"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.
July 18, 2012
Position: 45 55.17N 59 57.91W Louisbourg Harbour, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada
Hello mis amigos, first let’s clear up some old business. Closing the last VofE we promised a picture of s/v Iron Bark II floating in a sea of calm and fog. Because of the small picture size and poor internet resolution we’ll include a larger photo of the boat itself but our favorite is a shot of Barkie in the far distance floating in space.What we see on Egret’s 22” hi def monitor in full resolution is quite different than the internet. (5+mp file vs 80-100kb)
Ok, so Egret departed Lunenburg at first light for the 8 hour run to Halifax clearing the light at the harbor entrance as the sun was coloring the sky and followed a twisty but easy course thru the near shore islands to the offshore line of markers along the coast. It was a sunny day at first with lotsa seabirds but again, no whales. Usually this time of year the ocean has enough whales that daily sightings are common. We planned to dock at the City Docks* in downtown Halifax to meet friends of friends in a well traveled largish trawler. As we entered the approach to Halifax the Coast Guard issued a severe weather warning with thundershowers and isolated gusts to 70 knots. So we changed our plans and headed up the N.W. Arm** of Halifax Harbor to Egret’s usual anchorage off Armsdale Yacht Club. There is no way we wanted to be pinned on a dock in possible 70 knots of wind. We trust TK much more in a blow.
*In recent years the Hailfax waterfront has added floating docks for locals and visiting guests. The docks are free during the day on a first come – first serve basis until 1700 when an overnight fee is charged. All of the docks have water and some have power. If you reserve a dock prior to arrival for an overnight or more, a reserved plaque will be put in your space until you arrive. The overnight charge is nominal, particularly after U.S. charges.
**Halifax Harbor is a natural harbor divided into two arms or forks. The NW Arm is a straight and deep – mid 40’s foot range – with fairly steep to sides and shallow at the end. The holding is good in 32’ – 10m off Armsdale Yacht Club. Last year, Egret chose this spot to weather a hurricane that fortunately only produced winds in the mid 30’s range. The advantage of this spot is the middle ground holding is good and if you drag toward shore it is an uphill grade so even if a boat drags a bit, when it hits the uphill, dragging should be a thing of the past. If the wind is predicted to be so strong that this would be a problem, you should be off the boat anyway with 4 anchors set and Al* on speed dial just in cases.
*Egret’s insurer is Al Golden at IMIS Insurance.
If you are wondering why we gave Al a commercial shot in VofE it’s like this. Some months ago, one of our small fraternity of long distance – tough salt power boaters had a catastrophic loss and were insured by IMIS. IMIS paid in full within days. Some folks talk the walk, others walk the talk. Al walks.
Of course the first day ashore we headed to the Halifax N.E. Arm’s waterfront (the larger N.E. Arm contains the commercial waterfront, military area at the far end and the tourist area in the restored central portion), about a 45 minute walk up the hill then down the hill to the waterfront. It’s kinda funny how it goes. We live on the water and when we hit land we head for the water to see if there are any boats we know, interesting boats or to just be near the water. So once that ritual’s in the bag we tend to more mundane chores like shopping for fresh veggies or whatever.
The next day when the rainy weather cleared we went to the Armsdale YC in late afternoon to meet the local YC members. As always in situations like this we met some super nice and interesting folks. The first we met was Gerard, a local businessman, who is thinking about buying a retirement home in the Florida Keys some day and a boat more appropriate than his largish Sea Ray to cruise the Caribbean. So we talked about that, sliced and diced the Keys and of course gave him our opinion about boats and why. Next we met Bob, Robert and Mark. Mark is planning to leave in a week or so to attempt the N.W. Passage in a Tartan 41 (sailboat) with his 20ish daughter as crew.
Later we met Mark’s daughter Anna who has sailed extensively with her dad including an Atlantic great loop trip with her boyfriend as a 3d crewman. Mark is super experienced with 3 Atlantic crossings under sail so a trip thru the ice won’t be any big deal unless of course there is serious ice. Like nearly every well traveled cruiser, Mark won’t take chances so if there is ice he and Anna will return (Mark’s words). However, this year being as warm as it is and has been, ice shouldn’t be an issue. Mark will winter in Victoria, Vancouver Island and Anna will return to Australia where she and her partner have a fledgling cattle ranch. Exciting isn’t it?
The next day, Trevor, minus Annie, on Iron Bark II showed up so it was old home week. Mary fed the poor man while his Annie was away visiting friends. Annie is returning to New Zealand while Trevor spends the winter in Greenland as we mentioned in the last VofE. We met Trevor and Annie last year in Maskell’s Harbour, Bras d’ Or Lake (Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia). Last year we had them over for dinner and during the sundowner offerings we mentioned that sorry, no rum. So Trevor gave the Egret crew a bottle from his stash. We repaid Barkie this year with Brugal Rum* from the Dominican Republic.
*While in the D.R. we visited the Brugal Rum factory by car. We bought cases of 1.75ltr aged rum for $6 U.S.P/bottle. My how times changed since the marketers got involved.
We met other boaters as well including the first boat, motor/sailor Persistence, that is joining the organized cruise in Cape Breton Island where Egret is slowly heading.
Currently Egret is making her way thru the nearshore twisting course to Tangier Harbour, Egret’s first stop on the way to Bras d’ Or Lake on Cape Breton Island. According to the Cruising Club of America’s Cruising Guide to the Nova Scotia Coast, Tangier Harbour has “beautiful anchorages with numerous uninhabited islands covered with dense stands of spruce and inhabited by curious seals”. So we’ll see.
More to follow.
