14 August 2017
If you come to Baddeck you must go to the Alexander Graham Bell museum. What an interesting man he was, and it seems well loved by all who knew him. The shops and restaurants are interesting and independent and the people are here from all over the world. The marina has a world map up where visitors pin the map from where they are from. Sailors from every language stroll the boardwalks and sailboats flying flags from from everywhere swing on their moorings in the sheltered harbour.
One night sitting on our boat we heard the most beautiful woman voice echoing off the water and decided we needed to go ashore to see where she was.
They had the main street blocked off and there were venders with food and art and interesting ideas, even a fortune teller! We walked past a young woman by herself who seemed to be busking towards a crowd watching something we assumed must be our mystery singer but saw fire batons thrown above the crowd and realized it was not music.
Back up the other way we stopped to ask a vender where the singer we heard might be and noticed he had Cool Hemp coffee. Cool Hemp was a name of a company that was our friends Rob and Christine and sure enough this guy was their distributor in NS. Small world. Big Spruce Organic brewing company was there. We had stopped by their hop yard last year to meet the farmer as we are thinking about putting in a hop yard ourselves.
As we walked by the very young busking woman she started to sing and that voice filled the air. It really is in the genes here. We told her ow she was a siren that calle dos in and stood to listen to her for a lovely while, sipping Big Spruce Organic beer.
We also found some of the tastiest garlic and brought some back to the boat. Baddeck is fun!
The day after Dave's Birthday was suppose to be a day off for him as he was pretty tired, and a boat cleaning and laundry day for me. He did have one job o do, finish the second toilet installation.
It was a windy and rainy day and
when we went out to start the dingy it was full of water! Dave realized that when he was installing a part to the boat he forgot to tighten some screws and it was leaking. Yikes!
He took me over to shore with the garbage and recycling and laundry and promised come back and get me when I was done.
I browsed the shore for sea glass and got an unexpected FaceTime from our 4 year old twin grandsons who were excited to tell me they had learned to ride their two wheeler bikes they had gotten for their birthday in June. The only problem with sailing is I miss my little people. Their one year old sister had called earlier that day to show me she could say Granny and Pop Pop now.
Over laundry I met a local real estate agent/sailor/ resident of Baddeck, she used to teach junior sailing and had just bought a small sailboat she was fixing up to teach her kids to sail. It is a sailing community here.
Dryer loads finally done I called Dave to come and get me, but the motor on the dingy would not start and he had worn himself out trying to get it going. I took the $5 water taxi home and had a go at the dingy motor taking out and cleaning the spark plug...and who designs these things? Truly! You cannot get a spark plug wrench in there at all, no you have to fiddle with pliers and have hands small enough to get in there. I kept thinking water had gotten into the gas somehow but I could not get it going either.
Dave taxied over to get a new spark plug even though I had cleaned this one, but they did not have the kind we needed. But the toilet got installed after discovering the 32 dollar part we had bought was not what we needed. Good thing we had bought it here and could return it! It was just one of those days and it wore our captain right out wrestling with everything. So much for a day of rest for him!
We were expecting Eva and Gary to arrive the next day for a few days sailing with us so this was going o be interesting with no dingy. We decided to shift realities and made a lovely marinated chicken and baked potatoes on our stovetop oven, which works better than our regular oven and uses way less propane.
After a good nights sleep, the dingy motor started first pull, the newly installed toilet worked perfectly and the sun was shining!
Todays plans are to await Eva and Gary's arrival with our car and go stock up and then take of for a new anchorage with a pleasant sail!
We realize we need to take it easier as Dave is in recovery from 2 years of intense medical intervention and needs to take it much easier than he has been. It is agreed that I will be his personal servant and will do all the menial tasks and the running and fetching for him on this trip.
I know how it looks and my feminist attitudes are having to suck it up and cater to a man's needs lol! The good part of that is that while I have been working on keeping his weight and nutrition levels way up for the past two years, mine have gone up too and some of the pants I left on board two years ago are a bit tight... so it does work out well for me to do all the slog work of running a boat. You just never know how life will unfold.
13 August 2017 | Baddeck NS
II knew something was up when they put me in the car. There was barely enough room for me and I had to perch on His lap with a computer. he kept moving me aside from my comfort zone on top of the keyboard. SHE would not let me on her lap by the turning wheel.
When they finally stopped and let me out I was in a small room with the smells of many people, plus CATS and DOGS. I could smell them.
Next light we were off again to another place where they had a giant outdoor cage that fit my humans plus other nice humans and me inside. I could smell and see everything but they would not let me out. The they locked me in a bathroom all night long after that, and no matter how i called, they did not let me out.
