"Egret" N4674 - Scott and Mary Flanders
Ed. note: On February 10, 2011, Scott and Mary Flanders, on board their Nordhavn 46, Egret, arrived in the Canary Islands. In doing so, Egret became the eighth Nordhavn to circumnavigate the globe. It had been four years, five months since the couple departed Gran Canaria, intent on seeing as much of the earth as possible, although not necessarily with an end goal to circle the globe. Voyage of Egret documents the Flanders’ entire trip, an endless adventure that has put them in touch with the most fabulous places and interesting people. Much route planning and forecasting was required in order to get to some of their ports of call. But the days of detailed planning are over…for now. “Egret” is now back in Fort Lauderdale, the place the couple called home for so many years, and, ironically, the starting point of their world wide cruising escapade that began with the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally in 2004. They currently travel hither and yon, sometimes by boat, sometimes not. Here, the latest update from the Flanders as they keep us continually apprised.
August 27, 2012
Position: 44 22.37N 64 18.49W Lunenburg Harbour, Nova Scotia
Egret’s anchorages have been:
47 42.62N 56 33.39W The Pool, Northwest Arm, Hare Bay, Newfoundland.
47 52.06N 55 50.25W Ship Cove, St Albans, Newfoundland
47 36.74N 55 56.02W Pink Bottom, Piccaire Harbour, Newfoundland
46 46.60N 56 10.48W Club Nautico, St Pierre Harbor, Ile St Pierre, France
Bon Jour mis amigos, Egret is en route from the French island of Ile St Pierre to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Before we get started on the Newfoundland wrap up as well as St Pierre we are going to bring you ‘live’ coverage of a real life at sea rescue going on at this moment. f/v (fishing vessel) No Pain No Gain has a crewman who sustained a head injury and has had a seizure. Canadian Coast Guard vessel Earl Grey has been steaming for hours to meet the fishing boat who in turn is steaming at 10 knots toward the Earl Grey. This all started during Mary’s watch, currently it is 0227 Saturday morning, and has gone into mine. The boats are working between VHF 16 and 06 so we have a radio set to each. Just a moment ago a Canadian Rescue C130 fixed wing aircraft arrived on scene to direct the rescue. Also en route is a helicopter that will arrive within 15 minutes to lift the crew member from the fishing boat. Just now the Earl Grey sent a FRC (I assume a fast rescue craft) with a two rescue crewmen to the fishing boat. The rescue craft did what they could in just a few minutes then re boarded the FRC and returned to the Earl Grey at the C130’s request because of downwash from the approaching rescue helicopter. The rescue helicopter is now arriving within minutes to lift the crew member from the fishing boat. The C130 announced flares will be dropped around the fishing boat to light the way for the rescue helicopter. This is wild!! Now I can see the flares outside the port window. I had no idea the boats were so close so I checked on 24 and 48 mile radar and couldn’t find any targets to port. It is calm so I don’t know why they don’t show, particularly the coast guard ship. The flares are continually being dropped by the C130. Now for the maddening part. They just switched to VHF 19 for the rescue; Egret’s VHF’s are set to international so we can’t monitor the rescue. I tore the ^%#@#& pilothouse apart looking for the radio manual but it is buried somewhere. 5 minutes later. There are no more flares so the injured crewman must be on his way to Halifax with the rescue helicopter. This is not exactly network reporting where the talking heads have all the answers but it is what it is.
Later several VHF calls on 16 went out to Halifax Coast Guard Radio checking on the flares. I assume they were fishermen ashore that didn’t follow the rescue on the VHF. So they were making sure the flares were noticed. Smart.
Ok, back to Newfoundland. We left you in Francois – Franz Way to locals – then ran a few miles to Hare Bay, another deep fjord with a spectacular waterfall at the end. It was a sunny day and the trip up the fjord was another eye popping trip. TK splashed down in 30’ just beyond Sandy Point and fired out 150’ of chain. There was a fishing boat anchored in the distance near a hunting cabin. After backing in the anchor down went the dinghy and off we went dinghy exploring. Here again we saw the monster scallops in the shallows. After the rain the day before there were waterfalls everywhere. There must have been well over a dozen within sight of the anchorage. These all start with lakes on top of the mountains. In the last VofE if you expanded the google earth map to full size it is obvious where the water comes from when these upland ponds overflow.
What a valuable resource google earth is for trip planning. I rarely click on google earth on the N - VofE site but each time I do I am amazed. This is why we have been including the coordinates lately of Egret’s anchorages to help bring the words to life and to give you an idea what you have to look forward to when it is Your Time.
It rained the next day but during dry breaks, and sometimes no quite so dry, we kept up the dinghy exploring. So let’s take a minute and explain dinghy exploring. In a fjord like Hare Bay you see the big picture from the boat. Later by dinghy exploring the shoreline at idle speed you can really take in the details. Low tide is always our favorite because you can see what the tide exposes and in beach areas, what the tide brought in. Mary loves to kneel and look over the bow in the shallow water. I usually stand and steer with an extension handle on the outboard. It would be interesting to know how many miles we have traveled dinghy exploring over the years. It would add up to be quite a few.
During one dinghy trip we went over to the fishing boat who by now had given up on his small anchor and had long lines ashore bow and stern to two headlands. The fishing boat doesn’t have a windlass so they don’t use their heavy anchor except in an emergency and only then with crewmen aboard. They were a husband and wife fishing team from Fortune, Newfoundland who mainly fish for cod on the St Pierre bank. During the short season both work aboard and they have two crew. He said his quota is 37,000lbs and they get between .55 and .60 cents a pound. The boat is about 50 feet, heavily built out of wood and has an aluminum rear shelf over the transom which is typical of southern Nova Scotian boats where this boat came from. The boat has an unusual triangular keel that begins about midship and extends down to 9’ at the rudder. It has a low house not much higher than the bow and a large working deck. He said they can’t fish in more than 35 knots because it is hard on the gear. I asked what they did then and he said they shut down, lie ahull and drift. He said she drifts sideways to the wind and rides the waves like a duck. He said down below it is so calm they have to come up to see if the wind is still blowing. They were on vacation in the bay and come every year. We took a photo of their boat against Their Waterfall, we had our Private Waterfall, and made them a copy to drop off when we left.
From Hare Bay Egret moved east into Bay D’ Espoir – Bay of Despair to the locals and Bay of Hope in French. Mary laid out the course up thru the scenic waterway of Lampidoes Passage to the village of St Albans. St Albans reminds us of a frontier town that has grown helter skelter quickly. St Albans is a center for fish farms and the waterways to the town are dotted with fish farms as well as the bay at St Albans. For us it was a grocery and go. The smell coming off the town wharf reminded us of a sea lion colony. From St Albans, the next day Egret motored slowly down the super scenic Little Passage, a narrow 2nm passage between the mountains with small coves off to the sides. About half of the coves had fish farms and the others were clear. The destination was a tiny cove within Piccaire Harbour named Pink Bottom. Pink Bottom was a tiny outport village of perhaps 20 homes in years past but there are just a few scattering traces these days. The government dock is now a pile of stones with the supports long gone. Pink Bottom was a favorite anchorage of author Mowley Fowat so of course we had to stop by and see what was whipping. TK shot down in 50’ and out went 150’ of chain. There was swinging room but not a ton of spare if a wind stretched the chain. Holding was excellent.
Down went the dink so off we went to explore the pool at the top of the bay called Northwest Arm. It is deep with no place to anchor but it is really pretty with the tall firs and multiple waterfalls. We saw a large bald eagle perched on top of a dead tree on the far side of the bay. Then we went back to explore what was left of the village. There were very few flat spots so the homes must have had crazy pilings to keep everything level. We walked to the top of the hill to snap this photo. When we arrived there were a few locals from the town across the peninsula building a small cabin out of used lumber. By the time we got back from dinghy exploring they were gone.
