Reflections of Summer 2023
18 September 2023
Following a very busy 2 days getting Dagny prepared for the arrival of hurricane Lee it was time to head home. Our friends Jos and Jean, from Hudson, kindly invited us over for an early supper then dropped us at the airport for our evening flight. Although we were confident we had done all that needed to be done to protect Dagny it was still a little unsettling to leave her at the mercy of Lee. Once we arrived home we closely monitored Lee's progress and were relieved to see that the storm weakened as it moved north and by the time it made landfall it was reduced to a tropical storm. The southeast coast of Nova Scotia took quite a hit and we were happy to receive a FB posting from East River Marina advising that everything was fine.
We have both visited the maritimes several times by car for short holidays but this was our first time sailing in this beautiful part of the country. The original plan had been to sail here in 2020 but we all know how Covid turned the world upside down but we were determined to get here someday. Following a 3 year delay our persistence was rewarded as we fell in love with this amazing cruising ground. We were fortunate to spend the summer with Peter and Cathy, our friends on their Saga 43 "Whitebird". This was their fourth trip and it was great to have them as tour guides as we visited some of their favorite anchorages as well as exploring new areas. Although we were disappointed that we didn't make it to Newfoundland this trip we were spoiled by the beauty of Cape Breton and Nova Scotia's eastern shore. The countless beautiful secluded anchorages, stunning scenery and abundant wildlife left us with a ton of cherished memories.
By the time we hauled Dagny last week she had been on the move 10 out of the last 12 months and as usual performed well. Our newly installed radar certainly got lots of use as we found ourselves enveloped in pea soup a few times. It certainly is unnerving to be travelling at over 6 knots in zero visibility, the only good thing about the fog is it makes it easy to find spiderwebs. Our new inner forestay and staysail performed well as did our upgraded navigation system. Actually the only equipment failure we had was our anchor wash down pump. Although this may seem trivial the thick black smelly mud that clings to anchor chains makes one a necessity. Constant exposure to the marine environment is tough on a boat both inside and out. Before we launch next year we need to refinish the wood on the heavy interiors traffic areas as well as the usual exterior maintenance.
So what do our plans look like for next year? Well as we know things
frequently never go as planned but for now the plan is to launch in mid July and prepare for a trip south. The thought is we would take 5 weeks or so to get to Chesapeake Bay by Labour Day Weekend. We would dock Dagny somewhere, come home until late October then return and sail to the Bahamas for the winter again.
Until then thanks for following the blog.
Today's picture is of Dagny in McIver Cove, Cape Breton.
It’s Time To Flee Lee
14 September 2023
When I called East River Ship Yard last week to advance our haul out date their schedule had been wide open, however, by the time we arrived attitudes had certainly changed. As hurricane Lee started to advance north with Nova Scotia in his sights the marina's phone was ringing off the hook.
We were certainly glad to be at the head of the line as we set about to prepare for Lee's arrival. Our flight home is now booked for Wednesday evening so we'll be very busy over the next couple of days. Once the dust settles I'll post a final blog for this trip with our plans for next year.
Today's picture is a screen shot of Lee projected track for 3 a.m. Saturday morning.
09 September 2023
Today’s bonus picture was taken in Mahone Bay. Turns out this guys co pilot dog died 6 weeks ago so he has trained his neighbour’s dog to ride shotgun.
Change of Plans Again
09 September 2023
It is often said by cruising sailors that their plans are written in the sand at low tide and that certainly applies to us over the past week. As I mentioned the other day we had moved our haul out date up a few days as the frequency of tropical storms was increasing. Now there's a definite threat to the area at the end of the week from hurricane Lee which is already a category 5. So with that in mind we will be hauling out September 12th which should give us ample to to prepare Dagny for the winter.