Next day I got to play in the big people cage until they took me in the car again to the sea. I know the sea. I sailed around Newfoundland so I am a seafaring cat. I got to walk along and smell until they put me back in the car. I wanted a nap anyway, but that was a long time.
That night I was back in the bathroom. They would not listen to me and would not let me out.
So next day I let them know my displeasure when they put me back in the car and we drove all day. I let them know how displeased I was at their treatment for the whole trip. I think they learned their lesson because they gave me a whole house to be in when they stopped.
They went away so I had the place to myself to explore until dark when they came back. There were lots of bees and the smell of sea, but they took me away from there and back to the car.
When it stopped I saw my big boat. It was not in the water, but I know how to climb a ladder so I went right up into it and smelled everything. My little boat was nowhere to be seen, but it was nice to be on the big boat again. They were too busy to play with me but when I went to go down the ladder it was pushed away from the boat! I could not get down! I asked them to leave the ladder where I could get at it and he finally did, so down I went. Well no sooner had I gotten away when SHE came and found me and brought me back. I had to watch for my opportunities when the ladder was there. They did leave it for me another time, but again SHE came looking for me. I got back up the ladder before she caught me. They should just trust me to come home. They get scared. I had to humour them.
More humans came to stay on my boat and then they locked me in the back cabin while a huge machine came and took my big boat and put it into the water. Finally things were starting to feel normal around here. The nice humans left and it was me and my two who headed out to sea the next morning.
I had forgotten how rolly my boat was but I soon had my sea legs again and I found my comfortable place under the back bench on top of the comfy life raft where I could keep an eye on things while SHE took my boat out on the big waves and then into an inlet.
It was strange. I could smell some sea, but I could also smell land and forest, and could see land close by. My little boat was back now, so that made me happy, except they had it covered with two little blue boats now that were slippery and hard to balance on. I did anyway.
Soon they had my little boat in the water tied to my big boat. I liked to go in it and sit.
There were lots of boats around the first two days. I inspected them as they went by us and some of the humans on board waved and pointed at me. Some of them had dogs.
We left that busy boat place and went to a place with less boats and lots of trees around. Another boat tied up along side us and I now had two big boats. THEY were nice to me and let me sleep on their boat. It was comfortable and they petted me. I could go back and forth between boats, so when all the humans were on my boat, I had the other boat to myself.
There was also my little boat which they finally took me out on the next day. I found my perch on the bow and let the wind push my ears back as we motored around the cove. I had missed my little boat rides. They had not taken me out for two years! Can you imagine that?
There was a dog on the shore that we went by who was looking at me. I know he wanted to chase me but he was scared of the water so would not come in after me. I would have scratched him if he tried anything. I told him that.
We left that quiet place and went back to the busy place and two humans I knew came aboard. They knew how to pet me properly so I let them stay aboard.
The next morning, there I was minding my own business on my little boat, having a nap in it, when suddenly my big boat took off out to the big water! My little boat was following behind it with me in it but none of my human were aboard! They were on the big boat all by themselves with the other two petting humans! My little boat was bouncing around and I was getting sprayed with salty water and it was hard to hang on! I was worried about them so I called and called and finally they came to get me and bring me on the big boat. I didn't like that. Not one bit.
Once I was on the big boat we carried on into an even bigger water that was a little bit bouncy. Nothing like what we had in Newfoundland, but bouncier. We came to a new place and they all left in my little boat and did not take me with them. I ignored them when they came back. Serves them right.
from Sydney to Bras'd'Or lake Cape Breton NS
13 August 2017 | Baddeck NS
As many of you know, but some do not, when we arrived back home from our NFLD voyage Dave was diagnosed with Mesothelioma, an asbestos-caused very aggressive cancer. An 18 our operation in January removed 97% of that malignant horror show in his abdomen, requiring a slit from stem to stern, removing and scooping all organs and putting him back together minus a few parts. This was followed by a chemo flush, a few more weeks in hospital and then home to recover. No sooner was he up and on his feet than he decides to cut a tree a windstorm had taken down, resulting in him slicing his ankle in the one spot not covered by chaps. He also needed cataract surgery in both eyes. It was a brutal year for him.
None the less, we drove out to visit Mysti-Cal leaving Kato at home for the couple of weeks last summer 2016. It was not possible to launch that year but we did stay aboard a couple of days on the hard, just to check up on everything. "Next year" we vowed, as a way to keep our spirits up! Mesothelioma has a very slim survival rate, but we planned on being one of those numbers and so far so good!
Upon our return again we found the cancer had come back, aggressively.
A year of chemo, as well as working with our colleague Wendy, herbalist and energy worker, and Talal, a mushroom specialist who has Dave on a strict regime of herbs and supplements that now take up a whole drawer of space on this voyage!
