Saturday, August 16, 2014

We have just returned to Sydney after a week's vacation with our daughter Jennifer and her two boys, William, 7, and Leeland, 5. The holiday was not a success in the boys' eyes after the first day.  We tacked out of Sydney Harbour and out into the open ocean for a twelve mile stretch before entering the Bra d'Or Lakes.  It was a great ride if you were a seasoned sailor but for two little boys who did not have their sea legs it was a trial.  They were both green about the gills and lost their lunches on several occasions.  Their Mom was also suffering from mal de mer and tried to sleep it off down below.  She managed to hang on to her cookies and it was a tried and grumpy crew as we tied up in Kelly's Cove about seven hours after starting out.  
The crew rebelled at the idea of moving on the next day fearing a recurrence of their maladies so we stayed put and played baseball and tried out the new fishing rods.  We were flabbergasted to see another boat registered in Victoria BC pull into the dock.  We hailed them once we got ashore and they were from the Bluewater Cruising Club, fleet of 2011, and had brought the boat through the Panama Canal and up to NS.  We talked about mutual acquaintances and pointed out some great anchorages in Nfld. for them (they were headed there) when we met for sun downers.
 Leeland was fishing off the boat and when he handed his rod off to Grandpa for some remedial hook repairs the rod was dropped.  Mommy to the rescue, she donned Grannie's wetsuit and gear and in she went.  She was in the water for about 20 minutes scouring the bottom.  There was limited visibility and she had to get quite near the bottom in order to see anything,  the 6 to 8 meter depth was a challenge but she claimed to be enjoying herself, a true Canadian. 
She found the rod on her next to last sweep and there was one very happy little boy on board. Jennifer spotted the hook on the bottom and that led to the rod, yippee!!
We moved down the channel the next day and found a great spot for a terrific camp fire; wieners and marshmallows were the order of the day.  Jennifer convinced the boys that the water was warm and in they went. 
Leeland was having a great time trying to ride on Mom's shoulders, meanwhile Jen is struggling to stay up and we could hear her strange strangled giggling coming out of the snorkel.  
William is great in the water and after seeing a starfish, a whole bunch of crab shells with Mom, he kicked his way to shore for his towel and got warm by the roaring fire. 

Keeping two young children entertained on a 39 foot boat was a bit of a challenge but we managed.  Grandpa is getting a lesson on the how to play one of the kids' favourite games on the ipod, while the Dinorgami kit I bought in New York was a hit with Jen and the kids.  The kit came with paper with designs on it and after many intricate folds a dinosaur was produced. One day we collected drift wood and a dinorgami mobile is going to be produced as a reminder of the trip. Grannie came up with the idea of making the boys names out of letter flags and after much cutting and hand sewing, their names and ages in flags were flown off the starboard spreader.  We taught the boys the time honoured card games of Go Fish and War and that as well as Scrabble and twenty questions were standard fair for the evening hours.  

No trip to Nova Scotia is complete without a picture of a lighthouse.  We stopped in Baddeck for ice cream, a few groceries and a playground hunting trip one day.  Jen and I went to Kidston Island just 200 meters across the water from Baddeck and went on the nature trail around the island.  We saw a young eagle on our travels and well as lots of interesting flowers, ferns and trees.  
Our next stop was Washabuck Bay.  It was only about 5 nm from Baddeck and the wind was behind us. Our genoa pulled us down the bay and thankfully there was no recurrence of the mal de mer.  It was a beautiful day so I suggested that swinging into the water off the end of the boom was something everyone might enjoy.  Grandpa, being the stick in the mud that he is said "why can't they just jump in off the boat?"  If the possibility of swinging off the boom exists why would you settle for merely jumping in, that was my thought!!
A great time was had by all three generations and we all swung in off the boom!!! That afternoon we took the dinghy around the bay and spotted eagles, king fishers, blue herons, Canadian geese and Bonaparte gulls on our sortie.  The next day it was time to head back home so we tacked back up the bay timing our arrival at the end of the channel to take advantage of the outgoing tide.  We motored the last bit into Kelly's Cove in a virtual white out as rain engulfed us.  It let up later on and we got off the boat and went to explore an old gypsum mine.  We made a valiant attempt to play Pooh sticks at a bridge on the way but there was too little water in the stream to carry even the smallest stick to the other side.  Today we got underway at 0500 to catch the out going tide once again and arrived back in Sydney five and a half hours later.  The boys took some medication before we left and spent most of the time fast asleep on the cabin sole, blissfully unaware of any motion.  
I would say that other than the first day the outing was an unqualified success, I am so glad we were able to have family aboard and share these great memories with them. 
Sailor Jen, our Winch Wench, Helmsman, and Mom Extraordinaire!