Wednesday, July 27th: After a beautiful sunset the night before, we re-fueled the boat, saying goodbye to Laura and set off northwards again.
It was another beautiful, but calm, day, so we motorsailed to Burnt Island. We anchored in the cove, with one other boat. Moray made the long awaited repair to the outboard and took it out for a test drive (read – went out at a crazy rate!). Burnt Island is an Outward Bound centre, and there were a couple of people out in kayaks.
Thursday, July 28th – Saturday, July 30th: we spent a quiet morning waiting for low tide. There is a little beach between Burnt Island and Little Burnt Island at low tide, where it is possible to land a dinghy. We walked around the tiny island, which has lots of wildflowers and is very pretty. We even found a few wild raspberries which were very tasty.
We headed back to Rockland, once again arriving in the fog! On Friday, we met up with Rick and Valerie Stewart (s/v Moon Eye) . They were in the Journey’s End Marina, having some repairs taken care of. They have a car, so we spent the afternoon with them, touring around the area and sightseeing. It was nice to see some more of the countryside and towns. It also gave us some ideas for stops on the way back south!
On Saturday, we headed into town to make use of the internet connection at the public library. There we met up with Tom and Joy Merritt (s/v Belle Ile). After a walk around town, we went to the Time Out Pub where we spent time catching up. Great afternoon!
Sunday, July 31st: first thing in the morning, we headed over to Belle Ile and rafted up next to them. Tom had a whisker pole for us (here’s hoping that we actually get to sail more!) and we wanted to say goodbye before heading out towards Southwest Harbor. The plan was to do two day-hops, but we made really good time, so we continued directly there and were safely at anchor by 4pm. There was some beautiful scenery along the way.
Monday, August 1st: We took the dinghy into town, and walked around to the marina. The marina manager had lots of information about customs and immigration, both into Canada, and returning to the USA. We made use of the free wifi at the public library to do some research and bought few groceries. We spotted a place that was selling live lobsters for only $4.99 per pound, but unfortunately they had sold out.
Tuesday, August 3rd – Wednesday, August 4th: at the library, we had checked the regulations for boaters in Canada, and found that we needed a few more flares. So Moray headed back to Hamilton Marine to get those. As he had to go into town, Moray decided to see whether there were now some more lobsters available – success! He came back with three live lobsters! As we wouldn’t be cooking them immediately, we put them in cardboard boxes, covered them with seaweed, and put them in the fridge. We then called the nearby fuel dock but were told that they wouldn’t be able to take us until the afternoon. So we called another and were given the same answer. It appears that there was a regatta that day, and every boat in the area was re-fueling! Luckily, the third place we called – Clifton Dock – said that they could take us immediately, so we didn’t have to change our plans. These were to start the crossing over to Nova Scotia. As it would be a 24 hour crossing, we left around noon, so that we would arrive during the day. It was a great crossing, although, once again, there was no wind . At one point during the trip, we watched an amazing show of dolphins hunting and playing. Some of them were leaping incredibly high. It was just like a show in an aquarium, but so much better knowing that they were doing it because they wanted to, rather than because they had been bribed! There had to have been 50-60 of the dolphins in the group spread over about a 1/2 mile circle
While we were crossing, I put together a packet with all the documentation we would need to enter Canada. To clear customs, Moray would need to call once we arrived. We knew what the questions would be, so I also put together a list with the questions and answers, to use on the call. As we approached Yarmouth, we hoisted our yellow quarantine flag for the first time! The arrival in Yarmouth was very easy, as the marina manager was waiting on the dock to take our lines. Once we tied off, Moray called Customs. Five minutes later, we were officially welcomed to Canada, lowered the quarantine flag and raised the courtesy Canadian flag.
We went for a walk around the town, got a few groceries and checked out where to have dinner. We settled on a nearby waterfront restaurant, which had live music and a great patio. We tried the local “delicacy” – rappie pie. It’s a bit like a shepherds pie, but the potato is grated and squeezed through a cheesecloth, which gives the pie a somewhat gelatinous texture. It looks a little odd, but it tastes delicious.
Thursday, August 4th: after making use of the marina’s laundry facilities in the morning, we set off toward’s Clark’s Harbour. While we were on our way, the fog rolled in again. We called ahead to the harbourmaster at Clark’s Harbour, and he said we tie off to one of the wharves, behind a visiting mega-yacht. The fog was pretty thick, but suddenly the wharf appeared in front of us. Everything was ready, and it was probably a good thing, as it meant that I didn’t have time to think about the fact that I was going to have to climb a ladder, carrying the line, and tie off at the top of the wall! It was low tide, and there is a 10ft tide there, so we had to take all of that into consideration. Finally, the boat was secure and we could relax.
The mega-yacht was the Serendipity II, a Cayman-registered boat. There appeared to be a constant stream of people driving up to the wharf, getting out of their cars and taking a look at the boats. After talking to a couple of the visitors, we found out that there was a bar about 5 miles away, and it had been mentioned in there, that the mega-yacht was in the harbour – hence all the visitors! Apparently Ben Affleck was aboard. Moray took a stroll around the harbor and got some nice misty shots.
