Life on the Waterfront
24 August 2008 | Halifax, NS
Beth - a week of lovely warm sunny weather - 22-24C
We've been having a heady time here on the Halifax waterfront, both in our first berth at Sackville Landing, and our second at Bishop's Landing. It feels so exciting to be here in this vibrant city, starting the process of making it our home again.
The Sackville Landing location was extremely convenient - to the NS Info Centre with a computer available to check email, and staff able to provide every sort of information useful to cruisers and land tourists. Power and water were available, but there were no showers or laundry provided for the $1.50 per foot fee. A request to move part way through the week came as a surprise to us. We thought that having made it clear we were here for a week, and paying in advance, we would stay in the same place. The original request from the dockmaster was for a move to Cable Wharf (busy with tour boats and directly beside a restaurant) and we refused that. Our position was that we should have been given the information about probable boat shuffles when we arrived, and since we were here for several days and all paid up, we'd have some "seniority". It turned out that several huge yachts were due in and humble sailboats get short shrift in such situations. We reached a compromise that was acceptable to all of us - we relocated to Bishop's Landing and a 150 ft boat moved into our space.
Initially we felt small compared to the large "Sea Legend" docked behind us, but after we moved today, the 150-foot "Argyll" came in, dwarfing the Sea Legend. Just down the way were the Michaela Rose and Ron Joyce's "Destination Fox Harb'r Too". He is owner of Tim Horton's - the popular coffee and donut shops found in most every little town in Canada. This brand new motor yacht is 161 feet long and can travel 20 knots per hour. (Incidentally, I found out that one of those mega yachts moving at 20 knots per hour, burns about 56 gallons of fuel per hour!)
Being on the same wharf as the restored corvette, HMCS Sackville, proved most interesting. We struck up a conversation with Don Wilcox on the dock and it wasn't long before he invited us to be his guests at lunch on Friday. We were delighted with the opportunity to tour the boat with him and meet many of his fellow Trustees who gather aboard every Friday for lunch and conversation. We learned that this is the last surviving example of the corvettes that accompanied convoys of military ships across the North Atlantic during WWII. These boats were originally designed to be coastal vessels carrying a crew of 48 but exigencies of war changed things and the ships were modified to carry nearly 100 crewmembers and to handle frigid North Atlantic crossings. The white and blue colouring of the ship was camouflage for its travels around the coast of Norway. We stood on the bridge, with its speaking tubes connected to all areas of the ship, in the wheelhouse and the radio room, down in the messes and sleeping quarters and imagined what it must have been like to be out there on watch for enemy submarines.
We toured a few apartments and are close to having a Halifax address. As we walked the streets - and drove to some addresses further out from the downtown core, we recognized that we are determined to be within walking distance of Jim's work, grocery stores and entertainment. We have lost our patience with traffic congestion and long commutes. A preference has solidified into a priority.
On Sunday, we trekked up the hill to Garrison Grounds at the foot of Citadel Hill to take part in the Incredible Picnic - an event sponsored by Select Nova Scotia - the buy-local program of the NS Department of Agriculture. It was a fine time with long tables set out on the lawns for communal eating, music, and booths from a whole variety of NS producers and vendors - fruits, vegetables, meats, ice cream, lobster and smoked halibut, along with cider, beer and wine producers. After enjoying that locale for a couple of hours, we walked back to Bishop's Landing and perched on a wall to hear the bluesy-folk music of Mike Trask and Norma MacDonald at one of the regular Sunday afternoon concerts on the waterfront.
We enjoyed a free concert on the deck of the HMCS Sackville on Saturday night, and the lively Maritime music of 1749 at what may well become our local watering hole - the Old Triangle - a welcoming Irish Pub just a 5 minute walk away. A fellow we met today told us that there are 20 establishments offering live music within easy walking distance of the waterfront.
As usual, one of our favourite things to do is talk with passers by. Megan and Kristopher and their parents from Ottawa stopped to chat; we met folks from all across the country and from Australia. Some recognize Madcap as a Bayfield, many ask what kind of sailboat she is, and Jim overheard someone say to his companion, "Now that's a real sailboat." That kind of comment always makes us smile because of course we share the opinion!