Last Day in Newfoundland
20 August 2015
Thursday August 20th
We elected to stay in Squid Hole and do some clean up and departure prep, but over breakfast we looked at charts. I was using the calipers to decide which course to take over to Sydney when I saw a little island St. Paul's Island up a ways. 'What if we went there and anchored overnight, would that give us better sail direction and better wave maneuverability I wondered. We could take the 8 hour trip there, anchor and explore and then go to Sydney from there on a 9 hour trip, rather than an all nighter.
The problem with no internet is that we could not look up the island to determine the viability of that plan, except... we thought we might have some book somewhere and sure enough after searching Dave found a guide with postings from 1952 to 1977, all with advisories of terrible anchorage. One suggested sailors bring spikes and grappling hooks to secure their boats to a cliff in one of the spots! No thanks! We would stick to our original plan and head right over Cabot Straight in the late afternoon, for a morning arrival.
I was actually happy to clean out the wheelhouse which had really gotten bad. It is amazing to me how dirty a boat can get, I mean we are on water, how does it get so dirty? I took everything out, even the floorboards and gave it a good scrub down while Dave dealt with bagging the garbage and recycling and tending to engine room details. I left it to dry and sprayed lemon essential oil over everything so we could have a nice fresh place to hang out in for 15 hours.
Dave made soup and cheese and bread for a late lunch as we puttered and took it easy for the cool, foggy afternoon. Some warmed Brie topped with some of the red wine and cranberry sauce finished lunch off perfectly.
Dear Dave, he ran the generator and vacuumed the boat. Well, cat hair does accumulate on the cushions and such, it is nicer.... I did dishes and a final secure of galley stuff.
Preparations for an overnight crossing, Mysti-Cal style.
Place survival suits out in salon, along with foul weather gear and flares.
Put rescue remedy, homeopathic cocculine (anti motion sickness) gravol ginger in wheelhouse box along with a bucket.
(These first items are not expected to be needed, but we will have them there anyway.)
Go through emergency drill. Life raft deployment, emergency beacons, EPIRB, Mayday and MOB procedures.
Life jackets, throwing devices and lines are already always at hand as are jack lines and tethers.
Pillows and blankets out in salon.
Warm jacket and poncho's out and ready.
Dinner and snack preparations easily accessible in fridge and all other fridge items secured. Ukuleles and chord charts in nice clean wheel house along with whatever books and entertainment and writing materials one may wish for in the wee hours.
Fill water bottles and have on hand. (It is amazing how dehydrated one can become on water). Have all appropriate charts and calipers ready at navigation centre.
Make sure everything is secured below and above.
Do a 360 below deck and above deck to be sure everything is secured and all walkways are easily navigable.
Take a moment at the bow to ask for assistance from wind, water, land and all seen and unseen helpers, and thank them for the amazing support so far. Connect with each other and with Mysti-Cal and Kato too so that we are all one unit; wind, water, humans, animals, boat, and all earth and celestial beings. (The moon has a huge role in the act of sailing!)
Pull anchor up and head out to sea.
We did that and began our journey around 5 PM, leaving Squid Hole and Newfoundland behind us.
Little Garia Bay to Squid Hole Newfoundland and Labrador
19 August 2015
Wednesday August 19th.
We awoke to a cold, foggy, drizzly morning. Not at all appealing for a swim. Summer disappeared as quickly as it came on this changeable coast.
I stalled over breakfast hoping it would clear up and the sun would come out, and just as we sat down to it we heard a plaintive ‘Meow!” Kato had been sitting in the dingy and it had drifted out to the end of it’s tether, so he could not get back on the boat! Dave rescued him and we settled into a big breakfast of fresh baked macadamia and raisin bread and freshly ground coffee. We are loving this hand grinder we found in an outdoors store in Barrie last winter. The loons were calling through calling and through the morning mist we watched a lone osprey dive for fish.
“We are having the ultimate human experience” Dave commented. ‘Good food, beautiful surroundings and perfect peace.” What’s a bit of fog and rain?
By eleven it had not cleared up at all, and perhaps the fog was even thicker, so I dressed in warm waterproof clothes, Dave donned his rain gear and we trundled off to have what I imagined would be a cold bath. We would not have a chance for a private bath again this season, and showers would not be until Sydney, we both badly needed a bath.
‘You know’ Dave said as we headed back to the boat an hour or so later. “ I think part of our role as humans is to enable creation to experience itself through us..’ I understood exactly. This universe needs us, we are creation experiencing itself through our human aspect. Our ability to see, feel, hear, touch, taste, smell and express allow a deeper experience of what millennia has created here on this planet.