Friday, August 5th: Moray went to the Coastguard station to get the weather forecast and any local knowledge he could glean. They were very helpful! It was still foggy, but a fishing boat was heading out, so we followed him out – radar is a wonderful thing, we were able to shave about 8 miles off our initially intended course by following him through some shallow areas! We headed to our next stop, Lockeport. We anchored in the outer harbour and took the dinghy into town. We picked up a few groceries and then stopped at the Aly Kat Lounge, for a couple of drinks and dinner.
Saturday, August 6th: the day was foggy, but finally there was enough wind to sail! We sailed all the way to Liverpool, our next stop. When we had been planning our route, this stop was a no-brainer. The small town of Liverpool is directly across the river Mersey from the town of Bristol. Given that my home is Bristol and i went to Liverpool University, it was only right that we stopped there!
About an hour before we arrived, out in 200ft of water, we had a scare. We hit – or were hit – by something hard and large. There was nothing on the chart, and we couldn’t see anything around. We checked inside the boat, and could find no damage or water. Once we were anchored in Liverpool, Moray used the Go-Pro to check under the boat and everything looked fine.
Sunday, August 7th: we set off reasonably early as we wanted to get to Lunenburg. Unlike the previous day, it was a lovely sunny day, but no wind. We took a little detour to take a video of an ocean sunfish.
When we approached Lunenburg, it was like approaching a fairy tale town! The buildings are all painted in bright colours and their style reflects the German history of the town.
Monday, August 8th: we started the day in the public library, making use of the free wifi, and then set off to explore the town. although the town was founded by the British, the town was laid out, designed and built by Germans, as is very apparent from the style of the majority of the architecture. We looked around a couple of the town’s churches, in particular, St. John’s Anglican Church, which was almost destroyed by fire in 2001. Since then, there has been a painstaking reconstruction of the church, and it is almost back to it’s former glory.
We also spent time on the waterfront. The town has a seafaring and boat-building tradition, which is honored in the museums and sailboats all along the waterfront. There are also several restaurants and bars along the street. We stopped at one of the bars for a happy hour drink, but then made our way into the town, to The Knot pub.
This is a local bar which has a very good selection of local beers and good pub food. After dinner, we headed back to the dinghy and Sol Purpose, to prepare for the final leg of our journey to Halifax.
Tuesday, August 9th: we left Lunenburg at around 9am, to head to Halifax. We had made a reservation with Armdale Yacht Club for my two week stay, while Moray was in Scotland. We were arriving a day early, so we decided to anchor across the river from the Yacht Club. The trip up the river was stunning – high dollar homes, beautiful gardens, and lovely boats. We passed the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron, and then arrived at the Armdale Yacht Club. Its sits on Melville Island and is joined to the mainland by a causeway. It has been used for various things over its colorful history but mostly for detaining prisoners. The yacht club have a lease on the property which costs them $1CAN per year 🙂
While we were sitting in the cockpit having a drink, another boater rowed over to us, and gave us a lot of useful information about Halifax and Cape Breton.
Wednesday, August 10th: we headed over to the yacht club, and got settled into our slip. The manager, Larry, was very friendly and helpful. The yacht club has a shower, but no laundromat. There is a bar and restaurant, and lots of active boaters. Every Wednesday and Thursday evening they have races. We went over to the bar for a drink before heading into town for a pre-anniversary dinner. One of the club members, Ken Bell, heard Moray ask the bartender for the number of a taxi firm and insisted on driving us himself. not only did he drive us to the restaurant, he gave us a guided tour of the town, with suggestions of places we should visit during our stay. He was very knowledgeable and interesting, and gave us some fascinating insight into his home town.
Thursday, August 11th – Tuesday, August 23rd: At 7am , Moray left to start his journey – three buses to Halifax airport, a plane to Boston, another to Copenhagen and finally one to Aberdeen and I started my two week vacation!
During those two weeks, I did a mixture of sightseeing and boat work. My main task on the boat was to strip the varnish from the teak on the deck. We have decided to leave the teak unvarnished so that it weathers. It will look very nice once it has weathered properly, and will need a lot less upkeep. I also gave the inside of the boat a good clean, as three months of sailing leaves the boat a little damp and dirty.
I have also managed to get a lot of exercise. Halifax is very easy to get around on foot, and I have taken many walks around the various parks and downtown. Like Lunenburg, the waterfront area has been developed, and is a wonderful place for tourists to visit and to get to understand the history of the town. There are a couple of museums, my favorite being the Immigration Museum at Pier 21. This is the actual Pier where the boats used to arrive in Halifax, bringing people wishing to start a new life in Canada. The tour guides are very knowledgeable and the Museum is very well set out. I would highly recommend it.
Next door to Pier 21 is the Farmers Market. This is open 7 days a week and has all kinds of stalls, selling local produce and crafts. Again, this is a great place to visit.
I can highly recommend the Armdale Yacht Club for a stay in Halifax. They have both slips and mooring balls available to visiting boaters. Just contact Larry at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will take care of you. The members of the club have all been very friendly and welcoming. I have been given rides to the laundromat and the grocery store, and had several people stop by the boat to chat during the day. They have also provided a lot of information about the Bras D’or Lakes, where we plan to go next. If anyone is planning to visit Nova Scotia, whether by boat, plane or car, please visit novascotia.com This is a website that a former tourist information employee told me about – I met her down on the path while we discussed the seal that had shown up in the marina! I don’t think anyone in Halifax has ever met a stranger!