Gallivanting 2019

2019 will be our 3rd year cruising the East coast of Canada. Following a cruise down the Nova Scotia shore, we plan to cross over to Maine and down the New England coast to New York. From New York, we will head up the Hudson River to Albany and into Lake Ontario via the Erie Canal.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

The winter of 2018-19 has been especially windy in maritime Canada. A windstorm in late November made a mess of our cover.

Fortunately, our service provider re-covered the boat as soon as the winds settled down.

It is now March and spring is in the air, the sun is getting warmer and we are getting anxious to take the cover off the boat. This year, the vernal equinox occurs at 5:58 PM on March 20th.

Soon it will be time to launch Gallivanting for another season. We plan to start with a short visit to Bras d’Or lake, before heading down the eastern seaboard.

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On the hook, near Baddeck on Bras d’Or lake  in August 2018.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Spring has finally arrived, but it is not yet summer. The plan is to start getting the boat ready some time next week.

The getting ready includes; removal of the cover, repairs to the wind instrument, replacement of spreader lights, replacement of windlass switches, rebuilding the BBQ and if all goes well, the installation of a code zero furler.

I am hoping to be able to step the mast before the end of June, which will be followed by a shakedown cruise in the Bras d’Or Lakes.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

It is now Summer, with a forecast high for today of 14 Celsius. After an excellent road trip from Montreal, I arrived in Sydney, Cape Breton at sunset on Wednesday, June 19.

By June 26, repairs have been completed to the mast wiring, the mast is in the hole and Gallivanting is tied up at a dock. The past week has been spent rigging and cleaning the boat.

A shakedown cruise in the Bras d’Or Lakes. is still planned.

Friday, July 5, 2019

It never fails that I will have to go up the mast at least once a year. Between rain showers, I was able to make some minor adjustments to the rigging. That was Tuesday. 

Also on Tuesday, with help of a new crew member, we comfortably put on the sails. By 1400, we departed Dobson YC for a shakedown cruise through the Big Bras d’Or channel and into the Bras d’Or Lakes.

Poor planning resulted in a bit of a rough ride through the Big Bras d’Or channel. The out flowing tidal current was being met with a significant sea coming in off the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Never fun.

Once inside the Seal Island bridge, things calmed down considerably.

After 2 days in the lakes, we made a much more comfortable exit, returning to Dobson YC at 1900, today.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Another beautiful day. The past couple of days were spent preparing for our eventual departure down the Nova Scotia shore.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Closed up the boat at 0515 and started my 15 hour drive to Montreal, arriving in Montreal at 2015. The weather was perfect.

Sydney Sunrise

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Yesterday, we celebrated Mom’s 90th birthday.

Best Friends Forever…………., Forever Young

Saturday, July 20, 2019

We returned home from Montreal on Monday and on Wednesday, we caught a flight back to Sydney. The early and direct flight afforded us the time in the afternoon to provision with groceries and beer.

On Thursday, we carefully checked the tides and tidal currents in the Big Bras d’Or Channel and departed the Dobson Yacht Club at 0800.

The wind was out of the North at 15 to 20 kts and after heavy rain overnight, the skies were beginning to clear. At the Seal Island Bridge, we got a boost from the 2.0 kt current going into the lakes. At 15:30, we dropped anchor in Maskell’s Harbour.

Maskell’s Harbour

On Friday, we weighed anchor at 09:00 and headed for the Barra Strait, passing the lift bridge at 10:30. 

Sunday, July 21, 2019

We woke up to a calm and warm morning. With the temperature rising, we decided to transit the canal early.

After departing the marina at 09:00, we transited the canal at 09:45 and set a course for Cape Canso.

As we neared Cape Canso at 15:00, a severe thunderstorm warning was issued by Environment Canada. We decided to seek shelter and entered into a remote and somewhat hazardous area of the coast to find an anchorage. We dropped anchor in 40 feet of water at 16:00.

Within a couple of hours, the thunder and the rain arrived.

Monday, July 22, 2019

After getting up in the dark, we weighed anchor (including the salad) at 05:45. 

 

Despite “Red sky in the morning, sailor take warning”, we enjoyed the sunrise.

 

As we proceeded out of the sheltered anchorage, we noticed a significant swell left over from yesterday.

