Captain’s Blog, Tuesday, May 20th, 2008
Date of departure for points East has been set for Monday, June 2nd, 2008. The next 2 weeks will be a busy time. Gallivanting is currently being prepared and provisioned for the passage. Part of the preparation included the installation of solar panels, which was completed this past weekend.
Captain’s Blog, Wednesday, June 4th, 2008
After several delays, Gallivanting departed Lakeshore YC for Kingston at 0800 hrs on June 4th. More delays included a trip to Port Credit YC for fuel, to find that the computer “blew up”. Then, it was off to Ontario Place to get fuel. It was about 1100 hrs, by the time we departed Ontario Place. Weather conditions; overcast with an east wind and a temperature of 14 C.
Captain’s Blog, Thursday, June 5th, 2008
Approximately twenty-four hours after departing Toronto, Gallivanting arrived at Portsmouth marina. It was an East wind (on the nose) all the way. The passage was not without excitement. In hindsight, it appears that we left Toronto with something less that a full tank. Near Main Duck Island, it became clear that our fuel filter was not…………….clear. After replacing the fouled filter, we continued our passage to Kingston.
Within view of the Portsmouth marina, the iron sail began to sputter and fart , almost as if the fuel filter was again full of goop. The fuel gauge was not quite on empty. It was decided that the small amount of fuel that remained should be conserved for a docking at the nearest filling station (Portsmouth), which was approximately one nautical mile away. Normally, some wind, would be most helpful in such circumstances, but guess what, we now have no wind, it was flat calm.
Of course, the first thought was that we now need a tow. Then on second thought, maybe what we need, is a push. S0, overboard goes the dinghy. If we crank up the 9.9 on the dinghy and put Gallivanting on auto helm, we should be able to push the 8 ton Gallivanting precisely to the Portsmouth harbour entrance. The coast guard was notified, but based on our level of confidence in the “pushing experiment”, assistance was put on hold for the time being. Did I say experiment?, hey………….. we did up to five knots, Otto steered the boat near perfect, placing us at the entrance to Portsmouth harbour in approximately twenty minutes. The procedure worked beautifully.
Cranking up the iron sail on the remaining fumes, we were able to cruise (nonchalantly) into Portsmouth harbour and shout “fill her up”.
Arrived Confederation Marina at 1330 hrs.
Captain’s Blog, Friday, June 6th, 2008
Spent the day in Kingston. Some of the broken parts that
fell out of the auto helm were replaced. Visited some local pubs with friends.
Captain’s Blog, Saturday, June 7th, 2008
Departed Kingston at 0915 hrs. With clear skies and southwest winds, we were able to sail into the afternoon, at which time the shad flies began to arrive. We were swarmed by the time we reached Brockville at 1630 hrs.
Captain’s Blog, Sunday, June 8th, 2008
Departed Brockville Yacht Club at 0630 hrs. Entered the Iroquois lock at 1030 hrs. Entered the Eisenhower lock at 1400 hrs. Entered the Snell lock at 1530 hrs. Arrived Cornwall at 1700 hrs.
Captain’s Blog, Monday, June 9th, 2008
Departed Cornwall at 0930 hrs.
Arrived Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club at 1800 hrs.
Captain’s Blog, Tuesday, June 10th, 2008
Departed Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club at 0550 hrs. Entered the St. Catherine lock at 0945 hrs. Entered the St. Lambert lock at 1130 hrs. Arrived old Montreal at 1300 hrs. Major thunder storms in the afternoon.
Captain’s Blog, Wednesday, June 11th, 2008
Departed Port d’Escale at 0800 hrs. A cool north wind provided an opportunity to raise the sails. The sailing came to a sudden end when we ran into a thunderstorm in Lac Saint Pierre.
Arrived Trois-Riviéres at 1730 hrs, where we tied up next to the Bluenose II.
Captain’s Blog, Thursday, June 12th, 2008
Departed Trois-Riviéres at 0740 hrs. The cool north wind of yesterday is still with us. We managed 12.5 knots (over ground) at the Richelieu rapids.
Arrived Yacht Club de Quebec at 1630 hrs.
Captain’s Blog, Friday, June 13th, 2008
Spent the day touring the old port and the old city. Ralph and I cruised the walled city on bicycles. It was like being 10 years old again, except for the sore ass. We had lunch with an old friend, Al. In the late afternoon, we peddled our way up Grand Allée and westward toward the Quebec Y.C. Along the way, we had dinner at the Le Couchon Dingue, went grocery shopping and picked up a dozen beer. Imagine peddling a bicycle down the hill to river with a dozen beer on your back…………., well done Ralph.
