Halifax, Nova Scotia, 8/20/2006 to Bar Harbor Maine, 9/2/2006


We became land-folks for the first three weeks of August.  We had business to attend to in Toronto, a wedding in San Francisco, and repairs and re-provisioning Pilgrim when we arrived back in Dartmouth (across the harbour from Halifax). 

Now where to stow 100 bags of provisions


Why worry … just leave it to the expert


We also spent a day visiting Brian’s daughter, Hilary, in Antigonish where she was employed as the wardrobe mistress for the summer festival theatre. 


Hilary having a great summer in “summer stock”


The one and only shot of these two since Hilary’s wedding


On August 20 Jane’s daughter, Amelia, arrived for a week’s cruise on Pilgrim.  She arrived in the fog and rain, but the weather cleared on Monday and was perfect sailing weather for the week.  The day after she left, it rained again.




We took two days to sail and motor down the coast to Mahone Bay,


An Amelia sized grin


 anchoring at MacNabbs Island in Halifax Harbour and Rougue’s Roost halfway to Mahone Bay.  In Rougue’s Roost we were entertained by three young lads on another boat who dared each other to fling themselves into the water from a 30-foot rock cliff. 


This was the checkout climb … before they swapped wet suits for brains


The boys were in wetsuits; the water was 60 degrees F.  We saw seals and dolphins along the way, but alas no whales.


On Wednesday (August 23) we anchored in Deep Cove, a narrow bay about ˝ mile long on the east side of Mahone Bay.  There are a number of homes / cottages along the shore, and a number of floating docks, all privately owned.  At the head of the cove a new community of homes is being constructed. 

They cut down the trees and planted identical houses


Despite the civilization, it was a delightful anchorage.  The crew on the other ketch anchored in the cove were doing work at the top of their main mast,

the boat that set the example


so Jane decided it was time to top-climb to the top of our main mast because an osprey at the Dartmouth Yacht Club bent one of the arms of our Windex (wind direction indicator) and it would no longer rotate through 360 degrees.  The Top-Climber allows one person to pull him/herself up a line strung from the top of the mast to the deck.

And Jane was not about to be outdone …the competitive spirit is alive


 Stand in the stirrups and raise the seat; then sit in the seat the raise the stirrups, six inches at a time, up 55 feet.  Strange as it may seem, it did not seem any more difficult going all the way to the top of the main, than going 2/3 of the way up the mizzen mast to work on the wind generator.  It was a great view from the top.  The next three days Jane’s quads let her know how hard she worked to get up and down the mast.


 Thursday we had a great sail across the bay to the Lunenburg Yacht Club.  We enjoyed on-shore showers (always a treat; for onboard showers we must conserve our precious fresh water) and then had dinner with one of Jane’s girlhood friends (junior kindergarten all the way through Barnard College) who was visiting a friend in Lunenburg. 

Leon, Ellen and a  classic wooden sloop …                                      Ellen, Amelia and Jane with Leon’s cat on guard


Friday we had a brief gentle sail to an anchorage between two islands along the west shore of Mahone Bay (Zwicker and Ernst Islands) and spent a relaxed day reading. 


Saturday we had another short sail in light wind to Oak Island.  This is the island on which Captain Kidd reputedly buried treasure.  Much of the island is now privately owned and there are several cottages on it, but most of the land is still wooded.  We could see one shed on the eastern tip, which was used by fortune-seekers who are still looking for the elusive treasure.  Amelia and Jane paddled around in the kayak to investigate the shore life (mainly herons, ducks, osprey and crows). 

Treasure Island (but only for mining gear suppliers)


Sunday we had a lazy sail with the Genoa only for the 5 miles into Chester.  The promised public wharves were not evident and there is only a dinghy dock at the Chester Yacht Club so we ended up on a mooring ball.  We were hoping to take showers on shore, but the yacht club does not have any.  The local swimming pool had no showers.  The community centre had showers, but they were locked up.  We were amazed that a yacht club that hosts international regattas has such poor on-shore facilities. 

