Minoosh Delivery (Leg 7: Saint John, Limping though the Reversing Falls)
24 July 2013 | Reversing Falls
James/Fair, with patches of clouds.
Limping through the Reversing Falls.
Up early-ish. Over to hardware stores to see if we can find some tools to bash the motor mount into some kind of useful shape, and the boat store to grab some spark plugs for our overworked, but very appreciated outboard.
The plan is to get through the Reversing Falls and into safer waters for the time being. The outboard, having taken a soaking the day before, is intermittent at best. I certainly don't want to try to run up the river on an engine that sputters every 3-4 minutes and makes me wonder if it will live.
The wiki on the falls: The Reversing Falls is an interesting water feature caused by the Fundy tides. The Saint John river runs through a narrow gorge before emptying into the Bay of Fundy. However, due to the extreme tides in the Bay of Fundy, high tides actually force the flow of water to reverse against the prevailing river current, thus making them actually reverse. The "falls" have a series of underwater ledges which roil the water in either direction, causing a "significant navigation hazard". As a result, vessels wishing to enter or exit from the river must wait for slack tide.
I had called up and asked about the best time to go. I was told 4:00pm. So, we were puttering with the boat at 10:30, waiting for Amanda to arrive, when another boat mentioned that he was going through at 11:19. Apparently, slack tide is about 2 hours on either side of high tide, so I wanted to take that window!
So, having bashed the motor mount into submission, we remounted the motor, got it sputtering to life, and just in time, Amanda showed up and we were off.
I was a little apprehensive. The rush to get ready didn't leave a lot of time for briefings, or even planning. Nursing the motor along, we proceeded from the floating docks by the Delta hotel upriver about half a kilometer. In spite of being about 15 minutes late, we figured we could handle what we saw.
Compared to what we had gone through the days before, the reversing falls was easy peasy! There was a little current pushing the bow around, but nothing terribly rough. We scooted right through with a minor push from the incoming tide.
Ryan, standing on the bow ready to warn me of any danger, looked positively disgusted. We had been thinking that the "Reversing Falls" would be a Boss level! This treacherous gorge of whirling waters, sucking boats into waiting rocks. Instead it was a gentle push through the easily read channel.
We were through and on the other side of the falls in minutes. Almost too quick to realize.
All well and good, thinks I. We're on the fresh water side now, but we have a boat with no electrics, a bashed motor mount, a dodgy engine, and a dog tired crew. Time for a little celebratory Craken rum for each of us, a short sail to show Amanda the boat, then get the motor in for service as well as getting a new motor mount.
We tied up at the Saint John Marina, where they charged me $60 for leaving the boat for a week. Much better than the $40 the guys in Digby scalped me for one night. And they were friendly.
So, having taken care of the boat, our adventure would be delayed until we had a solid motor mount, and a serviced engine.