Sunday, July 31, 2011

July 28 We stayed anchored and waited for all of the sailboats to parade into the harbor and on to either the docks or moorings or to anchor all around us. We were the official photographers of the event. Once  everyone was settled, many of them “dressed ship” which means to hang lots of colorful signal flags for and aft off of their masts. That night, we joins some friends at our same restaurant for dinner and a jolly time.

July 29 Several tours of the island were scheduled and we were on the first one. Luckily, the sun was out and the tour interesting. Afterwards, we had lunch at our usual restaurant and went shopping for more lardon. Once back at the boat, it was time to cook it all up and work on our slide show of the trip.Later in the afternoon both “Glide “ and “Faring” showed up. “Glide” was the one we towed to safety and “Faring” was the boat that decided to escort her to St. Pierre. That night was the final celebration dinner and we showed the slide show on our computer. There was good food and lots of awards. We got one for our rescue effort. John and several other sailors told funny stories. His was about his walk from hell with the bugs driving him crazy. Another one was about one of the couples trying to get their broken radar down off the mast. The wife went up the mast and the husband discovered there was a problem with the line on the winch so he took the line off the winch and held it by his own strength. Just as he did so, she got the radar unit off and in her arms. Now she is heavier than he is so he goes up the mast and she comes down. Once she puts the radar unit down, she goes up the mast and he comes down again. What a crazy situation! We all laughed almost to the point of peeing in our pants. If you want to know more of them, I will tell you when I see you.

July 30 It was gray again and we were up early and off on an expedition with 16 other sailors on a big Zodiac with a guide to see the island of Langlade and Miquelon. We all donned our life preservers and loaded up into the Zodiac and were off to look at puffins, seals, wild horses. countryside and have lunch at a seaside cafe oowned by our guide. Part of the tuor was by bus up to the town of Miquelon where we had beenonly a few days before. The Zodiac ride back was quite bumpy but not wet. The guide got us all back safely. It was an ibuprofen evening. We went out with a few boats crews for a delicious final dinner.

July 31 today we headed back for Nova Scotia an overnight passage----

Thursday, July 28, 2011

July 16 The internet and emails were calling so we went to shore and sat outside on a cement slab with some other desperate cruisers and got our internet fix. Then we left for White Bear Bay which was close by and a lovely long fjord with many waterfalls. As we approached the head of the bay, a small skiff with a single man came along side and followed us to where we anchored. We invited the man aboard but he said he wanted to go get his wife so she could see the boat too. They both came aboard for drinks and a tour and very interesting conversation about their lives in Newfoundland. They both are good hunters and showed us photos of the moose the shot and told us about dressing it out and carrying all the meat back in their knapsacks which took several trips over wild country. Work in this part of the world seems to be seasonal and varied so a person has to have several skills to keep employed. After they left, we had a quiet dinner and watched a movie.

July 17 We made the short hop east to Grey River. The entrance is quite narrow but deep. we surfed in from the sea to calm water and were surrounded by steep cliffs on both sides going up the fjord. Halfway in it widens and branches in several directions. We went up the NW arm and anchored at the head near a large stream that cascaded down into the bay. About six other boats from the group followed us to this anchorage. We served dinner to two of them and had a fun evening.

July 18 Now there were 11 boats and room for many more. Some of the stronger crowd climbed the waterfall for the view. We had several boat crews over for Mexican Train dominoes which took up most of the afternoon. Amy brought some of her delicious rum cake for all to enjoy. Dinner was quiet and afterwards a movie.

July 19 Gray and foggy once we got outside into the sea. There was not much wind but the seas were rocky and rolly. Luckily, we only had a short distance to go to La Hune Bay. This is a shorter fjord but not less spectacular. Towards the beginning of the fjord is a cove called Deadman’s Cove and it is lovely. There is a 600 ft bridal veil waterfall on one side and interesting rock formations all around. We were joined here by “ Nellie”. After lunch, we all climbed up the hillside through the bushes and bogs, taking pictures of flowers and looking at the view when the fog lifted. When we got back down to the shore, the dinghy was aground in between some rocks but on a sand bottom. It took all of us to wrestle it free but we prevailed! “Nellie” brought pasta for dinner and we taught them biriba which they loved.

July 20 Around the corner to Aviron Bay and up to the top where we anchored in a nice basin near a 600 ft cascading waterfall and an 1,100 ft  vertical drop granite face. “Al Shaheen” joined us as well as several other boats in the group. This time we took his smaller dinghy in to shore for our walk. The bushes were very high and the bank up from the stream was as well. Finally, we found a caribou or moose trail up to the knoll and back down which made the going at little easier. These trails are there because these animals go down to the shore to eat the kelp at low tide.  John’s dinghy was easier to extricate from the shallows. We even found large scallop shells in the little bay. “Al Shaheen” invited us to dinner aboard and it was a warm and cozy and delicious evening.

