On June 26, the Canadians threw us a life line by allowing foreign vessels, for any purpose, to transit their waters, either coastal or inside channels, from one foreign country to another foreign country. The transit must be done in a direct route and expeditious fashion but anchoring or essential stops, for fuel or food, are allowed.
We depart Bainbridge Island the afternoon of July 2 anchoring the first night in Port Townsend Bay. An early start gets us across the Strait of Juan de Fuca, up Haro Strait and to the customs dock at Van Isle Marina before noon. With our clearance number in hand, we continue through Active Pass and up the Strait of Georgia to a bay northwest of Nanaimo for the night.
In the anchorage, our paths cross with Rosy & Jim Addington of Sea Venture who are planning a similar quick (or as least as quickly as 6.5 knot boats can be) transit to Alaska. We’ve known Rosy & Jim for several years and had been commiserating electronically with them about this year’s border closure, so finding them was not a surprise. Since our boats are similar in category (slow, long range cruiser), we decide to buddy boat to Alaska.
From northwest of Nanaimo, the next day, July 4, we position in Gowlland Harbor, a few miles south of Seymour Narrows, halfway up Vancouver Island. The next day (and night and day, again) is a long one. We catch the 0530 slack before the ebb at Seymour, ride the favorable ebb current through Johnstone, pass Port McNeill, enter Gordon Channel, cross Queen Charlotte Sound, enter Laredo Sound and make our way up Principe Channel to McMicking Inlet on Campania Island, a 263 mile and 39 hour journey. From here its one more anchorage in Canada at Kelp Passage, SW of Prince Rupert. The next day, July 8, we cross the border between Canada and the USA, clear US customs via the ROAM app on our phones, and enter Alaska.
To prevent the spread of Corona virus, Alaska requires those entering the state to bring a recent negative Covid-19 test, take a test upon entering and stay in quarantine until negative results are returned, or complete a 14-day quarantine. Since the quarantine clock started at our last port of call in Bainbridge we decide to stay isolated on our boat cruising in Misty Fjords and not arrive in Ketchikan until our quarantine is complete. Jim & Rosy on Sea Venture, had left their last port of call in Anacortes earlier than we had and elect to proceed to Ketchikan more directly, so we split up at this point.
With fewer cruising boats we are able to secure the USFS buoys in Punchbowl Cove, Walker Cove and Klu Bay as well as anchor in isolation in Fitzgibbon Cove and Moser Bay, as we make our way slowly up Eastern Behm Canal, across the north side of Revillagigedo Island and then back down Western Behm Canal. Misty Fjord lives up to its name and reputation. We arrive in Ketchikan on Thursday, July 16, having completed the transit to Alaska and satisfied our Covid-19 quarantine period.