Minoosh Delivery (Leg 8: A long day on the Saint John River)
30 July 2013 | Saint John River, New Brunswick
James/Sunny and Nice!
The day began with a 3:45 am wake up, quick shower, and jump into the van with the trailer for Minoosh attached and ready to go.
Ryan was in Waverley, and was ready to go as well. He opened the side door to the van, looked at the cushy bed in the back, and crashed there.
Roughly 4 hours of driving later, we were in front of the Seamasters shop getting our outboard motor and buying a new dinghy for Amanda. We still had to get the new motor mount on the boat, get the motor back on, buy fuel, and get on the road.
There were some minor delays, but we got going by 11:00, about an hour later than I had hoped, but still early enough that we thought we could knock off the trip in one day.
Motoring upriver with Amanda and Ryan, enjoying the scenic views and sunny weather. It was almost too humid, and looked like thundershowers might form later in the day.
Around 4, 5 hours of motoring upriver, Amanda called Tim to check on his schedule. The plan was that A and I would jump ship, get Tim to drive us back to Saint John to pick up the van and her car and get them ahead of us to Fredricton, while Ryan was tasked with motoring on to Gagetown.
It took much longer than I figured to hook up with Tim, move the cars and get the trailer into the Fredericton Yacht club. Almost 4 hours. Meanwhile, Ryan was wondering about where we would meet him. With lousy cell phone reception, and having left the Nexus 7 in the van, he didn't have great navigation options.
We met up again in Gagetown Village around 8:30. He had grabbed a mooring ball earlier and come ashore with the dinghy. His spirits were down. "I'd be happy to burn that boat" he grumbled.
Wanting to make time, we had burgers and fries on the run, getting set up and motoring again, hoping that we would have enough fuel to make the final run to Fredericton.
It was soon very dark, and running up the channel from Gagetown, the main hazard was me running into pretty much any navigation marker I could find. Ryan decided to head to the bow and serve as lookout.
We got back into the main river system, and were making good speed over ground, with the big trans-Canada highway bridge looking like some kind of gateway from a video game. We skirted under it at low speed, reasonably sure our mast would clear, but not being able to check made it a little nervy.
Once through the gate, things turned magic. The skies were cloudless, the river was absolutely mirror, and the stars were glorious. It has been a long time since I have been fortunate enough to see the milky way stretch all across the sky, and finding constellations was more difficult because there were so many more stars than I can usually see.
Ryan came back to the cockpit and cursed, "You bastard, now my opinion of sailing has turned back again. This is magnificent!" We both marvelled at the night sky, and had a good long chat about life, the huge mysteries of the universe, and of course, other mysteries.
It was another 3 hours of motoring up the river until we got to Fredericton, with both of us taking turns on the tiller. We crept into the marina area, stole the first mooring ball we could find, gathered our gear and said our goodbyes to Minoosh.
Rowing the dinghy to shore like stealthy ninjas, we had to find a way out of the locked compound of the FYC. I chose to trudge loudly through the woods to get around the fence, as it ended about 10 meters in, while Ryan chose to "hop" over the barbed wire section. Neither one of us were terribly ninja in that action.
So, the van settled into a routine drive, making astounding time returning to a place that had taken us 7 days of hard sailing and many adventures to complete by sailboat.
I can barely remember anything remarkable about the journey home by car. I can remember everything about the epic trip by sail.
I think there is a lesson there.