The winds started out of the Northwest, which was favorable, but by noon the winds were again out of the Southwest, which was not.

We dropped anchor at 19:00 in a small cove near Mushaboom.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Tuesday – Woke up to rain, drizzle and fog. We departed the anchorage near Mushaboom at 08:15 and dodged rocks and shoals for the next hour. Sailed for about an hour in the morning, with winds dying off to less than 5 kts in the afternoon. A heavy shower was followed by clearing skies. Arrived at Bishop’s Landing on the Halifax waterfront at 17:15.

Following a nice seafood dinner at a local restaurant, we enjoyed a visit from some family.

Wednesday – Despite light rain for most of the day, we were able to walk the Halifax waterfront and visit the markets and shops. We spent most of the afternoon at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, we thoroughly enjoyed.

In the evening, we enjoyed another restaurant outing with my brother Gary and his wife Donna.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Thursday – We cast off from Bishop’s Landing and headed into the Bedford Basin. Following a short visit to the Dartmouth Yacht Club for fuel, we headed out the Harbour past Halifax.

Big Boat……….. Little Boat

Learning to sail……

A great place to visit………..

Off Chebucto Head at 16:30………..

Dropped anchor in Rogues Roost at 19:20

Friday – After a very calm and quite night on the hook, we departed Rogue’s Roost at 08:30. We tried to sail in the PM, but not enough wind, ……..but we saw our first whale of the season. 

We arrived at The Rope Loft in Chester at 13:00, did a beer run in the afternoon and had dinner at restaurant in the evening.

Chester, Nova Scotia

Saturday – We departed Chester on a beautiful calm and warm morning at 07:45. Another heat warning from Environment Canada. Very light winds all day.

We arrived at the La Have Yacht Club in very pleasant weather at 13:00. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Sunday – We departed La Have Yacht Club in the fog at 09:30. The fog quickly turned into a big blue sky. 

La Have Yacht Club on a summer’s morning……..

Departing La Have in the fog………..

After seeing our first dolphins of the season, we set sail in light winds and sailed all the way into Brooklyn Marina, tying up at 15:30.

Monday – Today was a very long and lumpy day.

We arrived Shelburne Harbour Yacht Club tired at 19:15.

Wednesday – Today is best described as a day in the fog. We departed Shelburne in dense fog at 08:30. After 9 hours, we caught a glimpse of the wind generators in Pubnico.

The Wind Mills of West Pubnico

We arrived Pubnico at 18:30. The harbour was full of  fishing boats, in some cases rafted 5 deep. After contacting the wharfinger, we were told that we could raft up to lobster boat. After rafting up, we walked over to the Dennis Point Café for a lobster dinner.

If the weather is right, we will be departing for Maine in the morning.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Thursday – We departed Pubnico in fog at 10:00. As we departed, we chatted with a seaweed harvester, who was transporting a full load.

A full load……..

A summer job……..

It was 13:00 before we could clear the coast, which has many reefs, rocks awash and significant tidal currents.  Once outside, we set a course for Rockland, Maine, an overnighter.

By afternoon, we were able to see blue sky, but at the surface the advection fog continued for most of the passage.

Sunset in the Gulf of Maine………

Friday – A calm morning allowed us to add 20 liters of diesel to the on board tank. After 27 long hours, we arrived in Rockland, Maine at 13:00, which is now 12:00 Eastern Standard Time.

We tied up at the public dock and spent most of the afternoon wrestling with the new CBP Roam app. The new CBP Roam app can now be used to enter the United States.

 

Arriving Maine……

Entering Rockland Harbour…….

In the evening, we tied up to a mooring and very quickly fell asleep.

Saturday – We dinghied ashore and started our tour of the town.

The annual Maine Lobster Festival was underway on the waterfront and a parade had just started. Our priority was to get a phone and access to the internet.

The Maine Lobster Festival……..

In the evening, a sudden shower interrupted a beer and we made for a mad rush back to the boat to close hatches. Needless to say, by the time we got there, the rain had stopped.

 

After the rain……..

Sunday – We are still enjoying Rockland. Boat maintenance and clean-up dominated the day. We re-fueled and prepared for a morning departure. 

