June 29, 2005

On to Ganges

Wednesday June 29, 2005

Brrr. It’s still cool but we are having fun.

Bellingham turned out to be a fine marina. As we pulled into our slip, Mike Kirkland (past commodore of the Bellingham Corinthian Yacht Club) noticed our Yacht Club Burgees. We did not turn down his offer of a free reciprocal slip, where we stayed for four nights.

Squalicum Harbor (http://www.portofbellingham.com/marinas/sql/default.htm) was walking distance to town but even better, the Marina has a shuttle to take us wherever we wished. We hit Costco, Best Buy and the local supermarket, Haggen’s to provision.

It is still a small world. The beer can races were called the next day due to rain (usually not a reason) and possible thunder and lightening. Some of the local racers, from the same dock, came by the boat to chat. One was Mike Reed of Islander (an Islander 36), who was on the Baja Haha as crew on At Last. He was the one who took those great picture of us with the spinnaker flying – see: http://raptordance.us/Sailing3/index.html

We ended up meeting a big group of the displaced racers for a beer…a really great bunch. In a few days we met quite a few friendly and helpful people, including local author, Clyde Ford (see http://www.mysticvoyagerbooks.com) on Mystic Voyager, who gave us suggestions on places to stop in the Broughtons (north of Desolation Sound).

Just as we were casting off in Bellingham on Tuesday morning, we found another card left by Larry and Joanie Roteman of Synergy, who we had met in Paradise Village in Puerto Vallarta. They live up here, on Lummi Island (just across the bay from Bellingham).

We spent a day with a great local couple Loraine Boland and Ray Nelson on Allegro, who are friends of Bill’s ex-Wells Fargo colleague, Elaine Felter. They gave us the grand tour of the Bellingham area. And what would that be like without good food? We found a lovely Oyster Restaurant in the woods, overlooking a creek, that made our taste buds very happy.

Ah, but the main reason for being here was to have our water maker serviced. As it turned out, only diagnosis was accomplished. We will have the work done in November rather than taking the time now. We should be able to do without it in this area.

So now we are ready to start moving on. We took the little hop to Echo Bay at Sucia Island, of the San Juan Islands. The bay was so peaceful and the water, like glass.

The next day we headed back to Sidney to meet up with Gordon and Bruce, returning to Berkut, a Waterline 46. We compared notes, Gordon and Bruce, Sailed Berkut from Puerto Vallarta to Hawaii and then on to Canada. We came up on Dockwise. They got caught in a storm coming across from Hawaii which trashed their Genoa and washed their outboard overboard. We all agreed that Dockwise was a better choice.

The water was very interesting, all the rips, eddies and short standing waves. These were no problem for us or the boat, just an interesting variation. We were going with the current, so at times our speed was 10.8 nm over ground. Whoopee!

Customs clearance for us was a phone call. So far we’ve entered Canada twice on Raptor Dance and the US once. Each time we cleared over the phone. To insure that future crossings are as uneventful, we’ve got a US Customs I-68 – see: http://cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/pleasure_boats/cbbl.xml and we’ve applied for a Canadian CANPASS http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/travel/canpass/canpassprivateboat-e.html. Each of these allow for telephone check-in when crossing the border.

This time we stayed at the Port Sidney Marina, http://portsidney.com, right in downtown. Talk about convenient! It was lovely. They had some touches that we haven’t seen in other marinas, such as the two hanging baskets of flowering plants at each slip, charming lighting and pet swans.

I must tell you, for the best Fish and Chips EVER, go to Fish at Fifth (on 5th St.) in Sidney. Excellent!

Canada day is coming up on July 1st. So the stores are full of Canada flags, socks with the red maple leaf, etc. We expect music, parties and fireworks. We’ll let you know if they have any different way to celebrate.

That brings us to the present. We are in Ganges on Salt Spring Island. This is north and east of Sidney. It was a short journey on this nice but windless day. You guessed it…more motoring. It appears that we are now a motor boat with auxiliary sails.

Salt Springs is know for it’s artisans, and it’s Saturday market, which has both art work, curiosities and fresh produce. We had fun walking through the shops in town. Much of it reminded me of some of our more colorful towns in the 70’s, even the 80’s…creative, fun and “out there”.

Some nice restaurants too! We’ll give you a full report in our next episode.

Warmest Regards,
Mary and Bill
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