At the Bras d’Or Lakes watching hurricane Earl
30 August 2010 | St. Peter’s, Cape Breton, Canada
Sylvia - Beautiful now but ??? coming
August 25, 2010 - Charlottetown, PEI
We started the day turning EOS around and moving her from one leg of the L -shaped dock to the other. Northern Light left and there was now space for us. The other side is supposed to be the one that is the quietest if the winds start to pipe up and comes down the channel. The winds were from the right direction so we could turn her just like we have a couple of other times. We are getting pretty good at it now. It is a matter of letting go of the stern and mid lines and letting the wind blow the stern out while walking the bow around on the dock. Then Bill uses the engine to work her stern around more so that the mid then the stern lines on the other side can be taken in while she stays attached at the bow. We, of course, must have help on the dock while I take in and throw out lines from the boat and Bill does his thing with the engine. But this has proven to be a great way to turn her around when things are too tight to just motor her around and come in on the other side. We could probably do it ourselves in an emergency using windlasses and winches and extra long lines, but so far there have always been willing sailors to help us. We like to have her turned around and headed out so that leaving is a simple thing to do whether it a leisurely leaving or an emergency get-away.
It was a beautiful day and tomorrow it is supposed to rain so the rest of the day was spent getting out and wandering around Charlottetown. A walk up to the older part of town near the marina lead us past come wonderfully restored old row houses as well as various shops and eateries and a lovely basilica.
We ate lunch al fresco on a pedestrian only street and were entertained by a young pianist in a small gazebo who obviously loved and could really play ragtime. His playing was definitely professional and afterward we went over to talk to him and drop some money in the bucket. He and Bill had a friendly chat and Bill asked him about playing some slow stride music. He did and did it marvelously.
We then wandered down to Peake's Quay where there were several touristy shops and I finally had an ice cream cone. I had been saying for days that I was going to get one but then I wouldn't be hungry after eating. This time I ate very lightly at lunch and then got my Cow's ice cream cone.
Ken and his crew had moved Fair Wind from the yacht club to the Quartermaster Marina where they could get fuel and pumped out and where it was less expensive. So we wandered over to see them since it was right by Peake's Quay. And there was a 56' steel sailboat way up in the marina. We have no idea how they got it in there or how they are going to get it out. Ken said the corners weren't any too large for his 30 footer and he wished he had been there to see them get it docked.
When we returned there was Samuri anchored out in the bay. Christian and Evelyne dinghied over by us and we loaned them one of our big fenders to keep their dinghy from being slapped up against the dock while they went into town. The wind had come around and was now blowing us onto the dock with considerable force. But it was great wind for the yacht club's Wednesday night races. Out they all went jamming it for all they were worth. The start/finish line was directly off our beam so we had the best seat in the marina for watching them jockey for starting position and to see them come over the finish line.
After eating an onboard dinner, posting some photos on the blog and watching the race we settled in for an early but not too peaceful night with the wind on the beam. But we were securely tied and fendered and Eos just sat there and let the wind nestle her up against the dock. We only really awoke when the rain started during the night and a check by Bill showed that she was still just fine.
August 26, 2010 - Charlottetown, PEI
And rain it did today - all day. During a brief stop in the morning Ken came over and we had coffee and chatted for several hours. He is very good mechanically with all of the boat things and helped us with our stove. The interlock on the burner was shutting it off when you released the knob unless I held it on for an excessively long time to get it heated up enough to stay on. Ken looked at it and immediately noticed that it wasn't at the heat probe end of the interlock unit but at the gas valve end. He tightened it up and now it works great. Bill said I wonder why I trust these people to put their appliances together when they don't always finish the job.
After Ken left we cleaned and read and did stuff inside while it rained and rained outside. By late afternoon we caught a gap in the rain and went up to the yacht club to get on line and check the weather. It looked good for a trek on down the coast the next day and it looks as if hurricane Danielle won't be a problem up this way but we will have to watch Earl.
27 August, 2010 - Pictou, New Brunswick
We were up and away by 0930 to catch the tide right leaving Charlottetown. Samuri was already gone and Fair Wind was staying for another day, we think. We were able to motor-sail for a couple of hours and then the wind died to nothing. The seas were only 0-1 foot so we made good time down the coast to Wood Islands. PIE where we thought we would stay for the night. There is little there and it is one of the terminal points for the ferry line connecting PEI to the mainland but it was much closer than going all the way up river to Pictou, Nova Scotia on the other side of the Northumberland Strait. We motored in about 1500, looked around, looked at the depth meter and turned right around and headed across the strait to Pictou.
