Abrupt End!

We had a long boring “sail” back west from Shelburne – left with a short weather window that had us pounding into big seas with not much wind, followed by slightly lower seas and a little wind. The swell is up because of a hurricane burning itself out just south of New England. If we didn’t take the window as presented, it looked like there’d be strong westerly winds for the next 7 days straight – keeping us in Shelburne…

3 days later, with another 65 hours on the engine, we were through the Cape Cod Canal and anchoring for an evening stop in Cuttyhunk.

The following morning, we weighed anchor at about 9:00am and set off for Newport. The wind was in our face at 15 knots or so, but we decided to sail rather than bash into it with the engine – and lo and behold a C&C 40 came out of Cutty at the same time under full sail. It was a race!

The C&C is something of a performance boat so despite being slightly smaller, we were nicely matched… She pointed higher than us, but speed was similar. As we headed on our first tack towards land, the winds began to drop a little so I decided to tack out to sea – the C&C kept going. We stayed on this tack for 8 – 10 miles and then the wind began to slacken so once again we tacked. I’d lost sight of the C&C in the haze, but sure enough, an hour or so later, there she was tacking towards us. We had not lost ground to her and were within a quarter mile. As we again tacked towards open water, the swell was right on our nose – and Toodle-oo! managed the swells rather better, so that by the time the wind died again and we’d decided to make another tack, we’d pretty much drawn level with her – though she was to windward of us still. Shortly after tacking, the C&C also tacked – we’re side by side, separated by maybe 1000 yards.

Then we got lucky!  We got an enormous lift – such that whereas I thought we were going to have to make another pair of tacks to make it into Newport, we were now heading directly for the entrance buoy at Bretton Reef. Then we got luckier still with another lift, which allowed us to ease sails just a little bit and we started to pull away from the C&C. Race won!

We arrived in Newport and tied up at Fort Adams where a Border Patrol guy came and checked us in, then we headed to the anchorage and as soon as it was set, the dinghy was launched and we were on our way for cocktails at 41 North!

Saturday morning, we headed to Bristol where we planned to anchor and then go to “Seniors Day” at Neal’s house. However, as we’re motoring in the flat calms, Laurie decided to pull up a floorboard to get some cleaning supplies and discovers that we’re leaking – fast! The seal around the propshaft has failed and we’re letting in lots of water whenever the prop is turning. We immediately called NEB (where we were planning to haul out next week anyway) and arranged to be hauled immediately. One hour after discovering the leak, we had loaded dinghy aboard, lowered both headsails, reversed into the travel lift and were now on the hard, no longer sinking! We made it to Senior Day just an hour or so later than planned. Amazing to think that just 8 days ago we were in St. Pierre!

Strange end to a wonderful summer voyage!

We’ll be living at the top of steps for a few days, getting the leak repaired and various other boat projects done and then we’ll begin our trip south – current plan: New York – Annapolis – Bermuda – Bahamas – Cuba and then on south through the Panama Canal and maybe all the way to Patagonia…

 

 

Sleigh Ride

We left St. Pierre on a dreary Thursday afternoon headed towards Shelburne on the southern tip of Nova Scotia some 350 miles distant with a weather forecast that predicted very light winds for 12 hours from the south, becoming stronger which on Friday night was to turn to 20 – 25 knots from the north. After that the winds would diminish and become sort of easterly. With the exception of the start, it looked like a reasonable weather forecast and our plan was to head west with the light wind and then south west along the coast of Cape Breton and Nova Scotia…

Initially there was indeed no wind and we motored for 9 hours until we were able to sail and with the wind coming from the north (somewhat unexpectedly). It was quite a boring ride and the swells were significant, so not very comfortable.

On Friday we decided that since our forecast tools were not the best, we ought to be cautious so Laurie suggested that we at least prepare the storm sail. We have a dedicated (movable) stay for the storm sail which we have never used (and I suspect the previous owners didn’t either). So we rigged the stay and prepared to hank on the sail – we’ve never hanked on a sail either – but have seen countless boats with sails hanked on and bagged at the bottom of the stay, ready for deployment – so we figured we’d have a go. It’s a good thing we started early – as it took us a while to figure everything out – including re-bagging the sail into a larger bag – for easier deployment should the need arise. By the time we’d finished, the wind was up and the swells were getting uncomfortable. Working on the foredeck in these conditions is not my cup of tea.

