Customs the San Juan Islands

Friday Harbor, San Juan Island

Wednesday, June 16, 2010S.V. CAMBRIA

Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.

We left Port Ludlow this morning with the tide for Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. The passage up and across the Strait of Juan de Fuca was good. Better than good, really. There wasn't any wind, but what began as an overcast and gray morning turned into a beautiful day on the water. And, with some help from the currents around Marrowstone Island and Point Wilson, we made over 11 knots at times helping us complete the 46 nautical mile trip in five and a half hours.

Once in Friday Harbor, we tied up to the custom's dock to check out of the US. Since we brought Cambria into the country in 2007, she was on what's called a “cruising permit” which allowed her, a foreign-registered vessel, to sail US waters freely for up to one year. All of that changed last November when we re-entered the country, forfeited our cruising permit, and were issued a Standard Entrance which now requires us to check in AND out of the country, but without time restrictions.

Because we're generally met with confusion and different interpretations of the law when dealing with US customs, we weren't sure what to expect from the change (the left hand rarely seems to know what the right hand is doing). But, aside from the moment when we thought they were going to draw their weapons on David, it went surprisingly well. He must have taken one too many steps in the “wrong” direction when looking at a chart hanging on the wall because the next thing we know, they're yelling, GET BEHIND THE COUNTER, SIR!!! They apparently thought he was going to threaten them with a file folder and inflict some nasty paper cuts.

Somehow or another, we managed to avoid an international incident (yet again), paid our nineteen dollars, received a Standard Clearance form to “bookend” our entrance, and made our way back to the boat and out to anchor. It was only five o'clock, but we were tired from a long day, so we grabbed a mooring ball, had some dinner, and called it a night completely ignoring all the offerings of town.

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