During that past hour we had climbed up the stream bed Dave found last night for a few hundred yards, then crossed the tumbled rocks of it’s 4 feet width, went up over and around the first fall through a mossy forest trail, trees perfectly placed for support up the bank, until we came around to a very beautiful waterfall that tumbled into a pool about fifteen feet long and eight feet wide. A perfectly flat three foot ledge ran along the side we were on with a couple of tree stumps hanging over above us that we could hung our clothes on. The other side was a sheer cliff rising about thirty feet above us. We could see three other waterfalls above, each with their own pool below it seemed. The water was warm and clear, with ‘standing’ rocks along the edges graduating from 4 feet under to 6 and more in the centre. Trees overhung the edges far above us as we grinned at each other in delight.
We soaped up with ‘Dr. Bonners’ and then Dave made his sudsy way over under the falls and literally laughed out loud as the warm water cascaded over him. ‘It’s a full on massage’ he called delightedly! I swam over to join him and we both laughed with pure joy as the water tumbled over us, truly one of the better massages I have experienced and I know some excellent masseuses! We just let this magical place clean our bodies and fill our eyes with beauty and our souls with gratitude. It is a timeless experience neither of will ever forget.
These places exist throughout the world, these special magical places, and we are here to bear witness to this one, to appreciate it and experience it. Very few people will come here, and even fewer will find it or bother with the climb to get to it. We are of the privileged to experience this place. We are so very lucky.
After our bath we returned to Mysti-Cal in excellent spirits and pulled anchor to head to our next anchorage with the fun name of Squid Hole.
Along the way Dave checked for weather updates as we had to determine if the next day was still suitable for a crossing, but could not find any on our regular stations. As a matter of fact we could not hear anything even on the standard 16! We had assumed we were out of range in our last spot as we had heard no updates and as we had no cell service for a few days, did not know what the weather had decided.
We were passing funny names like ‘Butt Shoal’, ‘Middle Stick Shoal’, ‘Harry’s Knob’, and a few places beginning with ‘Offer’. Offer Lookout Shoal, Offer Seal Island, I wondered if an easterner was asking the names of places and was told by a local ‘Ya, dat’s offer Seal Island dat un.” LOL We came to another Tinker Island and Tinker Sunker and another Wreck Island and even another rock named Bad Neighbor!
Still no voices on the VHS radio, Dave sent a request for response from out AIS unit, but none came in. We decided to call the coast guard and ask about where we could get weather updates when we came into one bar of service. We had assumed that as we got closer to Port Aux Basques we would find cell service.
My youngest daughter who was leaving t go abroad for a year Sunday, had texted me so I took this opportunity to make plans for a call once we had better service. She was heading to Thailand for school and then on to teach in Qatar. I found out about the bombings in Bangkok from her.
When you are living aboard, away from human stuff, you forget how brutal humans can be. It seems we have explored the worst of what we are capable of in our world. I thought of the stories the Aussie sailors told us of witnessing the thousands of bodies in Rwanda piled up in schools, hundreds of babies with hammer holes in their sculls bodies limed and left there to decompose, the killing fields of Cambodia, the death camps of North Korea and Germany, residential schools and the missing women in Canada, we have brutal testaments of the worst we are capable of as humans.
Our movies, TV shows and novels celebrate this aspect of humanity, all about murder, war and betrayal, what if we began to focus on the best we are capable of? The creativity we express through our art, music, dance and design? What about our kindness, compassion and bravery? We know we create our reality, and we do collectively as well.
I want to focus on the great stuff we can achieve and I want to expect that greatness from all people, nurturing it where I can in myself. This, it seems is what we must do.
Back to this moment, we still had not heard anything on the VHS no matter where Dave turned the channel, so the decision was made to call the coast guard and ask. They were very friendly and helpful, we could get coast guard weather updates on a channel we had never used, 28. Yes, they had weather and wave updates, but in pure Newfaoundlandeese. Between the accent, phrasing and the cutting in and out of reception, there was not a chance our Ontario ears were able to decipher what the guy was saying enough to make sense of it. Dave called the coast guard back and she offered to give us the latest weather update when it came in in an hour. She also advised us to check in with Traffic Control in Port Aux Basques once we had reached Rose Blanche.
Since that is where we were, right off another ‘Tinker Sunker’ Dave called in on channel 11 and was told there was no other traffic out there except the Ferry between Ramea and Burgeo that we had passed two days ago. It’ a big ocean!
We had Jenny out but as the wind was right behind us and she was floundering around. Dave went out to see about using our whisker pole to hook to her and hold her out. This was something we were told could be done, but had never tried it. He decided it would be easy enough to put out, but how the heck would you bring it in if you needed to drop the sail quickly? So he then tried to harpoon Jenny’s Clue, (the outer corner) with a boathook and use that to hold her out. That was entertaining to watch. He gave it up after a bit and came back in. It was time for us to turn in ti Isle aux Morts anyway, and with all the waves crashing rocks and shoals around us, I wanted more control over Mysti anyway. In came Jenny and we headed into the rocky entrance to the Inlet that held Squid Hole.