So this year we launched from North Sydney after driving here with Kato. He seemed so excited to get in the car, he knew where we were going, we were sure of that.
Upon arriving we set the ladder up to climb up the boat and Dave rigged a line so the ladder could stay swung out from the boat when not in immediate usage. We have a ladder-climbing cat who has recently figured out how to get out of any harness we try. Three seconds our Houdini has it down to. Whenever one of us forgot to push the ladder back out, he was gone. The first time I found him cowering in some bushes with a nearby dog barking away at him. The next time he came back on his own while we were out hunting for him, Dave hollering from up on the road that he was halfway up the ladder!
It was then I discovered my computer would suddenly not come on. At all. Dave took it in to a camera and computer place in North Sydney where a really nice group of people gave me a new hard drive. Photos were all saved but all documents are missing, except my daughter's University essays I had edited for her. My novel, poetry, musings and essays are no longer here but they may be somewhere in the cloud as the pictures all were!
While in Sydney we noticed an Old Triangle pub and decided we needed to stop in for a brew as Dave had played in the one in Halifax and in Moncton and one of the owners Kevin Evans had produced Dave's first CD with his duo with John Hughes.
On the way back from North Sydney, driving by the marina Dave noticed a boat out anchored... Could that be 'Beamy"? Sure enough, with binoculars we could see Bernie aboard, but had no way of contacting him but calling out and waving. He waved back.
When we were in Lewisport NFLD hauling out two years ago we were looking out the club windows and Dave said 'I recognize that boat coming in! It's Beamy from our port of Waupoos!"
Next spring we hang out as we got our boats back in the water and when I went to return our rental car to the airport, when trying to find the bus to take back, who was there but Bernie and Barb from Beamy who gave me a ride back to Lewisport!
Along our journey that summer we heard tell of them in Come by Chance Fogo Island.. "That poor english woman who fell and broke her rib! Now her husband will be sailing solo and she will follow along in the car.' Injuries can end a sailing trip faster than anything can!
Then in Cape St. Mary's... 'Well an Englishman with a little Ontario sailboat came in and didn't he ground! Called the coast guard to complain and then we had to go out and put that there green bout back out. So now youse'll be safe sailing in and out a here."
When we anchored and took a dingy in to Burgeo to check out the town of Farley Mowat's fame there was Beamy digging a hole in the asphalt to lay in his keel, already up on the hard for winter.
Back in North Sydney, when Dave emailed him later he responded saying he did not recognize who were were on shore but would be in the lakes all summer so we would be sure to meet up again.
It took a little longer than planned to get in the water, as it does, but there is no way we would have got in sooner than we did without my cousin and his wife showing up. Jim and Tammy were traveling through from near Calgary in their motor home, scattering my uncle ashes. Some of our family came from Scotland to Cape Breton originally, so this was one of the spots on his ancestral trip.
I went to pick them up from their campsite near Baddeck as we waited for the crew to arrive to put us in the water. They said around noon and we were back in plenty of time, to wait.
Finally around 3:00 a man showed up staring up at the boat.
'Hi, are you here to put us in the water? We have been waiting for the crew to arrive since noon!'
"What crew? I am it!' he said, 'But I would rather wait until tomorrow to do it'.
'We have been waiting all afternoon' I told him.
"Well I had a chance to sail out in Baddeck, but it was raining when I got there' he told us.
'But you told us you would be here at noon to put us in the water... '
'Well OK, if you have crew here we might as well get it done.'
We were an annoyance to him and I didn't want an annoyed man hauling our boat around so I tucked mine away in favour of appeasement.
'That would be great, it means a lot to us' I told him. 'Really appreciate it.
So with Tammy and Dave aboard, and Jim and I on the ground, we got the belts under her, with strips of linoleum to save the hull paint positioned between the straps and the boat, kicked the stands out and she was on her way over to the salt water. It was tricky and the expected crowd had gathered to watch the maneuvers, offering stories of disasters and comments on how it should be done, but we got her lowered into the water.
The operator was untying us and yelling for Dave to throttle up and get going, but Dave had other ideas and yelled back to keep her tied in! Good thing as the throttle was not working and we had no forward!
We stayed in the launch slip for the night as the operator had somewhere else to be. Tammy and Jim had a night aboard, in the launch slip and it was great to catch up over wine and a curry. The throttle problem turned out to be a stop lever on the newly re-built fuel pump which needed an adjustment, an easy fix.
The next day they helped us get over to our slip, get the sails on and clean and organize ready to go as only hard working Albertans can do! That night we had grilled Alberta steaks they had brought to share with us. We don't eat a lot of red meat but those steaks were the best either of us have ever tasted! It was a fun evening and it was sad to have to take them back to their campsite the next morning without even getting a sail in with them! But we did get a great visit!