Ok, here’s the Tangier Harbour deal. The curious seals are nervous and split at first sight. However, by drifting in the dink and being patient we were able to get close enough for a shot of this harbor seal perched on a rapidly disappearing dry spot as the tide rose. Other seals nearby were fighting for the last dry spot on isolated rock pinnacles. Unlike lazy sea lions that slouch you can see that these guys arch their backs and hold their tails high like proud Canadians, eh?
After anchoring and fair amount of dinghy exploring we met a father and daughter at their private dock on the south end of a peninsula. He is a lobster fisherman who has but two months to make his quota. This year he reverted from the more common wire traps and went back to 50% traditional wooden traps. He feels the wooden traps catch* more lobster even though the traps are harder to handle and are more fragile. In this photo you can see both styles of traps. Last winter they had two storms that nearly destroyed his dock so it appeared as new with new decking and many new pilings. His local built fiberglass hull/wood house/170hp Iszu/3-1 gear/4 blade lobster boat is named Chelsa after his 12 year old (guessing) daughter.
Next door is a lobster pound that holds lobster alive after the local season ends in mid June. They furnish live lobsters locally during the tourist season. So of course we went the next morning and bought 4 - 1 1/2lb lobster for $7C/lb. Is that cool or what? We had the first two last night and were they good.** We cooked the other two because we asked the lobster pound guys if we should freeze them as is or after cooking they said to cook them first because when they are cooked then frozen the meat won’t stick to the shell after freezing.
*Tasmanian cray (spiny lobster) fishermen use the traditional beehive traps woven from vines vs the modern wire traps because here again, they catch more.
**On Egret’s trip north we have enjoyed fresh shrimp direct from the Carolina shrimp boats, Atlantic bluefin tuna from the sea, scallops from Adams and Knickle in Lunenburg straight from the boat (flash frozen at sea with no preservatives added) and now fresh live lobster from Tangier Harbour. Does the Egret crew eat well or what? Do you know neither Mary or I have not even had a cold since we left the dock all those years ago? We eat good food, breathe clean air and live without stress. Can you ask for anything more? More money would be nice but is it worth working longer? Nah.
And while we are on that we’ll throw out two more things. The first is the name of the Nova Scotia tourist book that sorta sums it up; Dreamers and Doers, and the second is a quote from Albert Einstein. “Life is like riding a bicycle, in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.” Just thought you would like to know.
Egret departed Tangier Harbour early and chugged slowly NE charging batteries to Shelter Cove, a small cove within Pope’s Harbour. During the Canadian prohibition era Shelter Cove was a favorite hiding spot for the rum runners. Shelter Cove is very isolated with no signs of folks anywhere. TK dropped in 22’ – 6.9m and Mary fired out 125’ – 39m of chain. Holding was excellent in thick mud. We dinghy explored miles of calm coastline and hiked on the shoreside rocks. The shoreline has smooth and fractured rock with stunted spruce trees inland. The smell of the spruce was delicious. Harbour seals were frequent visitors doing a swim by and there was one family of red headed ducks with baby ducklings cruising around.
So that was relaxing and today we had another easy slow 15nm day chugging upstream to Sheet Harbour. Sheet Harbour is a top of the bay town of 600 friendly folks. People would wave as they drove by; wave from their porches and the local library welcomed us like locals. At the library we got caught up on the internet and Yahoo mail.
One e-mail was update number 5 from Dutch ex high latitude cruiser friends from s/v Terra Nova who are bicycling across Canada, west to east. While sailing, in a rare occurrence one got progressively more seasick over the years and they had to give up the tough stuff in the end. So they looked around for something adventurous and picked up bicycle touring and more serious photography. During the past few years Corri and Willem have bicycled thru Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, Japan including both big islands and now Canada. In the interim they have a campervan to tour New Zealand (their land base is Nelson, NZ). So what we are saying here, once the adventure bug bites, you stay bitten. In their case they are keeping their balance, eh Albert?
Another e-mail was from the commodore of a New England yacht club saying he and friends have been following Egret for years and invited Mary and I to visit on Egret’s return from Newfoundland. He also extended an invitation to “Dickie Doo” (Dick Anderson from Nelson, New Zealand) which was really nice. If timing is right on the return to Florida we will stop by for a visit.
Egret cleared the Sheet Harbour entrance lighthouse this morning at 0700, jogged around a few more small islands and now is heading toward St Mary’s River hoping to catch the tide up the river to the end. At the top of the river is the Williamsburg type restored settlement of Sherbrooke Village. More on Sherbrooke later.
Mary laid out a conservative course of 25.2nm to the entrance to St Mary’s. One thing we should note here is that Nova Scotian near shore obstacles (rocks) appear randomly and without reason. We take Nothing for granted here. The only good thing is the rocks have light yellow seaweed on top as well as a white barnacle growth. The water is clear enough any rocks can be easily seen. The few times we have run sorta tight to the shore or in narrow channels we either run from the flybridge or Mary stands watch at the bow. Of course we do this running super slow And only in good light. Another caution is while in these restricted areas we hand steer standing at the autopilot/wheel instead of running to a waypoint. We have not experienced much set and drift but even a small amount in tight quarters is not good while the autopilot is computing the course. If we were to run at night or in fog as we return south it will be a couple miles offshore just to be super cautious plus there is no reason to run tight to shore.
Let’s talk about shore for just a moment. Shore is not your friend. You may not be comfortable offshore if caught in a blow but you are safe. I’m sure you have read for years that ships put to sea if extreme weather is coming. There is a reason. A good example is when Egret was anchored in Easter Island. We were in Easter only 6 days and made it to shore 5 of those. The 6th day it blew a bit so we stayed aboard and stood anchor watch. We would have like to stay longer but weather was coming, the holding in Easter is marginal so we put to sea. A phenomenon most cruisers experience is once at sea for an extended period like an ocean crossing, when approaching land you start to get nervous because you have become so set and comfortable with your routine at sea you seem to want to go forever.
