31 July 2023
The plan was made, we were all set to head off on the first leg of our trip to Cape Breton. With the first coffee poured we were on our way to Rogue's Roast, a well protected all weather anchorage near Peggy's Cove. As we left Lunenburg under full sail we figured the 30 mile trip would take less then 5 hours giving us most of the afternoon to explore this old rum runners hideout from prohibition days. However, as the morning worn and we were making good progress we decided to re-evaluate our plan. No matter what we did the trip involved one over night leg; however, going further today would make the second less tiring. Fortunately the rum runners were good a finding secluded anchorages so we altered couse for Shelter Cove which is about 40 miles north east of Halifax. Sailing conditions were great, 15-18 kts. from the south east and 3 to 4 foot following seas. However, as the day worn on the wind increased to 20+25 kts, 6-7 foot seas with only a 7 second interval. The ride was a little rolly but Dagny charged through the following seas under full main and a deeply reefed genny. The 85 mile run took us only 12 hours and as we picked our way into the harbour the wind disappeared and it was easy to see why the rum runners named this place Shelter Cove.
Although we had a much longer day than originally planned the effort was worth it as now we only had 110 miles left to go to The St. Peter's Canal, gateway to Cape Breton. After a great night's sleep we took advantage of a beautiful morning to enjoy this secluded spot. As the morning mist burned off and the anchorage came to life a bald eagle cruised by with his morning breakfast firmly in his talons. We were expecting fair winds for most of the trip so our 1 pm. departure would get us to St. Peter's for the 8 am. lock opening. We set sail once again in great conditions, 10-15 KT. SE breeze, light rolling seas and brilliant sunshine, that's right, no fog! We made good progress all day and as the moon rose and the wind started to drop we gybed a few times looking for a better wind angle. Eventually during the night we had to motor sail in the dying breeze as the moon disappeared in the approaching fog bank. By 3 am. we were right back in pea soup fog and no wind as we approached the top of mainland Nova Scotia. Bev headed off for a sleep as I kept a close eye on the radar since I couldn't see the bow of the boat. As we turned the corner at Canso for the last 25 miles to the canal I could feel a slight breeze on my neck. A quick check of the wind showed it had picked up to 12 knots so it was time to shut of the engine and roll out the genny. The wind steadily rose to 20 knots in relatively flat water, the creaking rigging woke Bev who came on deck to see what was going on. By then I had reduced the genny to handkerchief size, remember we're under full main, running off the wind, gusts to 27 kts in pea soup fog. I got laughing as I checked our route on the chartplotter and discovered the bay we were heading to was called "Bay of Rocks". However, as the sun rose and we approached Ile Madame the wind eased, the fog lifted and there was Cape Breton, right on the nose. We were a little early so Bev and I elected to anchor before the canal and get a few hours of sleep.
Finally around 11 am. we were up and headed into the lock and secured Dagny with the help of the great Parks Canada staff. Our destination for the next couple of days was the village of St. Peter's, only a kilometre from the lock. The cruising guides all comment on how friendly and helpful the harbour master is and it's all true as we were welcomed by the friendly staff.
Today picture is of our buddy boat Whitebird at sunset enroute to Cape Breton.