We left the dock in Dartmouth at 2:35 pm, 25 mins short of our scheduled departure, with a bimini! A big nod and thanks to Cody for the hard work he put into getting it done before we left. We even got to see its practicality the minute we left the dock, as it started to rain just as we we departed. Before we left, Barry Smith came down to our boat and gave us the most lovely piece of art he had made from wood reclaimed from the Bluenose II. He had worked as a carpenter, on the restoration of Bluenose II and salvaged some of the wood. He crafted this for us and brought it down to wish us good luck on our trip. I was out at the time shopping for supplies and didn’t see it until we were underway but I love it so much and will cherish it. It was such a kind gesture!
Our destination for the evening was the RNSYC once again.We wanted to return Greg’s guidebook, get a good nights sleep and an early rise to resume our travels. Our goal was to get to the southwestern tip of Nova Scotia so we could have time to pick the best conditions to sail across the Bay of Fundy to Maine.
We were so excited to be getting off the dock and sailing again. It doesn’t take long to yearn for something that you like once you’re way from it. But another motivation for us getting underway was the weather. We had lost a week, and were behind on our progress. It wasn’t a huge concern but with the hurricanes season upon us we prefer to have crossings such as the Bay of Fundy behind us so we can settle into a rhythm. Al has been working incredibly hard getting the boat ready, so settling into a leisurely cruisers lifestyle would be welcome to him. Filbert and me, well we’re just along for the ride!
As we made our way down Halifax harbour we joked that rush hour traffic on the water was a lot more fun than the rush hour that was taking place on the bridges that loomed above us.
And so with our boat all shiney and improved we set off. As we neared the RNSYC we heard a noise we had not noticed before. And it was coming from the engine! Any problems are unwelcome but engine trouble is one of the more dreaded issues that could arise. Essentially it means time and money, and at this point on our trip we didn’t want to have to meter out either of these. We tied up to the fuel dock and Al went inside to determine if he could find someone to look at our engine. Remember, it is Friday evening at 4:30 pm and all those people who we saw in the rush hour jam were probably already headed in the opposite direction of anything that smelled remotely of work.
Wayne the yardmaster at RNSYC was great. A former Newfoundlander himself, he was very helpful and supplied Al with several names of diesel mechanics to call. Lady Fortune was once again riding along with us and Al got in touch with Mike Keay, who said he was currently at a job but would drop over when finished.
In the interim we hung out on the dock, chatting with boaters and did some laundry. While waiting for Mike, Cody came with the final piece for our bimini that allows us tie it up when we don’t want to be shielded from the sun. I foresee this will be more applicable to Newfoundland than the Caribbean.
We also had an opportunity to meet our first Tartan 3700 owners, Peter and Carol, who we met at the dock, came aboard to have a chat. Its such a big deal to find another boater who has the same boat as you do. There are so many questions to ask one another and its an opportunity to ask someone else about their experience on their boat. These two were also seasoned sailors who had been far and wide and were generous with advice and stories of their sailing adventures.
After Peter and Carol left I took Filbert for a walk, because the little guy was pretty tired of being stuck on the boat. He likes to scope out grass and smell every corner of the boatyards. It seems everywhere we have stopped theres been a family of otter, mink, or muskrat residing there. It is potentially dangerous because I think Filbert would act aggressively towards them and that would not end well. While at the dock for repairs, I had him out on deck brushing him, and he was responding favourably with deep rolling purrs. All of a sudden however he growled, loud and menacing. Behind us on the bank was a rotund, cute muskrat waddling along the shore, indifferent to either of us. I didn’t see him and I don’t know how Filbert knew he was there but he is obviously a better observer than me.
Anyways while we out walking Mike arrived at the boat, with his partner Lisa. He had worked late already and these two were on their way out for dinner but stopped in to see if assistance could be provided. After checking our engine Mike determined that it was nothing serious and recommended an oil and filter change and putting some additive in the fuel. Yahoo!
We figured we would get up the next day and make it to a store to buy the things we needed but Mike and Lisa offered to go and get it for us and drop it back that night. We didn’t want to impose anymore on their evening as it was now about 8:00 pm. However they insisted and sure enough returned a couple of hours later with oil, additives and filters. We had a great chat with them and it turns out Lisa is an artist who’s work is sold in Newport, so I will be looking out for her art when we visit. Once again the kindness of strangers bowled us over. Nova Scotia has the friendliest people I have come across. After a long and tumultuous day we were happy to turn in.
Once again Captain Al got up very early to tend to our engine while I stayed warm and comfy in the bunk. At 6:30 am we were ready to depart and we set off under warm and sunny conditions with our compass set for Lunenburg. Once we got out on the ocean however it was so delightful to be sailing again that we ended up sailing past Lunenburg and doing almost 80 nm, finally settling into Liverpool 13 hours later. We had wanted to see Lunenburg but the sail would have been too short and it really was a spectacular day on the water. As was the next day, but our sail was much shorter as we put into Shelburne to prepare for our crossing on the Bay of Fundy.
Shelburne is a pretty town that has seen better times, but the restoration of the dock walk is impressive. The buildings, which date back to the late 1700’s have been restored and are incredibly pretty. We tied up to the dock and struck up instant conversations with a bunch of other boaters, both residents and cruisers. Its so easy to meet people in this lifestyle because you share something in common. Several boats were looking to pair up and make the crossing together but the weather windows were conflicting and everyone seemed uncertain. We spent Day 2 on the dock because Captain Al needed a day of rest and it was nice just to hang out. I spent the day editing videos which I am hoping to have finished soon for the blog.
Filbert met his first boat cat and was not very impressed. Tigger lives on a sailboat and is an old hat at the game, walking the docks unfettered boarding whatever boat he pleases to board. I think Filbert will take a long time to become that comfy leaving our boat.
Tuesday was absolutely gorgeous with no wind and a bright, blue sky. One of our dock buddies decided to wait for better weather while another boat was setting off at the waning tide. Tides are very important in this area because the Bay of Fundy has such a big influence on the tides and currents in the area. If you leave at the wrong time you will end up getting nowhere. We decided to make a run for Clarks Harbour on Cape Sable Island and set out. This would knock about 45 nm off our run and get us that much closer to Maine.
We made it to Clarks Harbour and ended staying there for 2 nights. The air temperature was cool during our run and Al had to put on fleece for the first time in weeks. I stayed below blogging and providing lots of warm food. I joked with my sister Ger this week that I love cooking on board.
Anyone who knows me knows that I enjoy it anyway but since we’ve started living on board I cook almost all the time, and we rarely eat out. I also don’t mind cleaning as much and if you know me then you’ll know that this is not typical. So my theory is that living on board is like playing house. I have my little easy bake oven and tiny space to manage. I mentioned this to a boater I was talking to and he said his comparison is when he was a kid in a tree house playing out back. I think its the simplicity and the scale of it that makes it appealing. Yes, there are things that need to be fixed and the weather may be difficult at times, but overall the cozy wonderful feeling of having your home in 300 square feet contained is ultimately rewarding.
We left Clarks Harbour and sailed to Yarmouth, the most westerly point in Halifax. It was a nice town with a good dock and the restaurant had some very good seafood at a place called Rudders. We were checking out the weather and waiting to leave that night for a run across the Bay of Fundy.
When we left the next morning we said good bye to Canada and headed for the USA. I guess its real and we don’t have to turn around to go back to work. When I close my eyes at night I see a small boat, similar to the one Barry made us, and I have the distinct pleasuse of seeing us on it, living our dream!