July 21 We took off for Hare Bay and as we were sloshing around in the swells in the ocean, the sun came out! Did I say the sun came out! Going up this next fjord was truely exhilarating in the sun. We anchored along with several other boats in a protected bay at the top of the fjord. The afternoons activity was a hike up the falls on a neighboring bay. Cocktails was on Windermere with “Twice Eleven” and “ Moonshadow Star” rounding out the group.

July 22 The sun was still out but it was quite windy and we were happy to stay put in our majestic spot. I went over to “Twice Eleven” to help them with Maine cruising places while John did boat chores. We then invited some locals, who were on their big fishing boat next to us, over to see the boat. After lunch, they led us up a new walk. After this trip, we know we have mountain goat blood. John got eaten by the bugs again on the way down tromping through the bushes and was not a happy camper. Those bugs just love him and give him big welts. It was decided this was our last bushwhacking walk. He did manage to get some breathtaking photos of the vista as well as the boats down in the anchorage. The evening was finally quiet and just the two of us.

July 23 It was sunny again, yeah! We motored out of Hare Bay and past the small village of McCallum and up East Bay and into NW Cove. We had this protected spot including a nice stream all to ourselves and a nice peaceful sunny evening.

July 24 Another wonderful sunny day but windy. We came out of our little secluded spot and headed for Little Passage which is basically a winding cut through two sections of land. On our way, we met up with “Nellie” who had the same idea. As we exited, we heard a distress call relating to one of the boats in the group. She had been dismasted and couldn’t use her engine either because some of the debris was wrapped around her propeller. Another sailboat was nearby and stayed with them until we could get there and offer a tow. We had to motor into 6 to 8 ft seas and about 20-25 kts of wind but we made it and managed to get a tow line on her. “Moonshadow Star” accompanied us as we towed “Glide” to safety in a nearby harbor. She anchored and we all anchored and  the men went over to see what they could do to help. The harbor was not one we wanted to be in for the night as the wind and seas were coming right in the entrance. Our original destination was only an hour away so we continued on to there. The cove we ended up in had a great waterfall as a focal point and was protected. We even saw our first eagle fly by as we were anchoring!

July 25 We wound our way back out to Hermitage Bay and motored around the point on the south eastern side and on to Harbor Breton. Anchoring outside the harbor off a small beach proved difficult but we prevailed. Then the dinghy was launched so we could go into town for groceries. Back to the boat and out of the harbor and further east to another Little Bay. This bay turned out to be big! “Moonshadow Star” joined us in the harbor and for drinks.

July 26 It was glassy calm and we were off for Miquelon. Off of Brunette island we spotted a big fin whale and were treated to a bow show by some white sided dolphins. So nice to see animals!
A few hours later, we were ashore in Miquelon and instantly transported to France. Our customs lady was wonderful and very helpful. The houses are all painted bright colors which makes the village more welcoming. We felt like we had been dropped from space into a foreign world. We walked around and saw a horse, many cats and a few dogs, flower gardens, a very unique church and a few shops. We were civilization starved. The town only has about 600 inhabitants. After going to the ATM to get Euros, we found a grocery store with the holy grail- lardon. Try to picture very good thickly sliced French bacon that has been cut crosswise to make little pieces. You can find this delicacy anywhere but France or French territories and we love it cooked up crispy in just about anything. It was a battle to get John to leave a few containers for the islanders! We were starved and the local restaurant wasn’t open for dinner yet, so we bought some Brie and pate (for me only) and a baguette and ate them on the street. Then we decided to go back to the boat for dinner and have lunch the next day back in town. After a late dinner, it was movie time.

July 27 The weather was windy and gray so we loaded up the dinghy and went down the road to St. Pierre. We thought of anchoring outside of the harbor but ventured in and found a nice little cove just outside the yacht club that would be hosting the group over the weekend. After, lunch of salad with some crispy lardon thrown in, we went ashore and explored this bigger town of about 6,000 people. Some shopping was in order and we even found box French wine! This is a no tax zone which makes it more interesting. After shopping, we had a delicious French dinner of entrecote, pommes frites, haricot verts, and mousse au chocolate and of course du vin rouge!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

July 8 Everyone was up around 5 am and the conga line began for the Cape Breton channel. this is a narrow opening in the northern part of Cape Breton that goes to the sea. It allows commercial shipping to come into the Bras D’Or lakes. The weather was once again sunny and the wind nice for the sailboats so several of the lead ones decided to go straight for Newfoundland. We joined the crowd and motored along in the lead. I saw a pilot whale for one brief shining moment and there were lots of seabirds soaring over the swells. As we neared our destination, the sun was setting so we turned on the juice and sped into the little town and out anchorage nearby at twilight. Twilight around here is at about 10 pm! The rest of the boats slowly arrived over night in several spots along the coast.

