SLOWDOWN DEER CROSSING AND CLEARING INTO USA

A beautiful calm morning at Foggy bay.  There were nine boats anchored overnight but most had gone by the time I heaved anchor at six thirty.  We changed clocks yesterday to Alaska time and now it gets light at four in the morning.   For a change it was not raining this morning.  The day remained cloudy but things are starting to dry out, I could just detect the suns warmth through the clouds.

When leaving the anchorage there is quite a narrow channel to pass through.  As I was going through a deer jumped out and swam in front of the boat.  I had to slow down otherwise I would have run it over.  I have been at sea a long time but never had to slow down for a crossing deer before, he was coming from my starboard side so had the right of way.  He was quite a good swimmer and made a good wake.

No wind today so we motored up from Foggy Bay to Ketchikan.  On the way we passed a school of Dalls porpoise.  They don’t really do much of interest or play around the bow.  They just come up for air occasionally and keep on swimming.  Maybe they take after whales and not happy dolphins.

On the approach to Ketchikan it started getting busy with lots of boat traffic and guys out fishing for salmon.  Three large cruise ships are moored in town at the terminal, looks pretty busy.  My American friends tell me Ketchikan is a big tourist destination and a bit of a rip off.  I will have a look around tomorrow and try not to get ripped off.  It feels a bit strange being back in a big town after all the small places I have been frequenting in BC.

I moored in Thomas basin and awaited the US Boarder Protection visit to clear me into the USA.  Unfortunately, they advised I didn’t have the correct visa.  When entering the USA by private plane or boat a B2 visa is required, the normal tourist visa is not good enough.

I was hauled off to the customs office and after a few questions very generously granted a visa waiver.  A further two hours followed during which I was photographed, finger printed and asked an assortment of questions.  Eventually the document was provided in exchange for $580 and a further fee for a cruising permit.  I skulked back to the boat with all my new paperwork and permits in hand and cracked a beer.  Apparently I am not the first one to be dumb in this respect.   I will say no more at the moment.

Anyway, I am now free to cruise Alaska until the end of August.  Along the way I and have to check into each large port so I can be tracked.  Failure to check in results in a massive fine among other things no doubt.

On return to the boat it was too late to sail further so I will be staying the night at Thomas Basin.  Tomorrow I will try and move around to another berth and explore the city.  Total voyage distance 739.6 miles.

Logged 30th May 2016

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