Yesterday’s gathering of adventurers was off to a great start….a chance for everyone to meet their fellow flotilla members. Lots of mingling and a sense of excitement in the air. Brian Pemberton, owner of NW Explorations and leader of the flotilla, greeted the group and gave an orientation on safety and what to expect.
The guests have come from many areas, some local, some from across the US and two groups all the way from Australia. Rumors of the wonderful expeditions with NW Explorations have spread far and wide! The motor vessels are all Grand Banks of various lengths and models and shipshape.
On Monday morning we were underway to parts north! We cast off from the docks right on schedule at 8:00AM. We waited outside the breakwater as each boat past through the rocky opening to a calm Bellingham Bay. It was a lovely cruise through the San Juan Islands past Speiden Island and across Boundary Pass. Speiden Island used to have exotic game animals in the 1960’s. They were mostly removed but some were spotted by our observant cruisers – was that a big horn sheep? Unfortunately, no otter sightings but we will all keep an eye out for the cute little creatures! Some foggy areas got the skippers very in-tune with their radar and instruments.
We cleared customs in Bedwell Harbor and docked in charming Ganges on Saltspring Island where the crews from each of the boats set forth to finish off their provisioning.
Most impressive are the skills of the skippers, many new to these boats, in maneuvering these powerful twin engine yachts in and around the docks. Brian gave some great advice on throttle control exactly when needed over the VHF radio.