Shortly afterwards, we reefed the main, quickly followed by changing from Genoa to Jib, followed by second reef in main, followed by third reef in main (never deployed that either!), followed by raising the storm jib, followed by complete dousing of the main! Wow! We turned the boat due south to run with the wind which was now a constant 38 – 40 knots, gusts to 45+. We’d done pretty much all we could and so went below and shut the doors!

For 9 hours the winds maintained 38 – 42 knots, finally dropping to an easy 32 knots as morning arrived. The waves had built to 4 – 5 meters and we were running with them. The boat was maintain 8 – 10 knots – fast but in control – though at times we’d take a wave on the beam with a massive crash and lurch to port which was unnerving to say the least. And we’re planning to head to Patagonia????

The storm took us well south of our intended route, so on Saturday we had to come west, but fortunately the seas had calmed completely (we find this amazing!) and the sun was out and we had a reasonable sail in until the wind died again and the engine was once again called for.

We made it to Shelburne in one piece on Sunday afternoon, took a mooring and started drinking heavily!!!

 

Plan is to leave Shelburne today (Tuesday) with a forecast of light winds and big seas, headed for Newport. It’ll be an uncomfortable sail, but hopefully not too scary!

 

 

Francois

(The previous post should have come after this one!)

Francois (pronounced – and even spelled – Fransway by the locals), has been our favorite spot in Newfoundland so far.

We left Ramea at 6:30am and headed east. There was no wind and we ended up motoring the entire way – nearly 30 miles. The pretty sunrise quickly gave way to grey skies so it turned cold – but as the morning wore on, the cloud dissipated and by the time we arrived close to Francois, we were being treated to marvelous views of the dramatic rocky coastline with glacial valleys tumbling out to the sea. The arrival is dramatic – a narrow entrance with lighthouse overlooking, which from the sea gives you just a glimpse of the Outport within. Steep sides plunge down into the sea but after just a mile or so, there you are in a basin with the little Francois community clinging to its sides.

Entrance to Francois

Entrance to Francois

Rugged Coastline

Rugged Coastline

A visiting yacht dock is well placed and we were able to easily tie up on the starboard side with an Aluminum boat ‘Malekula’ already resting on the port side. Janice from Malekula’ was there to greet us and hand our lines – hardly necessary in the well protected bay, but appreciated nonetheless.

What stunning views! The massive rock face (The Friar) at the head of the bay, towering over Toodle-oo!, a waterfall burbling in the center of the village supplied by the lake on top which represents their drinking water supply.

We quickly secured the boat and went exploring – taking advantage of the beautiful day.

Francois is completely isolated, with the only access via boat and a ferry provides a daily service to Burgeo and Grey River. The town feels similar to LaPoile, but the people are younger and more outgoing. We were stopped by Eric and Sharon as we passed their house, who enquired about the likely outcome of the US election! We chatted with them for a while, learning that

Lying under the Friar

Lying under the Friar

there’s a boardwalk up in the hills which takes you to a lookout point high above the fjord. So, after walking around town a little, we made our way up to the top – following the very steep boardwalk past the cemetery (tough to get coffins up there!) and out onto the tundra. A large pond at the top is fed by a large cascading waterfall which in turn tumbles down a cascade towards the village.

Boardwalk

Boardwalk

More Boardwalk

More Boardwalk

The boardwalk to the top was easily visible, so up we went – what a magnificent view at the top!

If the weather holds tomorrow, we’re going to attempt to get to the top of The Friar but the described path is difficult to pick out in the overgrown vegetation.

We spent an enjoyable evening with our neighbors Janice and Jim – the first sailboat we’ve had contact with since arriving in Newfoundland. Managed to convince them to join the OCC – so done my part there!

The following day was wet. We used it to do some boat chores and Laurie is still battling to get us some medical insurance – all made rather difficult with the weakest internet signal imaginable…and requiring one to sit outside the Francois Museum (not open as far as we could tell)!

