Developing New Skills
10 October 2009 | Shelburne/Halifax
Beth / rainy, windy, yucky
This business of waiting out weather is taking our patience skills to a whole new level. We left Chester on Friday, Oct 2. (we have since been reminded about the superstition that Friday departures are a bad idea) and spent 2 days getting to Shelburne. Madcap has been on a mooring ball there since Saturday, and we came back to Halifax on Tuesday evening. We had planned to go back for a Friday or Saturday departure to Maine. When that weather window disappeared, we thought we'd go back today (Saturday) for a Sunday departure. That seems like a bad idea and now we are looking at Thursday!!
We had no idea we might wait this long for an autumn opportunity to leave. We knew weather windows are harder to find this time of year ... but this?
So ... we wait. And we try to adjust our thinking and balance and equilibrium. When I told Jim this morning that I'm feeling the mixed emotions of fear and sick-at-heart, he said that is exactly what he is feeling too. The fear is from the idea of going out there and trying to push our limits a little and be more adventurous sailors - of becoming able to say, "You should have see the storm we went through!!" - of managing 25 to 30 knots with gusts to 35 and 2-3 meter waves. Madcap is the kind of boat that can do that. But are we the kind of sailors who can go knowingly into that situation? What is our limit? We have sailed in 20 knots and 2 meter waves. How much is too much? And how do we find that out except by testing ourselves? We wouldn't try going straight over to the US in that, but could we move on a little bit? - perhaps find anchorages a little further on or go around to Yarmouth and break up the trip? Add in the tidal component of Bay of Fundy/Gulf of Maine (highest tides in the world) and the combination of high winds and opposing current and the whole thing becomes even less enticing. If we keep waiting for a good weather window, will we still be here when the snow starts to fall? Our stomachs are in knots.
The sick-at-heart feeling is from hanging around home. Yes, it is warm and cosy and there are things to do here. But our deal with Mary Beth and our other housemate, Denise, was that we would be away from Oct to May and the house would be theirs. We are feeling a little like squatters. Weird - and having absolutely nothing to do with anything they have said. It's just that we are not supposed to be here now! Our things are on the boat and we are mentally there, (but physically here because let's face it - it is a whole lot more comfortable in a house than on a boat when the temperature drops to the single digits at night!)
As I ironed shirts this morning, I was trying to pay attention to these emotions and reformat them. We checked in with cousin Russell - our personal weather guru and information supplier. He agreed that this is not good weather to go sailing. Our friend Mary (s/v Strathspey) gave me the name of a boat at RNSYS that is waiting to travel Halifax to Shelburne to Newport (s/v Nelleke). When I looked up their blog, I discovered they are planning to leave Shelburne on Oct 17th and don't seem worried about it being too late. So maybe there is time yet.
Maybe taking a step back from this and not pushing ourselves into something we are not comfortable with does not mean we are wusses. Maybe we will make it out on Thursday (the next possible opening) and Jim can quit his extrapolated thinking that each delay means we will never leave Nova Scotia. Maybe spending Canadian Thanksgiving in Canada means we can pay attention to things for which we are thankful: a good solid mooring ball at Shelburne Yacht Club, a reasonably accurate weather reporting system (even if the reports are for cruddy weather), the chance to spend more time with friends and family (even though we know they are muttering, "We thought you'd be gone by now!) The picture above shows our three "kids" and Jim at the Halifax Farmers Market.
The current plan (noon on Saturday) is to drive down to Shelburne today and move back on the boat for some of the time. We'll spend the next few days waiting and watching and puttering and fretting and deep breathing and talking with our fellow cruisers and trying not to throw things at each other or at the marine radio! And we'd better unclench our teeth and untie the stomach knots so we can eat a fine turkey dinner too!