Saturday, August 25, 2012

Practice Makes Perfect...Maybe

Sail #31: 25/08/12 - 12.8 nm

Our BHYC club mates decided to hold a impromptu Saturday race leading up to the Forshner Weekend in order to get a little extra practice in.  Sadly, the winds were frustrating light.  Fortunately, none of the Ingvaldson - Fraser Clan decided to join Jude and I, so we confided the punishingly slow conditions to us.

I can't even remember where we finished.  I do however remember using navigation markers as race markers, which make absolutely NO sense to me.  The reason that green marker is off Jollimore's because there is a big mother f'er reef off of Jollimore's.  There were seals there a few hours ago.  What's the point of putting race markers out, if we never us them.

...end rant here.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ingvaldson Cruise

Sail #30: 23/08/12 - 13.9 nm

Thirty (30) years later Ardith Fraser and Family (my cousin) and Aunt Joan and Uncle Jim returned to beautiful Brule Point.  Ardith visited with Husband Dennis, and 2/3 of her sons (Ben and 1/2 of the twins Del).  The trip was initiated by Ben's participation in the Legion Track and Field Meet in PEI the week before, where he earned a bronze medal.

It was a treat to have the Fraser Clan on "da Point" for a week or so.  The weather forecast wasn't sail friendly, but it was a fantastic week none the less.  Despite the forecast for light winds, we did manage to get out for an afternoon and showed the boys the ropes, while Dennis tried his hand at the tiller.

At one point point, Ardith declared "it was like vacationing like the Kennedys"...which we'll take as sign that Ardith at least enjoyed her time aboard Exploits.

When we arrived back at the cottage, Mom had made her way over for the day to catch up with the Fraser Clan.  It was nice day all around.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Back to BHYC

Sail #29: 18/08/12 - 30.8 nm

Little or no wind again today.  Headed out for what we hoped would be a short trip to BHYC.   Motored sailed most of the way.  Rough seas and no wind.

We left Caribou at 0900 and arrived at BHYC at 1500.  It was nice to be home.  Many of the BHYC fleet were out to greet us.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Happy Birthday Alan

"Sail" #28: 18/08/12 - 64.5 nm

"What a great place to celebrate with my captain / repair man"

Left Port Hawkesbury Marina at 0830, forecast of variable (no) winds> The trip through the causeway went smoothly.  It makes you feel like a rock star to stop traffic for our sailbaot.

The water on George's Bay was flat (as piss on a plate) and it wasn't long before we spotted the whales again.  Sadly since we were motoring they didn't seem to get as close as they did the first time.

Water was a flat as piss on on plate

Skipper on the bow

Skipper updating the diary

This little fellow followed for quite some time

The wind came up briefly off Cape George, but never enough for us to shut the motor off.  Unfortunately we were fighting the tides most of day and it was extremely hot, since what little wind there was, was on on our stern.  Jude and I had a quick swim in the Straight to cool off.  Never hit the bottom in 135 feet of water!

Cooling off in 135 feet of water in the middle of the Straight.

We motored the rest of the way and made Caribou just as the Confederation was leaving.  There was also a flotilla of fishing boats filled with people.  One of the boats was also towing a rubber tube with a couple of kids on it, which got on the wrong side of a red marker on way back in the channel.

Fly-Bye-Wire in the shadow of the Confederation

A VERY long day.  There has to be a better way to make this trip.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pan Pan Pan - We have no engine power - Another good day

Sail #27: 17/08/12 - 26.1 nm

The storm passed quicker than expected, so we decided to head out.  After a quick trip to St' Peter's for provisions and restocking our ice, we left by mid morning.

After an uneventful pass through the lock we sailed on and off to the Lennox Bridge.  We did have some trouble contacting the bridge operators.  Luckily they raised the bridge as we got close.  Not sure whether they were having problems or not.  On the other side of the bridge we had a fantastic reaching sail down the Lennox Passage, averaging 6 knots per hour all the way down to Port Hawkesbury harbour.

