Sucia Island. Another gorgeous place to love! We stayed there and enjoyed the beauty for two days.
The next day it was time to reenter Canada. We called in to Canadian customs, and although the process was a little confusing, we are officially checked back in. We spent a night at Montague and then headed for Nanaimo via Dodd Narrows. We are now at the Nanaimo Yacht Club, which is great! We were able to do laundry, fill water, grocery shop, etc. Everything is pretty handy here. We are preparing to head back across the Strait of Georgia to Pender Harbour and then northward to Desolation Sound. We have wanted to go there for so long, we are very excited. We are meeting up with our friends Anne and Henri of ArielX, who can show us the ropes a little.