July 9 Many of our group were sound asleep for the morning radio net. Our friends on Lalize were anchored right next to us so we took them with us to town and a wonderful walk along the wild coast. The good trail is maintained by the locals and the Canadian government in honor of a citizen named George Harvey who lived in the late1700-mid1800’s in Isle aux Morts and rescued many passengers and crew from ships that were wrecked on the coast off the town. The scenery was wild and beautiful even on a gray day and there were few tall trees and mostly small bogs and tundra type terrain. I was thrilled with all of the little wildflowers and had to photograph many of them. Our friends’ Sheltie puppy ran back and forth and probably ran twice the distance we walked! We had hoped to have lunch at a cafe in town and were salivating for peas soup (on their menu someone told us at the gift shop) but it wasn’t open till 2pm so we were out of luck. Back to the boats for lunch and a nap. That evening and night was very windy but our anchor held and we were snug on Windermere. In the middle of the night, our friends on Lalize dragged and had to reanchor. What a bore.

July 10 Listening to the morning net, we hear several boats in the anchorage right next to us had dragged also. There was apparently alot of kelp in there. After checking in to the net, we decided to go to our next stop, Le moine Bay which was only about 20 nm. The wind was still blowing but at our back so the seas were fine. Up our first deep fjord and majestic is a description that comes to mind. Along the way, there were several waterfalls coming down the mountainside. We decided to anchor at the head of the fjord in shallower water near a large stream that comes into the bay. A loon joined us for a while during cocktail hour.

July 11 A beautiful sunny day and back down the fjord and around the corner to Culotte Cove which is totally protected and only big enough for about 3 to 4 boats. We met up with Beth Leonard and Evans on “Hawk” and had a wonderful nature walk up into the hills. Once again, there were wildflowers to photograph and amazing vistas to enjoy. That night, we were hosted by “Hawk”. Beth and Evans have circumnavigated several times and she has written several books as well as many articles for the cruising magazines.

July 12 It was rainy today and everyone stayed put in our little cove. Later in the afternoon, we were joined by “Bluewater” and I cooked dinner for 8 aboard Windermere. “Bluewater” has guests from Scotland who are god sailors as well.

July 13 Still gray but not raining at least and it was time to make another short jump down the coast to Couteau Bay and our anchorage between the mainland and Captain Island. Once again, we were the only boat in the anchorage. We did see a few local fast boats whizzing around to and fro. After lunch, we went for a walk on the island following the caribou trails in the muskeg and bogs. climbing up high for the view back at Windermere, John spotted a lone caribou even higher on the ridge and was able to get some photos of him. The island was dotted with several small lakes (or large ponds) but not too many flowers. That was ok because the caribou sighting was worth it to us.
After we returned to the boat and got the dinghy up, the fog rolled in for awhile, then it cleared and the sun came out. We have decided- wait long enough and the weather will change!

July 14 A gray morning and a bit windy for our 20nm run to Burgeo where we met up with the rest of the gang. There is a very long harbor with a narrow entrance near the town and most of the boats were in that anchorage. We were nervous about the width of the entrance but our friend, Evans, on “Hawk” came out in his dinghy and led us in. It took three tries but we finally found a good spot. The problem around these parts is kelp. There is mud usually on the bottom but it is hard sometimes to get through it to the mud. We launched the dinghy and went ashore for groceries. we were given a lift by a local named Fred and he took us to the store and then to another store for some boots for me and even showed us his house!  That evening we went for cocktails on “LaLlize” and then home for the big blow . Several boats dragged but we were all right yet again.

July 15  It was nasty outside but John went in to the dock and picked up Fred who we had promised a boat visit. Out into the pouring rain and wind he went and came back to home sweet home. Later in the afternoon, John ran taxi service into town for many of the boats with smaller dinghies. There was a big party for all of us hosted by the locals in the fire hall. It was a jolly gathering of cruisers and very friendly locals. Again the wind howled overnight.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

going through St Peter's lock/canal

our German restaurant in Little Harbor, NS

herbs and perennials for the summer garden onboard

Windermere with some of the fleet in Baddeck Harbor


enjoying our chris craft ride

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

June 21 Well, we are off again and this time to the northern latitudes. We are going to join an OCC (Ocean Cruising Club) group going to Newfoundland! We left late and only made it to the Sakonet River for the night but at least we were on our way.

June 22-23 Up early and off for the Cape Cod canal and an overnight to Rockland Harbor. The weather was calm but overcast and the trip uneventful.