Ok, so we had the visual desert first (fjords) but now comes the experience desert……Ile St Pierre et Miquelon. St Pierre is French, not Canadian French but French-French. We’ll talk first about Miquelon, population 600, and its sister island of Langlade, permanent population 0. These days the islands are connected by a sand isthmus but in ye ol’ days they were separate. There are 700 shipwrecks around the islands, most of which struck the sandbar in between because charts that were not updated showed two separate islands. On a tour we heard the ships were helped along by women waving lanterns to suppposingly show them the way but in actuality lead them ashore to be salvaged. It was very sad we didn’t get to spend more time in St Pierre and take Egret up to Miquelon to see that island. More on why later.
St Pierre, population 6,000, is France complete with Peugeots and Citrons just 15nm from Newfoundland. What a difference between the two. Egret was called on VHF 16 as she entered the harbor under escort and told to proceed to the dock at Club Nautico and they would meet us. We were met at the dock by Enrique Perez, the Commandant de Port – Harbour Master who took the lines and welcomed Egret to St Pierre. He gave us a welcome package of tourist stuff and a baseball cap. Enrique had already called the Aduana (Customs) who showed up a few minutes later. Customs stamped our passports on the dock, we filled out a form and he left. Next was Immigration with two forms he left with us and returned in 30 minutes to pick them up. Wow, was that great or what? Mary fixed lunch then off we went exploring.
St Pierre has two main tourist streets for shopping and restaurants. Currency is the Euro as France as well as 220V – 50 cycle electricity. In years past, St Pierre has had two major economic booms. The first that carried them for years was the cod industry. The second was so profitable for the years of American Prohibition locals quit fishing and started hauling. In their heyday, St Pierre was transiting 300,000 cases of hooch per week. One thing we remembered from parts of Europe is the entire town shuts down between 1200 and 1300 for lunch including the grocery store. We walked the streets until dinner time. We finally found a restaurant that was somewhat reasonable in price but we didn’t have reservations and they were full. What a difference a few miles make from not having a shop to buy a cup of coffee to no available tables. Both have their own charm of course and we aren’t implying anything negative.
The next morning a French journalist stopped by and asked to return later for an interview “because we have an interesting boat”. He returned later and his twist was not so much about boating but why we made the decision to retire early and change our lives. Of course we gave him an earful and rocked his dwelling world.
Next an American stopped by for a chat and knew somehow we had lived aboard for 11 years. Ronald had a giant camera around his neck so of course we invited him aboard for a chat. He has been coming to St Pierre for 41 years and his wife was originally from St Pierre. They have a restaurant on the water somewhere near LA, spend 2 months a year in St Pierre and motor home in the western U.S. So we chatted then he left and returned shortly to invite us to a trip on a small ferry to Ile Aux Marins across the harbor. So we did.
Ile Aux Marins was in years past the home of fishermen. A number of homes have been restored and the stone ‘gardens’ where the cod was left to dry are still there today. Every home had its own nearby garden. He told us the history of this n’ that as we walked the island. One interesting tidbit is the wreck of the Trans Pacific from Germany on the windward side of the island. It ran aground in 1987 and like its comrades in shipwrecks it was promptly stripped of its cargo by locals. The Trans Pacific had been carrying furniture lumber, cars and a number of dissimilar items. After the ship was striped of cargo they cut a hole in the side and set the fuel on fire so there was no ecological damage. Later, winter storms ripped it apart to the point you see it today. Shreds of German steel are a lookout point for this little guy. (Remember this photograph when some expert starts blowing smoke about the toughness of steel vs other materials. And remember this is commercial steel thickness, not recreational.) Ronald said it was the ships last trip across the Atlantic before it was to be retired and local rumor says it was run aground on purpose to collect the insurance. It’s a mystery, eh? How would you like to have this run aground in your back yard?
At the head of the island is a small earthworks and a few cannons that used to protect the harbor. There have been squabbles over this n’ that between countries ever since there have been countries and it is the same today. Esso located a strip of oil running below St Pierre up to Newfoundland and down to Nova Scotia. So the local Newfoundland government, French government and Canadian government are having at it with words, at least not cannons.
We had a great time and returned later by dinghy tophotograph the island in the late afternoon light.
In the small world department, Ronald’s wife’s sister and her husband run a two car minivan tour company so we had to do that the next day and got to see the entire island and learned what we told you about St Pierre as well as this flag information. The St Pierre et Milquelon flag is as follows. The larger aft part of the flag is Jacques Cartier’s ship. JC, from St-Malo, France is who put St Pierre permanently on the map beginning in 1534. The top box is the flag of the Basque region, the middle box the Brittany region and the lower box is the Normandy region, the three major regions that settled St Pierre.
St Pierre was one highlight of this summer’s entire cruise. The island is alive with friendly people and truly is France exported to these small islands. We enjoyed every minute.
Now for the very sad part and it has nothing to do with St Pierre and everything to do with weather. We haven’t had internet for a couple days but the last we saw was a storm was predicted to move up the U.S. east coast in this direction. I’m sure when it hits the cold water south of Maine it will turn east but nevertheless it will make travel south difficult for a while, particularly for the 350nm crossing from Nova Scotia to Boston. Bottom line: there is a great 3 day window to make the hop to Lunenburg and we had to take it and not take a chance on being stuck way north for a week or more. We have obligations in South Florida by the 3d week of October so Egret needs to keep moving.
Egret sadly departed St Pierre way too early in our exploring; however it was what it was. She left at 1700 Nova Scotia time. (St Pierre is GMT +3 or two hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. We ran into head seas for most of the first night then the wind swung as predicted and she wuz flying sipping fuel at 1450 rpm. In fact during the 60 hour trip we reduced rpm from 1450 to 1400 to 1350 and finally 1200 for the last 4 hours and STILL arrived in the dark averaging 6.5 knots despite the reduced rpm. Just as the lines were secure to Government Wharf in Lunenburg (Nova Scotia) a faint glow of light was spreading from the east. The trip was super calm as predicted and for most of the way the wind was behind the beam.
After checking in with Canada Border Protection via Iridium phone we took down the Q flag and ran up the red and white Maple Leaf. Next was a snooze until we moved off the dock and anchored. Mary was preparing to climb the dock ladder to throw off the lines when some tourist dude came by to take pictures. I called him hey you……..swab and ask he throw off the lines. He was thrilled but not as quick on the knots as MS. He too is a circumnavigator……. QE II which is just a bit different.
Leaving St Pierre marked Egret’s turn to the south and a return to Ft Lauderdale for the winter. We plan to arrive in FLL around October 20th for the usual whirlwind stuff including the FLL International Boat Show (the World’s Best Boat Show), pick up Bubba (the Egret crew’s new bubba truck) and begin a thorough inspection/replacement of whatever needs Egret may have preparing for the coming years. We plan to change every hose in the boat including the Naiad high pressure hoses and replace the headliner which is beginning to sag in a few places in the pilothouse and salon. The Lifeline AGM batteries will also be replaced even though they are relatively new and working well. There will be no stone left unturned because this will be the last time in some years in Egret’s future when parts will be this available and inexpensive. The U.S. is the best place in the world for price and availability buying boat parts or refit a larger boat – mega yacht (Ft Lauderdale). To do an extensive refit* on a small boat like Egret, I believe the best place in the world is North Island, New Zealand either in Whangerei for smaller or Auckland for larger. But of course you have to get there.