I think it is called Squid Hole because with all he little islands and meanderings around it it looks like a squid. It seemed too narrow to get in, but we did and the anchor held firm. But there was virtually no cell service here. One bar came in and out, even when I lashed my iphone to the selfie stick and put it up in the air as high as we could. We really wanted access to weather and tide updates. We debated going into Port Aux Basques and tying to a dock, debated the weather for Thursday as being maybe a bit windy for a crossing, maybe we should wait a day??? But who knows what the weather would really do tomorrow, and who knew if it would change for the better or worse waiting a day?
We decided to have a crab dinner in our foggy anchorage instead. When in doubt, celebrate.
Dave took the dingy out to see if he could find cell service and I began food prep for the evening and the overnight. Hummus and Guacamole were made and stowed in containers, the chicken stew I had made and frozen in preparation was taken out to defrost and Potatoes a la Pete were prepared along with the crab for the BBQ upon Dave’s return.
Potatoes a la Pete came from an adaption of how Dave’s brother Pete does potatoes on the BBQ.
Tinfoil with olive oil, sliced onions, slices of potato, grated cheese, another layer of potato, grated cheese, potato and then onion and olive oil. Seal up the tin foin package and BBQ it for about 20 minutes or so, depending on the quantity and thickness of the potatoes. Steamed cauliflower and a salad using only our own greens which were finally growing in the few days of summer we had.
I wanted to check on Dave, out there in the choppy seas so I held up the iphone to get some service and texted him, only to notice his phone sitting there plugged in. He had his blackberry though so I called him on that and found out he was just coming back. The call quit three times.
Sure enough I heard the dingy and there he was. There was no cell service in the little town of Isl Aux Morts, but he found five bars in a cove right outside of Squid Hole and was able to update his weather and tide pages. I was imagining him sitting out there in the fog and swells with his laptop open in the cove. I wish I was there with a camera! LOL
We put on some music, made some tequila cocktails and feasted on the last of the gift crab from the fishermen of St. Brides. We finished off another perfect evening by me ‘letting’ Dave beat me badly in cribbage. Ya, I was way behind the skunk line.
Coulette Bay, Cinq Cerf Newfoundland and Labrador
18 August 2015
Next morning was a misty morning, but visibility was good and we could see the beautiful opening of Cinq Cerf as it came in from the ocean. Very pretty place and another 10, perhaps 10 and 1/2 due to the beautiful swimming hole it also boasted. I wanted to say that it felt like we were in a water colour painting done by a master, but I realize what we were in at this moment is what a master painter hopes to capture, but never quite can. We were in beauty. Pink rugged mountains backdropping rolling green hills, deep blue waves, white spray against the shoreline, blue skies.. words, nor photographs could capture this experience. We were in it, breathing it in as we went along the shore.
We moved a little further out into the ocean and brought out Mac to help stabilize us in the rolling seas, as we were heading right into the wind. We were passing a very shoaley shoreline, with rock names like ‘Bad Neighbor’ that made us chuckle and wonder at the story behind that name!
Kato had been out on the side of the deck but now meowed to be please taken in as it was too rolley for him to trust! Dave brought him into the wheelhouse but he chose to go back out and sleep under the bench behind us. We always keep him tethered when underway, unless he goes below deck. We keep humans tethered as well, unless they are in the wheelhouse or below deck. We have a rule that if you cannot swim to shore wherever we are, if on deck you have a lifejacket on. If there are any waves causing rolling, you are tethered to the boat. We have no intention of ever having to use our MOB techniques for anyone on this boat.
So many cemetery markers and memorial markers line the shores for lost mariners and ‘Those drowned at sea’, that you become aware of the cost of ocean life, the situations that can easily arise that you need to be prepared for. Here few can swim and we so rarely ever see anyone in lifejackets that one wonders. The ancestors that survived here must have had an ability to let go and trust, or they would never have left Europe. That ability to just step out into it and let fate decide is bred in the bone here and it makes sense it was so, but I want the life jackets and jack lines, the security of the life raft and survival suits we have aboard.
Yes there are many gravestones with ‘accidentally drowned’ , ‘lost at sea’ , but imagine if shore locked cemeteries put in ‘died by car accident’, ‘killed in a collision’, ‘killed by a drunk driver’, ‘fell asleep at the wheel’. Our cemeteries would be far more ominous than any by the sea, and one would think twice before ever getting on a highway! Perspective, you are actually statistically more likely to be killed playing golf than sailing. Accidents happen and bad weather happens, but so does it in a car. Every storm brings traffic fatalities, but most storms are waited out at sea with no fatalities. Still, I want lifejackets worn when on the outer decks of our boat.
