Nova Scotia

In the last installment we were in foggy Dover… We never saw it but in the varying fogginess we were able to patch together a general feel for the place – seemed like a nice place. It was foggy on the way out too, but not as bad as on the way in – so the passage through the cut was easy peasy!

We sailed in fog the entire way to Halifax – fortunately only about 25 miles away – because it was cold… The guide book warns of all the ship traffic in and out of the busy port and there are shipping lanes right into the entrance to the harbor – taking up most of the space. Not knowing if they were strict about their shipping lanes like the Europeans (boats like us have to travel perpendicularly across the lanes) or if they were lax like the Americans who basically see the shipping lanes as pretty pink lines on the chart as far as I can make out. Anyway, I call up the harbor traffic control to let them know we’re approaching – we still can’t see more than a few boat lengths in front of us – and they responded in some kind of unintelligible English (I think). I was so taken aback by my lack of understanding that I froze and didn’t answer. Instead we made a plan to squeeze up the edge of the lanes in the narrow space left – so that we didn’t have to bother anyone. Turned out all this angst was for naught – just as we were approaching the harbor main entrance, the fog lifted and the temperature went from 62F to 76F over the course of 30 minutes. The new found visibility revealed not a ship in sight – we were clearly not in a Rotterdam like area! Difficult to know what all the fuss was about since during our whole time in Halifax, the Harbor Traffic Control basically told everyone that called them that there was either no traffic or perhaps a single ship entering or leaving… Seems the guide book needs a revision!

We arrived at Halifax and completely unlike us, we took a slip – right downtown next to the HMCN Sackville – a WWII U-Boat seeking Corvett. Not only did we take a slip, but when we arrived, there was a plaque placed on the dock identifying Toodle-oo! as the recipient of the reservation!

Being downtown was fun – the first vacation Laurie and I had taken together was to Nova Scotia and we had a riotous time at the Split Crow pub listening to and singling along with a great Irish band – so shortly after we docked, we found our way to the Split Crow which had hardly changed a bit in the ensuing 15 years – but we were too early for the band!

The main reason we took a slip was to attempt to equalize the batteries – for which we needed to be connected to dockside electric. We duly connected up and set about equalizing – a 6 hour process… except in our case it would be rather longer than that – since the equalizing wasn’t happening. I managed to contact Magnevolt – the manufacturer of our charger who offered all sorts of seemingly helpful suggestions – the most outlandish being to fool the whole system by dunking the thermostat safety control into a glass of ice water – which we duly did – to no avail – the thing just won’t do it. Either our battery bank is too large for the 100A charger to handle of the brand new charger is defunct… (If anyone out there has a clue that might help, I’m all ears!)

We were up in Halifax for the start of the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron’s rally to the Bras d’Or lakes in Cape Breton that OCC Port Officer John Van-S had invited us to attend. The only problem was that there didn’t seem to be much of a plan for the cruise, so we didn’t know when to start. We finally got a clue that some boats were leaving in the morning, others were leaving a couple of days later due to the weather (weather? what weather??? We were clueless)… anyway we decided we had to leave in the morning as we had a cocktail reservation at John Van-S’s waterfront property in Jeddore – so we left about 2 hours after all the other boats had left The Squadron.

We had a marvelous sail to Jeddore, the wind was 10 – 15 knots on the beam, the seas flat and for the most part, the fog stayed away. Jeddore is 4 or 5 miles up a river/estuary and to get to John’s you have to take a turn to a different waterway and follow tiny little markers – all rather hairy and I’d certainly prefer not to have to navigate these in fog…

We arrived at Johns just behind the fleet – 4 other boats and watched the quirky anchoring dance that it appears they enter into each and every time… While one boat gets positioned, the others mill around in circles – fast circles – until everyone is landed…

It was good to meet some new faces at John and Heather’s lovely house and we knew it would be an interesting cruise we had embarked upon…

 

Internet still too weak to add photos…

The Dinghy Saga

OK, so I’ll take the blame for this – another opportunity for Bill and Laurie to buy high and sell low…

When we bought Toodle-oo! she came with a tender – inflatable dinghy – made by Caribe (good product) and with a 15HP 2 stroke engine – relatively light and powerful and well sought after… The problem is that we have ambitions to get to Patagonia where I hear that use of an outboard is not easy due to the thick kelp. We therefore went on search for a rowable dinghy – since the Caribe was not that great at rowing – the inflatable tubes so big (which makes it a great inflatable) that rowing is troublesome.