*These are paid refits, not do it yourself which is what we do. I’m basing my opinion on communication language (English), work ethic, availability of skills, availability of parts and labor cost per hour. Domestic boatbuilding costs used to be 3-1, three parts labor and 1 part materials. Because labor cost today or at least when we were in business (until 2000) this changed to 4-1. Labor management is EVERYTHING in the refit business just like it was in the boatbuilding business. This is why it is so important to choose wisely.
Mary and I hope to drag our feet for at least a few days in Lunenburg but at the first opportunity when the east coast storms pass we be off to Boston to clear into the U.S. Mary and I have never been to Boston so we are looking forward to that and meeting the locals that invited Egret. More on that later.
August 21, 2012
Position: 47 34.70N 56 44.66W The outport village of Francois – Franz Way to locals, Fjord Coast, Newfoundland.
Hello mis amigos, lets get right to the 1000’ waterfall at the head of Aviron Bay. I reported in the last VofE the waterfall was in La Hune Bay. It wasn’t. In La Hune, Egret sat in another pretty place with a stream at the head of the bay. We didn’t bother lowering the dinghy because it rained heavily all day. Before we move on to Aviron Bay lets look at a C-Map portion of Newfoundland’s Fjord Coast. The little red boat at the top of Aviron Bay is Egret (anchored in The Pool). This portion of the coast the fjords are N/S. Farther to the east they change to more NE/SW and become much larger and deeper. More on that later.
After La Hune Bay Egret moved to Aviron Bay and the spectacular waterfall. Let’s take a moment to bring Aviron Bay to life. Aviron Bay is actually a fjord. Entering the fjord immediately on the right are low sculpted rocks on an isthmus between the mainland and a large conical headland. Lord of the Rings comes to mind. The bay was open at first with abandoned hunting or fishing cabins on the port side in a beach area. Just inland of that on the same side is a fair weather anchorage in an amphitheaterof tall semicircular hills with skree slopes called Cul de Sac. Then the fjord narrows as you can see in this photo. Ahead to stbd is the entrance to The Pool, every cruiser’s dream – extreme beauty and isolation. So after anchoring in brilliant sunshine the first order of business was to climb the hill opposite the waterfall and snap a photo with Egret in between. We did and paid the price with more bug welts. %^$##& flying teeth!! The scenery is so majestic it is difficult to get any sense of scale. This photo taken from the dinghy of the anchorage may help. The little white spec in the bottom center is Egret.
The day was spent dinghy exploring and hiking inland among low scrub, berry plants, grass, rocks and with plenty of wind in the valley there were No Bugs. One thing we discovered while dinghy exploring were giant scallops even larger than the Stewart Island scallops (N.Z.) This one and a couple critters came up with the anchor the next morning along with a giantus wad of kelp. The binoculars used for scale are 7x50s’. Wild, eh? Intrepid cruisers with a wet suit and dive gear could pick up a meal in minutes.
After a lazy morning charging batteries and making water we moved a few miles east to the outport village of Francois – Franz Way to locals. The town is located at the head of the short fjord surrounded by a high rock bowl or another natural amphitheater. The town has no roads but does have concrete paved paths for the ubiquitous 4 wheel ATV’s as well as wooden walkways. There are no flat areas and even the school playground is wooden built on stilts cantilevered over the hill. The locals are super friendly and happy like those in Ramea. The village seems relatively prosperous. The homes are all tidy and the community of around 150 even has two general stores.
After arriving and docking at the fisherman’s wharf we took a short hike up the way to find the local store. Mary bought a few goodies and walking back to the boat we saw a sailboat coming in so we invited them to raft off Egret. (The dock was full.) The boat was a Tayana 37 sailboat with 3 crew. They were returning home to Chester, Nova Scotia from a trip up to St Johns, Newfoundland on the east coast. Mary put out 3 large fenders plus they put theirs out so it was no problem. They were nice folks. They moved on while we were gone the next day and left a yogurt tub full of fresh black raspberries in the cockpit. Real nice folks!!
The next day we were in one store buying what we could and picked out a couple small boxes of chocolate covered peanuts. A little round guy about 8 came in to buy a few things for dad outside so I slid him one of the boxes of chocolate pills. He was so shy he didn’t even smile and left the box on the counter and took the stuff out to dad. Mary told him he left his box and the lady at the counter immediately said he will be back, don’t worry. Well, his dad And older brother were outside so when they left he came back for the goodies. Smart kid.
The walkway at the top of the village leads to an overlook to the south. The walkway wound around climbing past the cemetery, thru some boggy areas and up higher thru the raspberry plants and firtrees and later those gave way to blueberries. The raspberries haven’t ripened yet but the blueberries were. Of course we had to eat a few of those and got blue teeth. Then of course we had to smile at each other and giggle. Along the way we came across a local making honey while the sun shone. The scenery at the top was pretty special as you might imagine. In this photo you can see Big Pond to the left (Big Pond is the town’s water supply) the cemetery and the village of Francois to the right. Egret is the last boat on the fisherman’s dock in the lower right. Part way down we picked up the trail and did a lap around Big Pond and back to the village.
The last VofE was sent from the Francois school. The Canadian government keeps the schools open in the summer with a caretaker to let tourists and locals use the internet. We found this universally thru Nova Scotia’s libraries and now in the Newfoundland schools.
On the way back to the boat in the afternoon we found two fishermen working on an outboard with tools taken from a disgusting tool box tray full of rusty water. I couldn’t stand it so I returned with a couple Clean screwdrivers, a soft wire SS brush and a can of CRC Cleaner Degreaser – a spray electrical/engine/carb/etc cleaner. So I helped with the carb and got it brandy new again. They were loving it. Later we heard the engine running. So that was good.
Later harbormaster Austin Fudge came by to collect for the (fisherman’s) dock shown here looking down from the overlook. The charges were $1/meter plus 13% tax. So we paid $16 for the stay. We actually stayed two nights and I told him but he said don’t worry about it. It seems he just needed to show in his receipt book another boat came to visit. Austin said weather is coming tomorrow with rain and if we need to stay another day or two its ok. Wink, wink. Cool. Austin told us a cute story. His daughter married and moved to Alberta. Her husband’s father said it is so flat you can let the dog out in the morning to run away from the house and at supper time you can still see it running. Austin said “I got to have my rocks, I couldn’t live flat like that”. Looking at a photo of the inner harbor you can see the rocks…..lotsa rocks with The Friar towering over them all (Rock formation). Below the Friar you can see the landslide that engulfed two homes a few years back. Fortunately no one was home.
And did the rain and wind come or what? There were few dry times thru the day as well as gusts most of the day. We would rather sit in the rain where we can get off the boat and walk than be on anchor. In the morning a small fishing boat arrived to squeeze between Egret and the boat behind. We helped with the lines then had a nice conversation with one of the fellows.
These folks are so nice it is nearly impossible to squeeze the least bit of negative information out of them. However, standing in the rain we had a nice conversation. The locals are severely restricted to short open seasons to fish personally for cod to feed the family. This is rigorously enforced by spotter planes and sophisticated cameras that can record them fishing from miles away. The penalty for fishing out of season is severe including confiscating the boat. The commercial season is short and cod is in short supply. There is still a bit of a halibut fishery. Now here comes the twist. If it were the same for all it would be one thing. It isn’t. Large Canadian draggers are allowed to fish the remaining fisheries and keep a much larger quota. So it almost seems, this is just my opinion, the government is discreetly trying to rid itself of the high cost of maintenance for small outport fishing villages such as Ramea, Grey River and here in Francois. It is all about money, not people. Generations of family vocations are being put out of business and will have to move to the cities for work. It is so sad to think that your and our children’s children most likely won’t be able so see what our generation is able too.
