01/11/2009/5:21 pm, Halifax, NS
Thanks to Jeannie Lea (Estelle) for the title of this posting. She's got it exactly right.
We've been enjoying our last couple of weeks in Halifax as we look forward to our sailing season starting again. It's funny; once we made that decision to ship Madcap to the Chesapeake and start our cruising from there, we have known it was the right decision without any second guessing. We finished painting our new deck, I got the spring bulbs planted, Jim caught up on mountains of paperwork that he had thought he'd have to do on the boat, and we had a little more time to enjoy the sights and sounds of Halifax and our family. The delay is perhaps all for the best because both Jim and I have been feeling some aches and pains - his knee and my back and hip - and we were able to get those problems addressed while we've been home. Now it is time to get back on that boat and on our way to warm weather.
It has been an interesting experience getting Madcap ready for her trip too so we haven't been bored! Jim spent several hours doing the paperwork. After repeatedly trying to find the correct form he managed to locate it and got all the pertinent information filled in. (The agent told him on the phone that he needed Form 3299 - Declaration for Free Entry of Unaccompanied Articles. He looked up the file on the computer and downloaded the one labelled 3299. The one that came up was form 3229 - Certificate of Origin. Eventually he managed to find 3299 through some other search and got it filled in.) He contacted a broker and was told that we don't need to hire one because we are just passing through the US. It was nice of them to tell us that. Jim has called Dept of Homeland Security several times to check on specific questions because we don't want any hassles at the border. We are OK with provisions on board; (we took off all fresh produce and anything perishable.) Our wine/beer supply is OK. (It is not large anyway because we plan to stock up in the US.) We gave a pretty thorough inventory of all articles on board - books, provisions, electronic equipment - in hopes that it saves time and lessens complications for the driver.
We will get our cruising permit in Baltimore so we'll be legal once we get in the water. It was in Baltimore that we had such good fortune getting a new permit on our way back up the coast in 2008 so we're happy to be able to deal with the same folks.
Madcap will be launched at Zahnisers Marine in Solomon's Island on Wednesday (we hope) and we will be there ourselves by then. We fly Halifax to Baltimore on Monday and then will stay a couple of days with Carole and Richard (Kilissa) - just up the creek from the marina. We'll get all the loose bits put back together, the sails on, some fresh food on board and we'll be set to go again.
I'll let you know if it all works as planned!!
17/10/2009/3:00 pm, Chester/Halifax
When we first left home to go sailing this fall, I said to our housemate, Denise, "See you at Christmas!" This is the third time we have reappeared.
I must say, it felt a bit Christmassy yesterday when I saw snow mixed with the rain on the windshield. And being back at home felt immeasurably better than being on the cold boat, so that felt a bit like Christmas gift too.
We had a lively sail back up the coast on Thursday to Steven's Cove near Chester - home of South Shore Marine. Because we wanted to make the trip in one day, we left Shelburne at 0330. After a day of wonderful winds on our port beam, we pulled up to our old mooring ball at 1730. Finally - a beautiful, if cold, day of sailing. Once again, we were grateful for our cockpit enclosure that kept the wind in the sails and not on us. The temperature hovered around 8 C (something like 45 F). We still had 4 and 5 layers of clothes on - complete with ski gloves and wool toques (YES - We are Canadian!!)
Some dry day this week we'll go down to the boat yard to get sails off and the boat ready for haulout. It looks like Madcap will be hauled on Oct 28th and will head south right after that. Her crew is investigating interesting ways of joining her.
In the meantime, Jim and I visited "The Old Triangle" last night - one of our favourite Halifax establishments for comfort food and maritime music. A trip to the market this morning stocked the larder again and tonight we'll go out on the town for Nocturne - a fabulous yearly event when the art scene opens up for an evening of sight and sound. There will be about 30 galleries open from 6 to midnight, with performance art in the streets and folks of all ages walking and busing from venue to venue. It is not a bad thing to be home for another week.
14/10/2009/3:23 pm, Shelburne, NS
We have spent the last few days going round and round and round the possibilities for Plan A - sailing away from Nova Scotia and on to points south. (However much we love this province, it is not our preferred winter abode this year.) Our plans have had to do with timing and risk and destinations on "the other shore". We have finally had enough of that and have moved away from Plan A entirely.
At the end of my last posting, I said "Way will open." Well, way has opened and it is the Highway. After days and days of discouraging forecasts and plummeting temperatures, we started looking at the idea of shipping Madcap south and starting the sailing portion in the Chesapeake Bay.
Plan B sees us sail back to South Shore Marine near Chester, load the boat on a truck and send her off to Solomon's Island, Maryland. It is not all that wildly warm there either right now, but it's a whole lot closer to finding the heat. This plan will also get us to about where we would be at the end of October if we had been able to keep on going when we left on Oct 2.
I keep feeling apologetic about it, but as Jim reminds me, cruising is about weighing options and making the best decision for us. This is it. Is it an easier way out? You bet. More expensive too, but we'll find a way to compensate for that. At least this is something we've never tried before and it takes away the spectre of poor Madcap with ice and snow on her decks and her crew frozen in the cockpit.
Now we are looking at weather windows to go back up the coast and, once again, finding it challenging. How can that possibly be? The wind has been NW up to 25 knots today with wave height of 2 metres but it is scheduled to drop tonight. We plan a "before dawn" start on Thursday in an attempt to make Chester in one day, because Friday brings winds up to 45 and 50 knots, and the next few days after that are NE winds - exactly the direction we will be travelling.
Jim says, "We need to reboot this trip." We are not sure yet of the exact timing of this next adventure but we'll let you know how it evolves.