28 August, 2015
So……Sorry. Long time, no write.
Thursday, August 21. After staying on the Girl for dinner at the lock wall, we decided that we’d just enjoy the sunny evening and chill. We had been in to St. Peter’s the year before with Bill and Lauren, and didn’t think that there was anything more that we wanted to see. When we woke up and departed at 07h00 on Friday, there really wasn’t anything to see then either except pea-soup fog. We were thankful that we had been through here the year before, as it was a little tricky navigating out in the fog. We picked up another vessel on radar about 200 yards out, but got no reply from them on the VHF. When we were about 50 yards away, we heard them off the port bow, but didn’t see them until they were about 50 feet away. We shouted a “Hello” to the sailboaters working through the channel in the opposite direction by the “ Braille Method”, bouncing from one side to the other, and were soon alone again.
The rest of the day was unremarkable, as we were surrounded by a wall of cotton gauze for nine-and-half hours. We dropped anchor on the South side of Nova Scotia at Fisherman’s Harbor-at least that’s where our instruments said we were. During cocktails at 17h45, we caught our first glimpse of land since leaving the lock wall at St. Peter’s some 11 hours earlier. No reason to drop the dink for exploration, as Fisherman’s H. is just an overnighter for us-nothing to see on shore. Besides, the fog had closed back in within an hour.
Sunday, August 23rd, 07h01 anchor up in thick fog; depart Fisherman’s Harbor-see land as we pass 100 meters from end of jetty. At 09h15, 6 miles offshore, the fog clears, but still shrouds shoreline. Under sunny skies, we had 3’-5’ seas on our port beam. During the next 10 hours, we ran through several banks of thick fog, which, from a distance, looked like gray cotton balls sitting on the water. The shoreline remained obscured by fog for the whole day. As we passed Pearl Island, where we had seen the Puffins a month-and-a-half earlier, there were none to be seen. They had obviously made their sojourn back to the Arctic seas. In their stead, the rocky shores were jammed with seals, none of which were there the 2 months before. As we rounded the point East of Lunenburg, we were again enveloped in the fog. We picked up several vessels around us on the radar, but didn’t get a visual on any of them until a 24’ Searay blasted out of the fog about 150’ off our bow, heading straight towards us. Nothing Suzanne could do, except pull back on the throttle and brace for the impact. As he blew past us, not 6’ off our beam at 20+ knots (no radar), I couldn’t help thinking of the old axiom that “There are bold pilots and there old pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots”. Good luck, Dude. The weather was still thick as we rounded the jetty into Lunenburg. We headed straight to the Zwicker dock, our old standby. The fog became wispy enough that we could see that both sides of the dock were full. The seawall up the harbor by the Maritime museum was also full, so it looked like we’d anchor out in the mooring field, which was also standing room only. As we glided back past Zwicker, a lady appeared and told us that there was 20 meters of dock behind their sailboat, “Perseverance”. Didn’t look like it, but depth perception can be tricky in the dusk and fog. By the time that we were tied up, with our swim platform directly beneath their dinghy davit, we had about 6 meters of our 17 meter vessel hanging out past the end of the dock-no problemo. After checking the predicted sea state (10-12’) for the next day, we decided that another day in Lunenburg would be fun. Monday dawned bright, sunny, and warm, with a brisk wind. We spent the day shopping and “touristing”. Suzanne scored a couple of dresses for the events surrounding our daughter, Alison’s upcoming wedding, while I picked up a couple of kitchen gadgets at the culinary supply store in town. Lunch on the harbor patio of the “Savvy Sailor” was unremarkable, except for the view. That evening, we invited Terry and Denise whom we had met that afternoon, to join us for dinner at “Magnolia”, a favorite restaurant of ours. Terry and Denise live in Halifax, but recently moved aboard their 43’ Mainship, ”Aquataura”, after Terry’s retirement this Spring. Denise is taking a year off to live aboard as the couple cruise the East coast of the U.S. I’m guessin’ that they may not be coming back to dirt.