An extreme example of this was a nice German couple we met in Patagonia who I would have to say should have never been there because of their lack of sailing ability. We bounced into them here and there and the last time (we thought) in Easter Island. They departed Easter sailing north for the Galapagos. Sixty two (62) days later they showed up in Mangareva, Gambier Islands because they didn’t have any wind and drifted for days so when a bit of wind did come they turned in the opposite direction to just get somewhere. They laid off Mangareva for THREE DAYS until she gathered the nerve to come ashore. Amazing!! (The Gambier Islands are 850nm south of Tahiti and WNW of Easter.)
Cruising buddies on N47 Bluewater departed SW Harbor, Maine this morning for the 2 day hop around the bottom of southern Nova Scotia up to Lunenburg to clear. Milt and Judy waited for a multi day high and blasted off. The weather has been warm and clear with no fog, even in the evenings or early morning so BW will have a great trip.
Since leaving Halifax we have seen 1 cruising boat and that’s it. I don’t get it. Maine is jammed with cruisers and Nova Scotia gets but a few. I remember last year the Customs folks saying they only issued 123 foreign cruising permits and a number of those was for an OCC – Ocean Cruising Club outing to Newfoundland.
So let’s talk about cruising clubs we are somewhat familiar with. The first is Seven Seas Cruising Association, a 10,000 member organization. We have been members of SSCA even before we took delivery of Egret. You don’t even need a boat to join as an associate. To become a Commodore, SSCA has its own set of requirements. SSCA has morphed into a proactive force fighting for cruiser’s rights like the recent ruling that waterway bottoms are public property and not owned by municipalities. Some Florida municipalities tried for several years to disallow cruising boats to anchor in their jurisdiction. That has been over ruled. But the biggest reason to join SSCA is the monthly Commodores Bulletin written by cruisers – for cruisers of their travels. This information is priceless if you plan to leave coastal waters. SSCA produces a CD of multiyear articles that may be researched by geographic areas. The other reason to join a club is simply camaraderie. If you see a burgee flying from your club it is an entree’ to strike up a conversation and off you go on a social whirl.
We are not members of OCC – Ocean Cruising Club (based in the UK I believe) but are seriously thinking about it. OCC has a previous 1,000nm offshore passage requirement to join but once that is achieved you may join with an OCC member sponsorship. Both SSCA and OCC have cruising stations around the world that are ex cruisers in most cases that welcome members and give them help with whatever. This too is a great resource.
Recently I was sponsored into prestigious CCA – Cruising Club of America. This all started last year in Maskell’s Harbour, Bras d’ Or Lake, Nova Scotia. Maskell’s Harbour is just a few miles south of the main Lake village of Baddeck. We saw it on the chart and after leaving Baddeck decided to anchor in Maskell’s to see what was whipping. It is a long story but we saw two people on shore near a boathouse, dinked over to say hi and were invited ashore. During the conversation, Mary saw a burgee flying on a mast and asked what it was. Dev and his son Chip explained it was a CCA burgee and CCA was founded in Maskell’s Harbour in 1922 by a small group of American yachtsmen anchored together. After hearing a short version of Egret’s travels, Dev suggested I join CCA. A cruising friend and CCA member took up the sponsorship and after fulfilling many months requirements I was made a member earlier this year. This photo shows Egret proudly flying her new CCA burgee into the morning fog. Her SSCA Commodore’s burgee is flying from the stbd spreader halyard below the Canadian courtesy flag.
One many year CCA requirement was membership was only open to sailors. Ten years ago Bruce Kessler, who many of you know from magazine articles and Trawlerfests, and his wife Joan were the first American trawler folks to circumnavigate. Bruce and Joan circumnavigated in the early 90’s aboard 70’ Delta, Zopilote and were never sailors. It took some arm twisting but ultimately Bruce was made a member and opened the doors for others like myself who never sailed.
So now you know why Egret is returning to Maskell’s Harbour after being there last year. This year marks the 90th anniversary of the founding of CCA and will be celebrated by a CCA member cruise starting on the NE coast of Cape Breton Island in the restored French fortress village of Louisbourg. Around 60 boats will be in attendance. It will be great fun.
Reading the cruising guide, the 5nm trip up St Mary’s River is a bit intimidating but nevertheless it would be a challenge with the reward at the end visiting Sherbrooke Village. Very early on we abandoned C Map charting in favor of the well done and more than described in the guide, navigation buoys. Egret’s timing was perfect entering on a high rising tide. The trip up the river was a non event but we were happy when the end was in sight. The next obstacle was anchoring. TK skidded along the rocky bottom on 4 different sets in 4 locations so in the end we retreated to anchoring mid channel between the last 4 markers markers. This photo of Egret’s track attempting to anchor tells the tale. We had the track running in case it was foggy when it was time to leave so we could navigate the river following the track by zooming down on the chart plotter. This works well. I doubt St Mary’s gets more than a few cruising boats a year so anchoring in the channel should be no biggie. It is relatively shallow on the sides so we short scoped the anchor (4-1) because if we did drag, even though we got a good set in what we think is mud, it would be steep uphill* and not to worry.
*The 14’ bottom rises quickly to 9’ on the edges at near high tide. (4.375m – 2.8m). The tide range upriver is about 3’ – 1m. Egret is currently half fuel and not heavily provisioned so her draft is approximately 5’ 6” – 1.7m.
So down went the dink and we spent the rest of the afternoon dinghy exploring. One interesting thing we discovered was a number of ice fishing shacks stored on land next to the river. The upper part of the river is fresh water floating on top with two streams feeding each fork on the western end of the river. Who knows what they catch or perhaps it is organized beer drinking like in the movie Grumpy Old Men. Tomorrow morning we will dink up to the small floating pontoon and walk to Sherbrooke and see what is whipping. (Later we found out they fish for smelt.) More to follow.
