Juan de Fuca Strait

I am thinking of doing a crossing from Victoria BC to Port Angeles in April. Would there be any problems with customs or immigration? What are the currents like? I would like to do it on April 14 so I could be rested for the symposium on Saturday.

customs and juan de fuca strait
You must check in with customs as soon as you get across into US waters. I mean RIGHT away, Customs have gotten very strict with this of late. I found out the hard way, and narrowly escaped a 10,000 USD fine. There have been a few cases of folks using kayaks as a stealthy way to smuggle pot into the US in this area in the last couple of years, and so Customs and the Coast Guard are much more aware of kayakers than in the past. You can probably call in via cellphone or VHF on your way across to let them know you are on the way. I would call the Customs office in question and get the facts from them though.

Good luck!

The Victoria Canoe and
kayak club routinelly paddles across there in voyageur canoes. I know they have had minor issues with freighter traffic. If you want to e mail directly i can forward your request to a member who maybe able to provide further info.


– Last Updated: Feb-18-05 11:43 AM EST –

Hey Chuck, ya want to meet? I'll be there, too, for a few weeks. Planning on going to the symposium as well. Anyone else going?

Crossing the strait. Just don't get hit by a tanker. Gotta watch out for the pilot boats coming out of the harbor. Them SOBs make one hell of a wake, too. When ya get to Victoria, I recommend stopping by the Stickey Wicket Pub and have a cold one....or two. :)

Here are some pics
of a crossing. This site also has some nice photos. Maybe contact John Walpole about his trip.


good trip, if not for customs
I was nav boy on that trip; it is a fine one to do and fairly committing.

We had swell in the middle large enough to compromise our ability to keep the best lookout for shipping traffic. Besides keeping a moniter on the VHF, we had a protocol to check each others horizon sweeps on a regular basis. You will be crossing a shipping channel, and in it for awhile, and those ships move fast…

We took a longer route to visit and play at Race Rocks, plus a 20min on the water surprise birthday for Jon. The journey from Pt Angeles to Victoria via that route was 19nm, our average speed was 4.3kn (inc breaks). The mid channel flood stream was running at 2kn, with our speed well over 4kn we kept a 30deg ferry angle (we only lost about 10% of our speed on our course). There is no way to use transits on the other shore, the distance is too great.

Fun time, and customs in Canada was easy, even with only a drivers license! They really had their act toghether- we pulled up to the customs dock, called in our Drivers license#, and the VIN on the hull (required), they asked about the date of my last visit to check (it was on their screen), and everything was cool. Oh, yeah, we did call the harbour master upon entering Victoria harbour.

This is in contrast to coming back to Port Angeles on the Black Ball ferry; US customs was a PITA, even hostile. You will absolutely need all your papers (passport and one other government issue ID) ready. If you go from Victoria to Port Angeles, I would file a float plan with the Coast Guard, call the harbour master, and perhaps even check with customs about where to disembark. And get it in writing. I have had some very unpleasant experiences coming back into the US, and if you get a verbal bit of advice from customs before you go, don’t be suprised if it turns out to be personal opinion, not policy.

good travels, and be cautious around Race Rock if you go that way (Stellars Sea lions are agressive, and their breath could knock you out).


RR is protected
as well. The rocks are a Marine santuary and off limits.

cool website



I am going to pick up a chart and some tidetables. I have done long crossings before, but they were point and shoot in warm waters without a lot of current.

tide prediction
just for grins and giggles I looked up the tidal stream prediction for April 14 on NOAA. The station is 4mi S of Race Rocks; for that day, it will be one of those odd events that happens with regularity in the San Juan area- it will be ebbing almost all day! Flood is 0.0kn @ 0655, max ebb is 2.5kn@ 1305. Early start, and best to journey from Victoria to Port Angeles. Port Angeles to Victoria could be done, but only by eddy hopping. Although the eddies are huge…


I’ve no expertise on any of this…
…topic, but I do recall that an alert customs officer found a carload of jihadic explosive stuff

coming off a Black Ball. She got lots of deserved


Anyone interested in doing the crossing with me?

Sounds like
a blast, but too much for my blood. Plus I won’t have my boat with me. I’ll be sure an wave at ya from the top deck of the Coho as we pass ya, though.

I’ll welcome you here!
I live in Port Angeles and would love to welcome you here when you arrive.

A couple of my buddies made the crossing from here to Victoria late last fall and had a great time. An orca surfaced right near them to see what they were. She said it was like a bus hitting the water - it was so big! That was the coolest thing!

My goal is to paddle from here to Victoria some day, but I’m not conditioned enough just yet.

Email me privately if you want - we can talk more about Port Angeles. I can find out more about what customs will expect. Are you a US citizen?


I am pretty sure my wife is the
welcoming committee, unless she is still on the ferry. I may be changing the day that I cross to either Friday or Monday due to needs of my work. Probably see you at the symposium. Look for a Yellow Khatsalano or an Orange Nordkapp.