We were just a couple miles across the Canadian border when I noticed a few powerboats milling about in mid-channel. Taking a closer look with the binoculars, I could tell they were looking at something — orcas. Shortly after spotting them, I saw the small pod of whales they were watching. The unmistakable spout and tall black dorsal fins emerged off our port side, and then the small group disappeared.
Seeing orcas in the wild is an experience that never gets old, and a few minutes later, one of the whales appeared again and swam parallel to us for a few hundred yards; seemingly escorting us into Canada. When he went on his way, I got us back on our course and noticed very quickly that an official looking black and gray powerboat was speeding our way.
“We’re about to get boarded,” I said to Jill and, sure enough, it was the local police with a U.S. Coast Guard ship rider aboard to make sure we were acting in accordance with both country’s laws, as we had just crossed the border.
This isn’t unusual and, if you’re doing everything right, is typically a pleasant and painless process. The very friendly Canadian police officer took all of our personal info and called it in to see if we had any warrants out while the young Coastie went through the requisite vessel safety checklist with Jill. We passed both with flying colors.
While he was down below checking fire extinguishers, flares and the bilge, Porter woke up from a nap in complete bewilderment as to who was aboard. He was a little shy at first, but soon warmed up and the Coastie gave him his Maritime Safety & Security Team badge before leaving.
Welcome to Canada, Yahtzee!