Sherbrooke is an actual English/Canadian village with only 3 new homes brought into the village park and those came from across the street. Sherbrooke operated as a contemporary village until the late 50’s. Some of the homes still have private signs but others are numbered to match the tourist brochure. The first settler we met was Tom. Tom was all puffed up with an eye on Mama but she was not paying Tom any attention. The wench.
The next stop was the local smithy – blacksmith. There were no visitors for perhaps 30 minutes so Tony told us his story in interesting detail and made us a hook to take home. The hook started as a piece of ¼” square stock. After the rod was formed into the hook, it was reheated, cooled quickly then buffed with a wire brush to get rid of the excess carbon. Then it was reheated and brushed with a beeswax stick of sorts to “stain” it. Mary and I found the steel working trade to be fascinating. One example that was interesting was how they made axe heads in the early years. Mild steel is quite inexpensive but high carbon steel costs many times more. So the smithies would make a mild steel axe head without the cutting blade. Then the head was heated and a wedge cut in the mild steel and old files – high carbon steel – were heated until they were soft and heat forged into the mild steel head. After it was shaped, cooled in a certain way and finally sharpened. And one other tidbit. If you look at the point end of a file you will see a heat color in the thin part. The color is the temper (hardness) of the file. The color of heated steel varies by temperature from white thru the yellows and oranges to purple. In the village period years the village blacksmith was a person of high demand and made quite a good living. Everything in the shop as well as the village depicts life from 1860 to 1905.
Then Tony got on a Penny Farthing bicycle and rode it a bit after telling us about how they ride and work, etc. Penny is the big front wheel based on relative size of a penny to a farthing (rear wheel). Then he explained the front wheel is 4’ high and the pedals have a radius of 1’ so it is a direct drive 4-1 gear. He said at 25k’s – 15mph you are out of control and can’t keep your feet on the pedals. So then he explained all the ways to crash and burn and he has done them all including a header – over the handle bars landing on your head. Of course there are No Brakes so you have to plan waaay ahead. If something pops out in front or you hit a stone wrong with the solid front tire it is crash and burn city and the reason more modern bikes were originally called safety bikes. Interesting.
Then it was off to the print shop where a lady in period dress printed MS a page from a book of recipes, the drug store with a photography studio upstairs, the local doctor’s house and of course the boat shop. The largest boat built in Sherbrooke was in the early 1900’s – a 116’ three mast schooner for the lumber trade. Ironically it was the timber industry that ruined the river behind Sherbrooke for boatbuilding as well as a couple miles downstream. Logs floated down the shallow river tumbled rocks downstream and filled in the lower river. So it is the logging dirtbags that brought the rocks so TK couldn’t get a bite on the bottom.
Mary snapped these two photographs the morning we left Sherbrooke Village, about 20 minutes apart.The first was taken down river at very first light with her ‘see in the dark’ lens. If you look closely there is a small cottage on the middle left point. The second photo was shot back toward the village showing the last two navigation markers which of course made the photo for us. Sherbrooke Village is around the corner from the home on the headland to the left. There was no noise except perhaps a distant bird. Can you imagine how peaceful this was? Most Nova Scotian anchorages were this calm at first light.
And speaking of rocks, early this morning the tide was out exposing quite a few rocks. St Mary’s is not a boat friendly river. Mid afternoon we returned to Egret, lifted TK and ran downstream with the high falling tide. We were happy to be in deep water once again.
Egret is now anchored for the night in the tiny bay of Fisherman’s Harbour after a 2+ hour run from the entrance to St Mary’s River. The harbor is perfect for local fishermen with a wide open entrance to the sea and no obstacles. There is a local fisherman’s wharf we could have tied to but opted as usual to anchor in sweet thick mud. So how do we know it is mud? C Map charting uses Canadian charts for Nova Scotia and the charting is good including bottom information such as m, s, ms, r, etc. We hoped to find a little local restaurant on shore but there is nothing but a couple fishermen’s barns and a few homes scattered along the road to the wharf. So instead we had seared Atlantic bluefin tuna crumbled over a salad and a fresh baked baguette. Ho hum.
Because we haven’t had internet coverage for some time and were not able to send this VofE sooner we’ll list Egret’s anchorages in order since leaving Halifax. As we said in the text, we dinghy explored every harbor except Fisherman’s Harbour. Fisherman’s was just a quick overnight stop with an easy in and out. If you take the time and use google earth you can bring the words to life by zooming down to the anchorages. Of course if you do, it will hurt but then again perhaps it will strengthen your resolve for when it is Your Time. And Your Time is VofE’s total reason for being.
Tangier Harbour: 44 47.73N 62 41.32W
Pope Harbour/Shelter Cove: 44 46.81N 62 39.23W
Sheet Harbour: 44 55.24N 62 32.34W
St Mary’s River/Sherbrooke Village: 45 07.85N 61 59.09W
Fisherman’s Harbour: 45 06.65N 61 40.76W
Port Howe: 45 14.25N 61 05.50W
Terns and gannets are now replacing the familiar seabirds from Nantucket north east until near this point. The last large gannet colonies we saw were in New Zealand. Gannets are super streamlined large birds that are high divers. They circle high, fold up into a missile and plunge into the water with barely a ripple. They stay down a bit then pop back up in a bubble of air. A couple days ago we saw our first loons. I always thought loons were fresh water birds but we found them swimming in 50’ of water off the coast. We mentioned eagles earlier and how big they were. Since then we have seen a couple more pair and they too were quite large.
