Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Southwest Coast of Nova Scotia

 We left Halifax after an almost teary goodbye with Mark, Jen and the kids.  It was so great being a part of their lives the past year. To have seen the boys grow and mature over the year, to do kookie things with my daughter and all the help Mark has given us from trouble shooting our motor, to accepting all our various boat parts that come by mail, and finding us one of the nicest cars we have owned, it was very difficult for me to leave. 
We have had some superb weather, wind from behind for the most part and beautiful bright sunny days with cooler nights.  There was a frost warning two nights ago so I am hoping some of the leaves will turn before we leave the country.  I have cancelled my phone service as of Oct. 5 so if the weather continues to be kind to us we will cross to the U.S. just before it runs out. 
                          Looking out over the water.

Our first stop after Halifax was Chester, NS. There are quite a number of Americans that live here so it had a "Cape Cod" feel to it, with huge mansions lining the shorelines.  They have boat houses with enough square footage that we could comfortable live in.  We stopped to borrow some U.S. charts that a fellow in the Race the Cape said we could have.  While we were swinging on our anchor he came by in his motor yacht and offered us the use of one of his moorings. Meanwhile another fellow whom we had very briefly met stopped by to say hi and later on dropped off some home grown vegetables, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, and some preserves,  WHAT A TREAT! 
          Something to add to my sign collection. 
Today we are in Lunenburg today and marvelled at the Bluenose II. It is absolutely beautiful but at $45 for a two hour ride we decided to forgo a chance to ride on the Canadian Icon. 

Today was maintenance Monday we were told and we got a chance to briefly chat with a couple of the crew.  I exchanged varnishing stories with one girl and another fellow said he had been aboard during the summers since 2004, what a great summer job.  He has finished his education and is planning to go lobster fishing once the Bluenose II is put to bed for the winter. 
                                     The colourful Lunenburg waterfront. 
That afternoon a former co-worker of Barry's came and picked us up and took us on a very picturesque tour around Lunenburg county. We ended up at their home, they have a lovely newish bungalow with 1.3 acres of property that borders on a small pond.  They have two Labrador dogs and we witnessed them plunging into the pond off their dock to get a floating bout, they loved it. We had a wonderful time as we were treated to a haddock dinner and introduced to a game of washers.  It has much the same rules as horseshoes but it is played with heavy metal washers and you have to get them in a wooden square container. Instead of a stake to get a ringer inside the square is a tube that they put around a lobster once they catch it to contain it's claws.  Too much fun, the girls triumphed in the game of girls against the boys but when the Langes took on the Strydes we were beaten badly!! 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Sydney to Halifax

We left Sydney with the promise of a NW wind of 30 knots in the forecast.  It came through like gangbusters and we rode that wind until it changed to the usual Southwesterly. In all we sailed 141 mm in 24 hours, almost a 6 knot average so we were just humming along.  Once the wind changed we picked a nearby anchorage and in we went.  We then had the luxury to dawdle along picking out lovely secluded anchorages as we slowly made our way towards Halifax. Today once again they promised a north wind so we left ourselves almost 50 miles to go downwind to arrive in time to meet up with Barry's sister Kim. They are arriving tomorrow on a much larger ship!!  We are within 10nm of marina we plan to stay at so all is good. 
The weather has been kind with sunny warm days and foggy evenings.  Our radar has been coming in very handy along this coast. We have not been ashore since we left Sydney, I was feeling a bit boat bound last night and I was going to go exploring in the dinghy but the fog rolled in and you could only see 100m. so there was really no point.  I have my list for the chanderly in Halifax ready and the to do list is shrinking daily!! 
We met Barry's sister Kim and her husband Brent today, they are on a cruise from Quebec City to Boston.  We had a lovely day, wandering along the waterfront and then strolling up the hill to the citadel to hear the noon gun. After a leisurely lunch we walked back towards the cruise ship, it was great to catch up with them again. 

