2023 Princess Louisa Flotilla – Day 1 Bellingham to Sidney | NW Explorations
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2023 Princess Louisa Flotilla – Day 1 Bellingham to Sidney

The overcast sky didn’t put a damper on the excitement in the air as Zaya, Double O’ Seven and Patos prepared for departure. Bill expertly backed Double O’ Seven out of its slip in crowded Squalicum Harbor belying its nearly 60-foot length with the help of Sandi and Ron as experienced deck hands. Zaya was next with Steve, Marci and the “Brothers-3”, Henry, Peter and Samuel all working together with smiles and calm voices, as they slid quietly out of their slip and were on their way.

Double O’ Seven two 800hp engines with  was already out of sight by the time we rounded Carter Point at the south end of Lummi Island, no doubt we will meet them in Sidney relaxing at the the dock  with cocktails in their hands. Cruising across Bellingham Bay we will keep a lookout for marine birds and some of our more common residents like harbor seal, harbor porpoise, as well as grey whales recently sighted numerous times since early spring. Rounding Carter Point on Lummi Island, Viti Rocks comes into view covered in large groups of cormorants resting or with outstretched wings in an effort to dry their feathers. Pairs of shy harbor porpoise surface for a few breaths and disappear and harbor seals peak their heads up as we cruise by.

As we passed Spieden Island we noticed Canada Geese along the shore. On the island we saw less familiar goats, sheep and deer at the water’s edge and grazing on the golden hillside. These animals descended from exotic animals that were imported from around the world when the island was used as a trophy hunting destination in 1962. The sheep may have been Mouflon sheep from Spain or perhaps African Barbary sheep. The deer may have been Indian Spotted deer, Japanese Sitka deer or perhaps European fallow deer. It was difficult to know from a distance but, no matter, it was intriguing to watch them graze on the hillside and walk along the water’s edge. Leaving Spieden behind, we could see the light house at Turn Point on Stewart Island in the distance.

Crossing the boarder into Canada we passed low-lying Sidney Spit, a long narrow sandy spit with herons fishing along the shores and eagles roosting in one of the few tall perches on the spit. From there, it was only a short distance to Sidney Harbor where we met the Double O’ Seven crew who had arrived in half the time as expected.

While waiting to clear customs, Jane explored along the edges of the dock for marine life. A large California sea cucumber, delicate thin legged kelp crab, oysters and the occasional sea star were all clinging to side of the dock. The wait was more interesting providing time to share these creatures with the Florida crew on Zaya, who were unfamiliar and interested in a closer look.

Once cleared, we docked the boats and settled in for the day. We will take a lay day and use our time to provision and welcome two more Canadian boats to complete our flotilla to Princess Louisa Inlet. For now, we will relax, enjoy the shoreside paths in Sidney, secure fresh baked pastries for tomorrow’s breakfast and make reservations for tonight’s dinner. Sidney is a neat and quiet harbor that offers a peaceful nights rest.

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