Our friends we met last year in North Sydney, Richard and Diane from Maya showed up at the boat! Richard is from Madoc, near where we live, and Diane from England and then St. Anthony's NFLD. They had bought a Tayana sailboat in Panama and had spent the winter down there fixing it up and making it seaworthy. He had gotten really sick with sepsis while down there and so did not get everything done. They were there when my daughter's best friend was tragically murdered, and gave us some brutal insights into how the justice system works there. Richard was still recovering so they were going to take it easy on the lakes here this summer, like we are doing.
One more overnight tied to the docks and I took Jim and Tammy back to their campsite in time for check out and they were on their way to the Tall Ships in Halifax.
I spent the day doing ship shaping, grocery shopping and general get readiness while Dave rested and the next morning we timed our tides and set out to the deep blue to come around to the inlet to the sacred lake of the Mi'Kmaq nations, now known as Bras d'Or, Arms of Gold.
It was so nice to be out on the water again, but Dave was not up to sailing so we motored in through the entrance and made our way to Baddeck, the home of Alexander Bell! Kato was right out with us sniffing the breeze and tucking up into his favourite cozy spot atop the life raft tucked under the back bench.
The whole basin between Kidson Island and the town of Baddeck is a no anchor zone with plenty of moorings, and about a half dozen anchored boats which we also did as Baddeck Marine told us there were no moorings left as it was regatta week! So there we were anchored out beside a giant no anchor sign. LOL
We had an overnight and then met up with Richard and Diane on Maya in Maskells harbour, touted the prettiest harbour on the lakes. We rafted up and shared dinner with Kato happily moving back and forth between boats, making himself right at home on theirs!
We took the kayaks out for the first time and doodled around the cove, exploring the mini caves and the wetlands and came back for a pot luck dinner aboard our boat with a third boat, friends of Richard and Diane's who had just sailed in. They were also from England and had worked together in St. Anthony's for many years, he being the head doctor there. Dinner aboard with new friends in beautiful settings, this is the life.
We went back to Baddeck and Richard and Diane taxied us around to the grocery store and liquor store in anticipation of Dave's son Brennan and his partner Marina arriving to spend time aboard.
They arrived very late at night and Dave ran over with the dingy to pick them up and settle them in to their cabin. Next morning we set out for Maskalls harbour where we swam and kayaked and hung out for the sunny afternoon. Out on the water we all found we had no cell service and discovered that all of NFLD and parts of NS were out of service. Not having any way of finding out what was going on we speculated about North Korea, cyber hostage attacks, and all the craziness that goes on in the people world. It turned out to be a cut cable and by late afternoon we were back connected in to the world. I kind of liked not having connection, especially with the mass insanity on full display in so many countries right now. Anchoring out in this pretty harbour, surrounded by trees and birds, rocking on the gentle waves, away from mainland nonsense was more where I wanted to be.
Next morning we decided to sail to St. Petes and catch four of the Tall Ships which the internet had told us were there for the weekend. I secured the goods aboard and Dave tightened up the dingy and we headed out onto the rather choppy waters! I was
As we headed towards Berra Straight bridge we trained Marina to do the call honours on the radio requesting the bridge be opened.
This bridge is also called Iona bridge as the town there is Iona. We call it Richard's bridge as when he was telling us his plans and said Iona bridge I joked back ,What? You own a bridge? When did you buy a bridge?' So we call it Richard's bridge.
We had the wind to our bow so we motored into St. Peters but saw no sign of tall ships! We called the marina and got a mooring ball, and a ride from the Marina to the ships who were on the ocean side of St. Pete's. ! A whole fleet of volunteers were at our service as we were taxied over to the ships. We spent the afternoon snooping aboard the four ships that were there, the 'Mist of Avalon' appealing to me and the 'When and If' built by George Patton to sail when and if he survived the war. Unfortunately a car accident in France ended those plans and his boat is now on tour with he Tall Ships festival.
While there we checked out the lock system which we planned to go through to visit our friends on Isle Madam. I chatted with the lock master about how it all worked and got the low down. Usually one employee operates the lock and the bridge, so he has to run up to the bridge, let us through where we are to go right into the first part of the lock and tie off. Then he or she runs back to the lock and either fills or empties the water down the couple of feet depending on tides. Then they open the lock and out we go on the other side of Bras d'Or lakes.
Back to the boat for showers at the marina and dinner aboard. Next day we came out onto the lake to find rough waves but wind on our aft quarter, plus a crew meant we could sail back! Winds were perfect for us and we hit 7.4 knots on a few occasions! It was glorious sailing!