We found a Puffin Sailing Dinghy on Craig’s List – a sweet little thing that would fit nicely on the foredeck. Assured it sailed and rowed well, we purchased it and put the Caribe on sale. We ordered a new 2.5HP engine to suit our new tender.

The Caribe sold quickly. (Tells you something I suppose!)

Our first trip with the dinghy was Memorial day – down to Newport. Unfortunately, we’d forgotten to bring oarlocks and the engine was still to arrive so it was pretty useless as a tender and we relied on rides from Jane and Mike. In some frustration, I finally got it off the foredeck and rigged the sail – with lots of difficulty in spite of help from good friend Peter Sterret… OK it sails – so long as you don’t mind having a bath at the same time. Stable? Not a bit of it! This thing is an unexpected swim waiting to happen!

When we sailed out of Newport bound for Bristol, we towed said dinghy and within half a mile had managed to submerge it! Water pouring through the centerboard slot. This thing has to go!

We arrived in Bristol and decided (sans oar locks) that we couldn’t row to the dock so called for assistance from Bristol Marine. They don’t service the Harbormaster’s moorings and the harbormaster doesn’t do ‘taxi rides’ so we’re stuck aboard. We finally convince the harbormaster that he should give us a ride and capitulates – but he’s pretty adamant that he’s not bringing us back to the boat…

We therefore need another dinghy in order to get to Toodle-oo! Enter the Green Demon. Again, found on Craig’s List – this is a rowing only dinghy – no centerboards in sight – and it comes with its own 2.5HP Yamaha! Wowee! That means that the new one we ordered is redundant! In spite of the no return policy, the seller of the new engine allows us to return the engine… good news – I’ll do just that after the weekend…

We launched the Demon in Bristol and motor her out to Toodle-oo! it’s a bit of a wet ride (warning bells)  but she’s more stable than the Puffin – we assess… We then unload and tow the Puffin sailing dinghy back to the dock. Fortunately, the Puffin is a sought after brand and we manage to unload the bloody thing quickly – again via Craig’s List.

The weekend arrives and we decide we’re going to have a nice quiet evening in Potter’s Cove. It’s a short sail there, we have no intention of leaving the boat so we leave the Demon on the mooring. We have an enjoyable evening, and return the following to find the dinghy where we left her – but no engine attached. (And yes, Laurie had indeed told me to lock the engine to the dinghy!)

We reported the engine stolen to the DEM. The harbormaster reckons the thing fell off the back and is down below mooring 4 in Bristol Harbor – anyone interested, have at it!

Our new engine arrives via UPS the following day – no need to return!

Green Demon is something of a liability – getting wet is inevitable, going swimming pretty likely. She’s a hard fiberglass dinghy so every time we bring he rot the swim platform she crashes into it – doing a number on our gel coat.

On the OCC cruise it gets special attention – as the dinghy without freeboard(!) meaning whoever sits in the low spot gets wet – inevitably me! In Boston, a prize was awarded for a trivia question on the OCC’s VHF net – the winner gets a ride in bloody thing! Strangely, nobody took up the offer.

Things were getting serious however – with getting wet on every trip to banging up Toodle-oo! tensions were running high. We needed another solution. Finally, we agreed we needed rid of the demon and we purchased a simple inflatable instead.

Relief comes in inflatable tubes! In spades!

Our new Achilles dinghy is a good deal smaller than the Caribe, a good deal slower and has the opportunity to have its inflatable bottom punctured by the rocks of Patagonia – but at least we’ll be able to sit in it comfortably and with security – and besides which, she rows better than any of them. Welcome home Toodle-Pip!

Lunenburg and Dover

(Photos later…)

Lunenburg is a colorful town with just 2300 full time residents and apparently, enough church pews to seat the lot of them! It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site – with justification. We wandered the pretty streets and their (mostly closed) shops on Sunday morning, taking in the ambiance of the place – and sussing out where we’d be able to get groceries and marine supplies… We ended up at the Savvy Sailor for lunch with a nice outside table with a view of the Harbor and golf course across the bay.