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Monday – Rum cake for breakfast…… We departed Portsmouth under a big sky at 08:00. The winds were WNW at 10 kts. Our destination today was Boothbay Harbor where we tied up to a mooring at 17:00.

This small fishing village is a popular tourist destination in summer, with the popular resident being Fritz, a 23 lb lobster, who resides at the Maine State Aquarium.

Tuesday – We departed Boothbay Harbor at 11:30. 

We motor sailed in light winds and clear skies for most of the day, arriving in Harpswell Harbor at 16:00. Being a not so busy harbor, we decided to drop anchor for a change. The anchor held well meaning that we had a very quite and restful night.

Wednesday – We weighted anchor at 06:45 and departed Harpswell Harbor in fog and light winds.

When cruising the Maine coast in the fog and during lobster season, one must constantly maintain a lookout for lobster boats and lobster pot markers.

There are strings on these things that can easily foul a prop.

Not all Lobster boats have AIS, so RADAR is a “must have”.

We arrived Portsmouth at 16:00, just as the thunderheads were forming. The evening was a major light show.

Thursday – After heavy downpours overnight, we decided to spend another day in Portsmouth. We took the opportunity to top up with fuel and water, changed a frayed engine belt and changed transmission fluid. It’s all part of boating.

Friday – We departed Portsmouth in sunshine at 08:00. The day started on a beam reach but slowly evolved into motor-sailing.

We arrived in the Marblehead area at about 15:00. Being that it was Friday and there were several events going on this weekend, getting a mooring was going to be a problem. After checking both Marblehead and Salem Harbors, it seems as if we were out of luck. If you are unfamiliar with this area, there are more boats here than you shake a stick at.

Even though we arrived in  Salem Harbor at 16:00, it was 17:30 before we tied up (at a dock).

Saturday – Our second day in Salem was busy one. We used uber to get a propane tank refill, we did a large load of laundry and we did groceries.

Sunday – We departed Salem at 09:45 and went by Boston at about 11:30.

Boston

Having enjoyed Scituate Harbor in 2009, we decided to return and picked up a mooring at the Scituate Harbor Yacht Club at 14:00.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Wedneday – We spent three nights on a mooring in Scituate Harbor, where we visited the town and replenished some provisions.

Today, we transit the Cape Cod Canal, which cuts through the narrow neck between Cape Cod Bay in the north and Buzzards Bay to the south. Without this canal, boaters would have a rather long passage out and around Cape Cod. That being said, there are other challenges for a sailboat.  The difference between the timing of the tides between the east end and west end of the canal is 2.5 and 3 hours. This results in a tidal current that could, at times, exceed 6 knots. When entering from the east, boaters have to be able to anticipate the westward current in the canal, otherwise a eastward current will significantly hamper your passage.

 

The other consideration is the wind. When you exit the canal you are heading southeast through Buzzards Bay. If the wind is out of the southeast (against the current), you could be in for a rough ride. So, some planning was required.

We entered the canal, heading west, at 11:00. The current is westward, boosting our SOG (speed over ground), at times to 10 kts.

Cape Cod Canal…….

We exited the canal into Buzzards Bay at 11:45. The winds were out of the north, which made for a comfortable ride to Cuttyhunk Harbor, where we tied up to a mooring at 15:30.

 

Thursday – We departed Cuttyhunk at 09:30 on a heading to Newport, Rhode Island. With the winds out of the NNE at 10 kts, we were able to sail most of the way.

Sakonnet Point Light (2009)

Castle Hill Lighthouse (2019)

House on a rock in Narragansett Bay (2009)

Rose Island Lighthouse (2009)

Upon our arrival in Newport Harbor a very pleasant Harbor Master guided us to an area of the harbor reserved for visiting sailors. We dropped anchor at 14:30. 

In the evening, we dinghied in to the “Black Pearl” for grub and grog.

Saturday – Still in Newport……..

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

We have been on the hook in Newport, Rhode Island for the past six days. Newport is a major international boating center as well as a major tourist destination in the summertime. Most days, we dinghied in to the waterfront, where we walked, visited shops and enjoyed lunch at the local restaurants.

We weighted anchor at 08:30. Next stop, the fuel dock, where we topped up with diesel and water, and departed Newport at 09:00.

