The Grander Scheme: s/v Northern Symphony

Another simple dream...Another crazy notion: To make a sequel to our Grand Scheme by making an extended great loop starting from our home in Nova Scotia. One boat, two so-called adults, one or two children, and one cat.

17 July 2011 | Mahone Bay, NS
13 July 2011 | Clarks Harbour, NS
04 July 2011 | Yarmouth, NS
22 June 2011 | Yarmouth, NS
20 June 2011 | Richmond, ME
19 June 2011 | Rockport, MA
16 June 2011 | Gloucester, MA
15 June 2011 | Sandwich, MA
13 June 2011 | Point Judith, RI
12 June 2011 | Mystic, CT
08 June 2011 | Mystic, CT
06 June 2011 | New York, NY
05 June 2011 | New York, NY
01 June 2011 | Baltimore, MD
23 May 2011 | Baltimore, MD
17 May 2011 | Baltimore, MD
16 May 2011 | Selby Beach, MD
15 May 2011 | Crisfield, MD
14 May 2011 | Cape Charles, VA
12 May 2011 | Norfolk, VA


17 July 2011 | Mahone Bay, NS
We are back. The Grander Scheme has come to a happy, quiet conclusion on our mooring at the Lunenburg Yacht Club just two weeks shy of a year since we dropped the lines and headed off...and what a year!

We left Cape Sable Island yesterday in the wee hours, 0200 actually, and caught the last couple of hours of the ebb tide around Cape Sable. There was a full moon so it was easy navigation and the winds were very soft so we just motored on. As the day progressed, we fell into our watchkeeping rhythm and enjoyed a rare fog-free passage around southern Nova Scotia.
The winds stayed soft so the ocean surface was almost smooth, despite the swells, which made for ideal conditions to see marine life. Humpback whales bubble-netting, dozens of fin whales, a couple of leatherback sea turtles, dolphins, seals, and even a marlin shared the day with us.

Since Anne and I had gotten underway while Evelyn and Leslie slept and we'd rotated watches, we decided not to put in to Liverpool after 70 miles but to keep going. Six hours later we turned in behind Cross Island, and began identifying islands by sight: We were in home waters. The sun set as we worked our way in and it was fully dark when found and picked up our mooring at 2230 with the lights of the yacht club shining across the water.

And now, quite suddenly. We will return to the ranks of those who live on land. There will be big changes, too, as Evelyn heads off to university and Leslie begins high school. But however far-flung we become, we will always be a family that can live and work together to do amazing things.

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

T.S. Elliot

The plague ship sails forth!

13 July 2011 | Clarks Harbour, NS
Well, after three weeks, we have FINALLY gotten out of Yarmouth!

Although it seemed like getting to Yarmouth meant we were home, and we have resurrected our cars and are in familiar areas again, etc., it's still more than a hundred miles from Yarmouth around to our home mooring at the Lunenburg Yacht Club. And it's a non-trivial stretch, too, as it requires rounding Cape Sable, which must be carefully timed with the strong Bay of Fundy tidal currents.

Why did it take us three weeks to get moving again? Well, first I had a week-long business trip, and then we had a week of running errands and waiting for an appropriate weather window. Then, when when things finally were lining up for a departure, I got sick! A very nasty cold that put me in bed for several days...and then Anne got it...and then Leslie got it...After a year in which none of us got much more than a sniffle, it was quite a shock.

We finally left this morning, with me feeling almost normal, Anne a day or two from normal, and Leslie asleep and still sick. Evelyn has managed to avoid it.

Our departure was in heavy fog and navigating out of the harbor was quite interesting. But the fog cleared as the morning progressed and we had good visibility as we went through Schooner Passage. Our endurance not being back to normal, we decided to make it a shorter day and stopped in to Clarks Harbor on Cape Sable Island, which is where we were towed in last summer after our propshaft broke. Nice to be here under our own power!

A Quick Update

04 July 2011 | Yarmouth, NS
Happy 4th of July to those of you in the USA!

You may be wondering what has happened to us: We are still in Yarmouth! We spent the first couple of days here driving a rental car to our home and resurrecting our vehicles. Fortunately we have three drivers, so Evelyn and I each drove a car back to Yarmouth (where we returned the rental) and Colin spent another night in the motel and then drove to the Halifax airport for a trip to Wales.

While he was away, we three drove back to the Valley and spent a couple of nights visiting friends. Leslie had a great time dropping in for the last day of school at Evangeline Middle School. She even got to go to the Grade 8 Graduation as a spectator with her friend's mother.

Now Colin is back, but the weather is not particularly nice for sailing around to the south shore (two meter waves, gusty wind, fog, and precipitation), so we are hanging out for a while longer.

Whales! And dolphins! And seals! Oh my!

22 June 2011 | Yarmouth, NS
We have returned to Nova Scotia! After 32 hours underway from our anchorage in Maine, we safely arrived in Yarmouth, NS (with Leslie piping us into the harbor) and cleared customs.

The passage itself was remarkably calm: other than a few 20+ knot gusts during a midnight wind shift, the winds were very, very light and we ended up motoring the entire passage. This made for particularly good nature viewing and we were able to see Minke, Blue, and Humpback whales, three kinds of dolphins, lots of seals, a puffin and masses of more common birds.

Now we're heading for the showers and dinner!
Vessel Name: Northern Symphony
Vessel Make/Model: 1990 Catalina 36, Tall Rig
Hailing Port: Lunenburg, NS
Crew: The Wightmans
About: Colin (skipper), Anne, Evelyn, Leslie, and Scourge-of-the-Sea, our boat kitty.
Northern Symphony's Photos - Cumberland Island