We got back to Baddeck and Brennan and Marina took day trips exploring the highlights of the area, arriving back late at night. Hang ashore is a Newfie term for the kind of folks who sleep in later than the fishing boats go out. Adjusting to Maritime hours was taking it's toll so we had some hang ashores aboard!
When they took off for Mahone bay we took off for Maskalls harbour for a couple of down days for Dave. We had a toilet to install, which meant painting the floor there, a new wind generator controller and a new inverter to install as our old ones were fried in NFLD. We now have power in the outlets when off shore! Civilized and no more cords to trip over! A subwoofer is also in the process of being installed in the cockpit, but he was pacing his workload with lots of naps and reading.
I decided this was a good place to practice using the dingy as I had not driven one since I was 12 years old! Dave took me out for a practice run, and then I took Kato out for a tour of the harbour.
It was a lovely peaceful harbour surrounded by forest with a lovely lighthouse at the entrance.
Peaceful until first three seadoos buzzed in making waves all around the harbour. Then two power boats came in blasting their version of music and shouting at each other over the very loud music,
The other six of us here anchored looking for peace and quiet did not exist in their world as they pulled up on the beach with the sign that said no trespassing and loudly filled the bay with their personal noise.
I had a wonderful swim and snorkel and dove down to check on the whirly thing that measures speed in the water which had stopped working, along with our anchor light and temperature gage for the engine. Gremlins aboard. It was not stuck as we had thought, so plan b.
Next day was Dave's birthday so we made blueberry pancakes for breakfast and had a leisurely morning. We got ready to sail back to Baddeck where Marina and Brennan were going to meet us for a Birthday dinner in town.
The one hour trip back beat the rain by about 10 minutes, and no sooner were we anchored in the no anchor zone then it started to pour. A rainy day aboard for installing the aft head, well, at least getting the floor painted to do so!
Soon it was time to take the dingy over to the little century hotel Brennan had chosen for dinner. It was an uphill walk but the rain had minimized by now. I still wore my NFLD Sou'Wester!
Dinner was amazing, locally sourced gluten free, and home made ice cream! Do try the Winter in Baddeck dessert!
Last Day in Newfoundland
20 August 2015
Thursday August 20th
We elected to stay in Squid Hole and do some clean up and departure prep, but over breakfast we looked at charts. I was using the calipers to decide which course to take over to Sydney when I saw a little island St. Paul's Island up a ways. 'What if we went there and anchored overnight, would that give us better sail direction and better wave maneuverability I wondered. We could take the 8 hour trip there, anchor and explore and then go to Sydney from there on a 9 hour trip, rather than an all nighter.
The problem with no internet is that we could not look up the island to determine the viability of that plan, except... we thought we might have some book somewhere and sure enough after searching Dave found a guide with postings from 1952 to 1977, all with advisories of terrible anchorage. One suggested sailors bring spikes and grappling hooks to secure their boats to a cliff in one of the spots! No thanks! We would stick to our original plan and head right over Cabot Straight in the late afternoon, for a morning arrival.
I was actually happy to clean out the wheelhouse which had really gotten bad. It is amazing to me how dirty a boat can get, I mean we are on water, how does it get so dirty? I took everything out, even the floorboards and gave it a good scrub down while Dave dealt with bagging the garbage and recycling and tending to engine room details. I left it to dry and sprayed lemon essential oil over everything so we could have a nice fresh place to hang out in for 15 hours.
Dave made soup and cheese and bread for a late lunch as we puttered and took it easy for the cool, foggy afternoon. Some warmed Brie topped with some of the red wine and cranberry sauce finished lunch off perfectly.
Dear Dave, he ran the generator and vacuumed the boat. Well, cat hair does accumulate on the cushions and such, it is nicer.... I did dishes and a final secure of galley stuff.
Preparations for an overnight crossing, Mysti-Cal style.
Place survival suits out in salon, along with foul weather gear and flares.
Put rescue remedy, homeopathic cocculine (anti motion sickness) gravol ginger in wheelhouse box along with a bucket.
(These first items are not expected to be needed, but we will have them there anyway.)
Go through emergency drill. Life raft deployment, emergency beacons, EPIRB, Mayday and MOB procedures.
Life jackets, throwing devices and lines are already always at hand as are jack lines and tethers.
Pillows and blankets out in salon.
Warm jacket and poncho's out and ready.
Dinner and snack preparations easily accessible in fridge and all other fridge items secured. Ukuleles and chord charts in nice clean wheel house along with whatever books and entertainment and writing materials one may wish for in the wee hours.
Fill water bottles and have on hand. (It is amazing how dehydrated one can become on water). Have all appropriate charts and calipers ready at navigation centre.