Ok, enough of that. So we walked in the rain up to the school to begin the internet research for next year. What a resource this is. By the time Egret leaves Florida next year we will have all the ducks lined up. The variable will always be weather but the heavy lifting will be done and the questions answered.
Because it was a rainy day it was a good day to take a peek at the watermaker. There has been a steady drip from the high pressure pump and the oil inside the sight glass looked milky. This is not a good thing. The other day I changed the oil and the milky oil was minimally off color. The crankshaft has a large tan end cap that made the oil look worse than it was thru the sight glass. Still, even after tightening the 8 allen head screws holding the pump assembly together it leaked. Bummer.
The last time we had an issue with the watermaker was on the crossing from the Canary Islands to Brazil in 2006. I couldn’t get the ^%#@& high pressure pump working and announced it in a VofE at the time. Like most things if you sleep on it, things make sense. The pump is produced by a Japanese company named Cat. The translation from Japanese to English must have been made by a first year student dropout. Nothing made sense. So after sleeping on it instead of doing what the manual tried to indicate, I did it my way by reason and it has been playing ever since. So into the spares drawer we went and came out with all the Matrix (watermaker manufacturer) spares. I put these on the salon table, laid out a double thickness towel covered by a white garbage bag for a workbench and off we went to remove the watermaker head.
There are 4 bolts that hold the pump head to the motor. These I loosened considerably so there was lotsa play and inserted two 5/16” jacking screws to push the pump head away from the motor. The top screw did the deal but of course the bottom did not. So &^$#$* we didn’t get the pump head off which meant we had to work in the engine room standing on one ear. The stainless steel portion of the pump head is a multi piece deal that I remembered from before. There is an end cap, a middle barrel and a second barrel that butts next to the crankcase (the major portion of the pump head). So after removing the 8 bolts I carefully pulled the 3 piece assembly as a single unit over the seal assembly connected to the rods (to the crank – like in an automobile engine). Everything inside the assembly seemed perfect so I kept it in tact, setting it aside. From the end of the round connecting rod looking back toward the crank the seal assembly is: a nut, special size flat washer, a round white nylon barrel (piston) and the seal butting up next to that. There are 3 pistons. So Verrrrrry carefully I cleaned everything with a handful of Q Tips until the assembly and the pump head landing were perfect. It appears the problem is the seals. They are worn and not smooth. Of course for the first time perhaps ever I didn’t have a spare. I did however have the package with a few bits left that Used To contain the seals but I had used them and not replaced them. So back together it went with the seals rotated on the shaft, oil changed once more and the bottom line is it barely leaks with an occasional drip which is quite an improvement. The oil is perfect so there is no water getting into the oil which that and oil getting into the membranes were both big concerns.
Bottom line: when back in Ft Lauderdale we will change the seals AND have spares back in the small spares box. In the meantime as I write this drivel we be making sweet, sweet RO (reverse osmosis) water. We need to fill the tank because by morning tomorrow the fjord will be silty. The dry waterfalls off to port are gushing big time. There is also a waterfall that runs thru the middle of town and it has gone wild as well. If the sun were out to light up the waterfalls it would be spectacular. I can’t imagine what the waterfall in Aviron Bay would look like. It would Really be special.
Just before dark and time to wrap up this VofE the local ferry Marine Voyager came in for the night. The ferry overnights in Francois.
This VofE was completed before the last was posted. (Web Guru Doug Harlow was on vacation) Internet access is uncertain these days and because there is so much information coming so fast we need to keep up rather than dilute the postings.
August 15, 2012
Position: 47 35.39N 56 48.90W The Pool, Northeast Cove, (head of) La Hume Bay, Newfoundland
Egret’s positions during this VofE have been:
47 35.30N 57 06.13W Town dock, Grey River.
47 36.33N 56 59.19W SE Arm, Grey River
47 31.20N 57 23.24W Old Fish Plant Dock, Ramea Harbour
47 35.39N 56 48.90W The Pool, Northeast Cove, La Hume Bay. We will report on this anchorage in the next VofE. Wait until you see the 1000’ waterfall entering the water 100’ from Egret……..ho hum, what did you do today? Oh my.
Hello mis amigos, today was a lazy day. Egret departed Baddeck this morning running slowly north thru the channel to Cabot Strait. We took our time, rode the countercurrent close to shore most of the way and in two places had to run up to 1750 to maintain any speed at all. In one place Egret was down to 4.1 knots against the tide in a particularly narrow spot. No biggie and before long we passed the narrows and were in the open bay leading to the Strait. There was wind predicted today farther out in the Strait so we anchored near shore next to some high cliffs topped with fir trees. Later in the afternoon the gannets were diving en mass on baitfish swept out by the current. A dozen or so seals were working the same current. Mary sat in the cockpit talking to the seals trying to get them to come closer but the closest was about 60’.
The weather tomorrow and the next day are mild with little wind and the average wave height predicted to be less than a meter. The crossing will take about 26 hours so we’ll leave in the morning at 0900 or so in order to arrive with little chance of fog and whatever sun will be overhead. Our destination is Grey River which is not a river but a two arm fjord. (This portion of the southern coast of Newfoundland is called the Fjord Coast.) There is a tiny outport* village just inside the super narrow entrance where we’ll dock at the town wharf. Newfies are renowned to be super friendly so it should be great fun meeting the locals. More on Grey River and the crossing to follow.
*An outport village is only connected by sea. There are no roads. Most outport villages were abandoned with the collapse of the fishing industry. A few remain and are serviced by ferrys.
Egret departed this morning at 0830. So how calm was it? I emptied three trays of ice into a 2gal zip lock bag to keep the freezer full. The refilled trays won’t spill. Egret’s favorite seas. The overall course is only 148.1nm, about 10nm less than a quickie check the other day on small scale. Currently there is a tide push and the little girl is making 6.7 knots, too much speed for an arrival with good sun even though we reduced rpm to 1350. Of course tide is a give and take so overall things should work out as predicted. Clearing the mainland from the anchorage a seal popped up for a peek. This wasn’t a typical small harbor seal but an ocean going big guy with a black head and white neck. It was so big at first I thought it was a buoy because of its tapered shape and multi color. That was cool.
We have all heard about Maine being ‘down east’, but what does ‘down east’ really mean? Let’s put down east into perspective. This morning when laying out the course it was easy to see that Egret’s eastern most destinations on this Newfoundland cruise are over 350nm EAST of Bermuda. Wild, eh? However, if you take the shortest route from Maine this entire cruise will have only two overnighters in each direction and the balance is short day hops. One overnighter (at 6+ knots to conserve fuel or a long day at 16 knots) is 180nm from Bar Harbor, Maine to Shelbourne*, Nova Scotia and the second at 148.1nm from Egret’s anchorage at the head of the entrance to the Bras d’ Or Lake to Grey River, Newfoundland. Even a modest coastal cruiser with a conservative 250nm range, radar, and reasonable boating skills could easily make the same trip if they took advantage of the summer weather windows. What would really be fun is if boating friends made the hop together and either loosely cruise or cruise en mass after clearing in Shelbourne.
*Yarmouth, Nova Scotia is a closer port to Maine but is quite tidal with rough commercial docks and not much to see. Yarmouth requires a second hop to Shelbourne so overall it is two additional days added to the cruise and sorta wasted. Shelbourne has floating docks and is an interesting stop. The local dory maker alone is worth the stop.
