CLEARING US CUSTOMS AND ENJOYING REID HARBOR: Tuesday, August 9

 

 

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After a rainy night, a mild misty morning found me hiking up the hill from the Saltspring Island Sailing Club’s dock to the “clubhouse,” a pretty blue-and-white structure that provided a wonderful view over the harbor and from which a trail led to a rocky beach. I couldn’t find an unlocked dumpster into which to deposit my bag of garbage, but when I asked a woman getting into her car behind the house about disposal facilities, she said she didn’t think there were any, but she would take my small plastic bag of refuse with her to dispose of at her home—how kind!
We pulled away from the dock at about 10:30 am and, with the automatic way-point tracking system not functioning properly, I took over the steering of the boat as we headed toward Roche Harbor under sullen gray skies. On our way into Ganges Harbour, I had enjoyed the luxury of lounging on Braesail’s commodious bow in the sunshine, but we had chilly headwinds for most of the day and we all stayed in the covered cockpit. Walt guided us through a narrow passage between two islands as we made for the US Customs dock in Roche Harbor on San Juan Island, and, at about 2 pm, he found a spot into which we could fit the boat, but after he went ashore to check in, he was told that only boats tied up in a relatively small area between two sign posts would be allowed to clear customs after inspection and interviewing of passengers. So we had to leave the dock and wait for the space between the two signs to open; when it did, we JUST managed to slip Braesail into it (I got a little extra dock-line-tying practice at least!). After the customs agent had examined our passports and trusted traveler cards and quizzed us about our time in Canada, he told us we were free to leave and we departed, feeling rather exasperated, for spacious Reid Harbor, with its deep green water, on Stuart Island, arriving there at 4 o’clock. We decided to tie the boat to one of the harbor’s numerous mooring buoys, through the ring atop which one threads a bow line to tie to a deck cleat; I managed to catch one with our boat hook with little difficulty.
Walt ferried Joy and me to the wooded shore of Reid Harbor in the dinghy and we walked for an hour along a beautiful bluff-top trail, lined with salal bushes and fallen trees blanketed by thick moss, above Prevost Harbor (pictured), separated from our anchorage by a narrow neck of land. The views across the water were beautiful, we found the end of a sawn tree trunk out of which layers of fungi were growing, Stump on Stuart Islandand we spotted two well-camouflaged deer Deer on Stuart Islandsearching for afternoon snacks in a nearby patch of tall trees. Walt returned for us at about 5:30, having had a nap, and, back on the boat, he prepared an excellent dinner of chicken tajine served over couscous. Clean-up, another game of “Hearts” (which I lost, as usual), the writing of this description, and preparations for Wednesday’s trip to Orcas Island filled the remainder of the evening.
Walt’s brother Dan and his wife Debbie will meet us at the ferry dock on Orcas Island on Wednesday afternoon, and they will be with us until after our return to the Everett Marina; our crew is expanding to five!

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