Join Date: May 2006
Location: Long Beach, CA
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As long as the wind & tide is right, I vote for Active Pass
I was home ported in Blaine for 5 years and made about 85% of my first & last legs via Acive pass. Check to see if there's a turn of tide at a time reasonably close to your expected ETA. Most of the time there is one, but if your stuck with a choice of 1000 then 1600, one's to early and the other makes for a long day.
If you do go through Active Pass, and you have a CANPASS, you might also be able to clear Canadian Customs early. A couple of times I called them while still in the pass, told them that I was standing off the warf at Miner's Bay and was willing to come to dock if they wanted me to. Each time they just took my info over the phone and gave me a reporting number. Once through Active Pass, you have a choice of leaving the Penders to Starboard and transiting Navy Channel or leaving the Penders to Port. Again, check the wind & current. I've had some really great sails in Navy Channel and one memorable day of making 6+ knots through the water and loosing ground on each tack. I would not take Navy Channel if I had strong current on the nose. But if the current is in your favor, I find this route more visually appealing than Swanson Channel.
If you swing south around Saturna Island, be aware of possible tide rips East of Rosenfeld Rock. I took the corner a little too close one time - it was the only time in 10 years of sailing the Gulf Islands that I took significant water down my companionway - but it was a heck of a ride.