Day three was rather better so we made an attempt to get to the top of the Friar. We followed the boardwalk up to the pond and scanned for a viable path. In the end we decided to make our own route – which ended up with us clambering up granite rocks and boulders and really getting more into mountaineering than hiking! All rather scary as there was a definite possibility of stepping on something and breaking through between rocks and breaking a leg! However, we managed to scramble to the top of the first bluff only to realize that our path to the Friar now required a descent and re-ascent through thick undergrowth! We opted to go the other way and ended up going over to the top lake and watching the marvelous cascade down to the lower lake. Fortunately, there was an overgrown path to follow down, so our trip back was easier.

Top Lake and Cascade

Top Lake and Cascade

Tiny Francois

Tiny Francois

We had a new neighbor now – a 40ft trawler owned by a local that maintains a house in Francois, but flies helicopters. He was quite interesting as he not only flies transmission lines, he’s also flown President George Bush Snr. Up to Francois a couple of times and has flown for the Extreme Sports Cable network! Interesting fellow!

We left Francois in glorious sunshine – a really picture perfect location – at least during the summer months – and headed towards Hare Bay/Morgans Arm – supposedly another magical spot with large waterfalls and uninhabited. It was a good job that Hare Bay is close, as the wind did not come up and it was a nasty ride with a big swell. However, as we doused the main (which had been up just to limit the rocking action), the wind came up and we ended up motoring up Hare Bay with 25 knots gusting to 35 right on the nose!  This is not what we were hoping for. We managed to get to the head of the bay and anchored in 20ft and 25knots – fortunately, our set was rock solid, we never budged an inch.

We were indeed in a pretty bay with 3 large waterfalls, but because of the weather, we weren’t really able to enjoy it all properly. We left the following morning quite early – headed for France! Actually a couple of French Islands just 70 miles south – St. Pierre and Miquelon… We had a fantastic sailing day the entire way!

As you will have read, St. Pierre can be windy too!

Shitty Day Aboard Toodle-oo! :-(

We’re in St. Pierre (French island off the coast of Newfoundland). Arrived yesterday and found out that a storm was approaching. Having cleared into customs and immigration, we headed out to a mooring and prepped for what we thought would be a nasty but manageable bit of weather…

At 5:00am this morning, it’s blowing 40 knots and the boat is swinging around all over the place. So, we get up and make coffee – and of course the cat thinks it’s breakfast time therefore (some chance!) – so I’m standing in the companionway enjoying my coffee when all of a sudden, whump, whump, whump…. The top of the jib has come unfurled and is now taking an absolute beating in the winds – which seem to top out just shy of 50 knots…

In trying to gain control, I managed to overpower Laurie’s wisdom and a turning block for the furling line – fighting furler with tight jib sheets in 40+knots is stupid – and resulted in the complete destruction of the turning block! Finally came to my senses and released the jib sheets – no idea how they’d gotten so tight anyway – and started reeling in the jib with the big sheet winches. By now there was no furling the jib – she looked like a gonna.

I managed to wrap three spinnaker halyards around the flogging sail and finally at 8:00 am gain a modicum of control again – at least it was quieter…

We came off the mooring once the winds had abated to just 30 and headed for the dock where we tied up and rested…

With the help of crew from a neighboring boat we managed to pull the sail down and brought it into the cockpit where we could evaluate. Turned out, the only significant damage was to the UV luff covering and Laurie and I set about the sewing machine and got it fixed and back up on the furler!

It’s now 5:00pm, we’re exhausted and ready for some serious alcohol consumption!

 

White Bear Bay

On Saturday we motored the 10+ miles up the fjord which is White Bear Bay – with steep sided hills plunging into the water with depths to around 1,000ft. Pretty neat and very Shepton-esque. At the top end, the water shallows and the geography flattens out into an open “moorland” as the guide describes – the only problem being that the moorland is once again thigh high scrub – difficult to walk on/through.

Head of White Bear Bay

Head of White Bear Bay

Still, we came into the open bay and anchored in just 12ft and spent a lovely evening watching out for eagles, bears, moose, etc. We also audited the fish stocks and can reliably report there are no fish here either!

Sunday dawned rather cloudy so we decided that rather than head for our next destination Francois about 40 miles east, we’d stay another day and chill out. Very lazy!

Monday we set off for Francois, but with the wind coming straight out of the east, we decided to head back to Ramea to take advantage of tomorrow’s westerly wind (which will unfortunately be accompanied by rain). At least we get laundry done and are able to catch the wifi!