Once out of the harbor, we were once again into the fog. As we neared Point Judith, we are dealing a significant thunderstorm, with heavy rain. After the storm, the fog lifted and Block Island was in sight.

We dropped anchor in the Great Salt Pond on Block Island at 13:30. 

Friday, August 23, 2019

Thursday – After a quiet night on the hook, we exited the Great Salt Pond at 10:00. For the next 4 hours, we motor sailed across Block Island Sound in the fog.

Block Island (Google Earth)

The Great Salt Pond (Google Earth)

We picked up a mooring in Stonington, Connecticut at 13:00 and walked the town in the afternoon.

 

Friday – It rained overnight and showers continue into the morning. We decided to spend another day in Stonington.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

We departed Stonington Harbor at 07:20 and continued down Long Island Sound toward Port Jefferson under sun and cloud.  At times we were able to motor sail, otherwise we motored.

We entered Port “Jeff” harbor at about 18:00 and dropped anchor in a quiet corner of the harbor at about 19:00.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

After a noisy night on the hook, we decided to depart Port “Jeff” at 09:20. The noise was the result of a 20 knot wind blowin’ out of the northeast.

The northeast wind blew straight down Long Island Sound all day, resulting in 1 meter plus waves on the quarter.

After a very yawing day on the water, we grabbed a mooring at the City Island Yacht Club on the lee side of the Island at 17:20.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Monday – This was our second day on a mooring at the City Island Yacht Club.

In the evening, we enjoyed “Zuppa di Pesce con Linguini” at Arties on the island.

“Zuppa di Pesce con Linguini” (Seafood Linguini for two)

Tuesday – Today was a big day. The extra day on City Island meant that we could depart a little later at 07:30. The tidal cycle occurs ~ 1 hour later each day.

Heading down the East River……

Going by La Guardia

Timing the transit of the East River is important. We were heading South into New York Harbor.

If you catch the Ebb tide, your speed over ground (SOG) could reach 10 knots. Conversely, on a Flood tide, your speed over ground (SOG) could be as little as 2 knots. Fortunately, our timing was good and we were able to ride the Ebb tide. We transited the 18 miles in just over 2 hours, arriving in New York Harbor at 09:40.

The United Nations building with the Freedom Tower in the background (as seen from the East River)

Upon arriving in Lower Manhattan, we navigated the New York Harbor boat traffic over to the Statute of Liberty, where we did a “cruise by”, then turned north and headed up the Hudson River.

Lady Liberty is alive and well…

Freedom Tower (as seen from the Hudson river)

The Tappen Zee bridge on the Hudson River

We arrived at Nyack Boat Club (just upstream of the Tappen Zee bridge) at 16:00.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

After a noisy night on a mooring, we departed Nyack Boat Club at 07:30.

When the current is in the opposite direction to the wind, the boat tends to make contact with the mooring ball on a regular basis, causing just enough noise to keep you awake.

United States Military Academy at West Point….

Barge taffic on the Hudson….

Linda enjoys a nice visit with cousin Eddie…..

Friday, August 30, 2019

After departing Newburgh at 09:30, we spend a beautiful day on flat water.

We also get a 2 kt boost from a “flood” (upstream) current. For more than 150 miles, the Hudson River flows in both directions twice a day, according to the tidal cycle.

Some of the many lighthouses on the Hudson……

We arrived at Castleton Boat Club at 19:00.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

The Castleton Boat Club is well known to Canadian boaters who have made the trip down the inter-coastal waterway. It is particularly significant to sail boaters.

When heading south, it is where you put the mast back up after transiting the Erie canal and where you take the mast down, when heading North.

So, for us, today’s the day. The remote control crane works very well. The wind and the current are always a challenge. Being that it was Labour Day weekend, the boat wake on the river presented an added challenge. Nonetheless, by 18:00, the mast was secure on the deck.

The mast is down…….

Sunday, September 1, 2019

We departed Castleton at 11:15 and arrived at Lock # 1 in Troy at 14:00. Lock # 1 is a Federal lock on the Hudson River.

We arrive in Waterford at 14:45. Lock # 2 is located in Waterford and takes you out of the Hudson River and into the New York State Canal System.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Hanging out at Lock # 2…….

