Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Finally - the end of the trip - part 1

Wow - where does the time go! I have no good excuse for not getting this posted before now, except that now that we're back in the "real" world there is no time at the end of the day. I've broken this entry into 3 parts as it's easier to only load a couple of pictures at a time. I'm not sure anyone will read this after such a long time, but at least I will feel it is finally done - until next time!!

June 21 – June 23 – Manchester-by-the-sea
As forecast it was windy and wet but we were nice and snug on our mooring. Dave, Annie and I all got colds and felt pretty miserable. We had a couple of walks through Manchester in the rain. We found a really neat used/antique bookstore. Kristen found a book called "The girl who waved" that was written in 1937. It was about a little girl and the "Twentieth Century" train. A great book with neat pictures. When we were checking out, the store keeper was quite interested in our trip. He suggested that we should read "Carry on Mr. Bowditch" about a man from Salem and one of the first Americans to publish a book on navigation, but unfortunately he didn’t have a copy of it.
On June 22 we caught the train from Manchester to Salem. It was a quick trip and we arrived a little before noon. We took the trolley from the train up to the visitor’s info center and then went and had some pizza for lunch. After lunch we walked to the Salem witch museum to learn about the Salem witch trials. What an awful time it must have been to live in Salem. There was such fear that reasonable thought seemed to leave the residents and many innocent people were hung. We had a good walk around Salem in the rain and drizzle, and found another used book store that did have the "Bowditch" book. We got back to Manchester around 5:00 and bought a roasted turkey breast at the store so we put together a real turkey dinner – yum!

June 24 – Manchester-by-the-Sea to Annasquam, Ma
We left Manchester mid-morning, trying to time the current so we would have slack water going through the Blynnman Canal that cuts behind Glocester and saves the trip around Cape Ann. Weather was pretty reasonable there was a little wind on the nose, and a little fog, but it could have been a lot worse. Although we had read that the Blynnman Canal could be shallow, we didn’t have any problems or see any really shallow water. We only went as far as Annasquam at the end of the canal as we felt that the waters on the North of Cape Ann would still be too rough after the last few days of high winds. We picked up a mooring off the Annasquam Yacht Club and had some lunch. After lunch we went into the yacht club in their tender. We had a walk around the nice little town, but it was pretty wet and rainy. We were back on the boat by 5:00 and made a turkey casserole with the left over turkey from yesterday.

June 25 – Annasquam to Boothbay, Maine
We left in the fog around 5:30 in the morning. We wanted to leave early to be sure to get across the sandbar at the entrance before low tide at 7:30. It was foggy all day – really thick fog too, but during the middle of the day it was sunny over head so it was actually a nice warm day. We saw two Minke whales, and we also saw two seals. We thought about going into Portland or Biddeford Pool, but it seemed that we had enough time to push on to Boothbay before dark so we decided to do that so we would be able to spend the whole day there tomorrow. We picked up a mooring at Tugboat Inn around 7:30. We put the dinghy down and put the motor on and the girls went for a little trip around the harbour while Dave and I made supper.
June 26 – Boothbay
We took the day off today. The weather was fair with some sunny skies, although it was still chilly and didn’t really feel like summer. We walked to the grocery store and got a few provisions. We went back to the boat for lunch and then after lunch went for another walk around Boothbay. There certainly weren’t the same sales in Boothbay that we had seen in the fall! We went to McSeagulls for supper and the meal was great.

June 27 – Boothbay to North Vinalhaven Island
We left Boothbay in the fog and didn’t see much of anything all day. There were a few brief moments when the visibility would open up to a mile or so, and then we could see the little islands that we were passing between. We saw porpoises a number of times through the day – it was nice to know something else was out there with us! We planned to anchor on the north side of Vinal Haven where we had stopped on the way down, but the fog was even thicker going though Fox Island Thorofare running between North and South Vinalhaven than it had been all day. We clawed our way through the fog into North Haven and picked up a mooring around 5:30. We didn’t put the dinghy down or go to shore.

