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

ENTERING ALASKA USA

It rained again last night and continued intermittently all day today.  I feel like a human wick.  Can’t remember the last time I felt the warmth of the sun.  But, today for the first time this voyage we had wind from the right direction.

Last night I heard a high pitched eagle squawking.  A large Bald Eagle had taken a dislike to the wind instruments on a yacht in the marina and decided to demolish them.  Bit of plastic flew everywhere and the poor boat owner will be $1.000 poorer.

We departed Prince Rupert this morning and set sail for Alaska.  The wind was pretty good for the first part and became light for the last couple of hours in an uncomfortable lumpy sea.

We crossed over the boarder but didn’t see the line in the sea.  This evening we are anchored in Foggy Bay which is the designated anchorage for boats entering into Alaska.  Tomorrow we will continue on to Ketchikan, which is a port of entry, to clear into The USA.  Once cleared we should have a cruising permit and be allowed to explore Alaskan waters.  Total voyage distance 704.1 miles.

Logged 29th May 2016

PRINCE RUPERT – WEEKEND

Wonderful, it stopped raining – just a light drizzle now and again.  Slowly the damp from the last few days is drying up.

John, Jennifer and Hillary came over this morning with some fresh date and walnut muffins which we had with tea and coffee – very nice.  Whilst I had extra hands around I volunteered them to help me turn the boat around.  I am now facing outward for an easy exit tomorrow.

Last chores today before heading off to Ketchikan, topped up the fresh water tanks, did the library visit to get WiFi (so slow), Safeway’s for groceries and chandler for some rope and essential boat things.

I also called ahead to US Customs in Ketchikan to give them all details required for pre arrival.  Apparently I need a different visa if entering on a pleasure boat, the regular tourist visa is not good enough.  I asked why it was not publicised and the customs guy indicated that a lot of people were unaware.  Oh well I will plead innocence and act dumb as usual – it comes easy.

The evening was spent on a neighbouring boat which I last saw at the Bella Bella fuel dock.  They are also headed for USA tomorrow and we had a drop of red wine.  The wind blew during the night, not hard just from a funny angle and it pissed down with rain again.

The forecast for tomorrow is for winds from the south, just what we need.  Let’s hope they arrive in force to speed us into the USA.

Logged 28th May 2016