2004 Oct 23: Vancouver to Bainbridge Island

After a week of enjoying Vancouver, we departed for Friday Harbor, Washington under sail on October 23. There was a fair amount of ship traffic out in the Strait of Georgia — tugs towing barges, container ships, tankers, ferries, small fishing boats, large fishing boats, some setting their nets and the occasional large log.

We would be early arriving at Active Pass, the entrance to through the Gulf Islands. The maximum current at Active pass would be at 11 AM, and predicted to be 4 knots at today’s quarter moon. Slack tide was to be at 5:30 PM.

I phoned Sue Corenman who said we should tie up to the customs dock at Friday Harbor and use the phone on the dock to phone customs, which closes at 5PM. If we arrive after 5PM we will have to stay aboard all night tied up to the customs dock. Customs works on Sunday. Sue has invited us to their house for dinner tonight if we can check in, otherwise, tomorrow night. They just arrived back from California last night.

As a ferry boat approached the entrance to Active Pass, it announced on VHF channel 16 that it was entering Acitve Pass and traveling southbound, and asking any other boats or ships in the channel to hail him on the radio.

At noon a ferry came out of Active Pass, and we went in. There were small whirlpools all around ADAGIO. The current was sometimes with us and sometimes against us.

At 4 PM we arrived in Friday Harbor in time to check in with customs by phone from the customs dock. Then we tied to the end of G dock, which was barely long enough for ADAGIO. Sue and Jim Corenman came out to the boat for a visit, some wine and a brief tour around, then they took us to their home for dinner.

On October 27 we photographed the eclipse of the moon as it rose up behind Mt. Baker. By 7:30 PM the terminator had crossed the face of the moon, and it was turning a golden orange color from the lower left to the upper right. By 8 PM the stars and Milky Way were visible at the total eclipse. Then the moon became darker, oranger, then the color of cheddar cheese. By 10 PM the eclipse had ended.

We waited until the beautiful sunny day of Halloween to sail to Port Sidney on the southeast coast of Vancouver Island. When we took on fuel at Friday Harbor, the dock attendant was feeding herring to a harbor seal.

As we crossed Haro Strait, the Mountains of the Olympic Peninsula were visible to the south. There was turbulent water in Haro Strait, where the current flowed against the wind. We found a contrary current of 1.5 kts out in the middle of Haro Strait. The boat was swinging back and forth 10 degrees in the eddies.

By 11:30 we had entered Canadian waters. The seas were flat. Sailboats were racing in light air under spinnaker outside the harbor. A pair of white swans greeted us as we entered the harbor. We could see Mt. Baker from our berth. The marina was very full, unlike the Friday Harbor Marina which had many empty slips in the visitors area. It was a good thing that we had made a reservation and that we had arrived when we did.

We lunched at the waterfront pub, then walked the length of Beacon street which is lined with shops and cafes, bookstores and bakeries. We met a cruiser named Ralph from the m/v INDEPENDENT. He recommended dinner at the Restaurant 503, and then drove us there in his car. Fireworks lighted the night sky before the cold front arrived bringing winds of 35 knots in the morning.

One morning I heard an animal gallumping on deck, but could not see anything when I looked out the windows and hatches. Soon I saw a river otter sitting on the edge of the cockpit, looking in the window. I took some photos, then he was gone.

We spent most of November visiting relatives, and on December 14 departed Port Sidney for Victoria where we had ADAGIO hauled at the dry dock of the Point Hope Shipyard for some repairs to one of her engines. The Wharf Street Marina where ADAGIO was berthed is in the best part of town. We invited Kevin & Maureen of s/v Maple Leaf to come for dinner.

I bought two large banners decorated with pictures of Santa, to fly from ADAGIO’s sterns. Or perhaps I will hang them out of the rain, on either side of the back door in the cockpit, or even run them up the rigging on the flag halyard.

On December 17, after taking on 1000 liters of diesel at the Ocean Fuel LTD dock we departed Victoria for Port Townsend, Washington. We crossed many tide lines where logs and debris were stranded for as far as the eye could see, as we crossed the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

We tied up at the fuel dock at Port Townsend Boat Haven Marina, to phone the Customs and Immigration officer came to the boat. Several hooded mergansers paddled past the boat. The cook’s night out was at the excellent but expensive Lonnie’s restaurant not far from the marina.

On December 18 we departed Port Townsend for the final leg of our journey to Bainbridge Island. A tug boat was towing a log boom just outside the Port Townsend marina entrance. As we rounded Marrowstone Point, heading south into a contrary current although tide and current tables indicated a favorable flood current, swirling water eddies surrounded the boat. We could see the snow covered mountains of the Olympic range off to starboard.

At 2 PM on December 18 we arrived at the Harbor Pub Marina, Winslow, Bainbridge Island, Washington, after traveling 1690 nautical miles from Sitka, Alaska. We are looking forward to spending Christmas with our daughter and her family.

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