June 28 – North Vinalhaven to Northeast Harbour
Another cold, wet foggy day. We left around 6:30. We motored through the fog and learned that in can in fact rain when you are in the fog. We also learned that there can be waves in the fog. There was wind (on the nose) and a little bit of a chop. We saw more porpoises again today. We got to Northeast Harbour around 2:00 and had some lunch. We were cold and tired and it was pouring rain, so we didn’t go to shore right away. In the end, I took the girls to shore around 3:30 in the drizzle. By then it was too late to bother trying to go to Bar Harbour, so we had a wander around Northeast Harbour in the drizzle. The Tan Turtle Tavern had burnt down so our plans to go out for supper went up in smoke, so to speak! We went back to the boat and had some left overs.

June 29 – June 30 – Northeast Harbour to Lockeport, NS
We left Northeast Harbour, in the fog, around 9:00. We stopped at the fuel dock and were really on our way by 9:30. The forecast sounded okay… light winds, rain, drizzle, fog… more of what we had been seeing day after day. We planned our departure time so try to arrive on the south coast of Nova Scotia at slack water, to avoid all the nasty currents you can get going around Cape Sable Island and Brazil Rock. It was a pretty uneventful crossing. We had the mizzen up all the way as a steady sail but it didn’t catch much wind – once again the wind was on the nose. It took us a little longer to cross than we expected and we got to Seal Island about an hour later than planned. We did have a good trip around the end of Nova Scotia, but then we had current against us, hour after hour. We were loosing between a knot and a knot and a half every hour, and there was no way we were going to make it to Liverpool. We were pretty tired, and based on current speed we wouldn’t arrive until after 10:00. We called Customs to find out if it was okay to tie up in Lockeport, and they said just to call when we got tied up. We were tied up around 5:00 and called customs. They gave Dave a hard time about going into Lockeport as it isn’t a designated port of entry. In the end, we were told that Customs would have to come visit us and to stay on the boat. Three hours later they finally showed up. It was a less than pleasant visit, however in the end we were cleared into Canada. When they left we got off the boat to stretch our legs, but it was cold and wet and there were a lot of people out celebrating for Canada Day so we went back to the boat and went to bed.

July 1 – Lockeport to Mahone Bay
We got up around 6:30 and were off the dock by 7:00. It wasn’t a bad day. The wind and seas were light and we had visibility. It was pretty cold though. Hard to believe it’s July. We weren’t sure whether we were going to go to Liverpool, Lunenburg, or to Mahone Bay. It was a pretty uneventful day. We were off Liverpool around lunch time, and we decided that it wasn’t too bad and that we should press on. By mid-afternoon we figured that we could make it to Mahone Bay before dark, and we thought it would be better to press on rather than stop in Lunenburg and have to get up early again tomorrow. We arrived in Mahone Bay at 8:15 and tied up on the town dock. Mum and Andy were there to meet us. It took us a little while to tied up and organized and then we went out for pizza. It felt like we made the first stop towards home.

July 2 – 5 – Mahone Bay/Getting Boom
We spent Thursday with Mum and Andy, did a few errands and picked up a few last things for Boom. On Friday we left at 5:30 and headed down to New Glasgow in Mum’s car. We dropped the girls off at Doreens at 8:30 – they had decided that a visit with Doreen was far preferable to 26 hours in the car! Dave and I set off for Massachusetts. We had an uneventful trip down, keeping the same two hour shifts in the car that we do on the boat. We finally got to Springfield around 7:30. We went for supper and then back to the hotel for an early night. On Saturday we met Boom with his breeder outside the Springfield dog show at 7:15. He was calmly sitting in his crate and not unhappy at all to come with us. The first 10 minutes in the car were pretty challenging as Boom tried to explore his new environment, but he quickly settled and went to sleep. He traveled really well. We stopped every two hours and took Boom for a little run. It took us a lot longer to get home than it took us to get to Springfield. We finally got back to New Glasgow at 11:00. We stayed at our friends, Mary Jean and Darrell’s and the girls were already there. It is so nice to see friends and family again! On Sunday morning we headed to Pictou to get the truck and see how things were at the house. House was great but the lawn was pretty sad looking as the lawn tractor had broken and had just come back from getting repaired. Dave spent a couple of hours and got a start on the lawn. We were just finishing up and the rain started down so we headed back to Mahone Bay with the truck, Mum’s car and Boom. We got back to Mahone Bay around 6:00 and had a little visit at Mum and Andy’s with Boom before going back to the boat.

