Customs the Gulf Islands

Thetis Island, BC

Wednesday, June 01, 2011S.V. CAMBRIA

Over the years, we've avoided Roche Harbor like the plague due to the reputation of one of its custom agents.   Not only have we heard about him by word of mouth, but he's been written about in international cruising magazines...twice!  From all accounts, he's rude, generally in a foul mood, likes to find anything wrong no matter how small, and is a right-wing nut who isn't afraid to share his opinions while those availing themselves of his services have to sit by quietly, not in a position to respond.   Not a great mix in an agent.  But we're only checking out, so we decided to take a chance.

We upped anchor this morning at 10 o'clock and made our way to the custom's dock.  He was there.   Or at least we think it was him.  But everything went very well.  Apparently, we have a few things in common.  He used to teach Math at Las Vegas High School and his wife's from Wichita (more often than not, I can be seen wearing a Wichita State University shirt).  The minute he asked me if I went to WSU and what the mascot is, I remembered him.   He was the same guy who checked us out of Friday Harbor last year and yelled, “get behind the line, sir!” at David and asked me the same question.  Apparently they rotate.

Although checking out went smoothly, Officer Specht had to find fault somewhere.   Every time we check in or out of the US we have to pay $19 and apparently they don't have the means to collect fees in Roche (though they managed to swipe our credit card without a problem) and we've been uninvited from checking in and out there in the future.   I can't help but wonder about the other people who have to pay.  Do they get referred back to Friday Harbor as well, or was it just our lucky day?

It was close to 12 o'clock before we were finished which worked well with the current and we had a nice push up to Bedwell Harbour in Canada where we always check in.  We were fortunate.   No more than thirty minutes before we arrived, an 80 foot motor yacht wiped out the custom's dock when its transmission went out nearly taking a sailboat along with it.  We're not sure of the details.  All we know is that had we been there, we would have been tied up in the exact spot where it hit because it's an easy in and out and our preference each year we arrive.

Normally we stay in Bedwell Harbour for a night or two while we scratch our heads and decide what to do next, but this year we're trying to make Pender Harbour on the Sunshine Coast in time for the Blues Festival, so we moved on to Clam Bay, between Thetis and Kuper Islands. In the morning, we'll make way for Dodd Narrows and spend the night in Nanaimo before crossing the Strait of Georgia on Friday.

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