Friday July 5th – After 4 nights at Roche we pointed the bow north headed for Nanaimo in Canada. If you are cruising north through the Gulf Islands you have to go through a passage called Dodd Narrows to get to Nanaimo. This is a narrow passage where the current can run up to 8 knots and it’s best if only one boat at a time passes through the narrowest spot.
We timed our arrival for slack tide so we wouldn’t have much current, but so does everyone else. It was packed with boats lined up trying to go through the passage both north and south. Its good practice to announce your passage through the narrows on the radio so any opposing traffic knows what you are doing. As we got close a tugboat with a log boom announced they were headed through in about 10 minutes. I couldn’t see them, but we waited while the boats stacked up behind us. Soon they came through, all squirrely in the current. All the boats hugged the shoreline just south of the narrows to give them plenty of room. After it was clear we announced our passage north on the radio and headed through. About 20 seconds later another boat announced they were heading north as well, no big deal, they must be behind us. Then 3 seconds later they corrected that saying they were heading south. At this point we were committed to the passage and I really didn’t have any idea what they were actually doing, so I got on the radio and told them not to go through until we were clear. Thankfully we did not encounter another boat and I still have no idea who they were.
We hadn’t cleared customs yet and never have in Nanaimo, so we searched for the customs dock which ended up being full of boats. The fuel dock was right next to customs and the nice customs agent at the dock allowed us to clear customs there and fuel up at the same time. Once cleared, we made our way to our assigned slip in the Port Authority Marina. The weather continued to suck (and the 10-day forecast wasn’t any better) so we decided to stay 2 nights in Nanaimo.