Make sure everything is secured below and above.
Do a 360 below deck and above deck to be sure everything is secured and all walkways are easily navigable.
Take a moment at the bow to ask for assistance from wind, water, land and all seen and unseen helpers, and thank them for the amazing support so far. Connect with each other and with Mysti-Cal and Kato too so that we are all one unit; wind, water, humans, animals, boat, and all earth and celestial beings. (The moon has a huge role in the act of sailing!)
Pull anchor up and head out to sea.
We did that and began our journey around 5 PM, leaving Squid Hole and Newfoundland behind us.
Little Garia Bay to Squid Hole Newfoundland and Labrador
19 August 2015
Wednesday August 19th.
We awoke to a cold, foggy, drizzly morning. Not at all appealing for a swim. Summer disappeared as quickly as it came on this changeable coast.
I stalled over breakfast hoping it would clear up and the sun would come out, and just as we sat down to it we heard a plaintive 'Meow!" Kato had been sitting in the dingy and it had drifted out to the end of it's tether, so he could not get back on the boat! Dave rescued him and we settled into a big breakfast of fresh baked macadamia and raisin bread and freshly ground coffee. We are loving this hand grinder we found in an outdoors store in Barrie last winter. The loons were calling through calling and through the morning mist we watched a lone osprey dive for fish.
"We are having the ultimate human experience" Dave commented. 'Good food, beautiful surroundings and perfect peace." What's a bit of fog and rain?
By eleven it had not cleared up at all, and perhaps the fog was even thicker, so I dressed in warm waterproof clothes, Dave donned his rain gear and we trundled off to have what I imagined would be a cold bath. We would not have a chance for a private bath again this season, and showers would not be until Sydney, we both badly needed a bath.
'You know' Dave said as we headed back to the boat an hour or so later. " I think part of our role as humans is to enable creation to experience itself through us..' I understood exactly. This universe needs us, we are creation experiencing itself through our human aspect. Our ability to see, feel, hear, touch, taste, smell and express allow a deeper experience of what millennia has created here on this planet.
During that past hour we had climbed up the stream bed Dave found last night for a few hundred yards, then crossed the tumbled rocks of it's 4 feet width, went up over and around the first fall through a mossy forest trail, trees perfectly placed for support up the bank, until we came around to a very beautiful waterfall that tumbled into a pool about fifteen feet long and eight feet wide. A perfectly flat three foot ledge ran along the side we were on with a couple of tree stumps hanging over above us that we could hung our clothes on. The other side was a sheer cliff rising about thirty feet above us. We could see three other waterfalls above, each with their own pool below it seemed. The water was warm and clear, with 'standing' rocks along the edges graduating from 4 feet under to 6 and more in the centre. Trees overhung the edges far above us as we grinned at each other in delight.
We soaped up with 'Dr. Bonners' and then Dave made his sudsy way over under the falls and literally laughed out loud as the warm water cascaded over him. 'It's a full on massage' he called delightedly! I swam over to join him and we both laughed with pure joy as the water tumbled over us, truly one of the better massages I have experienced and I know some excellent masseuses! We just let this magical place clean our bodies and fill our eyes with beauty and our souls with gratitude. It is a timeless experience neither of will ever forget.
These places exist throughout the world, these special magical places, and we are here to bear witness to this one, to appreciate it and experience it. Very few people will come here, and even fewer will find it or bother with the climb to get to it. We are of the privileged to experience this place. We are so very lucky.
After our bath we returned to Mysti-Cal in excellent spirits and pulled anchor to head to our next anchorage with the fun name of Squid Hole.
Along the way Dave checked for weather updates as we had to determine if the next day was still suitable for a crossing, but could not find any on our regular stations. As a matter of fact we could not hear anything even on the standard 16! We had assumed we were out of range in our last spot as we had heard no updates and as we had no cell service for a few days, did not know what the weather had decided.
We were passing funny names like 'Butt Shoal', 'Middle Stick Shoal', 'Harry's Knob', and a few places beginning with 'Offer'. Offer Lookout Shoal, Offer Seal Island, I wondered if an easterner was asking the names of places and was told by a local 'Ya, dat's offer Seal Island dat un." LOL We came to another Tinker Island and Tinker Sunker and another Wreck Island and even another rock named Bad Neighbor!
Still no voices on the VHS radio, Dave sent a request for response from out AIS unit, but none came in. We decided to call the coast guard and ask about where we could get weather updates when we came into one bar of service. We had assumed that as we got closer to Port Aux Basques we would find cell service.
My youngest daughter who was leaving t go abroad for a year Sunday, had texted me so I took this opportunity to make plans for a call once we had better service. She was heading to Thailand for school and then on to teach in Qatar. I found out about the bombings in Bangkok from her.