I was playing with the chart options of my ipad, as the charts for this area are based upon the 18th century charts and have not been updated, I thought to use the sonar charts which map the contours of what lies beneath the waves, This was an interesting way to travel, and when we came to sudden and steep contour lines we would put on the fish finder view on our Raymarine to see what it looked like. At one point it rose up to 200 feet below sea level and then dove down to 1,3401 and then a few minutes later back up to the 200 range! I was wondering what the solid grey blob meant! An underwater canyon!
Our AIS showed a big container ship off our port side. It is fun to find out who else is out there. 20 miles away you would think we could see such a huge tanker, but in the gentle mist along the ocean horizon, we could not see a thing. We could see the waves crashing along the many shoals and rocks of the shoreline on our other side though! We were coming through “Wreck Island Sunkers’ and ‘Slammer Shoals’ as we headed into Little Garia Bay.
We could see the bay from the wide entrance and headed straight in to where two little summer homes perched against the green hilly backdrop. Anchoring was easy and we sat out for a beer on the back deck in the sun. It was positively hot today again! I started some bread for the next few days and we took Origami out for a search for the swimming hole the guidebook told of.
Nothing was apparent along the shore, but we came to one spot that had two little brooks coming down. Kato and I explored the one grassy side, seeing caribou tracks in the drying bog. Dave hiked up the rockier one, and came back down about ten minutes later. ‘I found it. Just you wait. The place is beautiful.’ It was after six already so we opted to come back in the morning, although I had a feeling I was going to regret that. The sun was shining and it was hot now, it may not be that way in the morning.
We explored a few more spots, getting out to walk along a short pebbly beach where Kato spent time sniffing everything he could! We ambled over a stretch of smooth rock that looked like seals aught to be sunning there. Both rock hounds, we were picking up pyrite and citrine looking quartz, noticing the shale and the granite intermingled on the shore. Kato made his way along the upper ledges but when we came to a kelp stretch he meowed to be carried to the sandy beach around the bend. I noticed some sun bleached vertebrae scattered along the beach and upon further exploration found the skull and a few other bones. There was the only seal we would find on these shores, or what was left of him.
Back to the boat for cod au gratin, mashed potatoes and turnip and apple for supper with cake for desert, and for one of the few times this trip, we could enjoy our dinner out on the back deck enjoying the warm summer night. Glorious.
Coulette Bay, Cinq Cerf Newfoundland and Labrador
17 August 2015 | Cinq Cerf
Monday August 17th
We awoke to a gorgeous day, bright sun, blue skies and HOT! I went out to get a bucket of water from the ocean for rinsing dishes and it felt warm! I wanted to go for a swim and was working up the courage. I had not swum in the ocean in Newfoundland yet and may not have that opportunity again. Talking myself into it, I lowered the swim ladder and made it down to the bottom rung, and decided to go off the swim platform first. OK, so I sat dangling my feet in and Dave joined me as we sipped coffee, working up the courage. Well I finally did do it, I jumped in. It was fairly cold, Lake Ontario in July cold, but I did it!
Soon enough we got our bath equipment, gathered an eager kitty and headed out for an explore in Origami. We had found another perfect 10 anchorage; this place was beautiful. Green hills before green hills, before rugged mountains displayed their beauty around us. The Long Range mountains of Gross Morne reached these shores before dipping down into the rolling valleys that lay beneath the waves.
We toured around the rocky shores full of nooks and crannies and found a river coming out where we pulled the dingy up for an explore. Following the river a few yards we came to an amazing swimming hole! Just perfect for bathing in the hot sun. In our carefree spirit we decided to let Kato run free here as it was boggy surroundings, where could he go? The swimming hole was maybe 4-5 feet deep with clean clear water that was much warmer than the ocean was. Divine. Surrounded by green hills, the woody smell of balsam pine, we were in paradise, true paradise. We were so enjoying the sun and the water, but where was Kato? I got out, no one around to bother dressing for, and went calling him. He came right away so I rewarded him with treats I had brought and we went back in for another swim.
After our leisurely soak and sun dry, we were ready to go, but we saw no sign of our kitty, and this time he did not come when called. I put on shoes and hiked up the little hill for a better lookout while Dave walked along the shoreline. The little hill I climbed turned out to be an ants nest. Who knew ants lived in a bog? We searched and called for at least half an hour, Dave says at least an hour, to no avail. Dave decided to go back to the boat and get some lunch and his book to bring back while I stayed looking. I was imagining eagles, foxes, weasels, all kinds of killers. Dave was imagining Kato watching us with a smirk from a sunny spot. As he headed out he called me. ‘He’s right there, above you in the trees.” Sure enough he was right there watching us the whole time. Seeing Dave leave caused him to come out from his hiding place. The brat. That’s it! Tether from now on!