We dropped the sails only to discover that we weren't pumping water and that the engine didn't sound right.  A quick check revealed that we were also taking on water.  We immediately cut the engine, called Fly-Bye-Wire and them tow us to Port Hawkesbury Marina.

On the tow in,we took apart the water pump and discovered a broken fitting from the water intake.  We got the water intact shut off and removed the pump and realized that the repair was less serious than we initially thought.  The good folks at Port Hawkesbury Marina were ready for us, and we gently glided into the seawall.

After two trips to Canadian Tire (a completely useless place to go for advice) we were back in business and tied up next to Fly-Bye-Wire.

Another good day!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Amazing Day

Sail #26: 16/08/12 - 23.3 nm

Great night.  Very quiet.  I've decided it's much nicer be to on anchor at night than tied to a dock.

Woke to no water...and fresh raspberries!  Fixed the water (loss of prime) and enjoyed the raspberries with breakfast.  Thank you Skipper Kent for the raspberries!  The plan is to head to St. Peter's this morning.

Galadriel (Skipper Kent) joined us for the day and offered to show us the sights which started with a sail to Johnstown Harbour for lunch.  It was a wonderful series a quiet coves about an hour from St. Peter's Marina.  Lots of birds!  Somehow Judy managed to lose her bathing suit top along the way, which we believe was clipped to the lifelines drying.  She did manage to improvise in order to take advantage of excellent swimming at Johnstown Harbour.

Kent's a true sailor.  He single hands his boat as well or better than most skippers do with a full crew.  His C&C 30 was fast as any we've raced against and he certainly had it in peak race condition.

After lunch we set out for St. Peter's in a really nice wind.  Had we not had the benefit of Kent's local knowledge, we would dropped the sail's at the head of St. Peter's Channel.  As it turned out we sailed the entire channel and only had to tack twice at the very beginning.  It was an experience we will never forget!

After we settled in, we walked to the local pub for supper and spent the rest of the night listening to the wind and the rain on the boat.  Fortunately we got back before the rains started.

It truly was an amazing sailboat day!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Fresh Raspberries in Pringle's Harbour

Sail #26: 15/08/12 - 22.2 nm

Sittin' in Pringle's Harbour and the Captain is on dinner detail, cooking up scallops on the BBQ.  Still covered in seaweed on us from the walk on Pringle's Island - a short (maybe a little long) row from our anchorage in the harbour.

Met a "local" sailor on the way in to Pringle's.  His C&C 30 guided us to good site to anchor and then he returned with freshly picked raspberries from his garden!  On Ontarian who learned Cape Breton hospitality!  "Kent" was a retired faculty member from the StFX business school and has been living in CB for years.

Kent delivering fresh raspberries to Fly-Bye-Wire

Great day on West Bay.  Sailed from Little Harbour to Dundee to check our Prospector's new home.  Had a walk and a look around.  We saw Boudreau's boat at the wharf across the cove.  We were very impressed with Kim and Andy's new property.  Lots of potential and we're sure it'll be spectacular!

3 generations of C&C sailboats

Doug and Alan making sure the deck carpenter was doing a good job

A natural dingy repair.

We left Dundee for the Crammond Islands but the wind was blowing through the middle of the islands so we decided to spend the night in Pringle's Cove.  It turned out to be a great decision since we met Kent, who would become an invaluable resource to us.

Good spot for the night.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Little Harbour

Sail #25: 14/08/12 - 29.6 nm

The fleet departed on mass, but decided to separate at Iona.  Joe and Wendy were ready to head back and Brian had only joined Gaila for a few days.  Friday's weather forecast was concerning to the crew of Gaila who made the call to head back.

All four boats, plus Mon Ami (Tony) out of Pictou headed out into Great Bras D'Or towards Iona.  Winds were steady and it was warm and sunny.  It was one of those "one in a thousand" sailing days with long close hauls towards the bridge, averaging 5 knots per hour.