When you are living aboard, away from human stuff, you forget how brutal humans can be. It seems we have explored the worst of what we are capable of in our world. I thought of the stories the Aussie sailors told us of witnessing the thousands of bodies in Rwanda piled up in schools, hundreds of babies with hammer holes in their sculls bodies limed and left there to decompose, the killing fields of Cambodia, the death camps of North Korea and Germany, residential schools and the missing women in Canada, we have brutal testaments of the worst we are capable of as humans.
Our movies, TV shows and novels celebrate this aspect of humanity, all about murder, war and betrayal, what if we began to focus on the best we are capable of? The creativity we express through our art, music, dance and design? What about our kindness, compassion and bravery? We know we create our reality, and we do collectively as well.
I want to focus on the great stuff we can achieve and I want to expect that greatness from all people, nurturing it where I can in myself. This, it seems is what we must do.
Back to this moment, we still had not heard anything on the VHS no matter where Dave turned the channel, so the decision was made to call the coast guard and ask. They were very friendly and helpful, we could get coast guard weather updates on a channel we had never used, 28. Yes, they had weather and wave updates, but in pure Newfaoundlandeese. Between the accent, phrasing and the cutting in and out of reception, there was not a chance our Ontario ears were able to decipher what the guy was saying enough to make sense of it. Dave called the coast guard back and she offered to give us the latest weather update when it came in in an hour. She also advised us to check in with Traffic Control in Port Aux Basques once we had reached Rose Blanche.
Since that is where we were, right off another 'Tinker Sunker' Dave called in on channel 11 and was told there was no other traffic out there except the Ferry between Ramea and Burgeo that we had passed two days ago. It' a big ocean!
We had Jenny out but as the wind was right behind us and she was floundering around. Dave went out to see about using our whisker pole to hook to her and hold her out. This was something we were told could be done, but had never tried it. He decided it would be easy enough to put out, but how the heck would you bring it in if you needed to drop the sail quickly? So he then tried to harpoon Jenny's Clue, (the outer corner) with a boathook and use that to hold her out. That was entertaining to watch. He gave it up after a bit and came back in. It was time for us to turn in ti Isle aux Morts anyway, and with all the waves crashing rocks and shoals around us, I wanted more control over Mysti anyway. In came Jenny and we headed into the rocky entrance to the Inlet that held Squid Hole.
I think it is called Squid Hole because with all he little islands and meanderings around it it looks like a squid. It seemed too narrow to get in, but we did and the anchor held firm. But there was virtually no cell service here. One bar came in and out, even when I lashed my iphone to the selfie stick and put it up in the air as high as we could. We really wanted access to weather and tide updates. We debated going into Port Aux Basques and tying to a dock, debated the weather for Thursday as being maybe a bit windy for a crossing, maybe we should wait a day??? But who knows what the weather would really do tomorrow, and who knew if it would change for the better or worse waiting a day?
We decided to have a crab dinner in our foggy anchorage instead. When in doubt, celebrate.
Dave took the dingy out to see if he could find cell service and I began food prep for the evening and the overnight. Hummus and Guacamole were made and stowed in containers, the chicken stew I had made and frozen in preparation was taken out to defrost and Potatoes a la Pete were prepared along with the crab for the BBQ upon Dave's return.
Potatoes a la Pete came from an adaption of how Dave's brother Pete does potatoes on the BBQ.
Tinfoil with olive oil, sliced onions, slices of potato, grated cheese, another layer of potato, grated cheese, potato and then onion and olive oil. Seal up the tin foin package and BBQ it for about 20 minutes or so, depending on the quantity and thickness of the potatoes. Steamed cauliflower and a salad using only our own greens which were finally growing in the few days of summer we had.
I wanted to check on Dave, out there in the choppy seas so I held up the iphone to get some service and texted him, only to notice his phone sitting there plugged in. He had his blackberry though so I called him on that and found out he was just coming back. The call quit three times.
Sure enough I heard the dingy and there he was. There was no cell service in the little town of Isl Aux Morts, but he found five bars in a cove right outside of Squid Hole and was able to update his weather and tide pages. I was imagining him sitting out there in the fog and swells with his laptop open in the cove. I wish I was there with a camera! LOL
We put on some music, made some tequila cocktails and feasted on the last of the gift crab from the fishermen of St. Brides. We finished off another perfect evening by me 'letting' Dave beat me badly in cribbage. Ya, I was way behind the skunk line.
