Welcome to Ken's Blog

Roberta,Ken And The Pups Cruise The World On A Relatively Small Boat

GSSR#7 - Roche Harbor to Nanaimo

Greetings all!

Total Distance: 5,276 nm
Run so far: 87 nm
Nautical Miles to go: 5,189 nm
Today's goal: 45 nm

Roberta and I have been in Seattle the past three days, but are back now on Sans Souci, at Roche Harbor, in the San Juan Islands. We're within a few miles of the Canadian border and will be crossing into Canada this morning.

This update will be short, because in a few minutes I need to start engines. and get rolling.

Our original plan had been to clear into customs at Sydney, which would have meant an "out of the way" detour, but a friend recommended just clearing at arrival in Nainamo. To verify this was possible I phoned Canadian Customs, who confirmed that it was.

I couldn't ask for better weather for today's run:

Fri/24-Roche Harbor to Nanaimo Weather:

Partly cloudy to start. Clouds tend to increase during the late morning and the chance of showers through Fri/night. Visibility should range 5-10nm. However, closer to 3-5nm in rain showers Fri/pm. Winds: Variable 05-10kts, tending more W-SW 15-20kts from the late morning through the eve-night. Winds may shift NW-N 15-20kt, gusty 25kts during Fri/night-overnight. Wind direction could vary locally. Waves: For the most part, 1ft or less. Closer to 1ft during the strongest winds Fri/pm.

That said, the report was the same for yesterday, and Braun Jones, of Grey Pearl said that he had 3-6 foot waves and 15-20kts of wind. So, we won't really know the weather until we are out there.

The run from Roche Harbor to Nanaimo is short, but tricky. Just off the west coast of Canada lies Vancouver Island, which stretches for 250 miles along the coast. The southern portion of Vancouver Island lies about 15-20 miles offshore from mainland Canada, and is seperated from Canada by the "Strait of Georgia".

From where we are, the simplest run to Nanaimo would be to run right up the middle of the Strait of Georgia. On a day like today, I'd almost think about it. However, the Strait of Georgia can turn quite nasty, and is best avoided. Instead, we are going to zig-zag through the islands. There are some narrow passages, and tricky places, but overall it is a simple run.

There is really only one major problem spot to focus on. Just south of Nanaimo lies "Dodd Narrows".

Dodd Narrows is the narrow channel shown above. It is a narrow passage of only about 100 feet. As water narrows to pass through a narrow passage, it speeds up. The water above and below Dodds narrows is barely moving, but as you can see, it is now moving at over 6 knots through the passage. My boat is capable of over 10 knots, so, theoretically, this is navigable, but in reality, it would not be safe to enter the narrows with the current running this fast. Too much risk.

Therefore, I've done advanced planning, and know that the tide will be reversing at 4:50pm today, and for a brief period, the water will be slack (not running) in the narrows. This tells me I want to be sitting at the entrance to the narrows, ready to pop through, when it is slack time. I am a little over 40 miles from the narrows. If I were to run at 10 knots, I would be there in just four hours. However, the doors are like a door that opens once every six hours. I have to arrive at just the right time, or I will be shut out, so I don't want to risk late arrival. The smart play, which also saves fuel, is to run a more leisurely 8 knots, and take five hours to get there, targeting arrival at 4:30. This gives me some speed in reserve, so that I can speed up if delayed for some reason. I'll relax until  until around 10:30 am and then start preparing to depart.

And, on a different topic...

I'm experimenting with a small GPS tracking device, called "The Spot"


It should allow anyone to track Sans Souci's current location, anywhere in the world, at any time. If you know any pirates, I would appreciate if you NOT share the following link with them:


On the other hand, if it seems to be stuck in the same place for an extended period of time, please contact the coast guard. (Just kidding!!! I haven't the vaguest idea if this thing works. If it doesn't move, that just means that I've botched turning it on).

And, running off to another new topic...

Plotting my course last night was annoying. I have both Nobeltec, and Navnet 3d, and both were giving me fits. The run to Nainamo requires a lot of zigzagging between islands, and staying the right part of the channel. I wanted to get the course plotted on Navnet 3d, and it was the first time I had tried the routing feature.

As most of you know, I'm a fan of Navnet 3d, but, unless I'm missing something, it is fairly weak at allowing you to enter and edit a route. After accidentally destroying my route a few times, I gave up and went to Nobeltec to enter the route, where I also had problems! I have a little joystick for a mouse, and it just isn't oriented to doing detail work. Once again I gave up in frustration. I've certainly made routes before, but usually I'm plotting open ocean routes, where the distances are long, and there isn't a lot of precision work.


I have Nobeltec on my laptop, with a real mouse. This made creating the route easy. I then moved it to the nav computer for the boat. I'll be stuck with Nobeltec today (which isn't at all bad), and figure out Navnet 3 route editing tonight.

And, lastly...

There's a customs office here on the docks in Roche Harbor. The officer looked lonely, so I stopped to speak with him for a few minutes, and asked about how I would clear back into the US on the other side of Canada. He suggested I take a trip to Friday Harbor (just 20 minutes away by taxi) and apply at the customs office for I-68 passes, which would require passports and finger-printing from everyone on board. I wasn't excited about going to Friday Harbor, so I called US Customs in Ketchikan to see what they'd say. They were very nice and said that the I-68 passes wouldn't help, and that I should just call them a few hours before arrival in Ketchikan, and that they'd come to the boat. They made the process sound very simple.

Actually....one more thing - a quick update on the other two GSSR boats:

Grey Pearl just arrived in Vancouver, and Seabird is still stuck in Seattle, waiting on the arrival of some guests, and some last minute tweaking of the boat.

Oops... running out of time. I need to get the boat ready to go!

Thank you, Ken Williams
Nordhavn 68, Sans Souci

PS Make sure you go to the blog (/) from time to time. There is a "Post Comment" button at the bottom of each blog entry. The comments are better than the blog most days!

comments powered by Disqus
Blog from anywhere - Blog from any device

Blog from anywhere - Blog from any device
Introducing the Multi-Blog!
What is it? CLICK HERE to find out