We raised the sails again after the Barra Strait Bridge and made our way down the coast on a close haul  on auto pilot.  We watched Gaila with Willet close behind make their way to St. Peter's.  As I relaxed on deck while the boat cruised on auto pilot, Jude prepared a great lunch of peanut butter and jam sandwiches (my first in years) and highbush blueberries for desert.  It was a spectacular sail.

As we made our way into little harbour we noticed there were already 3-4 boats on anchor.  After a nice shot of screech, a quick swim and a "toweling off" we rowed ashore to the Cape Breton Smokehouse for supper.

The Smokehouse is a two person operation, run by a german couple out of a beautiful log house.  The food was excellent (I had the smoked salmon and Judy had pork tenderloin).  We met 2 couples from Pugwash who knew Jamie and Andrea Adams.  They store Kittiwake at BHYC for the winter.

The bugs were very bad as we rowed back to Exploits, but the night was absolutely beautiful...warm, quiet and lost of stars.  There was a huge steel hull boat, without sails, anchored in the harbour which we assumed belonged to the German couple.  They seemed stressed running the restaurant by themselves, which may explain why they don't have time to get the sails on the boat.

It was an early night to bed and both of us slept like logs.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Tied Up in Baddeck

The weather forecast was calling for strong winds so the fleet decided to stay tied up at Baddeck Marine.  Tony from Pictou headed out on his own, but returned later in the afternoon after struggling to work up Big Bras D'Or against strong winds, waves and currents.  Willet moved back out on a morning to allow "Bagerra" a 53 foot motor yacht to tie up next to Fly-Bye-Wire.

Jimmy takes the crew of Willet back to their boat...maybe man

Jude and I walked along the waterfront and up to the NSLC and Co-op for provisions.  We admired the lake front homes and boats and boat houses along the way.  The afternoon was spent working on the dingy and making many trips to the hardware store and getting Exploits ready to depart in the morning.

That evening as the fleet waited up for the arrival of Brian, Exploits hosted the group for drinks.  Gaila toasted the trip earlier in the evening with champaign.  The fleet would be splitting up in the morning, with Gaila and Willet heading back to BHYC and Exploits and Fly-Bye-Wire heading down to Little Harbour and West Bay.

Catchin' up with our official recording of events.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Hey Man...Jimmy the dock dude

It was a very noisy night on the hook.  We set the handheld GPS to where we were supposed to be on the anchor and checked it throughout the night.  Exploits seems to like to swing alot through the night, but everything was fine in the morning.  The wind died down in the morning in time for us to wake to the rumbling of "Big Zip" coming into Baddeck Harbour.

We met up with the kids for breakfast in a little cafe in Baddeck which seems to be our favourite place for breakfast.  Raison bread toast with apple and cheddar cheese was a popular choice.

After breakfast, we finally got to tie up at the marina.  We were told "Jimmy" would be down on the docks to greet us and help us tie up, but I guess it slipped his mind.  This would be a re-occurring trend over the next few days.  The day was full of events.

Jude and the crew went for a walk up to Usiage Bang Falls.  While they were gone, the gong show broke out.

I noticed Joe was hosing his tender out on the dock.  Turns out that their head storage tank overflowed a few days before.  They hosed the offending mess into the bilge.  Once we tied up, Joe ran a hose into the front hatch to wash things down, which of course filled the bilge.  As "luck" or "bad luck" would have it, the bilge emptied out into the tender tied off the stern.  It was almost too funny to be true.

We unfortunately weren't spared a poop story either.  "Jimmy" the dock dude who operated in a serious haze, spilled poop over our deck while pumping out the holding tank.  Next time I'll just discharge "off shore".

I discovered the guy next to me was a diver, so I asked if he was interested in going down to install a new anode on our drive shaft since we finally flung the loose on off the day before.  Wilson discovered  after he suited up with all his diving gear that we still had one attached.  I was sure it wasn't there the day before!

And if all that was enough, I dropped the power cord adaptor into the water.  Jimmy, the dock dude, got me a dip net.  Unfortunately the handle was too short so he found me a stick and some duck tape.  He then proceeded to tape his dreadlock to the dip net handle.