July 6 – Mahone Bay to Chester
We spent Monday morning doing some odd jobs up at the house and then we headed off for Chester after lunch. We arrived in Chester about 4:30 and tied up at the Rope Loft Restaurant. John was there to meet us and after we got tied up we went up to John and Gail’s. They have a beautiful home overlooking Chester Harbour. Boom had an upset belly so we were running in an out of the house with him, but he still had a couple of accidents… We took Boom back to the boat and put him in his crate and then we all went to the Rope Loft for supper and the food was really good. We had a rough night with Boom as his belly was really giving him problems.

July 7 – Chester to Halifax
We left Chester around 7:00 to head for Halifax. By mid-morning Boom was doing better and that was a real relief. We had fairly calm seas and we saw the sun for a few minutes! It was actually really pretty sailing along the coast of Nova Scotia with the sun and the lighthouses out on the rocks. We saw a couple of other sailboats today. We arrived at Armdale around 2:00 and got fuel and water. I was talking to a gentleman on the wharf while Dave was getting the fuel. I found out that all of Misty’s (our old boat) sails, cushions etc. had been destroyed in a fire in the spring when a forest fire outside of Halifax destroyed the home of Misty’s new owner. She was now being sold as insurance salvage. How sad. We took "Bird" out to a mooring and then went to run some errands and get groceries. We rented a movie and had a quiet evening on the boat.

July 8 – Halifax
In the morning I took the girls shopping. In the afternoon Dave went to Dartmouth for some meetings. We tidied the boat, took Boom for a walk, got showers and got ready for the Tattoo. We met Dave on shore at 5:30 and went over to Tasha’s where we met Doreen and Paul and left Boom for the evening. Then we went downtown to meet Mum, Andy, Heather and Dennis for supper and then the Tattoo. We all enjoyed the Tattoo. We liked the acrobats from Estonia the best, and then the Paris Police gymnasts. After the Tattoo we went back to Tasha’s to get Boom (who had a great time) and then back to the boat.

July 9 – 11 – Road trip to Cape Breton and Pictou
We left Bird in Halifax and headed north to Cape Breton around 8:00. We stopped a couple of times along the way for Boom and we finally got to Buppy and Grammy’s (Dave’s parents) around 1:00. After lunch, Kristen stayed in Whycocomagh with Grammy, Dave and Buppy went to the cottage to cut the grass and turn the water on and Annie and I went to Baddeck with Boom. On Friday we left Whycocomagh to go to Pictou. We arrived in New Glasgow a little after lunch and picked up Katelyn to go to Lobster Carnival. We dropped the girls off at the fair, and then I took Dave to the house to start cutting the grass. The lawn mower had been broken and had just come back from the repair shop so the grass hadn’t been cut in weeks. It had turned into a hay field. I left Dave there and went back to the fair to check on the girls, and then went to run a few errands. By the time I got back to the carnival, the girls were getting tired so I took them back to the house. We stayed there until about 5:30, and then we headed up to New Glasgow to have supper and Mary Jean and Darryl’s. Around 8:30 all the Mary Jean and I took Annie, Kristen and Katelyn back to Pictou to see the fireworks. The kids were pretty tired by that point and walking around town was a lot of work! After the fireworks we went back to New Glasgow for the night. In the morning Dave took Annie to Lindy’s and then he went back to the house to cut more grass. Mary Jean and I took the other girls to the beach in Caribou. Dave finally finished a first cut on the grass around 3:00 and we left to go back to Halifax.

