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Madcap Sailing
A Perfect Welcome Home
Beth - 16 C mornings, warmer afternoons
11/08/2008/6:06 am, Yarmouth, NS, Canada

A couple of things made the last few days interesting.

I'm sure we've all experienced the "Do you know...?" question that comes along so often when people travel to other places. Like - Oh you're from Ottawa - do you know my cousin in Vancouver? We generally laugh it off - Canada is a big country, but it seemed pretty small on Wednesday afternoon.

Jim and I grew up and worked in Nova Scotia (with rare Yarmouth visits) until 1991 - 17 years ago, when we moved to British Columbia. We sailed away from Canada last August - almost a year ago. Yet when we pulled into Yarmouth Harbour and picked up a mooring ball, Jim spied a name on it and said, "Oh - I know that guy!" Small world!

On Thursday, we got well and truly welcomed back into the fold by long time friends of the Bissell family. Bill and Frances and son-in-law, Arthur, picked us up and drove to Lake Annis - the Crowell family neighbourhood - where we spent 3 most wonderful days. Jim's mother and Frances were kindred spirits from girlhood until Mary Ellen passed on several years ago, and although we kept in touch over the years, we hadn't seen a lot of them. We sure made up for it this trip, spending family time with them, their daughters and sons-in-law and grandchildren and cousins and assorted extended family members. It was like a great big Nova Scotian embrace.

We dined well on delicious gingerbread cookies and roast beef and BBQ fare and a fabulous new dessert - Blueberry Bangbelly! It's an old New Brunswick recipe for blueberry cake that Frances has been making for years; lacking any other reason for the name, we decided it must be because we felt like giving a good belly smack and saying' "MMMmmm" after a piece of it. We slept soundly (at Christine and Art's pretty summer abode) walked the gravel roads and leafy trails, jumped every time the resident wild turkey decided to announce his presence, poked our toes in the lake but declined to immerse our whole selves. We cheered the Crowell family canoeists as they raced around the lake, picking up clues in the annual orienteering canoe challenge. We applauded Patrick and Christine's awards in the flower contest and wished them all well in the upcoming photo contest.

We joined Christine and Art on a tour of the impressive Yarmouth County museum, including a retrospective show of Bill's paintings, and I curled up with a copy of his newly published book "The Artist and the Colonel" - about Mabel Killam Day (painter) and Frank Parker Day (author of Rockbound) both of whom lived "just up the road".

Jim and I were most impressed with the sense of community in this little place, a half hour from Yarmouth, where 5th and 6th generation families gather together to play and share with each other, and to enjoy and assist one another. Even though miles separate them during parts of the year, the summer visits and the strong emotional bonds keep them well connected all the time. They are fine role models for us in Canada, as we remember the strong sense of family we found and admired in the Bahamas.

We returned to Madcap on Saturday, and once back in Yarmouth, we enjoyed a couple of meals at Rudder's in the big yellow building on the waterfront, one of them with my cousin, Marilyn, and her grandson Ryan. It was a treat to see them and to spend some time reconnecting and filling in gaps in our family stories.

Yarmouth is a good stop for cruisers bound to or from Maine, as well as those who ply the Bay of Fundy waters between here and Saint John, NB. Genial and helpful Paul keeps a close eye on things at Killam Wharf. There are several mooring balls in the harbour, and while the present dock space is limited, new ones are almost ready for those who like to be tied to a dock. Both Men's and Women's washrooms are clean and equipped with showers and a washer and dryer.

We decided to leave Madcap here for a few more days and travel by car to Amherst to visit my dad and meet up with our son, Liam, who drove down from Ottawa. While we're there, we'll fit in a quick visit with Mary Beth and with Jim's sister, Mary Jean and family.

Now that we're here in Nova Scotia, we're feeling not so much despondency that our 16-month sailing adventure is winding down, but a sense of coming back around the circle. We all know that circles don't end - they keep going around or spiraling off in new directions. That's a good feeling.

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16/08/2008/11:14 am | bARbara Roberts
I am glad you are back in Canada..but, had hoped to meet you last Spring. Don't you just love eh Dismal Swamp! and yes, the greeters center is wonderful..I spent a few hours in the bathrooms getting cool as it was about 100 F when we went through last May. Sorry you did not get to stay in Elizabeth City..we enjoyed staying at the Pelican Marina where it seemed everyone but us was a transient ! At the present time..the boat is in Washington, NC while we go to Bermuda ( my husbands country) we will go back to that terrible McCotter's Marina in mid September..I do NOT suggest that anyone stay is hot..the heads are old and dirty..the place is full of spiders..the town and people are very nice..but, hot and dying away !
We will be heading down the ICW in the Fall and I hope my husband gets to the Bahamas this Winter. I have enjoyed reading your journal and thank you for the many "head ups" you have given us !!!!!

Have a great Winter and happy..

Barbara and
Back to Bluenose Country
Beth - with blue nose & cold toes
06/08/2008/5:35 pm, Yarmouth, NS, Canada

We made it!

We left Frenchboro on Tuesday night just before 8pm, sailing through the lobster pots in the rosy light of the setting sun. A couple of boat crews waved us off as we set off to "go home".

With all our planning for not too much wind, we ended up not having ANY. The motor roared the whole way for 104.2 nautical miles, and the wind picked up just as we entered the harbour. The Gulf of Maine was empty too - just a couple of sightings of far off fishing boats, a pass-by of the fast ferry this morning. We met it again in the long entrance to Yarmouth harbour.

It feels strange to be back in Canada - back home - yes - but also much closer to the end of this wonderful trip.

We'll stay in Yarmouth for a few days visiting friends and then will make our way up the south shore of NS as we enter this next stage of the journey.

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06/08/2008/6:08 pm | Jim and Nancy Aadland
Welcome home friends.
07/08/2008/8:30 am | Jim & Jeannie Lea- Estelle
Congratulations on your passage to Yarmouth!!
07/08/2008/1:51 pm | Margaret & Jim Uhrich
Glad to hear you reached Yarmouth safely! We were in that neck of the woods in July. Spent 6 lovely days drifting off to sleep to the sound of the waves hitting the shore in a little cottage on the ocean at Hunt's Point. I can't believe how quickly the time has gone. Have enjoyed hearing about your wonderful experiences.
09/08/2008/5:40 pm | Bonny Ball
What a fabulous, wonderful trip - and it sounds like you've enjoyed it to the fullest, rolled with the punches (or actually, roilled with the waves). Just too bad that the trip couldn't include a stop in North Vancouver!

10/08/2008/1:36 pm | Monica and Tony Wilcox
Welcome back to Canada!
We have really enjoyed reading about your travels and look forward to hearing about the end of the trip in Nova Scotia. I'm sure you will be itching to do a return trip at some point in the future.
We have to be content with sailing on Lake Ontario.We managed to get to Niagara-on-the-Lake sailing Club for the first time last week-end and next week we are going down to Sodus.The summer is going by all too fast.
All the best for the remainder of the summer .
Heading Across the Gulf
Beth - 18 this morning; warmer this aft
05/08/2008/4:30 pm, Frenchboro, Maine

We had a glorious sail today from Southwest Cove on Merchant Island to Frenchboro on Long Island.

The sun came out, the air was fresh and the sails full. After a delicious lobster lunch on Lunt's wharf, we walked up to the library and checked the weather sites and made a decision.

There is still red around NS on the graphic but the wind is supposed to drop overnight. We expect that means that the red will be gone by tomorrow. Everything looks workable - reasonable winds - reasonable seas - no fog.

We'll catch a nap and head out of here tonight, arriving late tomorrow afternoon.

Stay tuned!

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