We set an alarm for 5:00am so that we could take advantage of good wind – and get into Francois before the heavier stuff arrived – but at 5:00am it was raining cats and dogs so we waited till 6:00. At 6:00 it was still miserable so we cancelled and stayed the day! Mostly we did boat chores but in the afternoon, Roland stopped by – he’s the relief lighthouse keeper – and I thoroughly recommend any OCC boats visiting Ramea to look Roland up (he’ll come and visit you on the dock for sure!) – he’s a mine of information – and if he’s inclined and you have a guitar aboard, he’ll regale you with some Newfy  music!

Roland

Roland

 

Ramea

Ramea turned out to be a very convenient stop. Tied to a dock, with electricity that cost just

Ramea

Ramea

$10CDN per night, with grocery store, restaurant, laundry facilities and post office all within about 100 yards! Another community that is Outport-ish, reliant on the ferry and with an aging population, everyone basically talking about when ‘they’ll’ close it and how can I get off this island… Even so, they have a new school – with 30 students and 4 teachers. It seems all of Newfoundland that we’ve encountered so far has been devastated by the moratorium on fishing – which back in 1994 essentially closed down the industry.

Ramea is quite pretty and the town has established a 5 mile boardwalk around the entire island so it’s possible to actually get out and see the place without getting your feet wet in the bogs. Numerous planks are engraved with people’s names and for $20 you too can have a plank – it’s their way of supporting the upkeep of the boardwalk. We bought 2 planks – one for us and one for the boat! The boardwalk winds around to the lighthouse at the southern point and we’d been invited to visit by Roland, the relief lightkeeper, who kindly gave us a cuppa tea and a tour of the light itself.

Click on photos to enlarge…

Diverse Newfoundland Flora

Diverse Newfoundland Flora

View from the Lighthouse

View from the Lighthouse

Pretty little fishing community

Pretty little fishing community

Ferry

Ferry

Ramean Humour

Ramean Humour

At the dock we were frequently visited by various townfolk – all very nice with their tuneful accents.

We spent four nights in Ramea getting batteries fully charged and making repairs to our Monitor Windvane (self-steering gear) in the hopes of avoiding a costly replacement somewhere down the line.

We set off across the bay just 4 miles to White Bear Cove – a 12 mile long fjord which ends in a wide open expanse with numerous cabins dotted along the shoreline. It was Saturday – so we were allowed to fish – but I don’t think there are any fish in this part of the world!

Newfoundland

We left Ingonish at 3:45pm on August 8th heading for La Poile, Newfoundland some 105 miles to the north east. We were able to sail as soon as we cleared the narrow harbor entrance and maintained the rhumb line pretty much the whole way there. Overnight we reefed down to two reefs in the main and flying the small jib – not because we really needed to, more to make sure we didn’t arrive too early! As dawn broke, Newfoundland was clearly visible – and there was no fog! The engine was called for as the wind dropped and we motor sailed the last 3 hours. La Poile is not visible from the coast, but as you travel up the bay, it suddenly appears on the port side – a small Outport of maybe 100 houses, accessible only by boat. We anchored right in front of the town in 60ft of water at 8:30am on the 10th.

La Poile is one of just a few remaining Outports – the others having been resettled to more populated towns, with the government buying out households – apparently the going rate is $250,000 but the whole community needs to agree to move with a 90% majority vote.

Coffee Klatch

Coffee Klatch

Fishing Boat

Fishing Boat

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel

Newfy Walking Paths

Newfy Walking Paths

La Poile

La Poile

The little village was quite active, with small fishing boats coming and going – mostly it appeared headed off for socials rather than fishing as the fishing season was due to open in a couple of days. We wandered the paths – along which people walked or rode ATV’s – from one end of town to the other was less than half a mile… So we ventured into the wilderness – but walking is rather challenging – with soft sphagnum moss under foot – very soft going. Fortunately for us, it has been very dry recently so we were able to walk without getting wet. I’m sure at other times the “paths” would be completely untenable. As it was, with the thick ankle to kneed deep vegetation at every step, it really wasn’t great walking.

People watching from the boat was great fun. It seems that all the men gather at the Fire Station each evening for a coffee klatch and witter away hours together. We later guessed that the women did similar – probably at the shop. The shop was an interesting collection of basic necessities and it seems everyone has an account there – as we saw notebooks for each lady in town – Elsie, Laura, etc – presumably with a continuing tally of what was purchased.