Late afternoon. We can’t seem to slow down. Currently the happy little Lugger is only turning 1285 rpm and we are still making 6.8 knots. Obviously we should have delayed leaving but now it appears we may arrive before daylight. If there is serious fog or we arrive well before daylight there are nearby bailout anchorages farther east without obstacles so we’ll see. There is well less than 10 knots of wind and 1m+ gently rolling seas. We just picked up our first radar target at 25nm by zooming out as far as 48nm. In this calm it is easy to pick up targets. The commercial ships heading up the St Lawrence use this strait so I’m sure a 25nm target is a commercial ship.
It continued calm thru the night and as we approached the coast Egret slowed to 5.1 knots guaranteeing a daylight arrival. There was a bit of fog off the coast but nearing the coast it thinned and when Egret cleared the headlands entering Grey River the fog was nonexistent. C-Map charting was reasonably close and by laying out a conservative course the offshore rocks were kept at a good distance. Just like the guide said, the solid wall of rock, fir trees and low scrub magically opened into a narrow entrance. Once inside the water is deep to shore with no obstacles. There was a ferry approaching so we called on the VHF and said we would slow and let them pass in front and we would follow them in. By the time we were nearing the little village the ferry Gallipoli was already on its way out.
The outport village of Grey River could be described in a single word; melancholy. Egret tied stbd side to at the town wharf. A few men helped with lines then hung around while Mary cooked breakfast. These fellows were late 20’s to mid 40’s and sat around in bunches not looking at me in the cockpit or at the boat. They were painfully shy. I tried several times to strike up conservation by asking about fishing and the reply came back…..no fish. So I tried a little harder and found they are allowed to catch a few cod personally during short patches of season and one boat was still long lining halibut but hadn’t gone out the entire summer because there was “no fish”. Digging a little deeper we found the village has about 110 people. From an overlook we did a rough count of 50+ houses which means a number of the homes are empty. Check out the beautiful model in this photo. The fjord continues another 9nm to the north.
After breakfast we hiked up the hill to the south overlooking the village. In the steep parts there was a wooden walkway and the centers were lined with old snowmobile tracks. Here we could see down the fjord in both direction and of course the village. There was only one largish boat left (around 35’) and the rest were tinnies with small outboards. (A tinnie is a small aluminum boat) After the hike up the hill we walked thru town and didn’t see any folks out and about except these two girls jumping on what appeared to be a new toy. The little girl on the left was deliriously happy, her playmate smiled on occasion and the little 10 year old girl watching the two didn’t smile at all. So, one village, one smile and one sorta smile. Sad. We left soon after.
These poor people live in a beautiful part of the world but you can’t survive on beauty. They need work but with no fish there is no work and no hope of work in an unconnected 110 person village. I wonder how long it will be before Grey River becomes another abandoned outport?
The scenery inside the fjord is spectacular with walls on both sides rising over 1000’ and waterfalls everywhere. It couldn’t be more different than Cape Breton’s low rolling hills. Grey River is not a river at all but a fjord. Moving north up the fjord it winds around a bit then there is a 90 degree arm to the east called SE Arm. Near the top of the fjord it divides into two more arms, the NW and NE. Of course we had to take Egret to the ends of both before retreating to the far end of SE Arm and anchoring for the night. There are a few hunters’ cabins here and there. They must be owned by folks from elsewhere because many of the cabins are nicer than the homes in the village of Grey River.
After anchoring, Mary and I dinghy explored the shores until the bugs drove us back home. We took photos of Egret with the misty mountains in the background before and after the sun set. The after sunset photos were painful because we were eaten alive by flying teeth leaving both of us with raised bumps. Mary took this photo and you WILL enjoy it.
Next day. So today it was dinghy exploring a few miles up the fjord, a stop to climb some rocks in a split between two mountains, and a stop to explore a waterfall. The waterfall starts waaaay up at the top of the mountain, disappears into the trees then reappears just at the water. There is no way to capture how majestic this appears in a photograph. The scale is simply too big. In another place was a narrow, shallow stream we followed inland until we came to a waterfall. The stream was lined on both sides by raspberry plants.
While dinghy exploring we met Garfield Bushman, a former Grey River local moved to St Johns, the capitol of Newfoundland. Garfield and his wife have had a small cabin on the SE Arm for 40 years. These days after retirement they arrive in June and leave in November. Garfield is a moose* hunter and he said he gets a moose or two a year. We saw the pair the morning we left getting water from a waterfall; apparently it was drinking water because the water outside their cabin is fresh and clean enough for washing, showering, dishes, etc.
*Moose are not native to Newfoundland. In the 1920’s a single pair was brought to the island and later a few more pair. Today there are 150,000 moose. Few locals drive at night because of the danger of hitting one of these giant long legged critters. This would be on a par with hitting a wild camel in Australia.
So we hauled TK this morning and headed 12nm to the Ramea Islands and the 700 person village of Ramea. This was the scene departing the Grey River – SE Arm anchorage. Can you imagine how peacefully this anchorage was? It was calm and Egret ran at 1350 rpm making 6.1 knots charging the batteries. We saw a 70ish foot steel expedition vessel on a converging course headed for Ramea as well. It turned out to be Kittywake, a training ship used for merchant marine professional captains. We met Kittywake last year in Baddeck, Nova Scotia. We both docked at what used to be a commercial dock for the now closed fish plant. Locals came and took the lines.
We read in a cruising guide that Ramea has a music festival the second week in August. So that is why we back tracked a few miles to see what was wipping. Unlike Grey River, this town is vibrant. With only about 5 miles of roads there is a car in front of every house. People speak in the streets and to a person they are super friendly. There has been a steady parade of folks past Egret since she arrived. One thing that was curiously universal with the locals was anytime either of us mentioned any far away place, including Lunenburg (N.S.) a few hundred miles away, you would get a blank look as if we taking about a dry valley on Mars. However, most folks knew where Florida was and some said someone they knew went to Disney World.
One thing we noticed walking around the waterfront is nearly every outboard powered boat except the smallest skiffs have twin outboards. Many have the same size twin and others have a larger main and smaller get home. One boat about 20’ had a larger main, a get home on the transom and another get home on a bracket inside the boat. You MUST be able to get back in these waters. This is a working waterfront but what a difference from Grey River. The harbor is lined with picturesque small boat houses complete with a wood burning fireplace, each with their own ramp made from logs to keep the boat out of the water during the winter.
Ramea has a bank. Yup, Scotia Bank opens Thursday from 10 am – 4 pm and shorter hours on Friday. There is a latch on the bank door but no lock. Is that cool or what? Ramea also has an ATM. It is housed in a stand alone building the size and look of an outhouse. However, the stores and ATM only take Visa, no Mastercard.
We asked a couple locals about snow in the winter and they said there is so much wind it blows the snow away. The wind also keeps the ice away. Ramea has ferry service throughout the year unless it is simply too rough. Grey River on the other hand is blocked by ice for a month or more at a time during the winter so there is no ferry service. In addition to the obvious, if someone gets sick the ferry or helicopter can’t make it in because of weather it is Real Bad. This came from a local.
A fortyish steel sloop came to the dock so we helped with the lines then left as the couple got settled. They are from Cape Breton (N.S.) but have been high latitude North Atlantic sailors for years. What we learned in a few minutes outside the local grocery store was priceless and may well guide a bit of next summer’s cruise. It is funny how a bit of personal knowledge can help steer decisions and give us a starting point for research. They left soon after for home. What a shame they didn’t stay another day to learn more.
