Little Delta makes it into Anacortes, Washington!
Even though I have cleared customs in Bellingham (KBLI) several times, there’s always something that goes wrong or a little mistakes are made. This time it was the phone call you have to make at least two hours prior to crossing the border to make sure the customs officers will be there to receive you. Our phones didn’t work in Canada and the customs office claimed to be open til 8pm so I figured we were going to be just fine. We arrived at 4:30 pm but the officers were not happy about the lack of phone call claiming they were about to leave for the day. Oh well, if that’s the worst thing that happened that day we’re doing ok. I also received a phone call from the very nice Australian/Canadian ATC controller who patiently explained my error in filing a composite flight plan when crossing the border. All good lessons to keep learning to make everything run smooth for next time. In conclusion, the best way to file a flight plan is to call the briefer and you can sometimes get your discrete sqwak code over the phone.
It just so happened that we arrived in Anacortes at sunset, keeping our reputation of flying at the cusp of darkness every day. Even though Washington is ten degrees latitude south of Anchorage, the days are just as short as we approach the winter solstice. Luckily, the views were beautiful over Bellingham bay and the islands. Over the radio, we connected with Kyle from Adventure Above who was flying around his beautiful custom made Cessna 170B. We landed in Anacortes in the dark, had dinner with Kyle and Samantha at their favorite local burger joint, and made plans for a formation flight the next morning.
The weather was IFR early in the morning over Anacortes but soon the fog burned off and we departed southbound where Kyle would show us his favorite spots. We got the local tour of the islands while playfully flying in formation with our matching airplanes and joking around on the radio. Then we got to Harvey Field, had a bite to eat, and Kyle took us to his favorite gravel bar to land at which reminded me of my beloved Alaska. All in all, it was an epic day.
We ended up staying in Anacortes for three nights at a beautiful airbnb with some amazing hosts. It has actually been my favorite airbnb so far on this trip (as I am writing this months later). They had bikes for us to borrow and we took them all over town testing out the different dining options. This stay gave us a chance to catch up on some work, edit footage and pictures. I even got to go on a long run through a beautiful trail system called big cedar trail, and I didn’t even have to worry about running right smack into a bear (literally)! We got a chance to do some flight planning for our route to stop at several airport around Washington that were recommended by our viewers. This area was a great stopping point on our journey and off we go southbound to explore some more!
The only time I have ever dealt with customs was upon reentry into the US after a tour in Kuwait with the US Army. Nothing to write home about. But I agree with you if that was the worst I had to worry with, It would definitely be worth the amazing scenery and time with friends!
Happy Flying Jon!
Growing up flying out of Whidbey Is. I can say it is not you , it is the customs at BLI that is the problem. I never had an issue anywhere else and always had a problem at BLI to include the same one you mentioned.