I wrote something in an earlier portion of this VofE that needs explaining. As you know I rarely rewrite anything because it was my thoughts at the time so we let it stand. However, in this case we need to explain. I made this statement about the NW Passage; “……so a trip thru the ice won’t be any big deal unless of course there is serious ice”…... For those of you who never had a boat, or a larger boat or have only done modest cruising this almost seems to be an absurd statement bordering on lunacy. Simply taking your larger boat off the dock for the first time is a minor challenge, just as it was for ourselves. So how can we say a trip thru the NW Passage “won’t be any big deal”? The name of the game is sea miles and acclimation. We all start with baby steps and build on those experiences. As always I must add; anything less would be foolish and dangerous.
So Egret’s baby steps are far in the past and we are always looking at new challenges and interesting places to explore. We seriously looked at the NW Passage for 2013 after taking 2012 off from long distance and did a bit of early Passage research. (Yup, coastal weenies r us). Twenty one boats successfully transited the Passage in 2011. As warm as it is this year there may be as many boats or more. Yes, it is a Big Deal but we felt if 21 boats can do it successfully, so can Egret and so can Mark and Anna.
So here’s the deal. After ten years doing basically what I wanted (unless MS objected) I told Mary that she should choose our next adventure. I laid out several scenarios including the Passage. She knew I wanted to do the Passage but I told her that she could choose what she wanted and I wouldn’t argue. So she chose something else and gave her reasons why she didn’t want to do the Passage. She said the Passage wasn’t the issue. It was after spending perhaps a second year returning to Alaska, a winter cruise to somewhere north and a summer spent circumnavigating Vancouver Island and after that time it would be a long way to Panama and back to the Bahamas or the U.S. East Coast with nothing of much interest to ourselves in the interim except perhaps some time spent in the Sea of Cortez. (Don’t get excited – we are all different in our interests – no one’s interests are better than others if that is what they enjoy.) So we are going to do something different and next spring we will announce what Egret’s plans will be for the next few years – unless life gets in the way as Mary says. It will be exciting and something new, but not the Passage.
Egret made the 30nm trip to Port Howe from St Mary’s River by mid afternoon. PH is an isolated cove with a granite and spruce lined shore with one small cabin in the far distance. We were here last year and it was one of our favorite anchorages on the NS coast. There are miles of shoreline dinghy exploring that makes you feel like you are the first person to visit. TK dropped in 38’ – 150’ of chain*, near the head of the bay beside two small granite islands topped with spruce. The holding is excellent in mud. Soon after anchoring a large bald eagle perched on the tallest tree on the nearby island and was checking out the intruders in his territory. He stayed until near dark.
*I’m sure you have noticed we give the anchoring depths and chain dropped in nearly every anchoring case. This is for a reason. In time these scope ratios will become second nature and when it is Your Time you will not end up like the 3 Stooges from the last VofE. One additional bit of information is we don’t count the first 7’ – the distance from Egret’s bow roller to the water – in our numbers. Also we mention from time to time about the snubber and usually don’t include the snubber length. Egret’s primary snubber is 25’ – 7.8m of 5/8” – 16mm 3 lay twisted nylon with a 5’ fire hose chafe guard that lays over the bow roller next to or on top of the chain. Usually about 20’ of snubber and chain is added to the reported chain length. The snubber has only failed once and that was within a few minutes of wind chop pitching when the chafe guard was Not over the roller. After the first 7’ the chain is marked with colored ty wraps in red, white and blue. Marking the chain with colored paint did not work for us. The ty wraps came in a plastic tube from Home Depot. We put 3 ty wraps per marking and keep them fresh as they chafe off.
Next day. It has been windy which in not bad because it is cool and I have been doing boat chores outside and MS is doing a major cleaning inside and rearranging cubbies, pantries and food stores. After all these years and a few miles, Egret still shines like new with a little effort.
Here is an interesting tidbit. In the VofE Lunenburg special we mentioned how the Whynacht family lost 12 of their sons or fathers to the sea, 5 during 1926 alone. There is a bright spot. Eating breakfast this morning we noticed the name on the lid of the jam jar Mary bought at the Lunenburg Thursday farmer’s market. Miriam’s Preserves, Plants, Etc. Miriam Whynacht. So the sea didn’t get them all.
We try and buy our jams and other fresh food items from locals like Miriam. First of all they are usually better tasting than supermarket brands and we like to give locals the business. Miriam’s ingredients label is hand written and reads: Wild Blueberries, Sugar, Lemon Juice, Certo, NO Butter or Margarine. So if you enjoy Very Good blueberry jam – she had a number of other jam offerings as well - give Miriam a buzz and put Miriam in the mail order business. 902 634-4065.
Egret departed Port Howe early this morning in fog and with 100’ or so visibility. So we went thru the getting ready to go to sea routine; turning on both radar’s – because of fog, gps, autopilot, VHF, stabilizer pump as well as initial switching on the Naiad brain, running lights then turned on the navigation laptop and monitor. However, Max Sea would not come up on the screen. So we fooled with that for a while. %$@$%&* Needing to get going because it will be a longish run, we got a backup navigation computer from the stateroom closet, switched the gps input cable and mouse, put in a course, entered them in the gps and got ready to go. Also we took the small laptop we use for e-mail, VofE and other things and plugged in the hockey puck gps and had that running as well. What made the switch so painless is because we use blue tape and write each usb port with it’s function; GPS – Com 5, mouse, Iridium, etc. Sure it looks like we are technically challenged and of course we are but we don’t have to think in times like this when we don’t have time.
So we left the main navigation computer running after a restart, let it sit for a couple hours while I thought about it, tried Max Sea one last time, got a pop up that said to hold Ctrl on startup, did and it is playing. Oh happy days!!