Captain’s Blog, Saturday, June 14th, 2008
Based on a wonderful discussion with Peter Johnson about the best time to depart Yacht Club de Quebec for Cap-à-l’Aigle, we decided to leave at 0150 hrs. It is very important to catch the outgoing tidal currents, particularly when transiting the north side of Isle-aux-Coudres. You can sometimes double your hull speed on the outgoing tide. Getting up early is one thing, not going to bed is another. Sailing at night in the St. Lawrence River is a full time job, but “Time and tide wait for no man”.
Arrived Port de Refuge, Cap-a-l’Aigle at 1230 hrs, on Sunday, June 15th.
Captain’s Blog, Sunday, June 15th, 2008
After tapping into some local knowledge, we decided to depart Cap-à-l’Aigle for Tadoussac at 0915 hrs. We are beginning to believe that the north-south trough of low pressure sitting over Trois-Riviéres is going to stay for the summer. On the east side of the trough, there is nothing but rain, drizzle, fog and an east wind. Although we arrived Tadoussac safely at 1600 hrs., we likely should have calculated our departure time.
Captain’s Blog, Monday, June 16th, 2008
Took a day off and spent the day in Tadoussac area. Tadoussac can be a lot of fun in the summer months, but in mid-June, things are a little slower. Took the boat up the Saguenay fiord in the afternoon. Of course, rain, drizzle and fog doesn’t help. Even the whales are not yet active. Returned to Tadoussac for a BBQ.
Captain’s Blog, Tuesday, June 17th, 2008
More rain, drizzle and fog, not to mention the never-ending east wind. Tadoussac is no more quaint today than yesterday. By noon, despite the high wind warning, we’ve made a decision to head for Rimouski. Depart Tadoussac at 1430 hrs.
Captain’s Blog, Wednesday, June 18th, 2008
After 11 hours of rock’n’roll, we arrive Rimouski in the dark at 0130 hrs. After finding a small piece of dock to tie up, we realize that the we have encountered the La Grande Traversée Atlantique, which consists of more than fifty sailboats. The flotilla left La Rochelle, France in early May and plan on being in Quebec City for Saint-Jean-Baptiste day. All part of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec.
Walked and shopped Rimouski in the afternoon.
Captain’s Blog, Thursday, June 19th, 2008
Departed Rimouski at 0900 hrs. Guess what? The wind is out of the east. We pounded into 20 to 25 knot winds until 1830 hrs, when we arrived at Matane. The entrance to the harbour was somewhat difficult with the northeast winds. Avoiding a broach was a challenge. Just before the entrance, the engine RPM suddenly drops. Not wanting to end up on the rocks, we made a rather drastic u-turn. Once the engine settled down, we started the process again, this time successful.
Captain’s Blog, Friday, June 20th, 2008
We awake to fog and east winds. The forecast is for more of the same. The trough of low pressure has moved. It now runs east-west along the south shore of the St. Lawrence River instead of north-south. We departed Matane at 0930 hrs. By noon, the wind was out of the East at 15 to 20 knots and we are again pounding into waves. On the positive side, we are getting a boost of 1 – 2 knots from the lunar express. Shortly after noon, we decide to sail through the night instead of stopping at Sainte-Anne-des-Monts. The winds died a little in the evening, but in the spirit of “never a dull moment”, we sailed through a significant thunderstorm between 2000 hrs and 2100 hrs.
Captain’s Blog, Saturday, June 21th, 2008
During the early morning hours, we encountered considerable fog. With sunrise came an increase in wind speed, again “on the nose”. We passed Riviére-Madelene, which, until today, was a planned stop.
As we neared Riviére-au-Renard, we decided to drop in for fuel, if available. Near the entrance to harbour we encountered considerable fog. Without GPS and radar, getting in the harbour would have been near impossible. We arrived Riviére-au-Renard at 0600 hrs. A most difficult place to get fuel at that hour of the morning. Much later in the morning we were able to purchase 40 litres.
We finally depart Riviére-au-Renard at about 1100 hrs. and head for Gaspé. The fog is very thick, not quite “newfie” fog, but definitely “pea soup” fog. Although we can’t see anything, we know that we are sailing pass Cap-des-Rosiers, around Le Cap Gaspé and into the Baie de Gaspé. A quite spectacular area, when you can see.