We are using the "Cruising Guide to the Nova Scotia Coast" published by Alexander Weld, printed by Pilot Press in Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Ports or Anchorages

Gegogan  45*03.1' N X 61*57' W
Anchored in 5m off the NE shore of Rae Island
Very good holding in mud, good protection from all directions
No services

Ecum Secum Inlet  44* 57.4'N X 62*09.4' W
Anchored in 7m behind Hardwood Island.
Very good holding in mud, good protection from all directions
We did not go ashore, cell ph. service 

Sheet Harbour Passage  44* 51.2'N X 62*26.9' W
Anchored in 4m in behind Factory Point on Sober Island 
Very good holding in mud, good protection from all directions 
We did not go ashore, cell ph. service. 

Borgles Island   44* 57.4'N X 62*09.4' W
Anchored in 9m, limited swing room but adequate so judge carefully where you drop the hook. 
Very good holding in mud, good protection from all directions 
We anchored in Deep Cove, checked out anchorage on south side but too much swell in SW wind 
We wanted to go ashore but fog rolled in, cell phone service, no other services. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Back in Sydney NS

We had a great time at the beach yesterday with Jennifer, William and Leeland. There were some waves so Jen and William surfed a bit.  I went in and boggie boarded for awhile as did Leeland. Grandpa supervised from the comfort of his beach chair.  We flew kites, built sand castles and had a great lunch.  What a lovely day, thanks for organizing it Jen.  
The day before we went out in Jen's new hobbie cat for a sail.  There wasn't a lot of wind but William came on the boat with me and got the basics of steering and using the main sheet down. Later his Mom took him out and demonstrated how to tip and upright the craft.  He had so much fun that he wanted to do it again and again and again. It was fun to watch him try and stay on the high side and then get flipped off as he went vertical in the air! 
We are busy getting boat chores done and we are about half way through my list.  It is raining today which will delay the hull polishing that I think we should do in order to maintain the lovely new paint job we got two years ago. We are going to leave for Halifax on Wed. Barry's sister Kim and her husband Brent will be there on a cruise on the 22 so we are planning to meet. Then Jen is having her eyes re lasered on the 24 and the boys will spend the night with us so she and Mark can get some rest. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Heading home down the south coast

                                      Leaving St. John's Harbour at dawn 

We are on our way back to Sydney, NS and are on a mission, no time for sight seeing. Leaving St. John's Harbour we sailed pass Cape Spear, the most easterly point in North America.  It was neat to sail past after standing there last year and wondering if we would ever be by this way again! The next day we sailed past Cape Race which is considered the bottom of the Avalon Penninsula and turned the corner to head west. We have had enough wind to sail most days but unfortunately it seems like it is always on our nose. That means we have to tack back and forth going about 1 and 1/2 times the distance we would need to if we went in a straight line. We have been sailing until we have about 10 miles to go and then getting tired, we turn on the motor and motor sail in a straighter line to our destination. 
                     Cape Spear the most easterly point in North America

When we left Trespassey we had an overnighter in order to reach a safe port which was not 20 miles out of our way.  The winds were once again on our nose and kept picking up all day.  By nightfall we were down to a double reefed main and the staysail. We were still making headway but the waves were over 3 meters and the boat was taking a pounding. We hove to,with just the main up and the tiller hard over and just slowly went backwards. After a couple of hours of this I put a little foresail up and started sailing again.  Barry was very unhappy and so was the main, it protested by letting go on a seam just above the second reef.  (The stitching on the main is very weak due to UV damage, we need to get it re stitched.) We reefed down again to the third reef and once again started to slowly go backwards. The wind abated about 0400 and we were sailing again.  At 0900 hours we had the full genoa, staysail and triple reefed main up and were making good time in the bright sunshine. At 1100 hours we were motoring to make landfall before dark and we took the main down and off of it's foot and started sewing.  
This morning, which is the next day we woke at 0330 and decided to motor 20 nm as the wind was on our nose, to the next anchorage to wait out a coming gale.  30 knots are predicted with gust to 40, YIKES but not until noon so we are counting on the accuracy of the forecast and making a run for it.   We decided to motor the distance because that would leave us with about 180nm to go to Sydney and there are NE and SE winds predicted for the days following the gale so we should have the wind behind us for a couple of days. Send us your best wishes for following seas!!