We went back to Mysti’Cal and put together a picnic and with fully tethered cat headed over to the little beach a few yards from our anchor and set up our folding mat chairs. I built a little rock table between them and Dave set up his sun umbrella and we had a lovely picnic of chic pea salad, crackers and leftover birthday cake. It tasted better as it got older.
Dave sat in his shade reading and I went on a water explore amoung the shells and seaweed. I like finding the shells with the holes drilled in them. I once learned what creature did that, but I forget! I came across a strange looking thing and called dave for a look see, but it went into the sand before I could figure it out. We walked along and he noticed a hermit crab scurrying around so went back for his camera while I kept it in visual range. We got a cute video of him checking out other shells, looking for a new home we guessed. Something bit my foot and I turned to see a hand sized pink crab scurry out of the weeds. We got some fun videos of him chasing us too!
Snails were everywhere, little ones and big ones, that was what I had seen earlier, a snail, but as it’s shell was under the sand my brain did not identify it.
A fun wander through the underwater life, a sit on the beach, Kato well tethered and tied to the dingy line to give him more scope, we had a good relaxing afternoon. Dave found moose tracks in the sand and took a picture comparing his footprint. We decided to collect some firewood and come back in the evening for a campfire before heading back to the boat.
We put chicken on to BBQ stuffed with our now rapidly growing sage plants, made some quinoa sweet potato croquettes and broccoli, and I redeemed myself with a perfect peach upside down cake!
We waited until after dusk had settled, to give the caribou and moose a chance for their evening walks and then leaving Kato behind took the one minute dingy ride to ‘the beach’. Gathering up our stash of wood I set a fire ready on a nicely sloping rock and Dave put some paper in and tried to light it. Now I fancy myself a northern girl, and heat with wood at home. Dave and I have an ongoing ‘who makes a better fire’ dealio, but he still came in and lit it. My fire. Well the lighter would not work. The wood was damp, yes it is Newfoundland, everything is damp, but he could not get that fire to light. I tried but could not get the lighter to work. It was a lighter I had just bought!
Dave went back to the boat to get more paper and another lighter. Finally we got a fire going..after moving it up the rock as the tide was coming in fast! Turns out the place the fire was initially set had a little trickle of water coming through it. LOL. And we had the lighter turned way down. Turns out it has an adjustment switch on it. We do like to laugh at ourselves.
Nice fire, I kept it going with bits of old lobster traps disintegrating on the shore and driftwood bits as Dave played guitar, singing softly in the starlight. The tide was coming in and our little beach was rapidly disappearing. The rocks we were on were getting closer and closer to the waters edge and we noticed that the water ‘sparked’ as it lapped the shore. The little phosphorescent creatures were alive and well here! As the ocean reached within inches of the fire we decided it was our cue to head back home. Our dingy was now floating freely against what once was the bushes behind the beach, tied mind you! After midnight the stars shone bright, but brighter still was the phosphorescent foam trail behind us as Origami’s motor stirred up the little ocean beings into a milky way in the dark of the sea.
Burgeo, Cinq Cerf, Couette Cove
16 August 2015 | Coulette Cove
Sunday August 16th
The next morning we left Ramea around 11 after waiting to see if the fog would lift. It didn’t, so we wound our way back out, using the handy track we had on the ipad from coming in, Dave sounding the foghorn out our front window as we came around bends in the thick fog. It is a strange feeling to be moving along when you can’t see anything, but can hear crashing waves and foghorns around you. You have to trust your equipment and your instincts!
Just out of Ramea we heard a MayDay on the VHS. Now there are levels of alerts, ‘Seccurite’ which is used if there is a problem like a log obstruction, a cargo ship moored or coming through, something you need to be aware of that may pose a danger. The comes Pan-Pan which means someone is in trouble but not urgent or life threatening. Like anchored but out of gas, or disabled and drifting, in need of a tow but not in danger. Then there is Mayday which is imminent threat, a medical emergency, a sinking ship, a fire aboard, or in threat of crashing on the shore.
This was a sailboat ‘Not a Pipe Dream’ calling from the entrance to Grey River in danger of running aground. We could hear them talking to the coast guard telling them their engine had quit right at the opening, which we had come through and knew to be not a good place to lose your engine at all! They were in danger of being dashed against those rocks and that would be the end of any boat.