Only about 90 people live in La Poile these days and only three kids go to the school, so we’re guessing it’s days are somewhat numbered.

We had a very relaxing stay, attending to various boat projects, the laundry in our home made washing machine and Laurie baked some out of this world granary bread! The anchorage was very calm – until the third day when it started to blow about 25knots and for quite a while I was concerned we had dragged anchor so made good use of our new golfing distance measurer – very handy – and which confirmed that if we had dragged, we were no longer dragging.

On our final evening in La Poile I couldn’t resist heading over to the coffee Klatch – up until then we’d had very little interaction with anyone so I was determined to fix that. Had a very pleasant chat with various inhabitants – half of whom thought we’d dragged anchor and half didn’t – so it seems they’d been watching us as much as we’d been watching them! I also met with the ferry captain and mate – who park the ferry every night in La Poile, but actually live elsewhere – but live aboard during the week. I was able to quiz them a little about our upcoming sailing itinerary – and it sounded like Grand Bruit was a worthwhile stop to make – especially since the ferry no longer goes there, and the wharf is apparently in good condition…

Billy gets the Scoop!

Billy gets the Scoop!

So we raised anchor – I was relieved to see that in fact we had not dragged at all (it’s all rather deceptive when lying to 250ft of anchor rode) and left LaPoile on the August 13th – opening day of the fishing season (everyone is allowed to catch upto 5 Cod each day of the weekend only) – and headed the short distance around to Grand Bruit – pronounced Grand Brit so it therefore had to be a good place to visit! Grand Bruit means great noise in French (an even more appropriate place to visit therefore!) – on account that there’s a cascading waterfall at the head of the harbor – sounds great! This Outport was closed in 2012 but our guide said that one family returns for the summer…

The village is tucked away behind outlying rocky islands and we picked our way carefully through the rocks on either side until Grand Bruit appeared in a narrow entrance. As we approached it was immediately apparent that more than one family was in residence as the fisherman’s wharf on the west side of the harbor had 4 or 5 small boats tied alongside and there was lots of activity on the dock. The ferry dock on the east side looked indeed to be in excellent shape so we made for it, tying alongside using the humongous ferry cleats.

The Great Noise

The Great Noise

Walkabout

Walkabout

Selfie at the Pimple

Selfie at the Pimple

Panamara

Panamara

We’d arrived on a spectacular day – beautifully sunny – so we didn’t waste any time walking through the town, over the bridge with the cascading waterfall beneath, to the fisherman’s dock where we met and chatted with various of the locals. The Newfy accent is quite difficult to follow – but very tuneful – and they are certainly a happy lot.

The walking trails have become seriously overgrown, but we took a walk back into the ponds – lots of small freshwater lakes – and hiked up to the two pimples at the top of the hill overlooking the village. Again, we were walking on sphagnum mosses and were getting quite accomplished at it now! The scenes from the pimples were super – we’d picked a great day!

The following day we picked our way at low tide across to an adjacent island that houses the town’s cemetery – with headstones dating back to the early 1800’s – and as late as just last year! As we came back a fellow (Winse) chatted with us and mentioned that he’d seen some Caribou on a neighboring island – would we like to go with him in his boat to take a look? Absolutely!

We sped over to the island, dodging reefs and hidden rocks and there they were – two does… Winse had said that there was also a buck – with a full rack – and we suddenly spotted this dead tree that moved!

 

 

 

 

Moving Tree or Caribou?

Moving Tree or Caribou?

Caribou

Caribou

We couldn’t get a good look at them from the boat, so Winse took us in to the rocks and I jumped off and stalked my first Caribou! Not a bad effort for a first time! What an impressive animal! We left the Caribou in peace and came back to the boat and whiled away the afternoon playing cards!

August 15th we made our way on a windless day to the next bay – an uninhabited bay with apparently great walking trails, Cinq Cerf Bay… The entrance to the bay is quite narrow and for the first time I found myself dealing with a GPS that plotted us as being on land – while gingerly navigating a narrow passage up to our anchorage. We dropped anchor in 20ft – surrounded by a cliff on one side and a rocky shoreline on the other in Coullet Cove  – and we were the only boat around.