So off we went to the music festival. The music was a down east Celtic twist of country western music. However like most music today it was waaaaay to loud so we split. It was a bright sunshiny day which is a super rarity in Ramea so of course we needed to get to a high point to shoot a few photo’s to send to the CCA cruising guide. We asked a local lady walking home how we get up the hill where the telecommunication dishes were and she said to follow her because her house was at the entrance path to the steps leading up. There were 168 steps plus some swamp trotting but we made it and the view was spectacular. So we took a few snaps and later I went back for sunset shots with a tourist we met that arrived on the ferry. This is the village of Ramea. The ferry dock is to the far right, the inner harbor and the majority of town is in the photo. Also you can see the Ramea offshore islands and the Newfoundland mainland in the far distance (looking north). Egret’s dock in this photo is at the bottom center looking east at the offshore islands.
So on the way to the steps, tourist guy (TG) was telling me about some 8 hour trek he just did to the top of some mountain, blah blah, so I let him lead. Well TG could hear me right behind on the steps so he risked an exploding heart to keep up the pace. At the top of the first stairs he pulled over to ‘take a photo’ when in fact he was just trying to survive for a few more minutes. Then I took the lead to end his rest and went to the top and didn’t stop until I was taking pictures. Of course I nearly stepped on my tongue but it was worth it to have this young fellow re thinking the 8 hour trek he tried to drop on me. So it was great fun and we both enjoyed ourselves at the top. He let me lead down. No problem.
*Don’t think MS and I are super athletes because we are not. However we are healthy because we don’t have a car and walk everywhere; carry our groceries to the boat, and so on. Almost every day when not at sea we walk somewhere if the weather is reasonable. We seem to be interested in everything so we love to explore villages, meet the locals, walk in the woods, up the hills, etc.
Next day and decision time. It is Tuesday and a bit of weather is coming on Wed. It isn’t the seas that are a serious consideration but with weather usually comes rain, no biggie but fog is, particularly if it is heavy fog. So we walked around the island on a walkway that is a combination of paved roads, gravel roads, gravel paths and a wooden walkway in the low or boggy areas. We found the island map at the ferry terminal the day before. So that was about a 2 hour deal taking our time. On the exposed ground the plants don’t lift their leaves to the wind. Even these bunch berries didn’t grow in their usual clusters. It was low tide – our favorite – so we could see the sea gulls picking shellfish from the seaweed covered rocks, flying up and dropping them on the beach rocks to crack the shells.
I’ll tell you a little personal sea gull/shell story. In another life I drove in a couple Daytona (Florida) Rolex 24 hour sports car endurance races. The track is swept before the race but inevitably some &%##%^ turkey lips driver would leave the track for whatever reason and throw shells from the sea gulls back on the track. (There is an inland lake at Daytona and the gulls would drop shells on the track to crack them open.) The first year we were running in a slower class which means we ran closer to the bottom of the track to let the big guys running well over 200mph have the top 2 lanes. Of course the most shells were at the bottom. Hot race tires are like sticky blotters that pick up everything PLUS they are only 2 ply on the running surface. So if you get a slow leak from a ^%%$##^ shell it gets REAL BAD, REAL SOON. It happened to me, fortunately it was on the cool down lap after qualifying and it was in the infield, not on the high bank. Hummm lets see; in order of chaos, the left rear tire exploded and we went farming (off track), the exiting tire ripped off the fender flare, trashed the wheel because there was No Tire, snapped the swing arm (suspension piece) those pieces were connected to, tore off an oil line and minor softening of the bodywork. Had it have happened perhaps 15 seconds later it would have been BAD – BAD like in Mush City. &%##@ sea gulls. If you are curious, yes we made the race the next day and yes we finished. (You can tell it is a rainy day and my mind is wandering.)
So back to the walk after the crash and burn. (Crash and burn is an Egretism – don’t sweat the burn part) So off we went past the incinerator, the cemetery, wind farm, more coast then into the fir tree section. On the windward side (SW) of the island the trees would be a healthy green but not a mm higher than a sheltering boulder. In the protected gaps the trees still weren’t tall but they were straight and healthy. Locals put a few birdhouses along the way. We picked this one up after it had blown over and it had a nest inside.Then it was back toward town past a few back bays and residential area where Mary snapped this cool shot – clothes n’ cod - I then turned right at the old fish plant and Egret’s dock.
Off came the lines, and the Ramea Islands soon disappeared into the light fog and we were under way to Cape La Hune, another spectacular fjord.
However, that is another story. Ciao.
August 5, 2012
Positon: 46 05.99N 60 44.72W Baddeck Harbour, Bras d' Or Lake, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
Hello mis amigos, let’s talk about Louisbourg where Egret spent a week waiting for and attending a Cruising Club of America function. In the 1700’s, Louisbourg was the fourth busiest port town in North America. Typical of the era, French and English Important People squabbled over this place and that including Canada, whose east coast fishery and timber industry was protected by the fort at Louisbourg. In 1745 the British blockaded the fort and after a bit with no serious bloodshed took the fort, sent the French home and left a contingent of New Englanders to remain at the fort until ships returned to take them home. The ships didn’t return until the spring. That winter killed ten times more New Englanders* than died in the assault.
*Remember, during this era New England was a colony of England so the Important People sent The Expendables led by the Privileged to do their bidding. Of course it was all about money and history has not changed to this day.
Louisbourg was given back in a land swap treaty between the British and French and the French returned. Then the British changed their minds after the French allowed privateers to prey on the New England fishermen and again blockaded the fort in 1758. After taking the fort a second time, the British leveled the entire village and shipped the French home once again. Using French plans of the fort and village, twenty percent of Louisbourg was reconstructed in the largest historical reconstruction project in Canadian history. This was a wise, forward thinking move on the government’s part. The coal and steel industry in nearby Sydney was shut down and a high percentage of the locals were out of work. So instead of paying dole the government employed the locals in a many year reconstruction. Of course visitors will benefit for years as will the local economy. We met this servant to the French Governor on our self guided tour.
Louisbourg is a deep water port with room for a couple hundred sailing ships. It was also a major WWII Allied base. Today the harbor is ringed by a small number of homes, nearly all of which are still tied to the fishing industry. The two minor fisheries remaining are the crab and lobster fisheries. The lobster fishery is a 2 month season open from May 15th to July 15th. The crab season is open after lobster season. This is a typical Louisbourg crab boat at its dock. The locals crabbing this year are having a good year and will reach their quota a month early so they are thrilled. With the collapse of the ‘wet’ fish industry so went the town. We spoke to the local harbor master/restaurateur/go kart/putter golf/chairman of the business bureau, etc and he said the town used to have 2000 folks and today “would be hard pressed to find 700”. He also said there are few young people. Many are working the oil patch industry in Alberta or have found work elsewhere.
So Louisbourg is trying to redefine itself as a smaller fishing village and tourist destination. However from our standpoint as visitors, Louisbourg is a charming village full of super nice folks. Let’s tell you about one family in particular. The first day ashore, Mary and I were sightseeing around town. Mary was carrying her camera and a local stopped by and started asking about the cameras and about photography in general. He too enjoys photography and during the long conversation about photography and Louisbourg in general we asked where we may take our garbage*. He said he will come to the boat in his rowing dory and take it for us. We declined, he insisted, so the next morning he did come rowing by and took the garbage. To keep from getting novelish and to make a point about super friendly folks, our relationship with Ian went from casual conversation on a sidewalk to having him aboard, using his son’s dock to leave the dinghy on the far side of the harbor for shoreside hikes to the lighthouse, to giving Ian a copy of the previous version of a photo editing program and instruction book and meeting his son and wife at his house. From his house Ian took us on a special tour. Ian has the keys to the fort and he took Mary and I to the fort after hours to photograph behind the scenes what tourists don’t get to see plus being allowed to photograph during the magic light of the setting sun. We saw Ian a couple times a day and if we ever return this way we will make it a point to stop by his home. It was very special.