So as time winds down on this trip we are spending our last few days among the beautiful islands of Mahone Bay. This area really reminds us of the Thousand Island except more sparsely populated. There is no shortage of huge stately summer homes gradually taking over the islands. Fortunately, a few years ago a group of concerned local citizens formed a trust and started buying uninhabited islands and mandated that they can never be developed. To date they own 9 islands and have started installing mooring balls for visitors to use free of charge. It is amongst these islands where we are enjoying our last couple of days before heading to East River for our haul out.
While we were in Halifax a couple of weeks ago we wanted to hook up with some Hudson friends who moved here a couple of years ago but just couldn't get organized. So we took a break from island hopping to meet them in Chester and go sailing for the day. We had a great day with the Konencys and it had a bit of everything. The forecast was for sunny and 25c but when they arrived the fog had rolled in reducing the visibility to 100 yards. However, as we sat around catching up with each other conditions improved enough to set sail. Before long we were romping along in a 15 knot breeze under bright sunshine and everyone enjoyed a great day on the water.
We are currently anchored off Round Island and are the only boat here. It's really hard to describe how special this area is. Yesterday as we relaxed over morning coffee we watched a mother deer strolling along the beach as her two fawns played behind her. Blue herons patrol the water's edge while loons drift around the bays, it truly is a cruiser's paradise. With any luck the hot weather will hold for a couple of more days so we can get one or two more kayak rides in before it's time to pack up.
Today's picture is of a seagull looking for a handout at Backman Island. Even though they can be annoying at times they are a nice looking bird.
06 September 2023
This bonus picture is of the Osprey that had been on our boat, hard to believe such a big bird can sit on the wind vane without breaking it.
The End is Near
06 September 2023
Our first stop after leaving Lunenburg was a return visit to Prince's Inlet where we knew we would find shelter from the forecasted ocean swells. Although hurricane Franklin had veered much further off shore than expected it still produced some heavy seas for a couple of days. In fact, two people had to be rescued after having been swept off a beach by waves. We spent the next 2 days kayaking around the inlet while once again admiring the beautiful homes and inspecting the moored boats, one thing I never get tired of. Quiet evenings were marked by the haunting sounds of the numerous loons that live in the area.
We decided to head over to Chester for Labour Day Weekend to see if there were any festivities planned but we were surprised how quiet things were. Although Chester Yacht Club is a hub of activity in the summer with junior squadron classes and weekly races it all comes to an end by Labour Day. I think most of the participants are cottagers from out of town who all return home for the start of the new school year. The Fo'cle Tavern had reopened after the devastating flood earlier in the summer and being the oldest tavern in Nova Scotia we were keen to check it out. I must admit it sure wasn't like an HYC Labour Day Saturday night, the band played from 6:30 until 9:30 and the doors were locked by 10. However, the food was good and "The Groove Blues" band played lots of old favorites to keep us entertained.
As the month progresses we find ourselves spending more time tracking the progress of various tropical storms as they may or may not turn into hurricanes. After hitting Florida Idahlia was all set to sideswipe parts of Nova Scotia, so once again we poured over the charts figuring where we would hide. Luckily she veered further offshore as well and weakened to a tropical depression bringing minimal effect to the area. But we still needed to protect ourselves for a couple of days of strong northerlies. The harbour in Mahone Bay seemed the best choice, plus it was on our list of places to visit. We arranged to meet our friends on Arapesh there and spent 2 days exploring this historic town and hiking sections of the Trans Canada Trail. But no kayaking as the north winds gusted to 30 knots.
As time winds down on this trip we still have a couple of anchorages we want to check out so we will head out tomorrow for more adventures. But they will be short lived, we have moved our haul out date up to September 15 as the weather in the tropical Atlantic becomes more unsettled. The early date will give us a chance to get Dagny safely tucked away for the winter. Prior to leaving Chesapeake Bay this year we upgraded some of our electronics which included replacing the masthead wind transducer($500 USD). You can imagine my reaction when I looked up to see a big Osprey perched on the wind vane. Thankfully, with a little encouragement, he left without causing any damage and took up residence on a neighbouring boat.
Today's picture is of the landmark churches that over look Mahone Bay Harbour.