The weather turned rather dewy, so we headed back to Toodle-oo! for suitable gear and then returned for an afternoon concert at the town’s bandstand and then a great tour of the Fisheries Museum – complete with the history of Bluenose, a highly successful racing schooner built in Lunenburg.

As is our style, we found that we’d rather exhausted the town on day one so the topic of conversation over dinner was whether we should move on to Halifax in the morning – a 60+ mile stint – or if we should relax and spend another day in Lunenburg like every other cruiser we’ve met that seem to manage to spend weeks at a time in each location they visit. In the end we decided to do some boat maintenance (bow light not working) on the Monday morning and then head for a halfway point – Dover – where it sounded like we’d have an interesting anchorage opportunity amongst the small islands…

With bow light fixed (after much cussing and swearing) we weighed anchor at noon and headed out. The wind cooperated and we had a wonderful sail to Dover with the fog being held at bay – right until we were on the approach to Dover and then in closed in with a vengeance.

The selected anchorage is arrived at through two narrow passes – the second one was certainly the narrowest passageway we’ve threaded Toodle-oo! so far, with rocky outcrops on both sides – navigated in thick fog (probably a blessing in disguise!) it was all very disorientating. We emerged out of the narrow passage and into a seemingly open pool some 40 ft deep so we dropped anchor and 160ft of chain rode.

An hour or so later, the fog lifted just enough to show us that we were opposite some pretty little houses… Hopefully tomorrow morning, the fog will lift and we’ll see where we really are. Meanwhile, the seas are flat in this well protected anchorage so sleep will come easily!

To Canada…

(Photos when I find a decent internet connection!)

Following the conclusion of the OCC Cruise, we stayed a couple days in Gloucester and relaxed. It’s a nice little fishing town with good memories from a previous visit. David and Blue Yonder were also with us and we enjoyed his company until we left with a fair wind for Nova Scotia on Tuesday afternoon.

We motored out of the harbor – and that was the last time we used the engine until we were taking a mooring in Shelburne, 45 hours later. We enjoyed a 15 – 20 knot wind from abaft the beam the entire way – the first night it was almost right behind us leading to a difficult night to rest with the constant rolling motion. The second night was better – having taken 2 reefs in the main and using the smaller jib, but still making 7.5 – 8 knots. Our difficulty was to not arrive too early at Cape Sable which in the end we reached well offshore, so it became a non-issue. We had a lovely sail up the bay to Shelburne in flat seas with 15 knots chasing the entire way, finally dousing sail once we’d past the Shelburne Harbor Yacht Club’s outer mark.

We ended up tying to the dock – in order to plug in and bring our batteries to full charge and with the hopes of equalizing the batteries. Not a great decision since the wind grew to 30 knots and we were on the outside berth and took something of a hammering – plus I was unable to decipher the instructions for the new charger to work out how to run an equalization cycle! Fortunately, the wind was not an issue for us – we slept like babes! It was however a pain for the yacht club who ended up cancelling the evening’s yacht races due to the high winds!

Shelburne, home of the Loyalists following the War of Independence – was celebrating Founders Day – so there were various street activities going on – and we were treated to another firework display! Excellent!

There were two other OCC boats in Shelburne – Over Budget with JW and Jinny who had been on the Cruise until Boston and Jule III with Bob and Ann aboard who we’d previously met last year at the end of the OCC Cruise…

We also met Allan at the yacht club – ex-pat Brit and former OCC Port Officer for Shelburne then watched him race the following evening aboard his sleek 24ft racing sloop.

After a couple of days on Dock, we left early, following a ketch that had left about an hour previously, destination Lunenburg – some 10 hours distant. We motored down the bay in no wind – which then turned to thick fog and no wind… We motored out into the ocean swells and turned east for Lunenburg.

Around midday we were finally able to turn the engine off and sail wing on wing on the rhumb line – making 7.5 – 8.5 knots constantly. As we came out of the fog, the ketch was spotted off our port side and we quickly overhauled her. The fog was still around – and we didn’t see any land until the approach to Lunenburg – though we were bathed in sunshine for a decent 3 – 4 hour spell though the temperature never got above 65F. As we approached Lueneburg Bay, the fog returned and the wind died – but it cleared and the wind returned once we’d past the headlands and we were able to sail most of the remaining way to Lunenburg where we anchored at the back of the mooring field – the only boat on an anchor – in sweltering 80F temperatures!

