What we do for our pets! Because Nate and Primo are considered endangered species, they fall under an international treaty called CITIES. They both have their own passport and must be stamped in and out of the country each time they cross the border. Over the years we have learned how to navigate through the system. This year we are thrown a curve ball. For the past three years we have driven them across the border in the RV. With the boat being in Anacortes this year, it makes much more sense to take them across the border by water. While talking with Fish and Wildlife in Blaine to set up a time for inspection, the officer is unsure of how to deal with the boat. He feels he must call a supervisor in Seattle and they may have to come inspect the boat. Why they would have to inspect a private vessel is beyond me. A few days go by without hearing from the inspector so we call back. He doesn’t mention the inspection again and we don’t ask. We make an appointment for the next day. With the birds in tow, we rent a car and drive the 60 miles to Blaine, pay our $150 per bird, collect the stamped CITIES permit, and are gone. We don’t mention that we will be anchoring out for two days before crossing into Canada.
We time our departure from Anacortes to take advantage of the strong currents around the San Juan Islands. Guemes Channel is flooding all morning so we decide to take a longer route around Padilla Bay. With a slow boat like ours, the tides and currents always come into play when planning a voyage. Along this network of islands, the currents can reach up to 8 knots and large whirlpools can appear. We anchor for the night in the familiar Blind Bay anchorage on Shaw Island. We are up early the next morning for a short 10 mile trip to Jones Island. This popular Island is a Washington Marine State Park. We are hoping there is space at the dock for us. During the summer getting a spot is very difficult. We are fortunate today. As we round the entrance to the bay, we see a sailboat just departing and only one other power boat at the docks. After securing Idyll Time’s lines, we walk the massive aluminum gangplank that leads ashore to explore the island. At the head of the dock we find self registration forms and a box to deposit our mooring fees. We spend the afternoon hiking every trail on the island and logging seven miles total. We are warned about raccoons coming aboard boats during the night. We watch from the boat as an Eagle is munching on a raccoon carcass on a nearby beach. We never spot any other raccoons during the evening.
A calm Haro Strait greets us the next morning as we cross from the United States into Canada. Once across the border, we call Canadian NEXUS with our arrival information. The agent is quick to give us our clearance number without asking any questions. We inform him that we do have two birds and a shotgun aboard that we need to declare. With this information, he instructs us to proceed to the Customs dock at the marina in Sidney. We must wait there until our appointed arrival time (10 am) has expired. If no Customs agent shows up (which he said they would not), we must then take the birds and shotgun by car to the airport to meet in person a Canadian Customs agent for clearance. Everything goes smoothly and we are soon back aboard Idyll Time with all of our documents and birds cleared.
Our home will be Philbrooks Boatyard work dock for the next two weeks while installing some new equipment and also some needed waxing and varnish. We are hoping this will be a short two week process (It never is). Although we dislike being tied to a dock for this long, Sidney is not a bad place to be. We have grown to love this charming Canadian town. The small downtown , only a mile walk from the marina, has some wonderful restaurants and coffee shops along with a great bookstore. Vancouver Island has an awesome network of paved bike paths which we look forward to using.
If all goes well, we will be on our way to Alaska shortly. Thanks for following along.