After the coast guard got the details, they put out a Mayday. You are under obligation to offer assistance to any mayday, and we were getting our co-ordinates ready to call in to the coast guard in case we were the closest vessel to them, when we noticed the powerboat Alizanne on our AIS unit. They were closer and it looked like they were heading there, although we had heard nothing on the VHS as far as a response. Dave was just ready to call when we heard ‘Not A Pipe Dream’ call in that they got their motor started and were moving away from the rocks. They wisely decided to head to Burgeo rather than go into Grey River. We agreed! Not a place to go into if you cannot trust your boat!
Tragedy averted we put our speed back up and headed to our next destination. We wanted to do a fly-by of Bergeo just because Farley and Clair lived there for a while and wrote quite a bit about it. It was not all flattering and apparently their names are not welcomed there, but we wanted to see it anyway.
Along the way, in the thick fog we kept hearing the coast guard checking in periodically with ‘Not A Pipe Dream’, making sure all was good. They had ‘Search and Rescue’ on stand-by until they knew the boat was well on their way to Bergeo, asking them to check in once they were secured there. It is good to know that they are so thorough. Pipe Dream estimated they would be there in 3.5 hours, we would be there before an hour so would miss them.
We nipped in past the town proper, just making out the islands and rocks we needed to wind through, sounding our hand held fog horn as we went along and into the little bay we were going to anchor in for a couple of hours. We took a few turns until we found a spot to drop the hook, beside an abandoned fishing plant, closed Kato up in the boat and dingied through the maze of tiny islands to the government dock. It was a little harbour, and we noted two sailboats and a few assorted little fishing boats filling up the sparse dockage. We tied our dingy to a low stationary dock and went ashore.
There were boats up on the hard, we noticed one from Kingston there with a trailer beside it, no one home though. Dave was walking ahead and I heard him say, “ You won’t believe who’s here!” I rounded the corner and there was ‘Beamy’ from Picton, all hauled out.
We called a greeting and out came Bernie, just as surprised to see us. We caught up on his news and told him that we would get places to hear about ‘another Ontario guy, single handing, poor guy, his wife broke her ribs and had to go home! Just left this morning before you came in!’ We thanked him for getting the green marker put in at St. Brides for us. He told us that story of hitting unmarked shoals, but as he had a swing keel he could lift it and not get grounded. “Ridiculous” he said.”Those shoals should have been marked, sure I called the coast guard and complained”. We’re glad he did or we may have hit them too!
He had decided to pull out there and come back to spend another year on this coast, and they let him dig a hole in the pavement to put his keel in and helped him do it as well as helped him build a wooden cradle to hold Beamy through the winter. ‘It’s the most secure spot I’ve had to keep the boat in!’ and it was a little sheltered nook with a small hill on either side of the boat. She was in no danger here no matter what the winter brought. ‘And you know the lady that runs the place did my laundry! I think she felt sorry for me, a man on his own, losing my wife, and I act like I can’t use a washing machine.’ LOL
We hiked around a bit and saw a drug store that did not yield any supplies we needed, so decided to walk the ‘Oh just five minutes up the road’ to a grocery store. Twenty minutes later, still no grocery store, (it was much further up) we came to a convenience store that had potatoes, fresh broccoli and soda water! Yea! They also had Black Horse, a local NFLD beer so we stocked up, and laden with a back pack and a shopping bag full of supplies we headed back to the docks.
Bernie was hoisting a plastic owl, said to keep seagulls from pooping on the boats, but I am pretty sure they know the difference between a toy and a real threat. “I lost my pussy-cat as she went home, but I still have my owl!’ He told us from his perch aboard Beamy. We waved a goodbye and said we would see him back in Ontario and brought our stores back to Mysti-Cal. Raising the anchor and out, the fog had lifted a bit as we wound through the islands following the Ferry track through. The Ferry was just coming in from Ramea, so I slowed down to let her pass and dock before continuing through.
As we meandered through the very tight channels between shoals and islands, Dave was out taking pictures and I was on helm. The ipad chart was needing attention and I accidentally kept touching something that kept loosing the tracks. As I was trying to figure out what was going on, I was not paying attention to the fact that I was OFF auto pilot and on standby. When I looked up, maybe 30 seconds later we were pointed right into some rocks. YIKES! Dave jumped, “What the hell!” Oh boy, inattentiveness is deadly. You really need to be focused. I got her turned and out of danger within seconds, but yikes, that was sooo not good. Texting and driving, looking at charts and driving, No. No. No. Not when in tight quarters with strong currents especially!
Once out into the clear we headed over to Cinq Cerf and Dave got a lunch of cheeses from St. Pierre with crackers and bakeapples, and leftover coleslaw. Later around 4:45 we saw a humpback whale waving it’s tail, and just before five a Fin whale surfaced three times before with a final blow he/she dove below.