July 12 – Halifax to Owl’s Head
We were too tired to get up really early so we didn’t leave Halifax until around 7:00. We headed out the harbour and there were lots of swells coming in so it didn’t bode well for a smooth sail today. Sure enough, it was a rough trip up the Eastern Shore. We had a reef in the main and we tried to sail, but the wind was on the nose again. Early in the afternoon we decided enough was enough and we headed into Owl’s Head. Fortunately it was fairly protected and not much swell. We were anchored by 2:00 after a brief incident when the harbour shoaled up from 15’ to 5’ in a matter of minutes and we bumped the bottom. We made cookies and cooked a turkey breast for supper. Annie and Dave took Boom for a big adventure on shore. He had a great time climbing over the rocks and wading through the tide pools.

July 13 – Owls’ Head to Liscomb Lodge
The girls wanted to take Boom to shore in the morning, so we didn’t leave until about 9:00. He had another adventure on shore – it’s fun to watch him running around and bouncing over stuff. He didn’t have nearly so much fun when he only had pavement and grass to walk on. Fortunately today was a better day than yesterday and it wasn’t too bad a day – considering where we were! We got to Liscomb around 3:00 and there were no other boats on the dock. The whole lodge was nearly deserted and we felt badly for them. We went for a walk around the lodge and down to the river and Kristen did a scavenger hunt. We went for a swim, and hot tub and a shower and then went back to the boat. Annie and Kristen stayed on the boat to have supper and look after Boom, and Dave and I went for supper in the restaurant. After listening to the forecast we decided that it would be nice to stay another day in Liscomb.

July 14 - Liscomb
It was nice to not have to go anywhere today! It was a lovely sunny day, but quite windy so it was a great day to stay at this lovely place. We cleaned the boat in the morning, and then we packed a picnic lunch. We went for a hike across the bridge and through the woods and to a clearing by the river where we had our lunch. Then we hiked back up along the river. It was a great walk and Boom had a great time. We were glad that we didn’t have to carry him at all and we hiked for about an hour and a half. Later in the afternoon we went back to the pool and had another swim, hot tub and shower. We had a quiet evening and went to bed early.
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End of the trip - part 2

July 15 – Liscomb to St. Peters’sWe left at 5:30 and headed down the Liscomb River. We headed out into the ocean and were glad to see that the sea had calmed down. There was supposed to be light wind in the morning and then picking up in the afternoon, and we were glad the seas were calm as there was no wind to put up the sail and stabilize the boat. The wind stayed pretty light all morning and it was a pretty uneventful trip. We were off Canso in early afternoon, and we were making good time with a little bit of current behind us. It was even sunny some of the time. By the time we turned to head North around Isle Madame, the wind had picked up from the South West and we were able to sail! When we were off the end of isle Madame, and picking our way through a shoal area there were big spays of water ahead which was pretty unnerving as it looked like waves breaking over a rock. It ended up being a big pod of fin back whales – we counted at least 12 of them. Spectacular waterspouts followed by huge backs coming out of the water and then a fin appeared. We also saw a Minke whale and a couple of dolphins. It was the first time we had ever seen so many whales except on a whale cruise. We were able to sail all the way to the entrance to St. Peter’s harbour and then we dropped sails to keep up with another boat that we wanted to lock through with. We reached the lock at 6:00 and were locked through and tied up on the lake side of the lock by 7:00. We walked up to St. Peter’s and ordered a pizza, rented a movie, bought some ice cream and then went back to the boat to celebrate arriving in Cape Breton.

It is now almost a month later – August 10 to be exact. It has been such a busy time that I haven’t had a chance to keep a detailed log of our travels and doings. It has been three weeks filled with trips to Pictou, visits with friends and sailing camp for the girls. Last week was Regatta week in Baddeck and there were pram races every day. The girls did well with first place finishes for each of them in a couple of races.

Boom is doing great. He is a lovely dog – he is well behaved (for the most part). He is happy anywhere – on the boat, in the dinghy, at the cottage, at our house. He loves people and is happy to play with other dogs, although he is not obsessed with it. He hasn’t taken to the water yet – he can swim but he doesn’t really like to – yet… Maybe next summer.

