Coasting in the Time of Covid

Jupiter’s mariners returned to Bellingham seven weeks later than expected owing to societal complications and closures from Covid-19.

Jupiter impatiently awaits her mariners at Squalicum Harbor, Bellingham

After nearly six months absence we rejoined our fair vessel, and found her fully serviced, fueled, cleaned and polished to near perfection; ready to cruise.

Our pre-pandemic itinerary would have carried Jupiter north and west to the ragged outer edges of British Columbia and Southeastern Alaska in early May. Now an alternative strategy must steer us in new directions.

Turning Left

But wherever to explore with the Canadian border closed to non-essential travel? Departing Bellingham Bay, we have always turned right. Not this time. Not now, not yet.

The international border opening has been pressed back month by month and is currently promised to be reviewed again by July 21st. So we shall turn left, to the San Juan Islands and beyond, into the heart of Puget Sound. It is rumored that beautiful waters, interesting geology, diverse wildlife, and intriguing communities rich in history exist along this coast without regard for man-made frontiers.

Sucia Island, our first destination, is an anchorage so close to the BC border that American cell phones are often hijacked by powerful Canadian services whose raptorial bandwidths forage deeply into US territorial waters.

Canadian geese also are observed moving freely and gratuitously between countries, canardian passports not required.

Pressed Against the Glass

From Sucia and environs one can see Vancouver Island with her peaks and charming quays and bays in the unattainable distance. Like hungry children, faces pressed against the storefront glass, we gaze covetously at seductive sweets and treats lying therein. All is beyond reach for now.

Canada ahead – look but don’t touch!

Whoa, Canada!
There’s a land above the border northwest
Where Jupiter is rarely at rest
The border is closed and the crew is disposed
To stay south and avoid an arrest

We are not alone in our quest to travel north. A survey of boats currently cruising in British Columbia shows oceans of Canadian registered vessels, while many American flagged boats lie listlessly in marinas to the south side of the line.

Many of these boats at Roche Harbor would typically be in Canadian waters or beyond at this time of year.

What we are waiting for is not as important

as what happens to us while we wait.

Mandy Hale


  1. DeeDee Lisenby says:

    So glad to see you aboard with the monkeys wide eyed for as lookouts. All they need is a spy glass. The sky looks bright for adventure. Miss you . Enjoy.

  2. Bob Mongell says:

    Wonderful to hear that Jupiter and her stalwart crew will, yet again, be off and away in pursuit of new adventures! As Always, you are missed here in what is a Very Different Maine. Covid is having a massive impact here in many ways … not the least of which are severely reduced tourism (due to the mandatory 14 day quarantine for visitors ‘from away’), restaurants just now opening up and deeply depressed lobster prices which are causing many lobstermen not launching their boats this season (the offsetting ‘benefit’ for us cruisers being very few lobster pots in the water).

    Even Keel has been in the water since April and the Sally W was splashed just 2 weeks ago. Last weekend there was some excitement at Wayfarer … there was a 2 alarm fire at the Rhumb Line which did significant damage to the interior of the buildings adding to the difficulties this year.

    Here’s hoping all is well with you! Here’s to a good season on the water …


    Bob and Vicki

  3. Annie Florow says:

    Cheers from Oregon wine country, south of Portland.
    So glad to hear you are on your way. I will always temember the balloon ride over Aspen, when Don was your photographer and we celebrated with champagne at Buttermilk where I was a ski photographer. 30 years later, it will be fun to track you guys living the dream. Stay safe and enjoy some kayaking in the San Juans.

    Newberg, Oregon


  4. Paula Ankney says:

    Quarantined for weeks on end, poor me
    It seems socialization is just not to be
    We have searched in vain
    For something to entertain
    Ahoy, Mateys, Jupiter is at sea!

  5. Dana Starr says:

    Great to hear you guys are back on the water and reunited with Jupiter. Judging from the map though, it looks like that darn Canadian border has kinda got you hemmed in. You’re as close as you can get….All dressed up and no place to go. I guess it’s turn left and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Olympic Peninsula, and beyond. Or hang out in the San Juan’s and Puget sound until the border opens. There’s certainly worst places to be stuck. Regardless, it’s great to hear you guys are doing well. Have fun and safe travels.
    Love and best regards from SugarLand TX
    Dana & Kathy

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