We came into the easier entrance and headed up Cinq Cerf through the fog past Betty’s cove. We knew we had to go past woody Island and over a sandbar between two shores to our chosen anchorage, but it was confusing in the fog to orient ourselves and we almost missed a turn, doing a turn around in the fog to get straight. It appeared on the chart as one thing, but in the dim light through the fog as another! The charts were way off here, making it look like we were almost on the starboard shore, rather than in the centre of the channel on entering Culotte Bay.
The guidebook mentioned a sandbar and to favour the port side, so we kept Dave in the bow as lookout and entered into Culotte Bay. We could see big rocks sticking out on one side and a high cliff on the other, but not much else in the fog. We set anchor and relaxed a bit on the aft deck and as the fog began to lift we realized we were in another very beautiful anchorage! Private, no sign of humans, the green hills and what looked like a sandy shore ahead was very inviting.
After a late supper of leftover lasagna we sat out in the beginning twilight and Dave noticed a huge bird off out starboard side, a young eagle flew past us within yards. Wow. A few minutes later I watched Kato go on high alert and race to the bow. I followed his gaze as Dave said, ‘There’s a huge animal on the shore.’ Over on our port side we could make out a caribou grazing along the shore. Very cool! Kato was right up on the bow and as I went up to join him he would glance at me and then back at the caribou as if to say ‘WTF?’
15 August 2015 | Ramea Island Newfoundland and Labrador
Saturday August 15th
We left early to get to Ramea Island as there was a ‘Rock Island Music Festival’ that weekend there and we wondered if we would find dock space. We trusted our ‘dock fairies’ to secure us one and headed out through the fog, back through that challenging opening from Grey River out to the sea. The fog was thick again as we made our way across to the island. We sounded our fog horn as we entered into the channel that took us through to the harbour. There was one spot on the government wharf, behind two fishing boats at the end. We would stick out a bit and a small boat was tied at the corner, but it would work, so in we went.
No sooner had we tied on than the parade of visitors began. We were a bit concerned about bopping the little boat tied on the end of the wharf, it’s nose right in the side of our rear. One man said he knew the owner, a musician, played accordion. He’d call him to ask him to move the boat back a wee bit. Meanwhile Dave tied our cushion seats on the side so we would not get banged up, and we took Kato for a walk.
Just up the road a hyper dog in a fenced yard went nuts and I swear he was going to jump that fence to get Kato. Poor kitty just froze. Dave picked him up and carried him for a bit, calming him down, but the cars and the people along with dogs barking everywhere was a bit much for him so Dave took him back to the boat as we had decided to have lunch at the restaurant there.
The woman serving us was friendly and kind and we found out there were showers we could use for five dollars plus tax if we came between the hours of 11:30 and 4.
I will not comment on the menu. We found out where the festival was happening. Music was to start right after bingo and they boasted traditional Newfoundland food. That might be good! Dave noticed a man going over to the little boat on our stern and went back over tot he dock while our lunch was being prepared. I saw him talking and shaking hands with two men there and when he returned he said they were the ‘Pink’ brothers and were playing at the festival on Sunday. ‘Really nice guys’ he said. Our meal came, and in the words of Thumper the rabbit, ‘If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nuthin at all.’
After lunch, we walked up to the tent over the arena where an intense game of bingo was happening. Tables full of people absorbed in their cards, markers in hand were scattered on the concrete slab. Local firefighters in full uniform served at the bars along one side.
Food was sold on the other side of the arena tent from three cubby-holes; hotdogs, hamburgers and baloney burgers, french fries and onion rings. Traditional Newfoundland food. True, that is what we see in most restaurants. Supper aboard tonight.
We found the grocery store and they had a few things we could use, but they were out of potatoes and did not have any sparkling water or soda water. Just pop. We found carrots, a cabbage and a cauliflower that did not look too bad, and they had cat food! We wouldn’t have to feed Kato dog food any more.
Dave took the groceries back as he realized he was over dressed for the weather and needed to change, while I headed to a little outhouse size white shed that housed the community ATM machine and waited in line for my turn. The ferry had been bringing people over all morning and the roads were busy with cars and meandering groups of people. I am guessing this is one of their busiest weekends.
I found a little trail past a billboard that told the story of the settlement, based of course on the fisheries and the entrepreneurs who invested in the fisher-folks. Pretty blue butterflies on the flowers and a small trail that seemed to lead up the hills, but no berries. Dave arrived in a bit of a grumpy mood, lunch was not sitting well for either of us, and after a curt, ‘That’s not the proper trail’. took off up another hill. He got information at another convenience store and we headed up towards the trail. Earlier he had spied a long set of stairs climbing about 300 feet and thought that was the trail. You could climb up and get a nice view, but the boardwalk was further up the road.
