July 5, 2010
We waited until July 2, to enter British Columbia. We thought that it would be a boring entrance with Canada Day over. We departed Roche Harbor about 1130, and arrived Bedwell Harbour, on South Pender Island, at 1230. We are a NEXUS boat and people. That means we applied for NEXUS status, filled out the forms, was interviewed by both the US and Canadian Border Patrol, and was issued Nexus status – which is a preferred traveler status. This allows us to call which ever country we are entering – in this case British Columbia, and notify them of our entry into their country. We have to go to a customs dock and we chose Bedwell Harbour. The rule is we must stay at the dock until an appointed time and if no agents are there, we may leave the dock. We arrived at the dock exactly on the minute of the required arrival and potential departure time. The docks were extremely busy – many US boaters seemed to have the same idea. There were Customs and Border Patrol Agents there, and they came aboard for an inspection. It was a very brief inspection, as we were encouraged to get on our way and enjoy British Columbia, and let other non-Nexus boaters get to the dock.
Citrus, apples, and potatoes are a few of the prohibited import items. We are allowed a small inventory of beer, or wine, etc. Our first stop after entering BC is to go to the grocery and liquor stores and stock up on our favorite cruising foods that we can’t bring with us. We went to Salt Spring Island and Ganges to provision.
We knew the docks would be full, and generally prefer to anchor out, anyway, so we went to our favorite anchorage on the north side of Goat Island. [This picture was taken last year. M/V DISCOVERY with Beverly on the bow. You can see Ganges off in the background.] This has always been a favorite spot, and a best kept secret. Most boaters don’t seem aware of this as a good anchorage. Boaters that anchor in Ganges generally anchor in the harbor, which is always stirred up with small boats, big boats, and sea planes coming and going. Also, the wind blows right down through the anchorage. Just off to the side of Goat Island we are more protected and don’t get near the traffic. It’s a longer ride to the dinghy dock, but we have always felt it was a good trade off. We came to this place, the first time, in 2005. There was an eagle pair, sitting a nest with their offspring in the trees just above us. It was an awesome time watching the parents come and go, and hearing the cheep-cheep of the little ones.
We did some of our shopping and Bruce took it back to the boat while I browsed the shops. We then went to the Oystercatcher Restaurant for an early dinner. We like this place. However, we have decided that fish and chips are not our favorite entree. Sometimes we forget where and what our favorites are at a particular town, so this year we are determined to make a log of restaurants and shops. We spent several days in Roche Harbor, and ate ashore one afternoon at the Madrona Bar and Grill. I had halibut and chips and the meal was awesome. Bruce had their fish tacos, with mahi mahi and they were delicious. So, thumbs up for the halibut and chips at the Madrona, and thumbs down at the Oystercatcher. [Note: this author likes a very crispy seasoned batter.] All that being said – the Oystercatcher has other very fine entrees, including great burgers and pasta and very fresh, cold, local lagers and ales on tap.
We moved on to Montague Harbor, on Galliano Island, the next day and were there for 3 days. Montague is a great harbor to hide in when the winds are blowing. It is also a very large harbor and a lot of boats can come in here for relative safety. A couple years ago, in August, as we were headed south, we counted over 100 boats at anchor!
There are some nice walking trails on the island that take you out to the other side of the island where you can walk along the beach. Its fun to check out the tide pools to see what is living among the rocks.
I love the Arbutus/Madrone trees with their coppery red limbs. This isn’t the best picture. I will get another picture soon.
I got a great picture of an Oceanspray, sometimes called Ironwood tree. The limbs from the Ironwood were made into many different tools, including fish hooks, scrapers, needles, and recently knitting needles.
We had a great walk out to the sunset beach on July 4th. I made a great potato salad and the chicken was marinating for a traditional 4th of July dinner. Sunset Beach (our name for the beach) has the best cell phone reception here, so we made several July 4th holiday calls.
Our buddy Clooney is here on his boat, with his people, again this year. Clooney made it into the blog last August (check out the little white dog with the sunshades). We said hi to Roy, Marsha, and Cloony – of course! He seemed to recognize us. I think dogs recognize folks that feed them yummy treats!
We still haven’t settled on our next destination. We know it is northerly. Our general plan is to head north and hide from winds, until we can cross the Strait of Georgia. Once across we plan to rendezvous with our friends on M/V TENAKEE and our wonderful crab-fest friend, Sharon. Stand by! Were on our way!
Meanwhile these are some of the Places We Go in British Columbia!