Good to Horrible and back to Good
17 July 2007 | Bouctouche, NB
We left Escuminac on schedule and had one of our best sailing days. The sky was clear and the winds were fair - and it was WARM. We were able to sail for much of the day, and then had to motor sail in order to get to Bouctouche at a reasonable time.
We are finding ourselves caught up a bit in this "schedule thing" even though we try to avoid it. If we could just alter our destination when the wind isn't taking us fast enough, it would be fine. But we have to keep moving along at some sort of reasonable pace in order to be getting down the east coast before it gets too cold. We are also getting into the neighbourhood of family and friends and we want to spend time with them.
So here we were motor-sailing along (that's the "good")and we made the turn for the 5 or 6 nautical mile channel threading trek behind the dune and into Bouctouche. (Here comes the "horrible"). I didn't go as close to one green bouy as I should have and we went aground. We have gone aground before on other cruises, and we've been told we'll do it for sure in the ICW, but I wasn't expecting it here. I could make a few excuses about the marking of the VERY narrow channel at this particular point, but the long and the short of it is that I goofed.
We tried everything we knew to get ourselves out of there - reving up the engine for a little extra push, putting up the sails to see if we could tip ourselves off, dinghying out to drop an anchor with the rode attached to the main halyard - again with the intention to tip enough to slid off the shoal. A motor boat came by and they tied on a tow rope and tried to pull us but no luck.
And so it was that we had to call again for help. This was our second stop in NB and our second request for assistance. You can picture our slumping hearts and long faces. Marcel - the local coast guard auxiliary officer was on his way back from PEI and heard our call to the marina. He radioed that he'd be with us in 49 minutes - and in exactly that many minutes he came roaring up in his big tall power boat. After a few tries (including one which cracked the teak under the fairlead on the port side) he managed to pull us free. It was no easy task because the tide had dropped since we grounded, and we were well and truly dug in.
We followed him very slowly in through the rest of the channel - much of it just barely deep enough at this time of the tide - and arrived at one of the most beautiful little marinas we have seen on this trip. Making it even better was the fact that along with the ever-loyal Mary and Blair, our daughter, Mary Beth, and our little white dog, Princess, were also on the dock waiting for us.
It was a bit of an emotional landing, but at least we were back to "good" again. It was so comforting to be able to sit with Mary Beth and talk about the day, to hear her description of her knee surgery and recovery process, and to just BE together.
Today, we stayed put in Bouctouche. Jim and I both needed some down time to recoup our energy after the past few days of difficulties. We walked the trails and enjoyed the beautiful marina building. John Nowlan, the manager has been extraordinarily helpful and kind, driving us out to the Irving Ecocentre so we could walk the boardwalk that winds its way along the dunes, helping us figure out the best departure time tomorrow, and assisting in every way he can. He is a true gem.
We really hope we manage to get back out to the Northumberland Strait without incident, and to make our way east to Cape Tormentine. It would be a treat to have a day with no challenges. There was a little rain shower tonight followed by a gorgeous rainbow. I figure that has to be a good omen. Keep your fingers crossed and stay tuned for the next installment!