18 July 2007 | Cape Tormentine, NB
Coming Home! Bouctouche to Murray Corner and Cape Tormentine,
We left Bouctouche about 8am on Wednesday, and had a very pleasant motor-sailing trip through the Northumberland Strait. We successfully evaded all the fishing buoys we spotted, and began to scan the horizon for familiar landmarks as we drew closer to Murray Corner.
Jim's family has had a summer place there for almost 40 years, and it was a real thrill to be arriving by water. The tide was high enough for us to get in fairly close, so we anchored Madcap and Jim took the dinghy in to pick up four very excited passengers waiting on the shore.
What a delight to have Mary Jean (Jim's sister), Margaret (his niece), and Catherine and Oliver (Margaret's children) join us for the trip from Murray Corner to Cape Tormentine where we planned to anchor for the next couple of nights. We were able to sail much of that distance with very capable - albeit small - helmspersons taking their turns at the wheel. Passing under the Confederation Bridge was great fun. It is a huge bridge and a pretty impressive piece of engineering. It spans 13 miles from Cape Tormentine to Borden, and replaces the ferry route from New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island.
Cape Tormentine itself is a bit of a disappointment. The chart and sailing guides say, quite rightly, that there is space and good protection for pleasure boats to anchor in the outer basin of the harbour once used by the ferries to PEI. They do not say that the place looks like a bombed out zone from some earlier conflict. The walls are a mix of rusted metal and crumbling rock. The scenery in the outer basin consists of these walls, wire fences and the abandoned old ferry terminal. When we motored in the dinghy around the corner through the fishing boat harbour, it was less desolate, but still not welcoming. Fishing boats line the walls so we headed for the small wharf next to the land to tie up the dinghy where it would be out of the way. We all scrambled over the edge and up the gangplank to the waiting car and the land-journey back to the farmhouse.
We were told the next day by a fisherman that even pulling the dinghy to the end of the wharf was not good enough - we could not tie up there at all. There was a rusty and tipsy diesel pump there which we honestly thought was no longer in use, and even though we were not tied up in front of it, it seemed that he found our presence a problem. When the only suggestion offered was to tie up along the wall with the fishing boats - where we really would be in the way - and would have to scale a high, tar covered wall to get our feet on land - we pulled it around the corner and tucked it in as best we could.
It is a pity that the once thriving, and still attractive community of Cape Tormentine cannot muster the funds to fix up the little wharf a bit, and put out a welcome sign to visiting boats. There are few enough safe harbours on this part of the coast for boats that draw more than 5 feet. This one has easy water access and good protection for anchoring, but no facilities at all and difficult access to land. It might bring some pleasure boat traffic back to this area and to nearby Cape Jourimain if some attention was given to this harbour.
It's a good thing we had an enthusiastic family and picture perfect Park Beg property to enjoy or we'd have been left with a gloomy picture of this part of New Brunswick.