The 2021 cruising season has begun and it bears a resemblance to last year but also to the pre-Covid-19 cruising seasons.
In 2020, during the early phases of the pandemic everything was locked down and we were confined to Puget Sound. But in late June 2020, the Canadian government began allowing boats to transit their waters, even for "non essential" purposes (e.g., recreation), if going from foreign port to foreign port. The transit had to be "direct", "continuous-uninterupted", and "by the most reasonable route." The most important aspect of the policy
was the ability to stop for essential or safety reasons (e.g., anchoring at night). The rules the Canadians have in place this year are pretty much the same. The process is a bit more routinized this year but the intent and operation is pretty much the same.
We are currently in Ketchikan having completed the trip abiding by the Canadian rules as best as we could. We cleared into Canada at the Van Isle Marina near Sidney, BC on May 8. We cleared back into the United States in Ketchikan on May 14. We anchored the night before in a US anchorage about 20 miles from Ketchikan. From our last US anchorage in Washington to our first US anchorage Alaska we made five stops in British Columbia and covered 585 nautical miles. During the six days we averaged over 97 miles per day.
The difference we are seeing between 2020 and 2021 are the numbers of US boaters availing themselves of the opportunity to transit. Last year, the Canadian transit policy went in effect with little fanfare and relatively late in the cruising season. This year US boaters have been chomping on the bit and planning for summer 2021 in SE Alaska all winter and spring. On the day we arrived in Ketchikan, we counted at least ten other US boats doing
Our itinerary in Alaska is not set in stone but we hope to get to Sitka, a stop we didn't do last year, and do more fishing. We'll try to get to Glacier Bay but will focus on a short notice permit rather than an advance notice permit. Beyond that we'll let conditions and opportunities direct our route.