At our mooring in Chester

The Chester Yacht Club


Sunday night we saw Amelia off.  It was such a delight to have her onboard for a week.  During her cruise with us last summer in Lake Superior the weather was perfect.  She has dubbed herself Pilgrim’s boat elf.

A tearful goodbye … and then it started to rain and rain and rain


Monday (August 28) morning we woke at dawn to a red sky and left Mahone Bay to continue southwest down the Nova Scotia coast. 

Red sky in morning … sailor take warning … We must remember that


At noon the wind began to build from the south, then veered to the southeast.  We hoisted our main and motor-sailed for a while, but then when the wind hit 12-15 knots from the SE, and the rain began, we sailed the last 35 miles.  Even with no wind there was a swell on the ocean, but when the wind kicked up, so did the seas.  By the time we got to the turning point for Lockeport (at 6:00 PM and 75 miles from Chester), the seas were 6-8 feet. 

Red sky in morning … red sky in morning …


As we approached Lockeport our bird sailing companions, the Greater Shearwaters, joined us and rode the wind currents around our sails.  We really enjoy sailing with these birds.  They really seem to take on the role of guardian angels. 


The easterlies and rain continued on Tuesday and kept us in Lockeport.  We had hoped to have showers, do laundry and check e-mail, but none of these facilities were available in Lockeport.  The once-thriving fishing port is in sorry shape.

Lockeport … not a very friendly spot


Wednesday we motored 12 miles southwest to Cape Negro since there was little wind, and it was from the southwest.  The swells were quite large after two days of strong easterlies … about 6-9 feet.  We passed several fishing boats that disappeared in the swells.  We had one interesting encounter with an RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police … Canada’s federal police force) high-speed boat, named Murray.  It was proceeding up the coast (toward Halifax) and we were going down the coast.  It changed course, headed right for us, then circled us once, then left.  We waved; they waved back.  Not sure why they checked us out. 


We believe the Herring fishing season has just begun.  As we approached Cape Negro we saw about 30-40 fishing boats on the horizon.  The boats seem to drag nets to catch Herring, so we gave them a wide berth.

Reminds us of the scene in a movie  where the gulls kept calling … mine…mine


We stayed at anchor at Cape Negro for an extra day because of strong northwest winds; that is the direction from the southern tip of Nova Scotia to Bar Harbor in Maine.  On Friday we left at 5:00 AM for the 150 mile crossing to Bar Harbor.  In order to play the currents to best advantage, we needed to be at the treacherous Cape Sable (SW tip of Nova Scotia) at slack before the flood tide.  It was still dark as we left the anchorage and joined a dozen fishing boats leaving the reef-filled (but well-buoyed) channel.  This was our last port of call in Canada.

A 26 hour trip across a major tidal current area … great sailing


Crossing the Bay of Fundy / Gulf of Maine was much easier than expected.  The forecast north wind was from the northwest for the first six hours, so we motor-sailed.  As soon as the wind veered north, and then northeast, and freshened to 20 knots, we had a great close reach sail.  We saw one finback whale in the distance and were accompanied by our guardian Greater Shearwaters until dusk.  We actually had to slow down as we approached Maine before dawn, and also realized that we were back an hour later … in the Eastern time zone.

Frenchman Bay …typical “cottage” of the last century


Bald Porcupine Island

Bar Harbour after the fire


A very familiar boat on a mooring in Bar Harbour and it’s not Pilgrim


We have had one more system failure since we returned to Nova Scotia.  Our speed log has stopped working.  It is a device in the hull of the boat that has a little paddle wheel and spins when water passes it, and measures the boat’s speed through the water.  We suspect some little sea creature has managed to get stuck in the paddle wheel.  We have tried scrubbing the hull with a long-handled brush, but have not dislodged the culprit.  It is too cold to dive in and fix the problem.  We can get the speed from the GPS, but it is good to have both the speed in the water and the speed over the ground when going through strong currents.