After all the excitement of getting the boat docked, cleaned out and fixed up, a couple from Baddeck (John and Judy) who own a Alberg 37 came over to ask about Exploits.  They noticed us coming in a few days before and saw us tied up at Baddeck Marina.  It's kind of neat, that amongst all these boats, Exploits is unique enough to attract attention.

Later in the day the "boys" went over to BYC to have a beer or two.  "Some of us" eventually came back to assist in making supper.

Nice quiet night.  It felt good to be tied up and just relax.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Washabuck and Thistledown

Sail #24: 11/08/12 - 16.4 nm

The crew (Mark, Alison, Allison and Robert) arrived safe and sound from a night in a cabin at the local campground.  We ferried them out to Exploits in shifts just in time to be entertained by Skipper Gee who was attempting to remove an anode from the drive shaft which had come loose during one of the many motoring days.  After several attempts to dive under the boat, the Skipper had no luck removing the noisy attachment.  Mark brought the replacement stern vents which fit perfectly and look beautiful!

We had a really nice sail down St. Patrick's Channel to Indian Cove off the Washabuck River.  There seems to be no end to the secluded anchorages in the Bras D'Or Lake which provided fantastic spots to anchor for lunch.  Unfortunately Allison wasn't feeling the best but she was a real trooper.

We had a perfect wind to take us back to Baddeck and so we worked our way up to Beinn Bhreagh to catch a glimpse of Alexander Graham Bell's house.  We also had a front row seat to watch Prospector in the final race of Baddeck Race week.

There are not a lot of pubs in Baddeck, so we walked to the Thistledown Pub at the Inverary Inn on the outskirts of Baddeck.  Skipper Alan had put a nasty gash in his foot earlier in the day, which didn't improve after the walk.  However, the beer was good and the fish and chips and chicken wings were excellent.  After several days on the boat, the walk was nice as well, bad foot and all.

It was a windy, bouncy night on anchor so Gaila and Fly-Bye-Wire decided to take cover in Hurricane Harbour in Baddeck Bay.  The band in the Baddeck Yacht Club played full tilt again, well into the evening.  Despite the rough conditions, Exploits stayed put on her anchor and was were she was supposed to be in the morning.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Baddeck Bound

Sail #23: 10/08/12 - 36 nm

We woke to glassy water and the sounds of terns in our secluded cove after a quiet night on anchor.  A Tayana 40 joined Gaila and us for the evening, otherwise there was very little activity.  Judy rowed to shore to visit the squirrels, eagles, woodpeckers and to watch the sunrise.

Exploits peacefully at anchor in Clacke's Cove, Marble Mountain

Bald Eagles

This little fellow looked like he was practising his rowing technique

The fleet motored off towards Iona on route to Baddeck where we planned to hook up with the kids for the weekend.  They were staying in a campground outside Baddeck for the weekend.  Luckily the wind came up just as we reach the lift bridge at Iona and filled nicely on the other side.  Wehad a nice sail up Great Bras D'Or, past Maskells Harbour arriving in Baddeck at suppertime.  The crew of Gaila engaged in some VHF banter on high power, which unfortunately was picked up by the race fleet out of Baddeck.  Skipper Larry would receive a scolding from the crew off of Prospector who picked up the transmission.

We radioed Baddeck Marina several times trying to arrange a mooring for the evening.  Eventually we were able to reach them on the cell phone and discovered there was "no room in the inn" anywhere in Baddeck due to Race Week.  Captain Larry sent the "good wife" ashore in the dingy to get ice and a new deck shower bag,to replace the 2 that went overboard somewhere between Iona and Baddeck.  Larry delivered 2 bags of ice to us in a sail past at speed, which added a little excitement to the day.

Once we settled in, we rowed ashore and had dinner in town at the Yellow Cello where we met up with the crew off of Prospector.  The volume level went up as the drinks flowed and we caught up on the latest news.