Between Cap-des-Rosiers, and Le Cap Gaspé, we are sailing in dense fog. We are following 2 other boats on our radar. We suspect that the one travelling in the same direction is that of a sailboat that left Riviére-au-Renard shortly before us. The other was about 450 off the Port bow, but appeared to be on a collision course with Gallivanting. Based on the radar paint, this vessel is coming straight at us. As the two blips are about to become one, I throttle down and prepared to take evasive action. Suddenly, a fishing boat pops out the fog just off the Port bow. A very “hard to port” avoided what could have been a serious collision.
Once inside the Baie de Gaspé, the waters calmed and it is a pleasant cruise to the marina. We arrived, very tired, at 1630 hrs. We plan to remain in Gaspé until the fresh crew arrives. A departure for points east is planned for Thursday, June 26, 2008.
Captain’s Blog, Tuesday, June 24th, 2008
Today, Quebec celebrates Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day. Interestingly, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day evolved out of a 2000 year old celebration of the summer solstice. Although there were showers throughout the day, the sky has cleared and it is quite a pleasant evening. Tonight there will be fireworks and bonfires. Tomorrow fresh crew arrives.
Captain’s Blog, Saturday, June 28th, 2008
We are tied up at the Souris Marina on the north-eastern coast of Prince Edward Island and enjoying the flat water. Ralph (the first mate) departed for a short shore leave and my darling wife (my first mate) and my first mate and I departed Gaspé at approximately at 1100 hours on Thursday, June 26th. Wednesday’s sunshine is no longer and although the wind is light, it is overcast with fog patches. We motor out of the Baie de Gaspé and head south toward Isle Bonaventure and that Gaspésie icon, Percé Rock. This area of Quebec is quite spectacular, particularly from the water and is a National Park for good reason.
There are many sea birds in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, but one of the most fascinating is the Gannet, they are quite common in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, particularly on Île Bonaventure, the Magdalen islands and on the island of Newfoundland. They have a wingspan of 2 metres, can dive into the water at 100m km/hr and dive to depths averaging 60 feet.
After a tour of the area and based on the most current weather forecast, we decide to head for the Magdalens. It would be an all-nighter and with some luck the seas will be tolerable. Things are bearable until we sight “corps mort Island”, where the waters begin to shallow, which coupled with increasing winds, amplify the waves.
By the time we approach the narrow channel between Ile d’Entre and the rocks locally known as the “passe” , we are experiencing significant seas and winds. When our fuel supply is in the lower half and the boat is in a roller coaster mode, the fuel pick up sometimes sucks air, which results in a lowering of RPM or at worst, an engine stall.
In the narrow “passe”, the shallow water, the high winds coupled with an engine stall could very quickly land us on the rocks.
After a relatively short period of bouncing around in complete disorientation, we decided to head for Souris, PEI, now, most items on board are on the floor and will have to stay there until we find a snug harbour, which means another eleven hours before peace. Although the Magdalens are a great place to visit, they will be for another time.
Captain’s Blog, Sunday, June 29th, 2008
We remain tied up at the Souris Marina. The forecast for today and tomorrow is 20 to 25 knot winds with rain. We plan to layover here for a day or two. When the waves are coming over the breakwater, the rain is pounding on the cabin top and the wind is in the rigging, you come to appreciate movies with Espar heating.
Checked out the fuel system and there appears to be a air leak in the system. Air is being sucked into the fuel/water separator. Since the unit is 23 years old and is long since obsolete, a new one might be in order.
P.S. Today we savoured the last of Laura’s famous shortbread.
Captain’s Blog, Monday, June 30th, 2008
Today, we learned that the “Source” aka locally as Radio Shack has a boat section. There we meet Dave, who has to be one the most accommodating people on Prince Edward Island. He promises delivery of a new Racor by 1645 hrs today. Sure enough, we picked up the Racor and installed it after dinner.
Captain’s Blog, Tuesday, July 1st, 2008
After a very pleasant stay, we depart Souris at 0700 hrs. The weather is overcast, cool and windy. We are heading south to Pictou, Nova Scotia. The wind is out of the southeast and we are able to sail part of the way. There is continuous improvement in the weather as we head south. By the time we arrive in Pictou, at 1530 hrs, the weather is beautiful.