So anyhow, we used a super conservative course with both radar’s going and both charts zoomed down and left the anchorage twisting and turning thru the fog. We ran at 1000 rpm making 5 knots until offshore in no problem territory. A couple hours later the fog lifted. It was an oily sea a first with gentle swells and about 6 knots of wind. Our kinda sea. Currently there is a slight bit of wind chop and still little wind. One interesting item is watching the seals and birds relationship. There are seals dotted everywhere feeding and birds hovering nearby. When a seal surfaces with a fish to eat it can’t swallow whole the birds crash all around the seal to pick up the goodies as the seal chomps away. Also we have shearwaters landing just in front of Egret thinking she is a fishing boat with goodies.
There is weather coming tomorrow (Wed) so we are running direct to Louisbourg and will arrive 6 days early for the gathering. Louisbourg is a destination in itself we will enjoy at a slow pace before the social whirl begins. More on Louisbourg later.
N46 Starlite’s information was passed to us. I'm not sure where Starlite is just now because we have not had internet but the last we heard they were in Horta, Azores, heading for Lisbon. Owner Jennifer Ullman wrote that anyone wanting to "follow them" can send an invitation to: Jennifer Ullmann / "Cruise Director Travelling the World" on Facebook. For those not on facebook, they can send an email to Jennifer Ullmann at firstname.lastname@example.org and Jennifer will add you to the distribution list.
Egret arrived in Louisbourg late afternoon. There were 3 boats already in the harbor, the very large sloop that overnighted in Port Howe, and two other sailboats. One looked familiar but no name on the sail cover like as we remembered it couldn’t be s/v Hawk. However it was Hawk who we last met on New Years day, 2008, in Caleta Ideal, Chilean Channels. So we stopped by on the way to town and said hi to Evans, had a nice chat and the social whirl has begun.
Now it is your turn. Did you jot down Miriam’s number to order your jam? If not, Miriam’s number is 902 634-4065.
So let’s not talk about jam but about Real Cruisers. Real Cruisers give more than they receive. I believe our freedom comes at a price of simply being nice and leaving each place and whomever we came in contact feeling a little better about cruisers. Leave a clean wake is a motto of the Seven Seas Cruising Association. So if a number of you give Miriam a call and spend less than a bottle of wine for a few jars of jam it will make her day and she will earn a bit. Tell her you were sent by some American boaters visiting Lunenburg. Our names or boat name isn’t important, just that we were boaters. The goodwill will be priceless rocketing thru their tiny community and of course, you will enjoy the jam.
July 3, 2012
Position: En route between Lunenburg and Halifax. This is Canada Day weekend. We spent the first two days festivities in Lunenburg and hope to join the finale in Halifax.
Hello mis amigos, lets talk about Lunenburg (Nova Scotia). In fact, let's do a Lunenburg special.Egret arrived in great weather, the next day was perfect so we explored the streets near the waterfront looking at houses, went to a local print shop to have more boat cards made, bought a cruising guide to the Canadian Atlantic Maritimes, had a scallop burger for lunch, of course had an ice cream for desert and later had an American sailboat crew over for sundowners. So it was a good day.
Today it is heavy rain, winds to the low 20's and a stay aboard day to putz. So we are writing this drivel, spent time editing photographs and changed the Happy Little Lugger's oil. Not much happening, however in the rain there is still something interesting. We call this photo; Schooners in the Rain. Immediately upon arriving in Nova Scotia you see a number of traditional wooden schooners. Some are quite old and others are new. In a twin mast schooner the aft - mizzen mast is as tall as or taller than the foremast.
Of the places to visit in Nova Scotia by boat, Lunenburg has to be the most picturesque. Lunenburg is a fishing village from ye ol' days. Since the closure of the cod fishery and severe seafood quotas the village has gone from a strictly working fishing port to a much reduced fishing port and a major tourist area. Most of the tourists we see are Canadian with the usual mix of foreigners but few Americans. Not long ago Lunenburg was given World Heritage status which increased the tourism and will keep the picturesque waterfront area the same forever. In fact, all the homes in the 9 street deep by 7 street wide area behind the waterfront are all wood frame houses and none appear new. There are a couple smaller residential areas just outside the town and that's about it. It is wonderful.
Near mid waterfront is a memorial to the fishermen and boats that were lost at sea as well as a tribute to the fishermen still working offshore. I counted 128 boats lost at sea from Lunenburg Harbor. Can you imagine a tiny community of a couple thousand loosing that many boats over the years? The Whynacht family lost 7 members prior to 1925 then lost 5 in 1926 alone. The Zinck family lost 8 members at sea. In more recent years the number of boats lost has been reduced drastically, the last being 2004. I imagine radar, gps and of course theclosure of the cod fishery all contributed. Virtually every working boat in this area has radar, an absolute must. GPS today is also a must. Canadian charts and electronic charts are excellent. The locals fish year around in different fisheries, I believe the biggest fisheryis long lining for halibut along with scalloping and lobster. In winter months there are more foggy days than not, June has about 50% foggy days, July - August and Sept less than half the days have fog and the fog those 3 months is less dense. So in the pre gps days, fishermen counted on taking a sight by sextant but if there was fog for days they only had a compass for direction with a foul, uncompromising shoreline. These photos showcontemporary offshore fishermen at a fish company dock and smaller nearshore lobster boats at their dock on the opposite - shallow - end of the harbor.
There is one interesting side note we learned about the scallop industry. The offshore scallop boats are at sea for a month at a time during the season and do a 6-8 hour turnaround after arriving back at the dock. Can you imagine? Later we learned the near shore scallop boats usually have two crews that rotate on a 2-3 weeks on and off basis.
Let's digress from Lunenburg for just a minute. I will say that Egret would not be cruising long distance the way we are if it was not for gps and other safety aids to navigation like radar and electronic charting. Purists may giggle but they can take their macho attitude and keep it to themselves. Not knowing where You Are minute by minute AND where Other Boats are is not safe in foggy areas or near shore in the dark. The lost at sea numbers from Lunenburg alone prove the point and those men were professional fishermen, not recreational cruisers like ourselves. To expand that a bit, if we feel if an area or if weather isn't suitable we don't go. What constitutes what is suitable comes with time and miles.