June 24 The fun of this gray day was having lunch with our friends Rick and Julie Palm who live near Rockland and were on Windermere this winter in the Exumas for a visit. They helped us do some errands and then we headed up the bay to Holbrook harbor and a rendezvous with our friends Mike and De and a group of sailing friends from Bucks harbor nearby.

June 25  Another rainy day but we had a fun breakfast ashore with a couple who have developed a free software program called Active Captain that works online or offline cruising information service complete with reviews from cruisers. When we returned to the boat, the gang had arrived! Mike and De came over for a few hands of Biriba and later, the whole gang came for serious eating and partying. The good news about these get togethers is that everyone brings their own drinks and food to share.

June 26  One of our friends had brought his 1936 Chris Craft runabout and he gave us a ride around the harbor. John especially enjoyed the ride and was even allowed to drive for a while. Everyone said there goodbyes and we headed down the bay to Rockland again for the night.

June 27-28  It was finally a glorious calm sunny morning were up early and headed for Nova Scotia dodging lobster pots for the first three or four hours. Finally, we were in deep enough water to be free of those little buggers and we made good time to Shelburne which is a little ways along the southeast coast of Nova Scotia. John Zened the boat into the dock and the customs officials arrived to clear us into Canada. The officers were impressed with John’s long detailed (to the ml) list of the various alcoholic beverages on board. We also left another 17 bottles of wine and 8 bottles of liquor with Mike and De for safe keeping till our return in August. Afterwards,  we went out and anchored. We noticed there was a sailboat out in the harbor near us flying the OCC burgee so we hailed them on the radio and they came over for drinks. They were the first of many new friends we would make on the cruise and we had an enjoyable visit.

June 29 Foggy. Thank heaven for good radar and lots of practise with it over the years because we needed it. It was a long tedious day but we made it safely to our anchorage. not that we could really see it but the little boat on the electronic chart told us we were there.

June 30 Another very foggy day and a longer way to go (83nm to be exact) and another anhorage that was safe but invisible to all but the chart picture. At least we were making good progress up the long Nova Scotia coast. Seabirds would dart in and out of the fog and every once and a while a seal would poke its head up to have a look around.

July 1 The sun shone brightly for once and we could actually see the pretty wooded and rocky islands that surrounded us. This was a short hop of only 55 nm and it was interesting to see all the islands, rocks and shoals with their breakers that we hadn’t really noticed till now. Luckily, the conditions were calm and the boat was working well but I thought of the old seafaring days when many a ship sailing by these same places wasn’t so lucky.  This time we anchored in a big bay with several villages along its coast and meadows with boulders and, what seemed like, perfect little Xmas trees dotted around here and there.

July 2 Yeah, another sunny day! When we did this trip in 2003 with the Mason 44, we had more fog than sun out at sea. We did manage to get sun when we went up rivers or into big bays where we could get away from the sea.  Today was get into the Bras D’Or lakes day. The entrance in the south is through a small lock and canal at St. Peters and we made the transit with the friendly help of the lock tenders. Once in the lakes, the water became a teal green and was very clear. Our destination was a small almost totally enclosed harbor we had been in on our last trip. A sailboat ahead of us disappeared around a bend and into the entrance and we soon followed. Once anchored, we went over to her because she was flying the OCC burgee. This couple had been running the radio net every morning for our group. There was a German restaurant in this harbor so we decided to have dinner there together. The food was good and the conversation flowed and we had two more friends.

July 3 I can’t believe our luck. Another gorgeous day. John decided it was the moment we needed to give the boat a much deserved bath. You never realize how big a 65ft boat is till you have sprayed, scrubbed, rinsed and dried it! The next thing to tackle was the long green algae and barnacles growing on the red water line stripe. John had to lie across the dinghy seat and scrub while I balanced on the pontoon and held on to the mother ship keeping it just far away so he could get to the waterline. It didn’t help when a speed boat decided to circle the harbor and through up a big wake. We couldn’t finish the whole job because our old bodies were plum tuckered out. Up the anchor and off to our next stop not far away. There is a low bridge at a narrow spot in the lakes  and you have to go through to get to the northern lakes where Baddeck is located. The tidal current was with us and we sped through there and were “spit out the other end”.  Our evening harbor was well protected and crowded with other sailboats but there was plenty of room for all to enjoy it.

July 4 Independence Day- this time for us Yanks. It was a short trip over to Baddeck where we were meeting up with all of the other boats in our cruising group. After anchoring, we dingied over to Bluewater and our fearless leaders Doug and Dale Bruce for lots of hugs and kisses of greeting. Many of the boats had already arrived and several more came in during the day. That evening, we went to the yacht club for a 4th of July gathering with the other Yanks in the group and I met Beth Leonard who is with our group and very low key and friendly. Then we had Bluewater over for a jolly dinner with some talk about all the wonderful spots we are going to see in Newfoundland.