We are using " The Cruising Guide of Nfld." published by Members of the Cruising Club of America and it has been very "helpful.
Ports or Anchorages

Fermeuse Harbour  46*58' N X 52*56' W
Tied to the dock at the harbour west of Sheep's Head.
Electricity and garbage disposal available at dock, no water, no charge, came in late, left early. 
No info. on services in town. 
Great protection lots of water going into the dock. 

Trespassey  46*44' N X 53*22' W
Anchored in 5m. of water in NW arm. Put out 50 m. of chain. Good holding
Picked up a log on the anchor. 
Dock available but very open to W and SW winds 
No info. on services easy entrance into harbour. 

Little St. Lawrence  46*55' N X 55*21' W
Anchored in 4m. of water. Good holding, Hurricane hole, great protection all around. 
Services available in town I km. away by road. 
Very friendly locals. 

Lamaline   46*51.4' N  X 55*48.3' W
Tied up at the wharf. Very protected dock.
Follow the buoys and watch your charts going in, we saw 2.8 m on the depth finder at low tide. 
There is a floating dock with adequate water to tie up. 
Water, tap on building to left of pier, electricity, garbage disposal available, no charge
Fuel, groceries available about 1km. away, 2 offers of rides 
Walking trails on Allan Island with views of St. Pierre, great stop. 

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

St. John's

We are tied up to a floating dock right in downtown St. John's. When we came in there was an Australian boat tied up to the dock and as soon as our boat was secured we were swapping stories. They left Australia in 2003 and have been in many of the same places as we have and we have mutual friends.  What a pleasure it was to connect with them. 
We have been enjoying St. John's, wandering around looking in shop windows, I got a little retail therapy and bought gifts for new grand nieces and nephews and sent off a present to Australia.  I hope it gets there before Christmas because I sent it surface mail, I figure whenever it gets there the kids will be happy. The style of architecture here is unique and quite enjoyable. 

There is lots of history in St. John's and the city has done a great job with a number of historic walks in the downtown area.  At each stop there is an excellent map of where you are on the walk and a description of the relevant landmark.  We are located at Queen's Wharf just down from a war memorial, there is a picture of when it was unveiled back in the 1920's and the huge crowd that attended that event.  Right next to us is where the big ships that service the oil rigs dock.  We were a bit worried when we arrived that their comings and goings would batter the boat against the dock with their prop wash, but it has not happened, they are always facings us!
We went up to the Geo Centre yesterday, it is an excellent facility. Newfoundland has some very interesting geology and they have great displays, movies and interactive exhibits for children to do.  Included was a display on the Titanic and I got the inside dope on how and why messages from other boats telling of the icebergs where ignored, shocking!! 
We will be here for a total of 4 1/2 days, we are waiting for a predicted 30 knot northerly to blow itself out.  Barry originally wanted to move on before it arrived but I was more than happy to wait here where there are a huge variety of things to do. We are planning on taking in some local theatre tonight!!
Newfoundlanders seems to have a wonderful quirky sense of humour. 
I think the Sisters of Mercy would be turning over in their graves. 
Oh something I keep forgetting to tell you.  I saw some puffins, after icebergs that is the next thing I wanted to see here.  They are tiny birds which always seem to turn away from the boat all the time so they are really hard to get a good picture of. Then they either dive or use their wings to flap wildly away, almost taking off but not quite, just putting distance between them and the boat. The other thing we saw was a bunch of biggish fish leaping in and out of the water.  We think they were either tuna or mackerel by the shape of their bodies and tails.  We were sailing along in very light winds and I heard this perculiar noise and as I turned I saw them leaping about a meter into the air. It was awesome. 

We are using " The Cruising Guide of Nfld." published by Members of the Cruising Club of America and so it has been very helpful.
Ports or Anchorages
St. John's  If you don't where it is just look it up on any map!!
Tied up to a floating dock at Queen's Wharf, lots of gawkers, 2 tried to get on boat for pics. 
There is no water, electricity, showers or laundry.
Great access to the downtown area. Laundry 5 min walk. Bus stop 2 min. Good website for buses.
Showers at Max fitness centre on #3 bus, a little further on there is a Sobie's a large grocery store. 
Price, minimum one week stay $42
Possible to tie up at pier 6 & 7, noisy & busy, closer to George St.