A Caribbean Glimpse Just When We Needed It
26 August 2007 | Carters Beach, Port Mouton, NS
We took our leave from LaHave on Friday, (far too soon but we'll be back) to make our way further down the coast. This turned out to be a day full of grumbles. While I generally take a pretty optimistic view of things, a whole collection of dreary pieces of this traveling business seemed to accumulate today, and made that view difficult to find.
We have had an ongoing problem with mail. It has had some delays in leaving Ottawa, and then we've missed it at its Nova Scotia destination. We keep trying to figure out where we might be at a particular time so it can be forwarded.
We assigned one vehicle to Mary Beth while we are away, and there have been insurance issues with that. We have been told that we can't insure it in Ontario since the car is in New Brunswick, and the primary driver has a NB license. She has been told she can't insure it in New Brunswick since it has an Ontario owner. Transferring it over to her would solve that but appears to involve paying sales tax - a ridiculous thing if a father is giving a car to a daughter.
Along with these irritations, are the boat related ones. Almost as soon as we left La Have, our propane alarm started sounding. We had trouble with it a month ago, but after investigations, concluded that there was no leak in the system. It went off only when the engine was on, and never when we were actually using propane in the stove or fireplace. We have been following the practice of shutting off the valve on the tank when it is not in use, along with the solonoid switch, and there has been nothing amiss since then. The last little while though, we've been leaving the tank valve open and just turning off the solonoid switch, so we assume that is what has caused the recurrence. We opened all the lockers, completely disconnected the propane and finally - many frayed nerves later - it stopped.
We have water coming in around our mast - not just a trickle, but enough that my bucket on the floor had about 3 inches in it at the end of the day. The butterfly windows in the cabin roof are leaking this year and our first fix doesn't seem to have worked. Then in La Have we discovered that there is a leak on the port side, probably along a chainplate that Jim already recaulked earlier in the spring, so that needs to be fixed. That affects one bookshelf and our linen locker. We have also been finding that we have a lot of condensation on the lower part of the boat because of the cold water and warmer air. That results in damp floors and walls of all the lockers at this level, and requires constant wiping, and bagging of absolutely everything in plastic. (I don't know what we ever did before zip lock bags!) Fortunately, I had bagged all my canned goods before we ever left Ontario, but I hadn't done clothes and tools and a thousand other things that are tucked away.
To top it all off, the weather that day was - in a word - yucky. It was cold and rainy, and the wind and waves weren't communicating well, resulting in a chop that was distinctly uncomfortable. This actually, was the first day I felt a little queasy the whole day long. Generally, it comes if I go down in the cabin but disappears quickly as soon as I go back outside.
So, you get the picture - cold, wet, sailors with niggly travel problems and a growing fix-it list. The glass was looking distinctly half empty!
We made our turn into Port Mouton, (pronounced Muhtoon) past White Point Lodge, which we couldn't see in the fog, and into Carters Beach. We could see four other sailboats there, all anchored just off a beautiful white sand beach, so we dropped the hook in 35 feet of water, put up our cockpit enclosure, and hurried below. I lit every beeswax candle we carry to dry things out a bit and create a cosy atmosphere; it wasn't really cold enough to require the propane fireplace. We changed out of damp clothes into warm wooly ones, downed a hot toddy and curled up with our books. A while later, I popped the cannelloni dish I had purchased from the bakery into the oven and put a salad together. We dined well and made an early night of it.
As often happens, it was a whole new day on Saturday! The fog was present early on, but burned off by noon to display a glorious beach, complete with dunes to climb. Jim rowed the dinghy ashore where we dug our toes into the warm white sand and strolled up and down the beach, splashing in the cold water. While this beach looks Caribbean, the aqua coloured water doesn't feel that way so splashing was enough!
It was time for another Madcap cockpit party, so in the evening, Neil and Lynn and Josh from Fiddlers Green III (and from Boston, England when they aren't sailing), Gary from Barefoot, and Mary and Blair from Strathspey all joined us for nibblies and drinks and great conversation.
Fiddlers Green left in the morning but we stayed here on Sunday since the weather report told of 25-knot winds out on the "big" water. Jim and I alternated boat jobs and phone calls with more exploration. We put the motor on and putputted over to Port Mouton Harbour where we tied up on a long tall lobstermen's dock. We climbed up the ladder, made our way down the dock, up a little lane to the main road and found a little store/restaurant/NSLC establishment. With ice creams in hand and milk in the backpack, we returned to the dinghy and then back along the shore to Madcap. After a bite of lunch we took off the motor again and rowed back to the beach. The dunes beckoned.
It was just so lovely. The sun was hot on our sunscreened bodies. The sand was warm; the water refreshing. The view from atop the dunes was simply superb. We climbed all over the rocks around the little island that is joined to the mainland at low tide, and chatted with some of the local folks who were enjoying the beach. Of the four boats here in this anchorage, we were the only ones who went ashore today to take advantage of this beautiful day in a beautiful area, so Jim and I are grateful that we each share a curiosity and readiness to explore each place we visit.
With this much-appreciated interlude behind us, we're off to Shelburne on Monday for our last Nova Scotia stop before we head across to Maine. Let's hope our mail reaches us here, the propane alarm takes a rest (we take propane safety seriously so all possible valves are turned off), the caulking cures, and the rest of the gremlins have gone elsewhere.