So let's talk about miles. Mary and I spent years day boating inshore and offshore in smallish fishing boats with a handful of long weekend nearby Bahamas trips before we bought Proud Mary, our little 32' Grand Banks. With Proud Mary we took 3 major (at the time) trips. A 3 day trip to Cay Sal Bank between the Florida Keys and Cuba, a two week trip to the Dry Tortugas, 75nm W of Key West (Florida Keys) and a month in the Bahamas that set us on the course where Egret is today. All of those miles count including miles and time aboard small boats. However, cruising in a larger boat comes with a steep learning curve. Here's how it works. The first year cruising is an exciting and somewhat nervous time. You learn every day. You learn boat handling, how to dock, anchor, learn electronic charting and using radar. Machinery and systems become more familiar in time and miles as well. Slowly you build confidence. You learn just like in school, just like vocation, married life, children, etc. The second year is soooo much more comfortable you can't believe it. The learning curve is being fine tuned constantly and everything is much, much easier. The following years the learning curve is more and more shallow and issues of the first year become routine.
So it boils down to this. If you are new to boating or haven't boated yet and read this drivel I'm sure it seems pretty intimidating and perhaps seems impossible to yourselves. Believe me, it isn't. It just takes time. Here's an example. The sailboat couple we had over last night spent a few years day sailing around the Pacific North West - which means mainly motoring - in a 38ish foot racer/cruiser. A year ago they sailed south from Seattle, went thru the Panama Canal and up to Virginia. ONE week ago they picked up their new boat in Baddeck, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia and they are taking it back to Virginia to transfer their 'stuff' from the old boat to the new. So they will sail from Nova Scotia directly to the entrance to the Chesapeake - going thru the Cape Cod Canal - and to Virginia. ONE week of ownership. Think about it. Sure, they are nervous but they will do just fine and even were talking about the South Pacific next year. So you can see they built on their PNW time, took the Big Plunge and headed south to Panama and now they bought a real world cruiser that won't beat them to death like a lightweight racer/cruiser and are heading Out.
Ok, back to Lunenburg. The Lunenburg waterfront is lined with wharves and warehouses that support and supported the fishing industry for years. The buildings are painted bright red so the inbound fisherman can see the buildings thru the fog. The waterfront from the anchorage it is so picturesque it doesn't seem real. The large red building at the far left of the harbor is what I call the Cod Museum, but is actually the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic. The museum has a number of fishing boats on display, a very well done historical area documenting the industry and several short movie viewing rooms. What I find the most interesting is the evolution of the cod fishing industry that began with the fishing vessel drifting down wind with fishermen standing in wells jigging for cod, to the dory fishermen from sailing motherships ending with the rape of the banks by the modern trawlers. Today there are less than 1% of the codfish stocks than in 1960. On the second floor of the museum is a great seafood restaurant. It is easy to spend a full day inside learning about the industry.
Just around the corner from the Fisheries Museum are a scattering of warehouses serving a long dead industry. What purpose the buildings serve today I don't know.
On the opposite end of the harbor is Lunenburg Foundry Boatyard. The foundry has been in business for years supporting the fishing industry casting everything from huge ship's cleats to propellers and small items in between. It still operates as a foundry today. Last year in Nova Scotia we met a sailor with a Slocum design built locally - a replica of Joshua Slocum's beloved Spray (Slocum was the first American small boat circumnavigator) that had the remains of a windlass from Alexander Graham Bell's schooner. It needed a gear cast to be complete and he had it cast at Lunenburg Foundry. Lunenburg Foundry operates a small boatyard with a 75 ton travelift but also has a giant many hundreds of tons marine railway for hauling the larger fishing boats. We met the manager and had a nice chat.
One item of local interest, the boatyard is building a replica of the famous Lunenburg schooner, Bluenose (google Schooner Bluenose to get the complete history. It is too extensive to list here). In a historical nutshell, during an early 1900's America's Cup a boat broke in half in 22 knots of wind*. The boat was designed for 20 knots. The fishermen of the two largest Atlantic fishing ports, Gloucester and Lunenburg had a giggle about the 'yachtsmen' in girl boats not competing in more than 20 knots. Twenty knots just gets these large schooners moving well. So they staged a competition between boy boats from the U.S. and Canada. The first year, Bluenose broke a top mast while well leading the Canadian qualifying race but nevertheless lost the right to represent Canada for the first meeting. The U.S. won. The next meeting and every one since, Bluenose represented Canada and beat every American challenger except on one occasion. The Bluenose was matched against the Columbia and won the race but a committee member said the Bluenose took a mark on the wrong side. However, the Columbia crew knew the real deal and refused the trophy out of sportsmanship. Over the years, Bluenose has had a Canadian stamp issued with their image as well as on the back of a Canadian 10 cent coin. The trophy is on display in the Lunenburg Museum.
*History repeats itself. During the America's Cup in Auckland, New Zealand, the U.S. America's Cup defender broke in half in exactly 22 knots of wind.
Last year we saw the replica Bluenose as it was being framed and as you can see from the photograph it has been planked and painted. It is ready to receive the engine and is being built out inside. By next year it will be sailing. Bluenose II was framed with a South American hardwood and is expected to have a service life between 40 and 60 years.
Many grand homes from Lunenburg's halcyon fishing days have been converted to B&B's. This example is the Bluenose Inn, circa 1800's. An odd feature to a number of homes is the local 'Lunenburg Bump' built atop the center of the roof. In this photo you can see an example on a smaller home. There is something for everyone in Lunenburg. This former pasture carved from a red oak forest and later to house a fish plant is now Lunenburg's golf course. The course is directly across the harbor from town. As I type this it is a bright sunny morning before 7:00 am and there are folks chasing small white balls up and down the slopes. This photo is for Mary's sister and husband who are big golfers.