The new Racor seems to be working just fine.
There are Canada Day celebrations on the water front, with live down east music. The historical significance of Pictou is represented by a replica of Hector, tied up at the waterfront. Hector is the centerpiece of the Pictou Waterfront Corporation’s investment into developing the waterfront area.
In September, 1773, two hundred immigrants arrived from Scotland on the Hector and was the first of many more ships of Scottish settlers to come to Nova Scotia.
Captain’s Blog, Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008
Departed Pictou at 0945 hrs. Today we are off to Charlottetown. The winds are light out of the southwest and we are able to sail for a while. By midday, the winds die and the water becomes smooth Caramilk.
Captain’s Blog, Thursday, July 3rd, 2008
Departed Charlottetown at 0930 hrs. 20 to 30 knot winds are forecast out of the southwest. It takes about 2 hours to get out the harbour. Once out of the harbour we are able to sail on a close reach. The close reach turned into a beam reach as we altered our course to the northwest. From time to time, the winds gusts exceeded 30 knots. The Confederation Bridge is quite an awesome site as you sail under it at 7 knots. Shortly after passing the bridge, the main is fully reefed and we are still doing 7 knots.
The entry to Summerside harbour is quite shallow with a narrow channel. With the high winds out the southwest, the entry becomes quite interesting.
We arrive at the Silver Fox Curling & Yacht Club at about 1800 hrs. Several members are out to help us dock in the high winds. Winds in excess of 40 knots are recorded at the club later in the evening. The wind in the rigging had no effect on our night’s sleep.
Captain’s Blog, Saturday, July 5th, 2008
Yesterday and today were days off. Gallivanting got a fresh water rinse, while the duds were getting a hot water wash. Did some grocery and beer shopping. Enjoyed some local live entertainment at the club in the evening.
Today we filled the water tanks and the fuel tanks in preparation for an early departure tomorrow. Toured the waterfront in the afternoon. The weather is absolutely perfect with a fresh breeze off the water. Purchased lobsters and some fresh homemade bread to compliment a bottle of Gewurztraminer from our bilge and …………. maybe a bottle of Riesling, also from our bilge.
Captain’s Blog, Sunday, July 6th, 2008
After a very pleasant stay, we departed Summerside at 0900 hrs. The weather is good with a moderate wind out of the southwest. Once out of the harbour, we able to sail most of the way back to Charlottetown. This we sail under the bridge on the incoming tide. With a boost from the flood current, our speed over ground sometimes reached 9 knots. Near the entrance to Charlottetown harbour, we encountered many pleasure boats, being a beautiful Sunday afternoon and all.
We arrived Charlottetown harbour at 1530 hrs, it was high tide and the harbour was filled with Jellyfish.
Captain’s Blog, Monday, July 7th, 2008
Today, there is another change of crew. My sweetie is returning home and my first mate who been on shore leave returns. The weather is great and the forecast is for more of the same. In the afternoon we walked around the downtown area of Charlottetown. By evening we were planning the next leg, to Newfoundland.
Captain’s Blog, Tuesday, July 8th, 2008
Departed Charlottetown at 0830 hrs. Another beautiful day, with moderate winds out of the southwest. We were able to sail or motor sail for most the way back to Souris. We arrived Souris at 1930 hrs. We topped up our tanks and groceries in preparation for the 200 mile sail to Newfoundland.
Captain’s Blog, Wednesday, July 9th, 2008
We departed Souris, PEI for Stephenville, Newfoundland at 0700 hrs. The weather is hazy and warm. The forecasts suggest moderate winds out of the southwest veering to the southeast over the next two days. The next 8 hours was a wonderful motor free sail. During the time, we managed to catch a whale come completely out of the water, before making a huge splash. Upon reaching the northern tip of Cape Breton, we filed a sail plan with the Sydney Coast Guard. Our ETA is 1500 hrs. tomorrow.
As the sun sinks behind us, the wind diminishes and we have to crank up the engine. We motor sail into the night with the main up. By midnight, we are in the middle of the Cabot Strait, the winds are out of the east and picking up. The visibility is poor in fog. Within hours we are experiencing wind speeds in excess of 30 knots. The waves wash over the deck of Gallivanting until after sunrise, at which time we are approaching Cape Anguille, the southwest corner of the island of Newfoundland. This is that infamous area, known as Wreckhouse, which has gained a reputation for unpredictable high winds.
