Once you leave the tropics, the Pacific Ocean on the North American west coast gets cold quickly. You have to go back south to get warm again. Unless it’s July through September. Then your best bet is to go north. Way north. Past halfway, to N50 degrees, about halfway up the inside of Vancouver Island at the top of the Georgia Straits. It’s roughly as far from our house to Desolation Sound as Pt. Pulpito is from La Paz.
The saltwater there is stuck. As the moon pulls on the waters of the Pacific Ocean, it sloshes out around the northern and southern ends of Vancouver Island, then it comes back in. At Middlenatch Island, just south of Desolation Sound, the water doesn’t really move. It just goes up and down. The water in the deep fjords just north of Middlenatch doesn’t move much, either. It just sits there in the sun like a lizard, getting warmer and warmer.
It’s kind of pretty if you like your warm water surrounded by trees and rocks.
We launched on the 29th from the nearby state park, ran the truck and trailer back to the house, drove to beach and parked at a friends, then jumped in Tidepool and ran north. We stopped in at South Pender island to clear customs. Three courteous Canadians were there to clear us in. First stop was the phone…”Phil? Good morning. Is Nancy with you? Any drugs? Fine, then. Please return to your boat, we’ll do a quick search, and you can be on your way.”
The nice customs lady was waiting at the boat when I returned, talking to Nancy. Nancy got off the boat and the nice lady asked if we wanted to tell them anything before they searched the boat. “Have fun,” I said.
“You sure,” she said, “it’s no big deal if you tell us the truth.”
“No worries,” I said, “although it is pretty funny that Canadians would search American boats entering BC for dope.”
She laughed. “Yeah, well, it’s the law. Are you sure you have nothing to tell us.”
“We’re clean,” I told her. “I’m not too worried.”
Bam! The Labrador appeared. The doggie and two nice officers searched our boat for about ten minutes while we chatted on the dock. One of the officers liked our boat a lot. “A head with a door!” he said. “Fantastic.”
And off we went. We got fuel in Nanaimo, about 100 miles north of where we started, again in Lund, and made it to Desolation in time to anchor and have dinner before dark. About 160 nautical miles, about 1.8 miles per gallon. Perfecto.
We dawdled in Desolation for almost two weeks, then headed home, again stopping once for fuel at Montague Harbor just before we left Canada. There was one agent working at Friday Harbor on a lovely sunny Sunday afternoon. It took us four phone calls before he answered, he’d never heard of us before, and he made us hike into town to surrender our limons.
Here’s a compressed video of our trip in 2011. This one was almost the same, except the weather was better for the crossings and worse for the visiting.