And speaking of special interest photographs, after reading the last VofE and learning Egret was in Lunenburg we received an e-mail from Knut and May, N46 Regina III, currently cruising Norway. (K&M are Norwegian) Knut said during WWII his father was in the Lunenburg area. Later we learned at the Maritime Museum that many Norwegians at sea had to find a neutral harbor to take their boats after the invasion and is one reason many ended up in Lunenburg.
"Tis mine om kongelig Norske marines personnel oc Norske sjofolk som kom til Lunenburg og trenet I Camp Norway under Andre Verdenskrig.
Alt For Norge 1940 - 1945
In memory of all the Norwegians who assembled in Lunenburg after the invasion of Norway and trained at Camp Norway for service in the liberation of their homeland.
Last VofE we reported N46 Starlite was heading from the Azores to Gibraltar. Jennifer wrote back and said they are heading to Lisbon first. The Lisbon waterfront is a window into history. It is super interesting but you will have to read about it in Starlite's blog. Mary and I visited Portugal by car on a 10 day land trip with Wayne and Pat - N46 Envoy and John and Gail - N62 Rover while wintering in Barcelona.
Ok, here's the deal. We sent today's VofE photos on the last day we had internet access, the text is being sent later via the Iridium phone. However The Life continues but without photos. We will end with two boat stories; the first amusing with a simple lesson and the second is a meeting with cruising friends.
Last night as Mary and I were returning to Egret in the dink we saw a largish familiar brand passagemaker attempting to anchor. I told MS we would run over and tell them to anchor between Egret and a cutter to the east. She didn't want to bother them but I Knew Better because they were attempting to anchor in the buoyed channel between the mooring field and the town wharfs. So we returned to Egret and didn't think much more about it until we saw the same boat trying to anchor in the middle of the mooring field. Duuuuh. After they got sorta set and were attempting to attach the snubber bridal I dropped the dink back in the water and ran over and suggested they move between "the small white trawler over there and the yellow and black sailboat". You could tell the news was received poorly with a somewhat veiled terse reply. I explained when the afternoon sea breeze quits the Mooring Ball literally a couple feet from the port side could well end up in the stabilizer fin or wheel by morning. More less veiled unhappiness so I left without comment.
In the meantime; Larry, Curley and Moe were running around the foredeck with their headsets and mouth mikes like rock stars or something, trying to figure out what to do. So they eventually moved and of course instead of going in the Only Obvious spot I suggested, they anchored in front of the small white trawler and right over TK. With someone in the pilothouse I called on 16 and went to 17. So I said they were over our anchor and it would be best if they moved about 150' to port. So L,C or M grouched and said they would pull up (shorten scope) and "would that solve my problem?" I told them it wasn't my problem but we had 35 knots last night and more scope would be better. No reply. So with no appreciable wind predicted we let it go. If wind were coming WE would have moved without comment. It is easier to move and keep the peace than argue with idiots.
Everyone starts somewhere, however when you are a newbie it is best to accept logical help in a friendly manor, ask questions if you have them but most importantly, be courteous. After all, boating is not a competition. It is simply a venue to freedom and a bit of adventure. I treated Larry, Curley & Moe well and at no time acted like an Anchor Nazi but was just trying to be helpful. So these Captians of Industry with the ability to stroke the Big Check doesn't mean much too any other boater if they are discourteous or feel so privileged they may anchor in a small boat mooring field. Boating is a great equalizer. We are all in this water world together from the smallest no refrigeration no nothing sail boat or power boat to the Big Guys. No one is better than the other. Mary and I treat them all the same.
Larry, Curley and Moe left the next morning without even going ashore in the most picturesque town in Nova Scotia. I suppose they checked the Lunenburg box and kept going. Sad, isn't it? Hopefully in time they will learn and if we meet them down the way some years from now perhaps they will be a bit more relaxed and friendly. Wouldn't that be nice?
The same morning we saw a familiar black and yellow gaff rigged cutter anchored a few hundred feet from Egret. It was Iron Bark II with Trevor and Annie aboard. We met Trevor and Annie in Maskell's Harbour, Bras d' Or Lake, Cape Bretton Island, Nova Scotia last year. Last year we wrote about how T&A were extreme high latitude sailors; how Trevor froze Iron Bark II into the ice in Antarctica with NO HEAT for the winter and how together they froze Iron Bark II into the ice in Greenland another year but with heat. This year T&A returned to Lunenburg from an early season jog up to Newfoundland. It is unseasonably warm this year and they said during the numerous sunny days without fog Newfoundland was spectacular. Annie is flying back to her home in New Zealand shortly and Trevor is heading north to Greenland for another winter round.
Trevor is an Aussie and Annie is a Brit via New Zealand and what Aussie or Brit doesn't like lamb? We had forgotten Annie doesn't eat meat but Mary saved the day with Annie's favorite, peas and potatoes along with a green salad. So Mary cooked a large leg of lamb. Trevor was thrilled. We had a long evening and great conversation. It's the people mis amigos.
On a small personal note, while in Maskell's Harbour last year we took a great photo of Iron Bark II ghosting along with barely any wind flying every sail. We gave that photo and several more to Trevor in full resolution. That photo is this year's Royal Cruising Club - England - yearbook's back cover. We are thrilled.
Early this morning there was fog and zero wind. Iron Bark II was suspended in space with the dinghy alongside. We got the shot. It will be in the next VofE.
Happy July 4th. Ciao.
Ed. Note - The glossary of Egretism terms will be posted on the Captain's Log home page for easy reference.