Soon we are in the lee of the Anguille Mountains and the seas have subsided. Porpoises are heading north along the coast. The winds remain fresh as we sail along the French Shore. We tie up at Little Port Harmon at 1530 hrs.
We will remain in the Stephenville area for a few weeks.
Captain’s Blog, Wednesday, July 23th, 2008
After 2 weeks of gallivanting in the Bay St. George area, we depart Little Port Harmon at 0650 hrs on Monday, July 21st. We motor out into the Gulf of St. Lawrence and around Cape St. George. The coastline at Cape St. George is very rugged and the elevation of the cliffs exceed 1000 feet. Although the forecasted winds are light to moderate, the winds coming off the hills are much higher and very gusty. At the cape, we sail between Red Island and the mainland. With Cape St. George and Red Island behind us, we sail around Long Point and into Port au Port Bay. At 1700 hrs, we arrive at a small fishing village called Blue Beach and tie up for the total sum of $2.00 per night.
After checking the weather and wind conditions, we depart Blue Beach at 0945 hrs, on Tuesday, July 22nd. The coastline between Port au Port bay and the entrance to the Bay of Islands is quite spectacular. In some areas, the cliffs rise more than a 1000 feet up from the sea. We arrive at Lark Harbour at about 1600 hrs. There are limited facilities and we decide to anchor despite the strong winds coming off the mountains. We awoke to the same strong winds.
On Wednesday, July 23rd, we depart Lark Harbour at 0900 hrs for the Bay Of Islands Yacht Club, which is located in the Corner Brook area.
The Bay of Islands is actually a fiord or maybe several fiords, called North Arm, South Arm, Goose Arm and Humber Arm. We leisurely motor the 30 nautical miles inland to Corner Brook near the mouth of the Humber River. We pass rocky islands with names like Guernsey, Tweed and Pearl. The islands were named by Captain Cook, when he charted the bay in 1767.
We arrive the Bay of Islands Yacht Club at 1230 hrs.
Captain’s Blog, Thursday, July 24th, 2008
The day is spent provisioning and cleaning the boat in anticipation of the arrival of the Admiral. Yes, it’s crew change time again. The “Missus” arrives at 1500 hrs and the plan is to cruise the BOI’s and Bonne Bay in Gross Morne National Park for the next 10 days.
On Friday, July 25th, after sleeping in, we depart BOIYC at 1400 hrs and arrive at Wood’s Island at 1600 hrs. In the evening, we enjoyed shrimp scampi with linguini with a bottle of chilled Chardonnay. The harbour on Wood’s Island is a most peaceful place with few people.
Captain’s Blog, Saturday, July 26th, 2008
The sky is cloudy and rain showers are in the forecast as we sail out of the harbour at Wood’s Island. The time is approximately 0900 hrs. We sail out through the many islands and head northward up the coast to Bonne Bay. The rain was off and on all right up to our arrival at Woody Point at 1515 hrs.
Captain’s Blog, Sunday, July 27th, 2008
We awake to a beautiful morning in Bonne Bay. Temperature records are being broken all over Newfoundland. From Woody Point we are looking across at Norris Point with Gross Morne as the backdrop. The winds are light.
We spent a most leisurely day sailing in the bay. We saw fishing villages, sail boats, fishing boats, old ships and whales, all with the Gross Morne tablelands as the backdrop.
Monday, July 28th, is on terra firma. We spent time in the town of Woody Point. For lunch, we enjoyed salt cod fishcakes, with home-baked beans at The Lighthouse. We filled our fuel and water tanks, did some grocery shopping and had a beer with an old friend, who just happened to have a small surplus of fresh picked wild mussels. Together with a Marinara sauce and a French red, dinner was wonderful.
Captain’s Blog, Tuesday, July 29th, 2008
We pull away from the wharf at Woody Point at 0915 hrs. The weather is cloudy with sunny periods. The winds are light. As we motor into a light wind on the nose, the skies clear and the temperatures rise. We sail past The Green Hankerchief and into the BOI’s. The only excitement sailing in the bay was a sudden thunder storm followed by a rainbow. Because we spent so much time wandering in the coves and bays, we didn’t arrive at the BOIYC until 2000 hrs.
