Seeking The Salish Sea

Departure from Victoria early on Friday morning was complicated by incoming seaplanes carrying commuters from out islands and the mainland landing in the harbor.  Our route took us through the Strait of Juan de Fuca and north up the Haro Strait dodging Royal Canadian Naval Vessel Grizzly, and two immense freighters.  Our intention to meander over to Bellingham by Sunday evening was interrupted by a serendipitous invitation to join a rendezvous of the Puget Sound Grand Banks Owners Association in Roche Harbor on San Juan Island.

Morning commuters arrive by seaplane in Victoria Harbour.
Grand Banks Rendezvous Name Boards

In need of local knowledge and lore we accepted. Here we have met many boaters for whom cruising to Alaska is, if not commonplace, within the bounds of possibility.  Interesting speakers have educated us on subjects ranging from electronics to commercial traffic, and the future of the Grand Banks brand.  Seventy-five boats built over fifty years by the same manufacturer are in attendance.

Roche Harbor Pump-out Boat

Arriving in Roche we cleared customs, giving up one prohibited lemon.  Roche Harbor is a charming Victorian era resort built on the former site of the largest lime works west of the Mississippi.  It offers vessels an immense marina and every conceivable amenity including enthusiastic pump-out service.  Striking the colors with pomp and ceremony is an evening ritual.  Flags of Canada and the U.S. are lowered and taps, the Canadian National Anthem and other patriotic music rings out across the harbor.  Marina dock hands march smartly as the color guard.

Tomorrow we cruise the Salish Sea to Bellingham.

Marine forecast: Winds north at seven knots, seas less than 1 foot.


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