We had a great view of the very pretty little town from our vantage point and were looking forward to exploring in the morning.

OCC Cruise Concludes

Having enjoyed Boston, we decided to move on to Marblehead. Our timing wasn’t great… The fog was thick – all the way, but fortunately it’s not too far. Marblehead doesn’t encourage anchoring, so we had to take a mooring – and fortunately, we managed to snatch a Corinthian Yacht Club one in the center of the harbor – whereas the other OCC boats got stuck on the outside and had a couple of rolly nights.

Misty Marblehead

Misty Marblehead

Marblead

Marblead

Marblehead is a lovely little town and the weather cooperated nicely once we’d arrived. We took advantage of the Corintian’s launch and not have to suffer the last days of the Green Demon! We also took full advantage of their showers and laundry!

Importantly, we managed to fix our dinghy problem with the procurement of a new inflatable – rather smaller than our old one, but it could be powered by our new small outboard. Finally the Green Demon was history and we could start to rebuild our marriage! It’s true – the tension that that bloody thing developed had to be seen to be believed!

The OCC event was a dinner at Maddie’s Sail Loft – a place renowned for large pours! They did a great job for the 30 of us in attendance and it marked a pseudo end of the rally as the Virginian contingent of the Fishing Bay Yacht Club were going to head south from here. Unfortunately Jamin also decided to head south.

OCC Southern New England Cruise - 2016

OCC Southern New England Cruise – 2016

We had a good – if bumpy – sail across to Gloucester – last official destination of the OCC cruise. Unfortunately, we didn’t time this one right either – as Ship’s Cat was clearly wanting to use the head but being slow about it… We left and then the inevitable accident happened – the poor thing was unable to perch on the toilet seat and – well you get the picture… I think the indignation of it all got the better of her and she then decided to throw up too!

One tack saw us sail close to the entrance to Gloucester – and since it was a bit of a cold day, we decided to motor the last couple of miles, following Blue Yonder into the harbor where we anchored right in the heart of the fishing town.

Our final OCC event was another dinner – attended by 13 folks – 4 of whom had driven up from Marblehead.Gloucester Dinner 2

 

 

 

 

The cruise had been very enjoyable with a great cast of characters, but Laurie and I were ready to take off and start cruising on our schedule…

Let's Go Cruisin'!!

Let’s Go Cruisin’!!

OCC Southern New England Cruise

We’ve been busy cruisin’ rather than blogging – sorry!

After Cuttyhunk, we sailed to Edgartown – initially flying the spinnaker and by the time we  got close to Edgartown we were working with reefed main and small jib! We’d passed the diminutive Olive Oyl (Cape Dory 30 with Doug and Sallie aboard) while spinnakering along vineyard sound – passed them like they were standing still. But when we arrived in Edgartown, no sooner had we dropped the anchor than they came rolling in – with big grins – if a little wet! They’d been romping along with full sail up!

We enjoyed arrival beverages aboard Grayce – another of the OCC fleet, with crew from Jamin, Olive Oyl and Blue Yonder. Fortunately, Jamin were able to give us a lift as our new tender is simply untenable in bumpy conditions. (More on that later.)

Vineyard Sound Achepella Group

Vineyard Sound Achepella Group

Edgartown Gathering with Lee and Elizabeth

Edgartown Gathering with Lee and Elizabeth

Most of the OCC fleet were now in Edgartown, with our group anchored and another group on the inside moorings, but Toodle-oo! left the following morning for Oak Bluffs to be closer to our hosts for the evening, Lee and Elizabeth, who hosted a wonderful barbecue at their house overlooking Vineyard Sound, and entertained us with ‘The Vineyard Sound’ an Achapello group that we’d been introduced to on last year’s OCC Cruise at Fred and Anne Osborne’s house in Edgartown. What a delight.

We next sailed through Woods Hole and across Buzzards Bay to Beverly Yacht Club in Marion where we were joined by the several boats of the Chesapeake’s ‘Fishing Bay Yacht Club’ so we were finally a full complement with over 40 people in attendance at Beverly YC who did a splendid job of hosting the fleet.