Captain’s Blog, Saturday, August 2nd, 2008
We departed the BOIYC under sail at 11:30 on Thursday, July 31st. We arrived Wood’s Island at 1410 hrs and decided to anchor there for the night. Spent a very relaxing evening, finishing “Hipjoint”, a book given to me on my first sail in Newfoundland in 2002.
At 0830 hrs, on Friday, August 1st, we departed Wood’s Island and headed out the bay and into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. As we rounded South Head and turned South toward Port au Port bay, the winds picked up. The winds coming down off the mountains, came from many directions and was very gusty. Near shore you could observe gusts hitting the water so strong, that they lifted significant amounts of spray. We moved off shore and either sailed or motor sailed all the way to Blue Beach, where we arrived at 14:30 hrs.
Under mainly sunny skies, we depart Blue Beach at 0830 hrs, on Saturday, August 2nd. The winds are moderate out out the East, as we motor sail toward Red Island and Cape St. George. Once around the “Cape”, we encounter an East wind, which is on the nose.
As we motor into the bay, we spot a pod of dolphins breaching just off our starboard bow. As we head over to investigate, Linda grabs the camera and snaps the photo that I have been trying to get all summer. We cruised with the very playful pod for close to an hour, before continuing on to Stephenville, where we arrived at 2000 hrs. The next week or so will be spent ashore.
Captain’s Blog, Sunday, August 24th, 2008
After more than three weeks on land we are back on the water. Yours truly is joined by Barry, who sailed on the “Deja Vu” in the summer of 2002. Some sailor once said, “It’s better to be on land wishing you were at sea, than being at sea wishing you were on land.”
It doesn’t seem to matter how much we would like to leave port on a favourable wind. At 0945 hrs we depart Little Port Harmon, heading Southwest to Cape Anguille. Cape Anguile is the south-western corner of the island of Newfoundland and is not far from the infamous “Wreckhouse”. For 12 hours, we pounded into 10 to 15 foot waves brought on by southwest winds that regularly gusted to 30 knots or more (not forecasted).
At approximately 2130 hrs, we tied up at the fisherman’s wharf at Codroy Island. Basques fisherman used this harbour almost 1000 years ago. Codroy Island will be our launching point for the Cabot Strait which is notorious for it’s rough weather.
Captain’s Blog, Monday, August 25th, 2008
The Cabot Strait is approximately a 100 nautical miles, depending on where you land in Cape Breton. It is our plan to proceed directly to Sydney Harbour, which is almost exactly 100 nautical miles. We awake to rain, fog and drizzle. We departed Codroy Island at 12:45 hrs.
For the next 19 hours, we motor-sail into a southwest wind, maintaining a southwest heading. The main sail helped stabilize the boat in the waves. The waves and wind has diminished from yesterday, but now we have rain. In the early hours of Tuesday, August 26th, 2008, the stars came out for a short time. Off to the west, we could see the lightening flashes, which were part of an approaching cold front.
As dawn slowly broke, we could see parts of Sydney through the drizzle and fog. At approximately 0800 hrs, we tied up at Dobson’s Yacht Club. Since we would have to wait until noon to refuel, we puttered, slept, cleaned and did some minor repairs. After getting fuel, we cruised across the bay to the Royal Cape Breton Yacht Club at about 1330 hours.
Captain’s Blog, Friday, August 29th, 2008
On Wednesday, August 29th, my sister, Gwen, who also happens to be the partner of my first mate arrives on board for a visit. After spending a very enjoyable few days in the Sydney area, the Admiral arrives on Thursday, August 28th. Hand carried by the Admiral was a much welcomed fresh shipment of Beth’s infamous “Kibbles and Bits”.
It is now Friday as we check the current tables for the entrance to the Big Bra d’Or and depart the Cape Breton Yacht Club at 11:30 hrs. In order to catch the flood current at the entrance to the Bras d’Or lakes, we sail in the Sydney harbour until about 13:30 hrs, when we set a course for Point Aconi. As we pass North Sydney, the Newfoundland ferry, “Car-boo”, with Barry and Gwen, is departing for Port Aux Basques. Bon Voyage, my friends. The winds are brisk out of the northeast and Cape Breton is in fog.
We arrive at the entrance to the Great Bras d’Or channel just a little too early and the ebb current slows our speed over ground at the narrows. We motor to the southwest in dense fog. Near Ross’s Ferry, the thunderstorms start and continue until we reach Baddeck, a small town, nestled behind Kidston Island on the north shore of the Bras d’Or lakes. Baddeck is well known the a summer hangout of Alexander Graham Bell. We tie up at about 20:00 hrs.
