16 August, 2015
Friday the 14th, and the weatherman did not disappoint. 62 degrees and rain, with 1/8 mile visibility through the fog, but we’re off the dock at 08h00. The seas are running from the southwest at around 6’ with a 5-6 second interval-not bad. We cruise up into Aviron Bay, where there is a 1,000’ tall bridal veil falls running down to the head of the bay. By the time that we get in, the fog is blowing by in sheets, allowing us to get periodic glimpses of the top. Anchored at the bottom are Dave and Krowe, who report that this is the first time that they’ve seen the top of the falls since they arrived here yesterday. This was just a drive-by, and as we cruise the ½ hour back to the sea, we knock together one of my favorite breakfast treats, Lox and bagels with capers and onions-Yeah, Baby. As we turn the corner into Deadman’s Cove (say deed mans) on LaHune Bay, Suzanne says “There’s a boat on shore”. I don’t have the binoculars, so I ask her if she means next to shore. “no, ON!” As we get closer, sure enough, there’s a sailboat with airplane landing gear type wheels on both sides pulled up on the sloping rock shore. There’s a tent pitched nearby. The 2 adults and 2 teens look like they’ve been camping here awhile. We anchor at the foot of a waterfall in 40’ of water. The fog has lifted to an altitude of around 500’, and the rain has stopped. We’ll hang here for the day. Well……The fog rarely lifted above 300’-400’, so we just barely got periodic glimpses of the waterfall that we were anchored under. A good day for reading, but by afternoon, Suz and I were ready to get off the boat. We dropped “White Star” and toodled over to the base of the falls. Suz spotted a seal in the water below, and for the next 20 minutes, the 3 of us played “Whack-a-Mole”, with Mr. Seal popping up, and us chasing, only to have him submerge again. Once, he popped out of the water up to his bellybutton about 4 meters from the tender. I think all 3 of us were surprised. After a while, he tired of our game, surfacing around 300 meters away. That was the last that we saw of him. Up at the head of the bight that we were anchored in, we found a small stream. There wasn’t much water coming down, but Spring thaws had deposited a delta of coarse sand, giving us a good landing area for the dink. We clamored up the rocky stream bed until the black flies chased us out.
We had planned to cruise up to the head of LaHune Bay this Saturday morning, but when we woke up, the fog was still thick, so we didn’t see any point. We decided to push on to the outport of Grey River, which sits at the mouth of the Grey River fjord. At 8 miles long, there are so many streams flowing in to it, and the mouth is so narrow, that the water inside is fresh. The cruising guides warn that the mouth is so narrow that it is very difficult to see until you’re right on top of it. Well, when the visibility is less than 100 meters, reliance on radar is the only way to go. Still, it’s somewhat disconcerting to hear the surf crashing onto the rocks all around you as you motor along. As we cruised inland, the fog thinned, and the sun came out in full force. Four miles in, we dropped anchor in a large bay at the junction of the Northeast and Northwest Arms. It was windy, and there were 1’ wavelets, but the scenery was incredible, so we were reluctant to head up either of the more-sheltered arms. “Alizann” and “Seastar’s” crews dropped the tenders to head in to the market in town where Lauren’s meds should be waiting. On the way, I spotted a dory apparently trawling. Aahh, maybe Scallops! I motored over and introduced Suz and Y.T. to Emmanuel and Shirley, who confirmed that yes, they were dragging for Scallops. “Could we buy some?” “Sure, $8/lb. okay?” They didn’t have enough yet, and Shirley wanted to shuck them for us, so I told them we’d find them in the afternoon up at their cabin on the Northeast Arm. Back in the town of Grey River, the sun had driven the fog out to the mouth of the bay. A stop by the market revealed that Lauren’s package had not come in on the ferry the previous evening. Some calls confirmed that the package would arrive on the 15h45 ferry that very afternoon. That gave us a couple of hours to kill. While the rest of the gang took a walk, I helped Melvin, (one of my new friends) unload and stack a couple of full cords of logs that he had cut up the fjord a couple of months previously. This morning, he had loaded up two 22’ dories until their gunwales’ were about 4” above the water, then drove them 5 miles to the dock at high tide. Now, the tide was falling, making each log a little farther from the top of the dock where the ferry would be mooring in 2 hours. Gotterdone, but not before the black flies got about a liter of my precious red blood cells. When the crew got back, I was sitting on a milk crate in the market, escaping from the flying teeth waiting for my sweaty body outside. Responding to the hue and cry for beer, I scored a 12 pack of “Blue”, and we escaped to the dinghies, motoring out to the middle of the bay to escape the bugses and catch some elusive rays. The dope was on the ferry, which literally did a “touch ‘n go”, throwing Lauren’s box to her as she scrambled up to the dock. Since it was a rare sunny day, we took our time getting back to the boats. We explored the Southeast Arm, the closest to the ocean, which was still shrouded in fog. (We had to visit SE Arm, as this was where Howard Blackburn rowed to shore in January of 1883 after being lost at sea 5 days earlier off the Grand Banks-see Gloucester, MA blog). Up in the Northeast Arm, Suz and I hooked up with Emmanuel and Shirley, who had 4 pounds of shucked scallops for us. We completed our tour with a run up the Northwest Arm, and agreed that we had made the right decision, anchoring out in the open at the junction. Lauren’s famous seafood chowder (lobster, clams, and fish) was on the menu for a reprise that night, so we bagged the scallops in 1# aliquots, and gave 2 to L & B for future use. The morning dawned gray, but the clouds were not down to the water. I was out by 06h00, ‘cause my buddy, Melvin, had told me that there were ocean trout in the fjord. I got about an hour or so of trolling in before the gang was ready to go, but no joy. Not even a nibble. But, as the kids would say, “It did not suck” to have to ride about in this magnificent wilderness setting on placid waters, listening to the birds wake up. Just past town, the fog wall enveloped us as we returned to the sea for our last full day in Newfoundand. We planned to stage from behind Fox Island for our crossing to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia the following day, but weren’t really into the prospect of staring at 360 degrees of fog wall on our last day. We figured that there might be some sunshine further inland, so we pushed on to White Bear Bay, and a few miles in, we were rewarded with sunny skies. The fjord provided no shelter from the raging south winds until its head, some 7 miles in, but hey, it was sunny. After anchoring, I dinghied over to “Seastar”, only to be greeted by a beet redfaced Lauren. I didn’t even need to ask, but yes, her trunk was a patchwork of hives. The Benadryl administered to counter her allergic reaction put her down for the afternoon, so Suz and I explored our temporary home by ourselves. Far up the river, we chatted with a guy who had about 70 or so butterflied Cod hanging to dry on his clothesline. There was what appeared to be a smoking shed nearby. Looked like some good eatin’ was in store for this winter. Suz grilled up some chicken satay with homemade peanut sauce, accompanied by cucumbers marinated in vinegar and hot chilies for our dinner. We discussed a 07h00 departure, and then called B & L to confirm. Our pal was doing better, but still whacked out from the antihistamines. We both read for awhile, Suz finishing a Jodie Picoult book (depressing!), while I finished up “Northern Magic”, a story about a Canadian family of 5 that circumnavigated in the early 2000’s. Twenty-five hour crossing the next day, we were excited.