Coulette Bay, Cinq Cerf Newfoundland and Labrador
18 August 2015
Next morning was a misty morning, but visibility was good and we could see the beautiful opening of Cinq Cerf as it came in from the ocean. Very pretty place and another 10, perhaps 10 and 1/2 due to the beautiful swimming hole it also boasted. I wanted to say that it felt like we were in a water colour painting done by a master, but I realize what we were in at this moment is what a master painter hopes to capture, but never quite can. We were in beauty. Pink rugged mountains backdropping rolling green hills, deep blue waves, white spray against the shoreline, blue skies.. words, nor photographs could capture this experience. We were in it, breathing it in as we went along the shore.
We moved a little further out into the ocean and brought out Mac to help stabilize us in the rolling seas, as we were heading right into the wind. We were passing a very shoaley shoreline, with rock names like 'Bad Neighbor' that made us chuckle and wonder at the story behind that name!
Kato had been out on the side of the deck but now meowed to be please taken in as it was too rolley for him to trust! Dave brought him into the wheelhouse but he chose to go back out and sleep under the bench behind us. We always keep him tethered when underway, unless he goes below deck. We keep humans tethered as well, unless they are in the wheelhouse or below deck. We have a rule that if you cannot swim to shore wherever we are, if on deck you have a lifejacket on. If there are any waves causing rolling, you are tethered to the boat. We have no intention of ever having to use our MOB techniques for anyone on this boat.
So many cemetery markers and memorial markers line the shores for lost mariners and 'Those drowned at sea', that you become aware of the cost of ocean life, the situations that can easily arise that you need to be prepared for. Here few can swim and we so rarely ever see anyone in lifejackets that one wonders. The ancestors that survived here must have had an ability to let go and trust, or they would never have left Europe. That ability to just step out into it and let fate decide is bred in the bone here and it makes sense it was so, but I want the life jackets and jack lines, the security of the life raft and survival suits we have aboard.
Yes there are many gravestones with 'accidentally drowned' , 'lost at sea' , but imagine if shore locked cemeteries put in 'died by car accident', 'killed in a collision', 'killed by a drunk driver', 'fell asleep at the wheel'. Our cemeteries would be far more ominous than any by the sea, and one would think twice before ever getting on a highway! Perspective, you are actually statistically more likely to be killed playing golf than sailing. Accidents happen and bad weather happens, but so does it in a car. Every storm brings traffic fatalities, but most storms are waited out at sea with no fatalities. Still, I want lifejackets worn when on the outer decks of our boat.
I was playing with the chart options of my ipad, as the charts for this area are based upon the 18th century charts and have not been updated, I thought to use the sonar charts which map the contours of what lies beneath the waves, This was an interesting way to travel, and when we came to sudden and steep contour lines we would put on the fish finder view on our Raymarine to see what it looked like. At one point it rose up to 200 feet below sea level and then dove down to 1,3401 and then a few minutes later back up to the 200 range! I was wondering what the solid grey blob meant! An underwater canyon!
Our AIS showed a big container ship off our port side. It is fun to find out who else is out there. 20 miles away you would think we could see such a huge tanker, but in the gentle mist along the ocean horizon, we could not see a thing. We could see the waves crashing along the many shoals and rocks of the shoreline on our other side though! We were coming through "Wreck Island Sunkers' and 'Slammer Shoals' as we headed into Little Garia Bay.
We could see the bay from the wide entrance and headed straight in to where two little summer homes perched against the green hilly backdrop. Anchoring was easy and we sat out for a beer on the back deck in the sun. It was positively hot today again! I started some bread for the next few days and we took Origami out for a search for the swimming hole the guidebook told of.
Nothing was apparent along the shore, but we came to one spot that had two little brooks coming down. Kato and I explored the one grassy side, seeing caribou tracks in the drying bog. Dave hiked up the rockier one, and came back down about ten minutes later. 'I found it. Just you wait. The place is beautiful.' It was after six already so we opted to come back in the morning, although I had a feeling I was going to regret that. The sun was shining and it was hot now, it may not be that way in the morning.
We explored a few more spots, getting out to walk along a short pebbly beach where Kato spent time sniffing everything he could! We ambled over a stretch of smooth rock that looked like seals aught to be sunning there. Both rock hounds, we were picking up pyrite and citrine looking quartz, noticing the shale and the granite intermingled on the shore. Kato made his way along the upper ledges but when we came to a kelp stretch he meowed to be carried to the sandy beach around the bend. I noticed some sun bleached vertebrae scattered along the beach and upon further exploration found the skull and a few other bones. There was the only seal we would find on these shores, or what was left of him.
Back to the boat for cod au gratin, mashed potatoes and turnip and apple for supper with cake for desert, and for one of the few times this trip, we could enjoy our dinner out on the back deck enjoying the warm summer night. Glorious.