We quickly got the dinghy out to go exploring – anxious to find the four freshwater ponds that the guidebook mentioned were swimmable (the sea up here is at 55F – no thanks!). Laurie rowed us to the small beach where we dragged the dinghy to safety and set off for our walk along the excellent trails… Except there weren’t any. The vegetation was even more thick than we’d seen before – and wetter. We hugged the rocky coastline for a little while, but that soon became untenable, but we managed to find a moose path up – and found the first pond… It was so dark with peat that you couldn’t see more than about 6” below the surface – not to our liking – and the two other ponds we found were also black as black – our skinny dipping plans had to be shelved!

After lunch we explored the rest of the bay by dinghy, hoping to find an area where we could land and take a reasonably straightforward walk – but everywhere we stopped, the vegetation was thick. Sure we could have had a go at it – but it didn’t seem like there was going to be much reward, so we headed back to the boat for a well deserved cuppa!

The water was black...

The water was black…

Challenging Newfy Trial!

Challenging Newfy Trial!

Private Anchorage

Private Anchorage

Checking around the boat later I looked over to the beach and saw a black bear! Got a great view of him, but of course, needed better so got in the dinghy… as soon as I started the engine, even though we were downwind and a couple hundred yards away, he was immediately alerted to me. I motored around to his left and he started to saunter off, but I did manage to click the shot below. I motored back to the boat and as soon as I spoke to Laurie, he took off like a shot!

Black Bear

Black Bear

The following morning dawned bright and sunny and I was up early scoping out the beach and surrounding hills for more bear – and guess what – there was another one lumbering down the hillside towards us. Unfortunately before it got close enough it took a turn presumably towards the fresh water ponds so we lost sight of it.

We left the cove a little later and headed towards the metropolis of Burgeo (and therefore a laundromat!), sailing with full main and Spinnaker arriving eahead of schedule in Burgeo, only to find a buslting metropolis that smelled of fish! Everywhere we went stank and we were unable to find a suitable anchorage out of the smell, so we opted to just leave and head for our next planned destination – the island of Ramea some 12 miles off shore. Another metropolis, it also boasted a laundromat, grocery store and WiFi!!!

We arrived to find just one small spot available on the town dock – so grabbed it and went exploring…

Last Day in Ingonish

On our last day in Ingonish and Cape Breton, we took advantage of wonderful weather and went for a walk up Franey – a local hill/mountain. The track up was very well maintained, but it was still a fairly challenging walk with the steepness. On the way up we bumped into a couple of the local beasties – the first were Grousey looking birds that turned out to be Spruce Partridge – a really stupid bird that you could basically walk up to and clobber if you needed to – actually referred to as a ‘survival bird’ – so if you ever get lost up here and are in need of sustenance – look for one of these beggars (though I understand they’re not very tasty).

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The second beastie was not someone to mess with – bloody great big moose – right in the way. Unfortunately, before I could switch to a sensible lens, he’d ambled off into the thicket.

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The views at the top were great – we could see for miles – though it would have been cool to look down on Toodle-oo! from here… (blocked by another hill).

Petrified Pines         Well earned Mars

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Off to Newfoundland in the afternoon…

Ingonish

We left Baddeck and went back to Maskells Harbor where new friends Frank and Shelley aboard OCC boat Bear Keeper were anchored. Had a very nice evening aboard their boat – the last we’ll see of them for a while as our paths now diverge…

In the morning we left, headed for Ingonish – which is in the Gulf of St. Lawrence – but first we had to get out of the Bras d’Or lakes – which turned out to be no mean feat as we got to the narrow end and the current was rushing against us. We had wind against waves – leading to standing waves as we went under the bridge – quite a heart stopper – so we decided we’d put in for some shelter at Kelly’s Cove just before the final narrows out to the Gulf, awaiting favorable tide. Just as we’re coming in to anchor in the cove – which was wide open to the 25knot winds we were in – and therefore to be considered a dangerous lee shore, an engine alarm sounds due to high water temperature! We immediately shut the engine down, pull out a small jib to give us steerage and go right into the cove, turning head to the wind as the depth came up to 25ft. I rushed forward to drop the anchor – which thankfully grabbed hold quickly. We were secure!