We dropped anchor at Pictou at 1800 right off the big main pier. We noticed a catamaran around on the other shallower side and suspected that it was Samuri. It was a little more sheltered where they were anchored but we didn't like the depth. It all worked out fine. It was a very quiet night at anchor with no wind at all most of the night.
28 August, 2010 - Ballantyne's Cove, New Brunswick
As we were getting ready to pull up anchor I noticed the catamaran leaving and chatted briefly with Samuri. They were off to Ballantyne's Cove for the night as were we.
We upped anchor at 0815 and motored up the river channel. When we got out into the strait there was wind we could sail in so we motor sailed for several hours. Some of it was great and the rest was iffy. There was enough wind at times to just barely hold the sails out. We were in sight of Samuri all day and partially through the day we gave up before they did and dropped the sails and just motored. By then we were ahead of them and heading around Cape George toward Ballantyne's Cove.
We called and they had a spot for us so we motored in at 1500. It was a tight little place and there was no room for Samuri but they dropped anchor outside the harbor which is what they generally prefer to do. The forecast was such that they weren't concerned about being outside.
Once again we got the local staff - this time three eager and willing teen-agers to help us turn Eos around. Had we been there before we would have come in a little differently and would have just turned her around and docked her bow out. The staff did a great job though and we were soon settled in for the night.
This is a big area for Blue Fin Tuna fishing and there was a quaint and very informative interpretation center that explained the fishing and commerce. A great deal of the fish caught here is bought by Japanese Sushi bars and after the daily auction, the tuna is put on planes and immediately flown to Japan for their auctions the next day. It certainly is a small world when you learn things like this.
29 August, 2010 - Big Basin, Cape Breton, NS
We were up and away from the dock by 0700 to traverse the Canso canal and lock and head up Lennox passage toward the Bras d'Or lakes on Cape Breton. It was another benign motoring day and we made wonderful time. We called the Canso lockmaster and he told us to just come on through. We didn't need to even tie up. We just idled in the middle of the lock while they closed the gates behind us and then motored on through as soon as they had opened the gates and swung the bridge out of the way. There had been a big ship through earlier but we met it before we actually entered the canal itself. This was by far the easiest locking experience we have had yet.
We motored on down the canal and turned up into the Lennox passage and then motored into the many islands here and set anchor in a lovely bay, the Big Basin. It was only 1315 when we anchored so we had a very quiet and leisurely afternoon and evening hanging at anchor. There isn't much around that we could see so we didn't bother to get the dinghy launched.
Tomorrow we will be going on up the Lennox passage and through St. Peter's canal and into the Bras d'Or lakes themselves.
30 August, 2010 - St. Peter's Lions Club Marina, Cape Breton
We had a leisurely start to the day and headed up the Lennox Passage on Cape Breton Island about 0945. The seas were minimal and the wind conditions were light so we made good time. When we reached the Burnt Island Bridge they had it open for us and we passed right through. At the St. Peter Canal locks the same thing happened. The lock was already open on our side so we motored right in and tied up. They then closed the gate behind us and opened the one in front. It was only a 4 foot drop that we really didn't even feel as we chatted with lockmaster. They then drove up the ½ mile to the bridge that needed to opened as well and radioed back for us to pass on through. After all of the other locks this was a piece of cake.
After leaving the lock we turned immediately to port and went to the St. Peter's Loins Club Marina where they docked us on their very solid gas dock.
We will be here for a couple of days at least. We are carefully watching the track predictions for hurricane Earl. If he comes our way we will stay hunkered down here in the Bras d'Or Lakes possibly right here in St. Peter. The dock is very solid and there is no real fetch for seas to build. There is direct access over the rise from us to the Atlantic so things could get iffy. The main part of the lakes can get pretty "sloppy" as one of the locals described it so we aren't sure we want to head out into the lakes to even go to Beddeck or Dundee. We will just have to watch and see. We won't be going back the way we came until we see what is happening with Earl, that's for sure.