Getting groceries…….

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

We departed Waterford (Lock # 2) at 08:45.

Cruising with the mast on deck is just a little bit cumbersome. Note the placement of the cushion to prevent banging your head.

We arrived Amsterdam (Lock # 10) at 18:00

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

We departed Amsterdam (Lock # 10) at 08:45.

Many Herons and Egrets can be seen on the banks of the canal.

Also, lots of Eagles……..

Saturday, September 7, 2019

We arrived at Sylvan Beach at 15:00. Sylvan Beach is located at the east end of Lake Oneida and is approximately 4 nautical miles west of lock # 22. Yes, over the past week, we have negotiated 22 locks.

We will cross Lake Oneida when the winds are calm, as we could have problems with mast on deck.

An old bridge being removed from the canal……

Sunday, September 8, 2019

We departed Sylvan Beach under reasonably calm conditions at 08:00.

Lake Oneida is approximately 18 nautical miles long and the waves could present a problem when carrying a mast on deck.

Halfway across the lake, the engine starts overheating and we have to shut down. The raw water strainer checked out OK. At this point, I removed the hose and elbow from the raw water intake “through hull” and find that it is clogged with weeds. Some nylon line was also removed from the prop. After clearing the intake and reassembling the plumbing, we resume our passage across the lake.

We exited Lake Oneida at 1300 and transited one more lock (Lock # 23) before Three Rivers, where we turned North at 15:00. We are now in the Oswego Canal.

We arrived in the town of Phoenix, near the entry to Lock # 1 of the Oswego Canal at 15:30.

Crossing Lake Oneida……

Removed from prop……

A summer sky……

Monday, September 9, 2019

We entered Lock # 1 on the Oswego Canal at 08:50. After transiting six more locks, we arrive in Oswego on Lake Ontario at 13:20. It is here that we put the mast back on.

Over the past 8 days, we transited 30 locks and visited 8 towns in upstate New York.

Along the way……

A serious cottage……

Lock # 30…. really……..

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Today, we put the mast back on.

Putting the stick back on…..

The final touch……

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Lots of rain overnight. After a quick review of the wind forecast, we decided to head North to Kingston on a beam reach (a west wind). No regrets….. One of the better sails of the summer.

As we neared Wolfe Island, we decided to furl in the jib and discovered that we not able to do so. We soon realized that we would have to drop the sail. Dropping the foresail in a 15 to 20 kt wind is not easy. We managed to get the sail down, bundled and tied on the foredeck. We assume that something went wrong during the masting, but the cause is not clear. We drop the main and head into Kingston, arriving Confederation Basin at 18:15.

We enjoyed pizza at “Wooden Heads” in the evening.

Departing Oswego for Canada…….

A nice sail…….

The windmills of Wolfe Island……..

We will soon close the loop that began 3 years ago…..

Thursday, September 12, 2019

The winds are expected to veer to the southeast and continue in the 20 kt range. We decided that it would be more comfortable to take the inside passage via the Murray canal. We motored past Amherst Island, through Adolphus Reach and Long Reach toward Belleville. Near Belleville, we dropped anchor in Hungry Bay at 18:15 and enjoyed a nice sunset dinner.

The sunset…..

The moonrise……..

Friday, September 13, 2019

After a comfortable night on the hook, we decided to try and put the foresail back on. The wind was still blowing out of the Northeast, but we managed to get it up and furled.

 We departed Hungry Bay at 09:00.

Later in the day, we were able to sort out what happened withe foresail. The furling line was jamming in the furler spool, because it was not setup properly when the mast was put up.

The strong southeast winds continue on Lake Ontario, generating very lumpy conditions. We sailed westward (on the jib) through the inside passage and entered the Murray Canal at noon. Shortly after 13:00, we made our entry out into Lake Ontario. The next 4 hours were not the most comfortable with the wind and waves on our port quarter. We were quite happy when we entered Cobourg harbour shortly after 17:00.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

With west winds forecast, we decide to spend the day in Cobourg. A very nice day, but windy.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

We departed Cobourg at 08:00. For the next 10.5 hours, we motored on flat water, arriving at LakeShore Yacht Club at 18:30.

After 3 years, 3 months we returned safely to our home club near Toronto, Ontario.