Downward and upward
22 August 2019 | Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia
I realise there is quite a lot of catching up to do since my last post, which left us in Grand Manan, so apologies if this becomes something of a travelogue.
We spent a full day on Grand Manan during which we were driven on a tour of the island by a very kind American summer resident who was the first person we met on stepping ashore. In our experience such generosity of spirit is not uncommon in both Americans and islanders everywhere.
The following day gave us quite a long sail down and across the Bay of Fundy to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. For whale sightings this was the best day of our summer cruise. Fundy is well-known for its cetaceans, which are attracted by the large fish populations which in turn are there for the rich feeding ground that Fundy constitutes. The cold water and the large tidal flows that stir it up are doubtless responsible. In addition to numerous porpoises, we saw several of the great whales, both finbacks and humpbacks.
Having arrived in Yarmouth and picked up a town mooring we dallied there for around a week. The anchorage and mooring field there are very protected, and are home to large populations of seabirds. Indeed I have never seen such a concentration of cormorants anywhere else. The town itself is a working town that is home to a number of tuna boats as well as fishing vessels of other kinds. There is nothing touristy about it, but having said this it has the best tourist information building we have seen in North America, presumably for the benefit of those coming to Nova Scotia on the fast catamaran service that connects Yarmouth with Bar Harbour in Maine. This was suspended while we there pending an upgrade to the customs and immigration facilities in Bar Harbour.
Yarmouth was our departure point for the rounding of Cape Sable at the extreme southwestern end of the province. This is quite a notorious headland, low-lying and thus hard to see, especially in the frequently poor visibility in the area. The number of offlying small islands and isolated rocks add to the intimidation factor, which is amplified by orders of magnitude when the fog comes down. This it did for our rounding, to the extent that we never saw the Cape. We have rounded it previously though on passages to and from Maine so what we experienced wasn't unexpected.
Having turned the corner to sail up the southwestern shore of Nova Scotia our anchorage for the night was a real discovery. Cape Negro Harbour (another of those non-harbours) was a delight; peaceful, protected and attractive. On previous roundings of Cape Sable we were not able to stop here because we were coming from Maine, and so had to proceed directly to a Canadian clearing-in location. The required facilities do not exist in Cape Negro.
After overnighting in the anchorage we moved up to the next anchorage, Carter's Beach near Port Mouton. Here we had been previously, having cleared-in in Shelburne. And from there we moved further up the coast to another new anchorage in the LaHave Islands and then made the short hop round to Lunenburg where we took care of a few chores and some provisioning.
And now we are in Mahone Bay, which is round a long headland from Lunenburg, where the first stop was to anchor off the Lunenburg Yacht Club in Prince Inlet. The inlet is very pleasant and the LYC is welcoming, has good, although expensive, Canadian beer and does not a bad fish and chips.
Next to where we are now, Young Island, where our good friends Terry and Peter, who are the OCC port officers for the area, have a summer house with two moorings. After a couple of nights on one of the moorings, last evening we moved around to the north side of the island to anchor for better protection from the predicted squally S and SW winds. And of course, because we took the trouble to move, even after a terrific curry dinner with Terry and Peter, the predicted stronger winds did not materialise today.
Now we plan to be in Mahone Bay for a week or so to explore its anchorages and just enjoy the sailing that can be had in this delightful part of the world. It is arguably Nova Scotia's premier cruising ground, although with only a small fraction of the number of boats that would be found in an equivalent area in Europe or the USA.