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Madcap Sailing
Silver Linings
23/08/2007/7:11 am, Lunenburg

We had another in our series of engine "clouds" on Tuesday. Jim and I went ashore for an early morning walk, readied the boat for a sail to Lunenburg where we planned to meet Peggy and Glenn, our Halifax neighbours, and headed out of the harbour under cool, clear and windless skies.

Within ten minutes, that horrible old engine alarm started wailing. We last heard it in Riviere-au-Renard, Quebec and hoped never to hear it again!! Jim uttered a few mild curses, went below to see what was up, and after opening the engine compartment, increased the voltage on his language considerably. There was engine oil everywhere except where it should have been. We turned the engine off, turned the boat around and spent the next 40 minutes floating back to our mooring. With a few gentle nudges from the dinghy, Madcap sidled right up next to the ball and we were secure again.

It was really one of those excellent silver lining experiences. This could have happened when we were out on the ocean in rolling waves and strong winds. It could have happened when we were far from the services of a mechanic. It could have happened when we had no way to contact our friends and would have the added worry of leaving them wondering where we were. Instead, we were just a few minutes away from a dock. We were in a seaside town where a phone call confirmed that a well-regarded marine mechanic was on a job nearby and would stop in to troubleshoot the problem. We had a cell phone to call our friends and invite them to meet us in Mahone Bay instead of Lunenburg.

Jim cleaned up the worst of the oil spill and did some troubleshooting of his own. Peggy and Glenn arrived at noon and we had a fine lunch on board. We called an intermission before digging in to Peggy's delicious apple pie because Ken Knickle, the mechanic with a thousand stories arrived on the launch. (That was one of the perks of this marina - Mason offered launch service to and from the boats on moorings. Wifi and showers were also available.)

Ken confirmed that the problem was with a faulty oil filter installed in Halifax. He replaced it with a new one and had us all in stitches as he recounted some of his past escapades in the best tradition of Maritime storytellers. The fact that he knew Peggy's sister, and one of his stories involved a colourful judge whom Jim had appeared before during his years in Nova Scotia courtrooms, added to the head-shaking synchronicity of the day. The problem got fixed and Jim's engine maintenance skills have increased; we had an extra day in this lovely town, a fabulous visit with friends, and another story of our own!

On Wednesday morning we headed out once more for Lunenburg - successfully this time. The wind didn't pick up till we got here so we motored all the way. We discovered the perils of housekeeping while underway and the value of keeping a written record of course changes. As I finished doing up the breakfast dishes, I noticed that the wall around the bank of switches near the galley was grimy and decided to wipe it clean. Unfortunately I flipped the house battery switch, momentarily knocking out all our instruments. We were in a narrow passage at the time and it was due to Jim's quick grasp of what had happened and what to do that we came through without any trouble. The switch got flipped on again, the logbook was consulted, and we got back on course. Whew!

The view of Lunenburg as we rounded Battery Point was picture perfect. Lunenburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and remains a working town. It was settled by German, Swiss and French colonists in the mid 1700's, and the architecture of the town reflects that heritage. The houses are colourful, the waterfront busy - and not just with touristy things. There are draggers and trawlers, dry-docks and warehouses, sail lofts and a foundry. We were delighted to see that Bluenose II was here, and so was the Picton Castle. Visitors were moving on and off the Bluenose II, and I took a picture of a fellow working high in the rigging of the Picton Castle. I visited the Fisheries Museum while Jim visited marine stores. We ate a fabulous lunch at Magnolia's Grill - justly famous seafood chowder, chicken satays, spinach salad - and picked up Lunenburg sausage and Tancook Island sauerkraut for dinner on board. "Some good!"

We're off on Thursday to LaHave and hope to catch up with Strathspey before too long. They have been a couple of days ahead of us and we haven't seen them for over a week. Jim and Blair sometimes make a connection on single side band radio, so we keep in touch, and we are all looking forward to sharing an anchorage one day soon. Oh - the stories we will each have to share!

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24/08/2007/9:10 am | Nancy Simpson
Beth, so much for trying to keep too clean.
27/08/2007/3:34 pm | Brian Caughey
Too bad I missed you at La Have. I was there on the land for a week until the 18th of August doing dry land things. I had been looking around in Lunenberg and elsewhere just in case I spotted Madcap or Strathspey. Oh well. sound like you are having a real voyage!
I'm back in Ottawa now. Take care

Brian Caughey

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