I opted to NOT climb the stairs but to continue to the trail. I had heard that Ramea had the elusive bakeapples and I also thought if I was going to go to a dance tonight, an 8 kilometer hike was enough and I did not need to climb up those stairs. Dave opted for the climb so I went on ahead and after asking directions a few times found my way to the end of the road. I could see three routes that each seemed to lead to a home.
A man was out on his ‘bridge’ and he asked me if I was looking for the trail. ‘Yes I am”.
“Right here, pass through here” he pointed, and I could then see the beginning of a boardwalk.
“Aha, this is how you get to meet the visitors; good system making us ask where to go rather than using signs.” He laughed, ‘That’s about it. Lovely day, enjoy your walk.”
It was a lovely day. The sun was shining and the sky was blue as I walked along the well maintained boardwalk.To keep it up, people could buy boards and have their names burned into them. Family names, Keeping, Pink, Fudge, and other signatures were written every ten feet or so like waves of ‘hello’ from the families of Ramea. The boardwalk led over bog lands and I noticed blueberries just coming on along the sides so stopped to pick some. As I continued along I saw, (yes I did!) little orange berries glimmering. BAKEAPPLES!!! True they were at the end of their season, many were over ripe but there were bakeapples.
I tasted my first fresh one and solved a mystery. We could not tell by the taste of the jams and jellies why they were called bakeapples, but fresh, they taste like a tart apple that has been baked until almost caramelized. The texture I found to be strawberry like but Dave says more like raspberry as there is a tiny seed in each. Each flower has from one to five of the berries, either single or like a little cloud, which would be why they are also called ‘cloudberries’. Their other name ‘bogberry’ is obvious. Delicious! I watched for them along the way and found a few here and there. The boardwalk led along the shore and had some spectacular viewing points that begged pictures. Waves crashing along the shore, the sweet smells of the bog plants, sun shining and bakeapples. I was a happy sailor.
Dave caught up with me in a much better mood. It is so important, especially when traveling to be responsible for our personal mental and emotional well being, and important when traveling together to support each other with that too. Sometimes you just need to go for a walk alone to clear the clutter, and Dave knew how to do that. I appreciate that a lot. Whole holidays can be ruined by one person who is unable to manage their moods. I am grateful to travel with someone who knows how to re-balance. Tums help too.
We found a more bakeapples and soon were absorbed in gently poking our way across the bogs to pick the beckoning orange globes. I had foolishly forgotten a bucket for picking, so used my sunglasses case to hold the delicate berries. By the end of the trail the case was full and we had to ignore the berries that still called. ‘Walk away’ Dave said, ‘Don’t look’.
We came to the end of the trail and came to a dozen or so windmills at a standstill. This was an experiment to see if a diesel/wind operation would work for outport communities, with diesel supplementing the wind. We know that there are much more efficient wind generator designs available, but in Canada they continue to buy the huge bladed monstrosities that cause so much damage to wildlife. We also noticed that they looked in disrepair, even though they were new structures they showed wear.
Back to the boat with our precious cargo of bakeapples we took a little down time and made a cod supper. I had a nap after dinner and woke in time for the 10:00 fire works which we watched from the back deck before heading over to the dance. The first band was a guitar, bass, accordion and singer on acoustic guitar. There was a drum kit set up but no drummer. Instead they had a drum machine that they had to reset before each song. They played quite a few songs we had never heard about Ramea, as well as old traditional Newfoundland songs and some ’70’s songs.
A few couples got up to dance and we joined them. As more beer was sold, more people got up dancing and soon we were waltzing around the pot-holed concrete dance floor with twenty or more couples. Sitting back down under the domed tent, I listened to the voices of the couple of hundred people and they suddenly sounded like gannets. “Listen” I said to Dave, “a gannet colony!” He laughed. It did sound just like that, and suddenly the posturing and ducking and darting of the dancers looked like the colony behavior we had witnessed at St. Mary’s. I stretched my neck up pointedly and Dave laughed again, “You planing on flying away?”
We waited when they were done their final song to see who was on next and a young singer with a good strong voice and an electric guitar took the sage with his ‘back-up band in a box’. As good a voice as he had and as good a guitar player he was, it was a bit disappointing for a music festival to have canned music, even as back-up. But a crowd was up dancing and he got the younger generations up and out. It was a bit loud for our taste, it was late and we were tired so we opted to go back to the boat. We were leaving as people were just arriving and many still up dancing were older than we were, but that was it for us.
Ontario was not well represented in the drinking and dancing that night. Newfoundland had us beat with our three beer between us and leaving the dance just after midnight!