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End of the trip - part 3 - Seahawk, hurricane Bill, back to school

We left Cape Breton and spent a week at the house. We heard from Seahawk and they were on their way to Halifax from Cape Cod. We were watching the forecast as Hurricane Bill was headed for Nova Scotia. Seahawk arrived on Thursday, and Bill was scheduled to arrive on Sunday. On Friday they headed off for an overnight to Cape Breton, and we headed down by car. On Saturday we took Bird from Baddeck to Washabuck River, and Seahawk headed from St. Peter's to Washabuck arriving around suppertime. The kids had a great time swimming in the warm waters of the Bras D'or and we all had supper together. It was great to get caught up. On Sunday morning we stripped the boats down and waited for Bill. There was lots of rain, but not a whole lot of wind in our snug little anchorage up the Washabuck River. The storm was over in the late afternoon, and Dave took this picture of Annie, Kristen and I swimming over to Seahawk after the storm. On Monday we took the boat back to Baddeck and then headed up to Dave's parent's in Whycocomagh to start some projects there.

On Tuesday, Seahawk came up to Whycocomagh, and Annie, Kristen and I took them for a hike up Salt Mountain. This is a picture of Annie and Karol looking over Whycocomagh. The weather remained unsettled for the rest of the week and Dave worked hard to get projects done at his parents so we could take a few days off and go sailing. In the end we didn't get much of a cruise. We spent the night on the boat in Baddeck on Friday night and went for a walk and got ice cream with Seahawk. On Saturday we headed back to Washabuck to batten down for tropical storm Danny! It was another wet and windy storm, but we'd certainly seen worse, and we felt really secure in Washabuck. Originally, we had planned to take Bird back to Pictou this weekend, but the weather was too unsettled, so on Monday we drove back to Pictou.

On Thursday, the kids went back to school. It was quite a bit different from starting school last year!! On Labour Day weekend we headed back to Cape Breton. We left after school on Friday, and got some pizza in Baddeck. After much debate, we headed out of Baddeck around 7:00 on Friday night to head for St. Peter's. It was beautiful night and we had a lovely peaceful crossing of the south lake. The channel from the lake up to St. Peter's is pretty tricky and we were glad to have the help of an almost full moon to pick out the buoys. We tied up by the lock around 11:30. On Saturday morning we were locked through by 8:20 and headed back to Pictou. We were expecting it to be pretty windy in the afternoon so we were pleased to have reasonably calm seas crossing over to Cape George. We pushed right through to Pictou as the wind was forecast to be over 20 knots on Sunday. We arrived in Pictou at 11:30pm. On Sunday morning we got up and got the second car and headed back down to Cape Breton to pick up the truck. We finally got back home in the middle of the afternoon, only to find out that we had to move the boat to another slip! We were really tired!
We thought Monday was going to be a day off, but we were excited when we got an email from Three@sea, friends we hadn't met yet, who were on their way to Pictou. We spent the day tidying up the house and trying to scrape together some supper with all the stores closed. They arrived around 5:00 and we had a great visit with them. They also have a 12 year old daughter so it was fun to meet another "cruiser kid" now that we have returned home.
On Tuesday, Dave headed up to Halifax to start his new job. On Friday, I met with my old employer and was offered my old job back so I will be back to work in the middle of October.
In the meantime I'm keeping busy getting the house painted and cleaning all the closets and cupboards -- maybe going back to work won't be so bad after all!!
We really enjoyed our trip. We look back at it, all the great places we went, all the great people we met and we can't wait to pack up and go again. We were so fortunate with weather and with how well the boat and all the systems worked, but I give Dave all the credit for that with careful planning and lots of maintenance. I hope you enjoyed reading this log of our journey. It is pretty weird putting this together when you have no idea who is reading it(if anyone). If you enjoyed it, I'd love to hear from you - drop us a line at Birdonawireboat@gmail.com.
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