Friday, June 27, 2008

Back in Canada

Saturday June 21, 2008
Location: Pillsbury Bay, Prince Rupert, British Columbia
Lat/Lon: 54°19.233'N, 130°19.190'W
Weather: Hi 58°, Overcast and rain

Prince Rupert is the Canadian Customs port of entry for all boats entering Canada from Alaska and they have the most screwed up entry system of any city I've been in. To start with there is no public dock for customs, you must tie up at the Prince Rupert Rowing & Yacht Club marina, the public docks, which are full of local commercial boats, or, as we were told by a Canadian customs agent, in person, in May, you can dock at the Atlin Terminal dock. Once you're docked you must find a public telephone and call the customs office. Your cell phone will not work in PR because they have a private phone company and it does not accept calls from any other carrier. The PRR&YC is a private marina and is always full during the summer and nearly impossible to get into so we decided to take an open spot at the Atlin Terminal. After docking I walked up the dock only to find the gate locked with no way of getting to the phone both 20 feet outside the gate. There was no official looking person around so I turned to go back to the boat. Above my head was a sign that said 'Restricted Area, Authorized persons only!', 'Area under video surveillance.' Great, not only can I not get to the phone to clear customs but I'm an unauthorized person in a restricted area. So I walked back to the boat expecting a guard to appear at any moment when a lady leaned out of the boat docked in front of us and offered me the use of her security gate key to get the past the gate and call customs. For this persons protection I will not reveal her name or the name of the boat she was on but she has my eternal gratitude for her act of kindness.

Once you get Canadian Customs on the phone they are very professional and the process is simple and straight forward. When we received our clearance number we were off to Pillsbury Cove across the bay from town for a quiet night at anchor.
The next morning we we're off early for what we thought would be a long day. In the channel heading south out of PR the Canadian ferry 'Northern Adventurer' passed us nearly at full speed in the narrow part of the channel that is not ¼ mile wide. The wake from the ferry is 8 to 10 feet steep and a hazard to any boat in the area let alone to boats caught close by in the channel. The Canadian ferries are notorious for waking pleasure boats and I'm sure the crew got a big laugh seeing us tossed around by their wake. I just wish they would give the crew some lessons in common courtesy and seamanship.

Before we got to Grenville Channel the tide had turned against us so we decide to change our plans and head to a beautiful cove we had visited last year, Captain Cove (53.8097°N 130.1977°W) off the head of Petrel Channel. We stayed 2 nights here sitting in the rain and low clouds resting and waiting for better weather which never came.

Tuesday, June 24th, we continued south in Grenville Channel to Nettle Basin (53.5622°N 129.5726°W) in the back of Lowe Inlet. Nettle Basin is ½ NM round and 70-120 feet deep. We tried anchoring where the guide books recommend but the anchor felt like it was dragging across a hard, flat, rock bottom. After two attempts to set the anchor in the southern sided of the bay we tried a small bight on the northern side and the anchor seemed to catch. The forecast was for calm winds so we set the anchor alarm and settled in for the night. The weather was lite rain and low clouds with temps in the mid 50's. We are so looking forward to Mexico.

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