Sarah Jean II - Arrival in Canada!
31 July 2013
Norm & Beth
As we rounded Amphitrite Point and turned into Ucluelet Harbor, familiar misty low clouds all but obscured the rocky islands around us, their shores piled high with logs, covered by dark fir and spruce trees bent by the wind. A steady procession of sport fishing boats streaked past us, returning from a day of angling. Ramshackle houses lined the beaches. Fishing boats were tied to the wharf, waiting to unload their catches. It was all so familiar; it felt so much like coming home.
We tied up to the government dock at about 7:30 p.m. where our friends from s/v Katie M II caught our dock lines and greeted us warmly with hugs and a bottle of cold Champagne. It was a wonderful welcome from fellow cruisers who fully understood the significance of our landfall. Customs clearance into Canada was quick and easy, accomplished with just a phone call. And then it was time to pop the cork, enjoy the bubbly and swap stories. This was followed by a great landfall dinner in Ucluelet, enjoying local seafood, of course. Beth had halibut and I had salmon. Delicious!
Returning to the government dock well past 11:00 p.m., a fairly late hour for us, we were amazed to find it swarming with adults and children with buckets and fishing rods. It was a party, with peals of laughter ringing out. Every few minutes there were shrieks of excitement as someone would call out, "I got one!" Intrigued, we watched for a while and then asked just what they were doing. We were amazed to learn they were fishing for squid. Huge schools had come to the surface and could be caught with bait and hook. Illuminated by the street lamp on the docks, we could see them swimming about like schools of fish. Some people, wearing heavy Cowichan sweaters, sat in lawn chairs drinking tea, watching as their kids squealed in delight when one of the little tentacled creatures was hauled onto the dock.
Last night we saw something interesting and new, quite delightful really. And it all happened right here in Ucluelet, a place we have been many times before. It was a wonderful reminder that our cruising life is far from over; that opportunities for discovery abound right here in our local waters!
Around noon today we will leave Ucluelet for a leisurely overnight sail down the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Victoria where more friends await to welcome us home.
PASSAGE FUN FACTS
Total distance Hawaii to Victoria: 3,077 miles
Time on Passage: 20 days
Our route: went north 10 days, turned at 48 N and 158 w, then went east for 10 days
Engine hours: a ghastly 180 hours over about 7 days of motoring or motor sailing
Fuel consumed: ¾ of main tank plus 10 jerry cans that we carried onboard - ouch!
Wind: first leg was great with about 14 kts, second leg the wind was light to non-existent