LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
Canadians are known to be a pretty friendly people, eh? And until the COVID crisis, most were happy to welcome Americans. But when the pandemic hit, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reacted quickly.
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PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU: I just spoke to President Trump. We have agreed that both Canada and the United States will temporarily restrict all nonessential travel across the Canada-U.S. border.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Since then, Canada's border patrol has effectively prevented caravans of Americans and their RVs and their campers from surging across the border. Canada has had relatively fewer cases of the coronavirus, and they want to keep it that way.
GEORGE CREEK: My name is George Creek - C R double E K. I'm a retired insurance broker.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: George Creek retired to Vancouver Island, where he spends a lot of time on British Columbia's pristine waters and exploring its marine preserves. This summer, he and several members of the Council of B.C. Yacht Clubs looked at the waterway and noticed something strange.
CREEK: A number of us that are retired boaters started looking at the number of American boats that were crossing our border in spite of the prohibition by the federal government. This morning, I found two new boats have crossed the border and are travelling within the waters of British Columbia. And they're pleasure boats.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: He's concerned that the coronavirus could spread quickly in the tiny First Nation communities where boaters often stop for supplies. So he formed a maritime posse of retirees, armed with binoculars, cell phones and computers. They began tracking these sailboats and luxury yachts using the boats' anti-collision signals. Then, Creek says, the Americans, as they approached the international border, started going dark.
CREEK: They're turning them off. We see them on the computer at a particular point, and a few minutes later, they're not there anymore. That means they've turned off their equipment.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Creek's crew can only report the intruders to the local authorities, but it makes him and a lot of other Canadians angry.
CREEK: A very large yacht came into the dock, seven people onboard - three or four adults and the rest were teenagers with no social distancing, no masks.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So to all you boaters sneaking across the border to enjoy Canada's clear waters and secluded coves, George Creek wants you to know you are being watched.
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