July 4, 1997
Blaine, Washington, USA

Soon after docking at the marina in Blaine, I called the U.S. customs from the Harbour Office. The customs officer asked me a few questions, and then gave me a number and said "This is your number, don’t lose it!"

As I walked back to my kayak, I didn’t see any place I could set up my hammock. I asked the guys on the Bay Liner next to me if I could sleep on the deck of their boat for the night. They said it would be OK. I would have just slept on the dock if I had a Therm-a-rest, but like my sleeping bag, I won’t be picking it up until I get to Cascade Designs in Seattle.

Around 10:15pm, it got dark, so I grabbed my camera and tripod, and headed toward the pier. The July 4th fireworks started at 10:30am and they were awesome! It was quite a show for such a small town. I must have taken at least eight shots. The fireworks will be a great opening for my slide show presentation when I get home.

After the fireworks, I met a group of Canadian kids from the town of White Rock hanging out in the marina parking lot. After talking to them for a few minutes I asked them if they’d like to come down to my kayak, and talk for a while as I made myself supper. They followed me, and we sat on the dock chatting until 12:30. My supper never got made.

I was too tired to cook anything, so I just swallowed a handful of food supplements with a luke-warm protein drink. It tasted horrible. I then pulled out my Bible and proceeded to read the first page of Genesis. My tired eyes wouldn’t let me read any further. I then grabbed my Gore-Tex sleeping shell and gently boarded the Bay Liner, trying not to disturb the crew sleeping inside. I climbed up to the top deck and found two large foam blocks to lay on. There wasn’t enough room for me to lay out straight, so I had to curl up in a ball. I was horribly uncomfortable, and froze all night.

After waking up shivering for at least the fifth time, I couldn’t stand it anymore, and got up at 4am. It was light out, but the sun was not yet up. As the sun began to appear, the sky turned a deep red. After getting down from the Bay Liner, I put my camera on its tripod, and spent half an hour trying to capture the perfect sunrise shot. I squeezed off two shots, then started packing up my kayak.

I took an hour to get ready to head out. I checked the weather report on my VHF - a storm was moving in from the northwest. I didn’t need the radio to tell me that. Large black thunder clouds spewing a curtain of rain were moving directly toward me across the Strait of Georgia. I pulled out my rain gear, put the cock-pit cover on my kayak, and headed for the harbor office, to hang out with some salty sea dogs, until the storm passed.

I asked a man in the office when the next ferry would be leaving Blaine for Semiahmoo. He said he ran the ferry, and that it wouldn’t be leaving for another hour... so would I like to go to his place for lunch...? I said OK... and we went.

When we got to his house, I was surprised to see his yard was covered with bamboo trees. Once I stepped through the first row of bamboo, it felt like I was entering the rain forest. Rich’s house was a mess. Well... it wasn’t really a mess - just extremely cluttered. He had huge bean bag chairs on the floor... three layers of photos on the fridge... and all types of equipment was scattered everywhere. It reminded me of my bedroom back home. I loved it! After lunch, he took me on his ferry, the Plover, over to Semiahmoo. The ferry ride only took about five minutes. Rich said it’s the shortest ferry ride in the country. I spent an hour exploring the beach, then took the ferry back to Blaine.

That evening, I hung out at Rich’s house: writing emails, watching the Mars landing on TV, and talking with his sixteen year old daughter, Anna. I spent the night in the cabin of a big fishing boat Rich keeps in his yard.

July 6, 1997
Blaine, Washington


Today was really great weather... but I missed the tide. If I was to get in a few miles, it would have been a lot of hard work, and not much fun. So I stayed here and helped Rich get his boat ready for the opening of the salmon season. Later in the day, I used his bike to do some errands and went back to the dock to repack my boat.


Got to go... it’s 12:10am, and I must hit the water by 7am. Good night!