I quickly assessed that the engine was short on water – so gave it nearly half a gallon! I can hear Mike Eslinger in my ear right now – you should always check your engine levels every time you start the engine sonny!!!

Anyway, while in our anchorage, getting beaten up by the wind, we found out that the current turns favorable 3 hours after high water – so we waited the couple of hours and then left with much less drama and headed out into the Gulf sailing once again dead down wind but this time with just a jib out, making 6.5 – 7 knots right on course.

We arrived at Ingonish in the early evening and anchored at the bottom of a ski slope. The whole area reminds me of Scotland. Unfortunately we’re challenged with lack of cell service and internet and I’m still unable to get emails and weather files via the SSB. So in the morning we decided to move to a more populated anchorage in the north bay – but the diminutive anchorage was just too small for us to anchor behind the breakwater in any reasonable depth, so we came back across the bay and anchored right under the Keltic Lodge on a rock bottom (tough to get it to set) and clambered up the rip-rap shoreline and found wifi and an excellent hiking trial to get weather files – and some exercise!

We opted to head back to the harbor for safe anchorage – good job as our anchor was set tenuously at best!

We’ll probably head out to Newfoundland tonight for an overnight passage to La Peoil – I don’t expect we’ll have any wifi for the next several weeks therefore…

Pictures below from around Ingonish – click on them to enlarge…

Very Pretty Better from Anchorage From Anchorage Ingonish Beach Middle Head Dramatic Ingonish Middle Head Walk Tough Rocks

Bras d’Or Lakes

What a lovely location! After St. Peter’s we didn’t suffer any fog – that in itself was a welcome change! The lakes are quite large – and the sailing turns out to be very good – especially if you wait until the afternoon for the wind to develop. With very flat water, it’s easy to get some very nice speed in just 10 -12 knots of wind.

There are islands all over the place and where to spend the night is all about deciding what you want to look at and which direction you want protection from.

So far, our favorite destination has been the Crammond Islands where we anchored in a channel between two islands – bounded by shallow shoals at either end. The entrance was one we had to be careful with – and in view of the previous evening’s activities, we were seriously conservative.

Crammond Islands

Crammond Islands

We were in the Crammond Islands with the Squadron Fleet – so I think we had 11 boats in the anchorage – Toodle-oo! remaining firmly in the center, in the deepest part – as far aways as possible from the mosquitoes and flies – and in the deepest spot so that if we dragged, it would be an uphill drag in all directions! It was only 45ft. Others searched out the shallowest areas close to land – and some seemed to have some difficulty.

Once again we observed some interesting Squadron behavior… One boat arrived a little late and decided it was going to raft up to another anchored boat. Little did they know that the anchored boat was on it’s third attempt to anchor. Sure enough, soon after laying a veritable spider’s web of lines, the anchor began to drag. When they finally noticed what was going on, there was no time to untie all the lines, so the upped anchor and did a really good impression of being a catamaran as they drove around the anchorage seeking a spot where they could attempt another landing. When that failed too, they separated and anchored individually – good call!

We had a nice circumnavigation by dinghy of the two islands – and were rewarded when Laurie spotted a Bald Eagle. We got another sighting a little later as we enjoyed Cheese and Wine aboard Toodle-Pip!

We sailed out of the Crammond Islands once the wind had filled in and had a lazy sail (genoa only) up to Clarke Cove. We anchored in a very secluded bay and were delighted to find out that this was apparently a Bald Eagle roosting spot – we were treated to an Eagle for the evening. In the morning when I check to see if it was still about – it wasn’t – instead a Juvenile (black head) had taken up residence and was squawking for food! Soon we had two Eagles to admire.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

From Clarke Cove – whose only downside was that it appeared to be a Ski-Doo hangout – we sailed (lazily again) up through the Barra Straight Swing Bridge to Maskells Harbor, another very secluded anchorage – filled with Squadron boats.

We’re now in Baddeck where we’ve been for the last two nights – and probably will be another couple… We had an entertaining evening at a Caleigh and then a tremendous event last night – the last playing of the Bells of Baddeck – a musical play about Alexander Graham Bell – in whose museum the play was held. We hope to visit the museum tomorrow.

We’re struggling with communications – our SSB won’t talk to the computer so our shipboard email is down – as is our ability to get weather information once we’re in Newfoundland. So we’re trying to fix that issue before proceeding…