Ian is a security guard at the fort, his wife a cleaner at the fort and their youngest son is the period boat builder at the fort. These are just plain folks whose enthusiasm for life boils over and who give their friendship freely. Other than the CCA gathering, meeting Ian and his family was one of thehighlights of our Nova Scotian cruise so far. It is all about the people; however we have said that before and perhaps will again during this VofE.
*Garbage is a mundane chore you don’t think about as a Dirt Dweller, but as a boater garbage is one of the first shoreside priorities when you land after time away from facilities.
As the days went by more CCA boats were arriving and anchoring in the harbor. A few had problems anchoring in the kelp but these boats were typically race boats with girl anchors, minimal chain and rope rode. (This is not being critical, race boats do everything they can to keep weight off the ends as we would if we were racers.) At first impression, CCA is a club of diverse interests. There is a race group whose single largest event is the biannual race to Bermuda. The next group is a more social group that coastal cruise but may have done long distance sailing in their past and the last group are the long distance cruisers. Of course this is where our interest lies and the people we seem to gravitate to. One thing that is nice, it seems Egret is accepted as a real cruiser by the long distance crowd even though she is from the Dark Side.
So the socializing began. First up was registration, a skippers meeting and a dinner at Fort Louisbourg. Prior to dinner was rifle and cannon firings but the most visited site was a local shipwreck. One member even got personalized service from one of the cannon crew. Dinner was served by servants in period dress. The head servant was a nice lady and the rest of the help were her 6 daughters. Having been to the fort before we knew where the period Privileged ate so of course we got into that line. Dinner was local fish and rice. The period utensils were heavy pewter and the heavy cotton napkins were as large as sails that covered you from neck to knees. We had dinner with two new members and a well traveled ocean crosser.
During the normal tourist day, one restaurant/tavern for commoners serves meals without utensils. You eat with your hands. We met some folks who ate there and they said it was a gruel type meal so I suppose it was authentic period terrible.
There were Big Problems in the harbor. Even Egret was affected which was a first. The harbor was filled with giant rust colored jellyfish trailing long tentacles. Normally jellyfish float on or very near the surface but these guys were harbor mines set at different depths. The first incident while running the generator fortunately happened while I was looking at the generator panel and saw the temperature rise quickly. I raced to the generator exhaust on the port side and saw we were pumping steam instead of water and shut down the gen. The sea strainer was clogged with red slime. This was a first ever because after a similar incident in the Cheasapeake with sea nettles – small jellyfish – we changed the scoop strainers to Sen Dure strainers with 1/8” holes on 1/8” centers.
So we cleaned the strainer basket and housing. The next day the strainer clogged twice within a few minutes each. Most of the people we talked to had their own red slime stories and ways to clean the strainers. In our case we put paper towels under the strainer and on a shelf below. The water boiling out of the strainer (seacox open minus basket) flowed over the towels and the jellyfish slime stuck to the towels saving another clog job on the bilge pump strainer. One enterprising engineer type robbed one of his wife’s pie tins and cut a hole in the bottom to match the strainer opening and poked holes in the outer ring like a sieve.
To keep the batteries reasonably charged our answer was to run the keel cooled main an hour the two remaining days, super conserve on power and let the batteries slowly run down. Fortunately the days were sunny and the solar panels maintained during the day and regained about 20 – 25 amps each day. The lowest the batteries got was about half of usable amps – 75% of total amps - and when we left the anchorage the main alternator and Balmar Smart Regulator did the rest. I will say had the event continued another day or two we would have had to pull anchor and motor around the harbor or just offshore. We don’t like letting the main idle for any appreciable amount of time with no load.
The alarm went off at 0400 the day Egret departed Louisbourg. By 0515 Egret cleared the harbor head pins. It took a while for Mary to hose the mud from the chain and then remove the kelp off the anchor. We pulled up a kelp tree with many long vines and leaves. This is the first kelp of any consequence since Chile and we weren’t prepared. The boat hook was useless so we had to raise the anchor to the bow roller and she removed the kelp by hand. Fortunately there were no jellyfish trapped in the kelp.
It was calm in the morning despite predicted 20 knots from the south. The sea was low rolling swells. Soon Egret made the turn to the west between Cape Breton and a largish offshore island. After an hour or so of running against the tide being compressed between the two she was set free and off we went. Shortly after, the sea breeze piped up with gusts to 30. Egret was about 3/4nm offshore so there was a bit of chop and plenty of spray. Most of the time it was slightly behind the beam so we did well making about 7.4 knots.
Of course we had to give the 8 sails in the distance behind our position a shot so we called a very well traveled sailor on 16, switched to 68 thinking the fleet would follow the channel up. So I told Hawk you guys must be flying in this breeze and no waves. I told him we had to shut the pilothouse door because there was a little spray and it was getting hot in the pilothouse even though we were wearing tee shirts and shorts so we opened the downwind pilothouse door. Of course there was lotsa spray and it was salt city in the cockpits of the sailboats so the watch would be dressed in plastic clothes and it was chilly. Oh well.
We ran straight to Baddeck catching the last of the incoming tide thru the narrows. She got a great tide push with the high point at 9.9 knots. Baddeck is the inland Bras d’Or Lake headquarters and home to the Alexander Graham Bell museum. We reprovisioned, went sightseeing around the town, visited the Bell Museum with new CCA friends and took it easy. It was also nice to have clean water to run the watermaker and top up the tank. We could not take a chance on clogging the watermaker sea strainer with jellyfish in Louisbourg plus the harbor was polluted. If the high pressure pump ran dry it would be ruined.
The next CCA event is a BBQ and social at a private residence/large waterfront property in Big Harbour, 4nm north of Baddeck. There is a VERY NARROW 1/4nm channel leading from the property to an abandoned gypsum mine with room for a few boats. The ex mine is a circular harbor that is deep on the south side and the balance has filled in with silt and sea grass from a stream to the north. Of course we couldn’t pass up a minor challenge so Egret did the deal slowly bumping in and out of gear with MS on the bow and myself in the flybridge. Fortunately the water was clear enough and the sun high so we could read the water on the way in and except for 2 shallow tight spots it was a non event. There was a local 30’ish sloop already in the anchorage. Mary free dropped TK into 30’, fired out 100’ of chain and snubber and we have a line ashore. (Don’t get excited about the unusual 3-1 scope. Egret was sitting in a wind shadow so there will be no wind on deck plus we couldn’t have dropped any farther from shore.) Except for Egret’s winter cruise in Stewart Island (NZ) this is the first time we have used shore lines* since Chile.
*If we saw a need for significant shore line usage in the future we would swap Egret’s 3 – 100m – 320’, 19mm – ¾”, polypro lines for 10mm Spectra. Spectra floats, doesn’t freeze, is super light and 3 lines would take less space in the lazarette than a single polypro line. We have used shore lines here and there even in non windy areas allowing Egret to anchor in places not available to swinging on anchor.
One third of the mine is ringed by high white gypsum cliffs and the balance is low land. Egret is stern to the high cliffs tied to a tree. Of course I had to take a photograph from the top shooting down so off I went by myself because you know who was smarter. This was not an original thought; the cruising guide suggested “scrambling up the slope” to take a photograph of your boat from above. Well, whoever wrote that must have been a former Olympic triathlete. It was chicken city so I returned to get two ice axes we used down south and went back. It was ugly but picking our way up burying the axes, one in front of the other in the mud and scree we made it, took a mediocre photograph and now the challenge was to Get Down. The decent was uglier but in the end we made it having donated a bit of blood here and there to dead branches, kneeling in skree and so on.