Captain’s Blog, Saturday, August 30th, 2008
Hang out at Baddeck. Repaired some leaks in the cabin and serviced a winch. Interestingly, the leaks had developed as result of the loosening of deck fittings, including a winch. Likely cause…., vibration.
Captain’s Blog, Sunday, August 31th, 2008
With rain in the forecast, we depart Baddeck in the early afternoon. We head down the St. Patrick channel toward Whycocomagh. With rain showers on and off, we tuck in behind MacInnis Island and drop anchor in about 12 feet of water. We spend a most peaceful evening in a beautiful anchorage all by ourselves. The thunderstorms and rain return during the night.
Captain’s Blog, Monday, September 1st, 2008
We were awakened to the sound of bald eagles in the pines nearby. It is 09:30 hrs. We weigh anchor and head over to the Whycocomagh wharf, where we met Carl and decided to spent the day. Courtesy of Carl, we made a visit to the “Farmer’s Daughter”, where find a few essentials and some homemade goodies. On our return to the boat, we are caught in a rain shower and we make an unplanned stop at “Charlene’s” for a bowl of hot seafood chowder. The day finished with a quiet night at the wharf and a big nap.
Captain’s Blog, Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008
Under sunny skies, we departed the Whycocomagh wharf at about 0815 hrs. The winds are out of the east and the clouds are increasing as we arrive at Maskell’s harbour shortly after noon. Maskell’s harbour is another example of the great anchorages in the Bras d’Or lakes. Flat muddy bottoms hold very well. After a nice lunch, we depart for some afternoon sailing.
The Bras d’Or lakes consists of a number long channels oriented to the Northeast/ southwest. There are many bays on each of these channels which make perfect anchorages. The northern part of the lakes are separated from the larger southern part by the Barra Strait, a narrow opening which is connected by two bridges, accommodating a railway and a highway.
After entering the southern part of the lakes, we head for Clarke Cove near Marble Mountain, where a marble quarry once flourished. The lateral buoyage on the lakes is based on a north to south orientation, which means, when transiting the lakes from north to south, you keep the starboard buoy (red) on your starboard (right) side. We anchor in about ten feet of water in the northeast corner of Clarke Cove. For dinner we very much enjoyed some wild Atlantic Salmon, compliments of Denis. The salmon was baked with a crab dressing.
Captain’s Blog, Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008
With the winds continuing out of the northeast, we departed Clarke Cove at about 10:30 hrs. After navigating a number of small islands, we set sail, on a close reach for the northern entry to the St. Peter’s Canal, a national historic site. The canal consists of a signal tidal lock, which dampened the effect of the tidal flow between the lakes and the ocean.
We tie up at the St. Peter’s marina at 16:00 hrs.
Captain’s Blog, Thursday, September 4th, 2008
The day was spent doing laundry, provisioning and relaxing.
In the evening, we went out for dinner at the Bras d’Or Inn.
Captain’s Blog, Friday, September 5th, 2008
After fuelling up at 0930 hrs and we headed into the lower Bras d’Or lakes for a day of sailing.
Sunny skies and a pleasant Northwest wind made for an excellent day. After sailing well into East Bay on a beam reach, we came about and sailed back into West Bay, before dropping anchor in Cape George Harbour.
Captain’s Blog, Saturday, September 6th, 2008
Just another day of sailing the Bras d’Or lakes.
We passed the Cape George Lighthouse on several occasions these last few days. The lighthouse is one of the oldest aids to navigation on the Bras d’Or lake system and was erected around 1875.
In anticipation of the remnants of Hanna, we tie up at the St. Peter’s marina at 17:00 hrs. What’s left of “Hanna” is expected to arrive in St. Peter’s around noon tomorrow.
Captain’s Blog, Sunday, September 7th, 2008
Although it’s raining in St. Peter’s, as far as the wind is concerned, Hanna wimped by. The most of the day was spent doing normal boat maintenance stuff and just hanging out.
Captain’s Blog, Monday, September 8th, 2008
A sad day, the Admiral flies home for the last time this season, and soon I will have to think about doing the same. Gerry, the manager at St. Peter’s Marina has offered his van as transportation to the Sydney airport, which is about 100 kilometres away. It was an offer we could not refuse……., many thanks to Gerry, you are most kind.