Pilgrim Tower Provincetown

Pilgrim Tower Provincetown

Our next venue was Provincetown – but unfortunately it was a long motor there as the winds had deserted us. Most boats took up moorings in P’Town while Grayce and Toodle-oo! took to the hook by the far shore. The anchorage was well protected, but the open bay was quite a challenge for our Green Demon tender – especially when coming home after a day in town, against 15knot winds and choppy seas – we were wet indeed when we got home and immediate showers were called for! This dinghy is a problem!

New Washing Machine! Cleaner and drier than a regular washer!

New Washing Machine! Cleaner and drier than a regular washer!

We had a bit of a success in P’Town however – our first use of the new washing machine aboard Toodle-oo!  The power drill powered spin drying turning out to be a major success!

The fleet headed to Boston after our two night sojourn in colourful P’Town – once again the the winds were a problem – lack of and directly on the nose… Jamin did a grand job of sailing half way in spite of this and shamed us into joining them… On arrival, the fleet split into two groups – 6 boats took to the anchorage right opposite the city and the others took moorings with Waterboat Marina – right in the thick of downtown Boston. Couldn’t ask for better locations – though once again we were challenged with an

Copious freeboard on Toodle-pip!

Copious freeboard on Toodle-pip!

incapable tender which was now beginning to restrict our cruising abilities. We plotted ways and means of unloading this thing and getting back to a sensible inflatable that we could actually manage. The tender was also gaining something of a reputation in the fleet as the morning VHF net hosted by George Sadler aboard Kittiwake announced the grand prize for a music trivia quiz to be a ride in Toodle-pip!

 

Boston Sunset

Boston Sunset

Neat City Anchorage

Neat City Anchorage

Boston was a great destination and we were treated with Fireworks on July 2nd, shot off right from Waterboat Marina. Abigail showed up with her friend Steph for the 4th – making for a really interesting dinghy ride! And later that afternoon we made the pilgrimage with Jamin and Grayce to hear the Boston Pops and watch the Firework display. 500,000 people showed up for the event – the place was mobbed and although the sound system wasn’t really capable, the wait for the fireworks was completely worthwhile – absolutely fantastic and the concussions were phenomenal.

Boston Fireworks

Boston Fireworks

Boston Fireworks

Boston Fireworks

Boston Cocktail Party

Boston Cocktail Party

Waiting for Fireworks

Waiting for Fireworks

Boston in the fog!

Boston in the fog!

Somewhat overloaded Toodle-pip!

Somewhat overloaded Toodle-pip!

Boston Sunrise

Boston Sunrise

State House

State House

Street Performers

Street Performers

Quincy Market

Quincy Market

Finally feel like we’re retired!

June 27 – Cuttyhunk

So I got the best birthday present ever! A new charger to replace the one that wouldn’t cooperate with our generator and we therefore managed to leave the dock having sold the car too!

The Elks

The Elks

We left New England Boatworks at about 2:00pm on Friday and motored then sailed down to Newport to arrive just in time to gather all our stuff to start the OCC’s Southern New England Cruise. The initial event at the Elks went off well – cheap drinks are always welcome! 10 of the 18 registered boats in attendance, with the others still stuck in Virginia due to inclement weather. A good night had by all…

 

Unfortunately, we did have a serious incident when we got back. Laurie was continuing her toilet training of boat cat Bella when Bella suddenly got spooked and managed to savage Laurie’s little finger with a seriously deep cut, almost slicing of the pad of her finger. We managed to staunch the bleeding and got it cleaned and bandaged…

41 North

41 North

Saturday was ours! It was a beautiful morning and while other boats had decided to leave for Cuttyhunk, we decided to hang around in Newport for a day – and we were glad we did. It was so relaxing – even though we did various chores, we ended up at a super bar, 41 North – and sample their cocktails! Yummy!

We bought a couple of lobsters and a couple pounds of mussels and brought them back to the boat where we devoured them…

Laurie was then rewarded by Bella both pooping and peeing in the head – no more need of litter aboard!!!

Reaching!

Reaching!