The sloop left this morning – the day of the event – leaving Egret and a pair of kingfishers to ourselves. More to follow.
We got an e-mail from a cruising friend asking about the hockey puck gps receiver we mentioned in the last VofE. I didn’t have the complete information but he looked it up and this is the link. http://www.usglobalsat.com/p-62-bu-353 w.aspx#images/product/large/62.jpg
The gps receiver is 2” in diameter and comes with a 5’ wire and usb connector at the end. We have two and they are a great backup to the ships gps’s as well as portable if you want to take a laptop anywhere and have gps.
The event was a nice gathering held in a boat shed/barn complete with a fiddler and band playing Celtic music, lotsa food and an open bar. One tradition of CCA gatherings is un bunging the oak rum barrel to open the event and replacing the wood bung to close the event. We met some more folks, had a good time and split when the square dancing started.
Next was a brunch back at Baddeck, great food once again, meeting more people and now Egret is anchored in Big Harbour awaiting today’s event, a Sunflower Raft. More on the Sunflower Raft after the event. Last night was busy aboard Egret with old and new friends over for sundowners. Mary put out a table of snacks, more brought snacks so it was snack city. The ladies stayed down below with their white and the boys in the flybridge enjoyed a touch of rum. Oh ho hum, another great evening. It’s the people but we have said that before.
OK, was the Sunflower Raft cool or what? What appears easy to do in photographs, isn’t. In a nutshell, the first boat to set is the downwind boat with a giantus stern anchor and bow anchor set. s/v Hawk set his big Fortress anchor upwind and a giant Rocna downwind. Next up was a very large sailboat that set upwind. N47 Bluewater became one of the four corner boats as well as another way cool trawler named Kathadin. From there boats would raft to the corner boats with every other boat setting a bow anchor. After all the boats were in place the gaps were filled by literally winching the raft together into a perfect circle. I wish I had counted the boats but there were quite a few as you can see from the photo.
Once the raft was complete the rum barrel was set in the center of a traditional wood rowing dink in the Middle of the raft. So folks had to swim for their splash of rum. Can you imagine swimming in Nova Scotia? However, in Bras d’ Or Lake the temp is a balmy 70 degrees F, about winter temps in Florida. So we passed on that madness but many took up the challenge ignoring shrivel city and enjoyed the grog. To keep folks from drying out, Egret set up an Aid Station with snacks and a bottle of rum. Folks walked from boat to boat in the raft. Mary split leaving you know who to give boat tours to the curious.
I will say Egret was a big hit and the folks think we are brave or something similarly silly. You have to understand few of these folks are newbies and many have considerably more miles than Egret. It is a matter of perception. They don’t understand long distance passagemaking under power. Most sailors of this caliber only want to sail and just put up with their engines. This is evident with the number of sailboat engine stoppages vs long distance powerboats (which are basically Zero from what I have read or heard). Of course we don’t understand sail but nevertheless we have spent much more time with sailors than power boat folks and it IS easier under power. Just look at the short run from Louisbourg to Baddeck. Egret and two sailboats were the only boats to catch the tide before it swung at the entrance to Bras d’ Or Lake without a stop over harbor. Egret arrived in Baddeck with salt spray on the glass but none inside or on ourselves. The sailors on watch got covered in salt and it would have been chilly sitting in the cockpit. Once in Baddeck we gave the lady a RO water wash because we can make water at will. Not brave…..easy.
After the raft we spent the night where we anchored for the raft. The next day the Egret crew was invited by another boat over for dinner at Orangedale, a tiny 12 house village at the end of a twisty course thru islands. Orangedale has two interesting sights. One is a well done train museum and the second is a general store that sells: gas, ice cream, sofas, fish bait, groceries, mirrors, automotive stuff, rope, appliances including washers – dryers – freezers – etc, meat, booze, and a plethora of other stuff. It was misting on the dinghy ride in so we didn’t take the camera but we wrote about it one year ago and had a few photos.
So dinner was a fun event with 3 boat crews. After dinner we watched a photo presentation of the Labrador coast taken by Sandy – s/v Windego and his crew in 2004. Geesh, we need to live 40 more years to see what needs seeing. That isn’t going to happen so we need to pick and choose and get gone. So what is your plan? Yea, I know you have special circumstances we don’t understand so most likely you will keep reading this drivel until it is Too Late. Then what? Dirt forever? Oh my.
Sorry about that shot but we need to keep the pressure on. Currently Egret is under way to the last CCA event at Maskell’s Harbour where the Cruising Club of America was founded 90 years ago. The event tomorrow (Aug 3d) ends with a dinner at a former French farm. To preserve the pristine harbor and CCA’s heritage the properties surrounding the harbor are owned by CCA members, some with summer homes. We were invited to dinner last year at one of the homes that was super cool. The home was built in the 1800’s and is totally off the grid. The entire house is plumbed with propane that runs the lights and fridge with wood heat. We were invited at the Sunflower Raft by Diana to “wander up the hill when we arrive” so we will. More to follow.
Maskell’s Harbour filled with boats including a former NAR alumnus who happened by. Yup, David and Sandy Stone, formerly from m/y Crosser, a 90’ custom build. These days they own m/y Solaia, a 131’ Dutch built steel – aluminum mega yacht. Solaia looked like a cruise ship among the cruising boats. David and Sandy had N47 Bluewater and Egret over for cocktails so it was nice to meet folks we hadn’t seen since Turkey. Of course it was more socializing with the CCA boats day and night. The event ended with a tent set up at CCA residence’s farm on the south side of the harbor. The tent was packed, the food was great, and the Gaelic music not to loud and it was a fun evening. Of course the longest line wasn’t at the salmon dish it was at the Rum Barrel. This young man from the Chesapeake region wuz doin well. The evening ended with a full moon rising over the lighthouse at the entrance to Maskell’s Harbour.
After the event, Egret returned to Baddeck – Bras d’ Or Lake central – waiting for weather to stage for the overnighter to Newfoundland’s south coast. Egret traveled in close company with a largish 50 ton sailboat. In fact, about 100' close. They had a damaged 3 blade feathering prop and couldn't put the boat into gear so Egret gave them a tow to Baddeck. Egret ran at 1150 making 4.7 knots at a high point. We used one of Egret's 3/4" polypro shorelines for the tow with a centering block* fixed off the opposite side keeping the tow line on centerline.
Once in Baddeck the professional boat crew did what they had to do to keep the boat under way. It was a charter from a few CCA members and had been chartered for another month. So here's the temporary fix. The sailboat has a 60mm shaft. They had a 3 blade fixed prop with a U.S. taper sleeved to the metric size sourced, sleeve fabricated and flown in. A stepped keyway had to be machined to fit the metric key and the U.S. key. Divers in Baddeck worked on changing props all day yesterday. I don't know the outcome but I'm sure the boat will be under way soon.
*Here's how that works. The tow line goes thru a hawse, then tru the block to the boat being towed. A second line with a turning block (large sailboat block) fixed at the end is put thru the opposite hawse and cleated off so the towline is centered. Without the centering block it is impossible to tow straight without a ton of opposite rudder. As an improvision a large stainless shackle or in this case, an anchor recovery ring was used.
The only reason I wrote about the incident was to show what can be done when it Must be done. Sure it will be expensive but what is the balance of the summer worth, particularly if you are north of 60 and every summer is precious?
This will be the last VofE with photo’s for a few weeks. We are running quite low on Iridium time and I doubt there is internet in the south of Newfoundland. However we will send text VofE’s as the days go on.
Ed. Note - The glossary of Egretism terms will be posted on the Captain's Log home page for easy reference.