Arriving on the same flight is the crew of Yari. They are heading for Baddeck, where Yari is on the ball. It is expected that they will join us in St. Peter’s tomorrow, where we will await a weather window to do the overnighter to Halifax.
The hour and a half drive back St. Peter’s gave me the opportunity to reflect on the summer. The highway winds along the coast of East Bay, which today is covered in whitecaps.
Barry, who will crew to Halifax, is expected to arrive tomorrow.
Captain’s Blog, Tuesday, September 9th, 2008
The morning was a little cool and the Espar was called upon to take the chill out of the air. The skies were perfectly clear and there was no wind, a beautiful morning.
Yari arrives from Baddeck in the evening.
Captain’s Blog, Wednesday, September 10th, 2008
The winds are forecasted out of the Northwest by afternoon. The crew of Yari is busy preparing the boat for the jaunt to Halifax. We actually shoved off at about 1300 hrs.
After transiting the canal, we entered Chetabucto Bay with the wind out of the West. Both Yari and Gallivanting set sail for Cape Canso. After about an hour of sailing, the crew of Yari decide to head for the port of Canso. We wish them a safe passage and indicate that we will be continuing on a south-westerly course toward Halifax. The wind is now out the northwest at about 20 kts.
With the favourable wind, we were able to sail well into the night.
Captain’s Blog, Thursday, September 11th, 2008
The winds calm down at about 02:00 hrs. and the iron sail is cranked to maintain a reasonable speed. Two hours later, at about 04:00 hrs, the winds pickup and we are once again under sail. We remain under sail until we reach the entrance to Halifax harbour, where we again have to start the engine.
We cruise into Halifax harbour and tie up at the Dartmouth Yacht Club at about 17:00 hrs., just in time for happy hour.
During the next week, the focus will be getting the boat ready for haul-out, which I hope can be accomplished as soon as possible.
Captain’s Blog, Friday, September 20th, 2008
For almost ten days now, my days have been spent preparing Gallivanting for the winter while my evenings were shared with friends and family.
The mast has been pulled and Gallivanting is sitting on the hard wrapped in plastic.
On Tuesday, September 23rd, I will catch a flight back to Ontario for the winter, which brings to an end the first half of the “Great Circle Route”.
Now that fall is in the air, it’s time to reflect a little on the first half of this sojourn. Although, there were evenings when we would have preferred to be in the pub drinking beer, there were also those evenings in the pub, when we talked enthusiastically about being out on the water. There were also some evenings, when we lay at anchor under a beautiful moonlit and starry sky.
A special thanks to Betty. She was always there when I needed her and there was no back talk. She is a little faded, but her tramp stamp weathered well.
Ralph joined Gallivanting in the early spring and was part of the crew for most of the passage to Newfoundland. I will always remember that sunny spring afternoon, when Ralph and I pedaled our bicycles around old Quebec like 10 year olds…………….with a sore arse to prove it. Thank you Ralph for all your help and good company.
There were a number of all-nighters during the summer, but toward the end of the summer, there were a couple of memorable passages. Barry joined the crew in Stephenville, Newfoundland and shared an overnighter to Sydney, Nova Scotia. Later, we would meet up again in St. Peter’s, where we would head out on the 30 hour all-nighter to Halifax.
Thanks Barry, you were there for one of the most enjoyable sails of the summer.
During the summer, I was also joined periodically by a young lady from up along. On three occasions, Linda left her (our) home in Ontario to join the crew of Gallivanting.
There are so many things that I have to thank you for, I just don’t know where to begin. We can start with thank you for being my first mate, but then there’s thank you for being my partner in life, being my best friend, being my playmate, not to mention sleeping with me. But most of all, I have to say thank you for just putting up with me.
Now it is time for me to join you for the winter.
And last, but not least are the many people who supported us throughout the summer, the many friendly people who helped us along the way, those special people who invited me into their homes and fed me for weeks on end, and the many people who took the time to sent E-mails.
If you have any further comments and/or feedback, we would love to hear from you.
Thank you all.
In the spring of 2009, Gallivanting will again be launched into the cold, salty waters of the North Atlantic. This time we will sail south along the coasts of Nova Scotia, Maine and New England to New York.
From New York, we plan to sail up the Hudson River into the New York canal system. By September, it is expected that we will be back in Lake Ontario.
Life is also good………………..
’til the next time……………………..