Sunday morning was equally beautiful and we decided to make our way to Cuttyhunk. There wasn’t a lot of wind, but the seas were flat so me managed to sail at between 6 and 7 knots most of the way – in just 10 knots of wind! Lovely!

Cuttyhunk

Cuttyhunk

Olive Oyl coming in to Cuttyhunk

Olive Oyl coming in to Cuttyhunk

Retirement agrees with Laurie!

Retirement agrees with Laurie!

Mike and Jane

Mike and Jane

We ended the day with a beach barbecue – using some disposable grills we’d purchased in Sweden. They worked – sort of – and we had a good evening with the crews of Jamin, Olive Oyl, Grayce and then Blue Yonder joined us just before sunset.

This is what retirement should be like…

 

OK, Not Quite…

We had a good weekend in Essex, CT with the Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA). There was rather too much classroom type stuff for us – and it focused on the US East coast and Caribbean/Bahamas, rather than straying further afield – but we met some interesting folk and had Mike and Jane stay aboard Toodle-oo! with us.

Unfortunately we found out that our generator based charging system is NOT operational and after various email messages back to New England Boatworks, it’s decided we should return to have the large capacitor in the generator replaced – and if that doesn’t work, we’ll swap out the charger for a different make…

This made for a rather boring delivery type event back to Portsmouth – 11 hours mostly under engine…

Today, instead of having NEB replace the capacitor, I had to do it because they’re short staffed. – sounds easy, but involves taking the generator off it’s mountings in order to get to the bloody thing! So I rigged a block and tackle to the boom and used the winch to raise the boom – and the generator… In the end the capacitor is good so it was a wasted effort. New charger is on it’s way… Then I noticed the bilge pump was not operating – so spent the rest of the afternoon in the bilge installing a new one and it’s switch!

Meanwhile… shortly before we left for Essex,  I took our VW GTi to the dealership to fix something that wasn’t broken(!), then drove the 3 miles to Carmax to sell it. In those 3 miles the engine light came on – the turbocharger needs replacing! So that’s what Laurie was doing all day today! We just don’t seem to be able to catch a break!

Tomorrow will be hectic – picking up the car, selling car, finding a way to get home(!), replacing chargers and testing them out – along with a whole slew of other things we’re supposed to be doing – like getting ready for the OCC’s Southern New England Cruise that we’re leading!!!!

This is harder than work by a long stretch!

 

On Our Way!!!

So we finally left the dock behind! Problems with wind generator, diesel generator and 220V charger that held us on the dock for the past week are all remedied, and we set sail!

Autopilot is great!

Autopilot is great!

Blue Sky, 10Kts across the beam! What a way to start retirement!

Blue Sky, 10Kts across the beam! What a way to start retirement!

This weekend we’ll be attending a Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) in Essex, CT – a 2 day trip – and here we are anchored at the halfway stop, Fisher’s Island – after a great sail on a warm sunny day with 10kts of wind mostly on the beam with which Toodle-oo! managed to eek out 7 knots! Not bad considering how much stuff is aboard!

Home for the night. Posh Fisher's Island - complete with unlocked WiFi to poach!

Home for the night. Posh Fisher’s Island – complete with unlocked WiFi to poach!

Finally, we are living the dream!

Moving Day

You know how you ‘Find Stuff’ when it’s time to move…? Well, Laurie found her massively expensive GoreTex Dubarry boots – which she’d lost for months and had decided someone in England must have stolen them – eat your words Honey!

But then… rooting around in one of the several ‘Billy’s Memories’ boxes, I come across a folder with some old papers in it… A regular treasure trove… I can understand that for memorabilia I

A letter from my Brother? Is that his EKG - along with his Birth Certificate???

A letter from my Brother? Is that his EKG – along with his Birth Certificate???

picked up my parents Birth certificates – interesting reading with one from China, the other, India. But somehow I also have my brother Steve’s birth certificate… How come??  Then, who’s is this EKG from???? He doesn’t look too healthy…

Then get this: an air mail letter from my brother! – My brother actually wrote to me??? Bizarre!

 

Anyway, the U haul is all packed up and ready for disbursement tomorrow, car is ready for sale and we’re ready to leave the dock if NEB is finally finished with her on Wednesday or Thursday…

First week of retirement has proven to be somewhat more hectic than we imagined…