The goal of the week is to cover ground, or rather seafloor.
Timely transit along the upcoast of British Columbia where anchorages are as rare as sunshine, involves extended passages along yawning straights punctuated with lumpy roundings of capes and horns sufficient to equip a marching band.
Both ends of days are closing in fast as Jupiter, and the few other US coasting boats that made it through the spring forced-march north, now flood south. An ebb of aqueous Alaskan explorers, is aiming to beat the pressure systems that will soon bother the coast.
Alow and aloft whales and geese are in logistical agreement.
A week before our southing from Alaska started, the border is opened to vaccinated US boaters holding proof of a recent negative covid test. Canada welcomes us to step ashore, to visit with friends, to shop and to eat, to greet, and to explore by land as well as by sea.
Throughout long passages we practice being improved Americans, better neighbors and humble apologizers for not reciprocating the border opening to Canadians…yet. We rehearse Canadian restaurant phrases like “Which way to the washroom?”, “Please may we have the machine for the bill?”, and “How’s the poutine?” We vow not to jaywalk, speak loudly or seem too eager.
With trepidation we test the reception at Prince Rupert and find the welcome to be as warm and genuine as we remember it. One wharfinger allows that if we passed through the fine mesh of Canadian Border Services, we are undoubtedly of less risk than locals.
Northern BC demands longer passage making within shorter days, and mariners’ rhythms are distorted into a haze of sleep and wake. Victuals are taken when conditions allow, showers and shaves depend on waves and swell more than smell, or ship’s bell.
Now in mid-coast British Columbia, we have options to visit small marinas and resorts, many dependent on tourism, bruised but unbroken by disruption during the past two years.
“That long frontier from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans, guarded only by neighborly respect and honorable obligations is an example to every country and a pattern for the future of the world”Winston Churchill