San Juan Sailing Day 3 – Stuart Island to Victoria Harbor

After a very calm night in Prevost harbor we headed out early for Victoria, British Columbia. We’d heard the current was strong in the Haro Strait so we didn’t want to be against it. The atlas told us that until about noon, the current would be with us.
We checked the weather in the morning and it looked like storms would be rolling through the entire day. There was a small craft advisory until 5PM. By leaving early we would not only be with the current, but if the storms slowed us down, we’d still have plenty of time to get to Victoria Harbour before dark.
Pic of Stuart island as we were leaving Prevost harbor:
After Stuart island we immediately entered the shipping lanes of the Haro Strait. There were two large freighters that went by us. They looked like they were going slow, but they were soon so far ahead of us that we could no longer see them.
We decided to not put the sails up since it looked like we were going to sail into a rainstorm and didn’t know how strong the winds would be.
Sailing from the good weather behind us into the dark weather in front. Looking back at this picture, it reminds me how different this sailing trip was from the pictures we’ve seen of people sailing in their bathing suits in the Carribean.
We were lucky that day. All the storms passed us by. We had some wind and a little rain, but nothing severe.
Discovery island is at the end of the Haro Strait as the Haro Strait turns into Juan de Fuca. As we passed the island and were turning into Juan de Fuca we put the sails up but as usual we were right into the wind. Also the current was against us so it was slow-going into Victoria Harbour.
After entering the harbour, we followed the signs to the customs dock. At the dock, we had to get off the boat, go to a payphone on the dock and call Canadian Customs. We provided our passport info, answered a few questions, they had us write down a number and told us “Welcome to Canada”. All this over the phone. We never saw a Canadian official in person.
After clearing customs, we called Victoria Harbour and they assigned us a mooring. We backed in, tied up, connected ourselves to shore power and were ready for our two days in Canada.
The first thing we wanted to do after checking in was to take a shower.  The bathroom and shower facilities at the harbor were nice and clean. The showers were coin operated, though, and we didn’t have any Canadian Loonies.  We found a currency exchange a few blocks from the harbor and changed $20US which gave us more than enough Loonies for multiple showers.
After showering we had fish and chips at milestones restaurant right on the waterfront.
View of the Empress Hotel from Foxy Freda:
And one of the British Columbia parliament building:
The dock was next to a couple of whale watching operations like this one where people put on survival suits, loaded themselves onto a zodiac and went in search of whales.
We noticed that they looked a lot happier going out than coming back in. Not sure what that meant.
Finished off the night by eating dinner at a nice little bistro we found a few blocks from the waterfront:

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