We cast off at 7:45 with the staff and dock hands of Northwest Explorations standing by to lend a hand with lines and say goodbyes. Deception sounded off the cannon as it headed off the dock and sailed out of Bellingham Harbor to await the fleet outside the breakwaters. Glassy calm waters and blue skies greeted the fleet as we assembled into formation and set a course through the San Juan’s for the first port of call, Victoria, BC.
Following Deception’s lead, we passed south of Lummi Island and between Cypress Island and Guemes Island. We tightened up formation for some brief footage from helicopter arranged by NW Explorations. The helicopter pulled in tight, maneuvering to hover over the boats for close footage even as the vessels were making 14 knots! Some pretty exciting moments of James Bond action.
Our fleet succeeded in snaking its way between freight traffic as we passed into Canadian waters southwest of San Juan Island and eventually made our way through the shipping lane. Heavy traffic on the radio as well – a mayday came in on the radio for an overturned vessel south off of Trial Island with two crew in the water. A nearby vessel was able to arrive in time to assist in the rescue while the coast guard was dispatched. Several minutes later we passed the overturned vessel with the rescue vessel standing by.
Upon arriving in Victoria harbor, we pulled up to the customs dock and then continued to our slips at the foot of The Empress. Couldn’t ask for better parking! Victoria harbor is bustling with boat traffic this time of year – and all sizes! From kayaks on up. Small yellow (and green) checkered water taxis flit around us and from the fly deck you can see horse drawn carriages passing along the waterfront.