Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Can I get cell phone reception in the San Juan and Gulf Islands?
Yes, cell reception in the San Juan Islands is good to excellent, particularly near towns and marinas. The Gulf Islands, in Canadian waters, have excellent cell reception as well but you will have to contact your service provider and let them know the time you’ll be in Canada. Most providers, such as Verizon, offer a simple $5 charge (good for an entire month). This way you avoid roaming charges.
Q. What about Wi-Fi internet access in the islands?
All the marinas have free Wi-Fi access for your phone or laptop via their Wi-Fi address/password. During the height of the summer season, access could be slow due to visitor usage and the Wi-Fi bandwidth. At anchor in a cove or inlet, or while underway, you can use your iPhone or Android to create your own hotspot to access the web on your laptop.
Q. If we stay at a marina in Canada, do we need Canadian currency?
All marina/harbor locations in Canada accept US currency and credit cards but any change you get back will be in Canadian currency based on that day’s exchange rate. You will need Canadian 1-dollar (Loonie) or 2-dollar (Toonie) coins. These are used to pay for “timed” showers while at the marina. Usually a Toonie will get you 5 to 7 minutes. Plenty of time for a shower.
Q. Will I need a Passport if we go to the Gulf Islands?
Yes. Since we are crossing the US/Canadian border you are required to have your Passport or a NEXUS card. Our motor-yacht will go to the nearest customs dock after we cross the border and register.
Q. What if I need to buy medicine or I’m in need of first aid?
Your motor-yacht has a comprehensive first aid kit and Capt. Tom knows how to use it. There is a drug store, nearby, at most marinas, where you can order added prescription medication if needed. If a medical emergency occurs while underway, Capt. Tom would contact the Coast Guard via VHF radio. The Coast Guard has medical professionals on duty and will render assistance as needed. As always, please contact your physician before you take your cruise if you have a medical condition that may need your physician’s guidance. In the San Juan and Gulf Islands medical facilities are always within an hour or two away while cruising.
Q. What about laundry facilities if needed?
Every marina in the San Juan and Gulf Islands have complete laundry facilities.
Q. If we live in the states of WA, OR or CA, can we take controlled substances into the San Juan or Gulf Islands?
No. Capt. Tom does not allow any controlled substances, including medical marijuana, aboard the motor-yacht at any time. If you are caught using in Canada, you will be arrested. Please do not put yourself, Capt. Tom and the motor-yacht at risk.
Q. What about the weather?
June through early October are the prime boating season. Throughout this period the weather is temperate with days in the 60’s to low 70’s. Nights and early morning are cooler, ranging from the low to mid 50’s. You’re motor-yacht has an electric and diesel heating system to keep you quite comfortable any time of the day or night. Because the San Juan Islands are in the Olympic Range “rain shadow” the boat season has very few times with some rain and overcast. The Gulf Islands are about the same. Fog in the morning does occur infrequently but burns off before noon.
Q. What should I wear on my vacation cruise.
Boating in the islands is great fun but also very casual. All the best restaurants in the marinas, towns and cities are island casual. Clothing- plan on bringing layered clothing. Fleece vest, lightweight jackets and pants (shorts are OK for warm days). Sun cap or ball cap plus wool or fleece knit cap. Windbreaker jacket is also recommended. Deck shoes, like Sperry Topsiders, are best on the boat. Comfortable shoes for walking around town should also be included. Sunglasses and sunscreen a must!