By the morning of the 25th, the seas had lain down to 3-5’ on a 6 second interval, and we were off to Shelburne, NS by 06h55. Shelburne was first settled by the Acadians in the late 1600’s, and was known as Porte Razoir, given to the harbors’ resemblance to an open straight razor. The Acadians abandoned their village after numerous raids by New Englanders during Queen Annes War in 1705. The Brits appeared next, in around 1715 and established a small fishing village which was attacked by Mi’kmaq’s (First Nation) raiders and burned to the ground. After a few other abortive attempts at permanent settlement, a permanent colony was established in the 1780’s by New England Loyalists escaping from the United States. Shelburne was also the site of North America’s largest settlement of free blacks, mostly escaped slaves from the U.S., numbering some 5,000 souls. By 1784, the population of Shelburne numbered around 17,000, making it the fourth largest city in North America. Due to lack of good agricultural land and problematic transportation, economic growth didn’t happen, and the population rapidly declined over the next decade. Shipbuilding and fishing have provided the economic backbone for the area from those times till the present. Recently, the film The Scarlet Letter was shot here. Anyway, I decided to wet a line along the way, but no bites, just pesky seagulls. We hoped to catch up with our Bahamas pals, Julia and Steve aboard “Erben Renewal”, who were moored there. We weren’t disappointed. “E. R.” was on a ball outside the Shelburne Yacht Club, and we picked one up as well. We had dinner and caught up on our Summer adventures at “Charlotte Lane”, often billed as Nova Scotia’s finest restaurant. The food was noteworthy, sourced locally, and prepared with imagination. The conversation was better. The following day, a rainy one, was spent exploring town, knickknack shopping and visiting the Shelburne Museum. Comprised of several restored buildings, reenactors portrayed life as it was in the 1800’s. In the restored dory building shop, a master dorymaker was still building a couple of Shelburne Dories per summer. Between the buildings, under a canopy, a wheelwright was fashioning wagon wheels with hand tools, much in the same way as was done 150 years ago. Suzanne and I had enjoyed our meal at “Charlotte Lane” so much the night before that we made reservations for another go. We called S & J, but they had plans to eat aboard that evening. As Steve was chomping at the bit to move the next day (they had been here for a few days already), we joined them for sips before dinner. So much for the best laid plans-they came in with us for dinner on shore. Over dinner, among other things, we agreed to join up on the 28th to cross the Bay of Fundy as we both headed back to the States.
In hot, humid weather, Suz and I spent the 27th making a 3 mile round trip stroll to the grocery store and prepping the Girl and some food for our upcoming passage. It was “race day” at the yacht club, with 3 buck burgers and lots of cold beer, so we had dinner at the clubhouse after the sailboat race. “Aquataura” had come in during the day, so we got together with Terry and Denise for a (too much) fun-filled evening. Live music was provided by a duo off a visiting sailboat (they were really good).
Fortunately, timing the tide and current (4 knot) as we rounded the southwest corner of Nova Scotia 4 hours after the start of our journey dictated a late morning departure. We departed the Shelburne Yacht Club mooring field at 09h40, accompanied by “Aquataura”, who quickly pulled away from us due to their faster cruising speed. Their plan was to visit a few more ports in NS and get closer to the U.S. before making the jump to the States. As we passed Cape Negro Island, we contacted Steve and Julia, who had been anchored there the previous evening. As they fell in next to us, it felt like old times. Lines in the water, we were on our way back to the U.S.A. We caught a favorable 3 knot current, riding the tide out into the Bay of Fundy and the seas were as predicted- 1’-2’ until around midnight, then rising to 2’-4’ until 04h00, when they began to subside to around 1’ as we entered Northeast Harbor at Mt. Desert, ME. No fog, we caught a mooring, and then waited for the Customs officer who arrived and cleared us at 10h25.