At some point during the night or early morning, Fly-Bye-Wire swung around on the anchor and collided with another boat.  Fortunately there was no damage and luckily it was dark since there was some readjustment needed with their crews wearing nothing but a nightie and undies.  Yikes!

Iona, Cape Breton

Tall ship cruise off of Beinn Bhreagh, where Alexander Graham Bell had a "summer home"

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Terns and Jim Cuddy

Sail #22: 09/08/12 - 19.6 nm

Had a lazy morning at St. Peter's enjoying the fantastic shower facilities.  Walked to town with Larry and Sharon to pick up groceries and restock our liquor cabinet.

Wound our way out the St. Peter's Channel and headed out into the lake with a nice gentle breeze at our stern.  We decided it was a good opportunity to fly the spinnaker, but as so often seems to be the case, things never seem to go right.  We had accidentally knocked a vent cap off the stern into the water.  We used it as an opportunity to practise our "man overboard skills" and quickly punched in a mark on the chartplotter and circled back to look for it, hopefully floating in the water.  No such luck.  Fortunately Mark was able to make a trip into the Binnacle and bring a couple of replacement's up on the weekend when they came.

At this point the wind had completely disappeared, as had the fleet, which was a little concerning since no one seemed to notice we had circled back and were searching for lost parts.  It was hot, hot, hot!  We motored to Clarke Cove near Marble Mountain to anchor for the evening.  We noticed Gaila anchored in the first cove away from Fly-Bye-Wire and Willet who opted to go further in to the next cove.  We quickly discovered that our piece of paradise was a lot quieter than the other cove which had a couple of jet skies and power boats circling the cove.

The water was a great relief from the heat.  After our swim we rowed over to visit with Fly-Bye-Wire and Willet in the next cove.  We were discouraged from going aboard Willet, who had reported that "their head had blown up", which we imagined was not a pretty sight.  Judy and Sharon did make the rounds in the water, altho they accepted all warnings not to board Willet.

This cove was also very shallow in one area which from the right angle looked like the people in the water were actually walking on water.  Very unusual sight.

Sharon thought this was an interesting tree for Suzanne to paint

Walkin' on water at Marble Mountain

Gaila crew making their way back to our cove
Once we got back to Exploits, we had a fantastic dinner on deck while we listened to the terns and Jim Cuddy singing in the background.

It was a great night!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Off to the Bras D'or Lake

Sail #21: 08/08/12 - 40.1 nm

Early morning departure from Port Hawkesbury Marina.  It was a comfortable stay given the bouncing and banging around we did at Ballantynes Cove.  The only "incident" was one of the local homeless dudes tried to join Jude in the shower in the morning.  Thank goodness for combination security locks.

The motor out of the harbour was a picture of contrasts, with industrial Port Hawkesbury on the port side and quiet seaside homes off the starboard side.  Once again we had to motor sail up the Lennox Passage to the Lennox Passage Bridge.  We arrived early enough that opening it wasn't an issue.  We even were treated to 4-5 porpoises playing in front of the bridge as we approached.

Lennox Passage Bridge

Once we made our way out into St. Peter's bay we were greeted to great ocean breezes so the fleet opted to spend 2 - 3 hours working the cobwebs out of the sails in the ocean swells.

Travelling through the locks was uneventful and we made our way past the swing bridge and motored the short distance to St. Peter's Marina just before supper.  Jerry and the crew are absolutely fabulous and really made an effort to make us feel comfortable.  We tied up on the fuel dock to avoid having to row back and forth to a mooring and were entertained by some local musicians playing on the dock.  After a brief rest and snack we joined the crew of Gaila who treated us to a dark 'n stormy and a veggie wrap.

We made our way back to Exploits and had a late supper of BBQ'ed chicken and veggies followed by a very long and quiet sleep.

Judy checking in with Parks Canada

The fleet making their way out of the canal and past the swing bridge at St. Peter's

St. Peter's Lions Club Marina

Jude taking in the local entertainment

Our view