The Adventures of JOINT VENTURE – Chapter III
(1975 Alberg 37 Yawl, Hull # 147)

Ken and Anita Tillotson

 

 

 

August 17 - September 10, 2005

Ste Anne des Monts, Quebec

 

It has been a long, but productive time here. Ste Anne des Monts is a lovely little town that is being landscaped and generally painted and refurbished this year. There are wood sculptures made from driftwood in the Marina, and here and there in small parks.

Alain Pratt, with the aid of his jovial brother, Richard, helper Jean Guy, and shy carpenter Claude, have accomplished a huge amount of work on Joint Venture. Alain is a tall slender man with a quiet confidence and a gentle, wry sense of humour.

Ken, Alain and Jean Going Over New Volvo Engine Specs

His past maritime experiences are varied and he has been all over the world. He figures that he has built about 150 boats over the years. As he worked, he explained what he was doing every step of the way; Ken asked if he did not know.

In total, we spent 30 days at Ste Anne des Monts; much of the time spent there was waiting for the new engine or a part for it ....delayed because of hurricane Katrina.

Here is the work that was done: Removal of the old engine and the tear down to reveal our specific problem(s), moved and installed plumbing for galley sink, created new counter to replace where the sink was, fibre glassed delaminated areas of the engine room sole, installed aluminum engine mounts, inventoried and sorted out all wires and hoses leaving a very neat engine room indeed!

New Engine Mounting Brackets

 

New Galley Sink Location

 

Our new Volvo D2 40 HP engine was installed, aligned and tested. In addition, at our request the following work was done: an aluminum double bow-roller was created and installed: the rollers themselves are made of stainless steel as is the 1 inch pin carrying the rollers, with a grease nipple at either end.

Claude Putting Finishing Touches on the Double Bow Roller

We had a heater (29000 BTU) installed neatly in the salon; the bow chocks were reinforced properly with backing plates; a chain pipe for handling our anchor chain was installed in the anchor locker; the forward hatch had two more clasps added, to help ensure water tight integrity. A  diesel transfer pump was installed to the extra collapsible diesel tank; all the wiring on the boat was checked out and some problems fixed. During the process of removing the original engine, Alain pointed out a number of other deficiencies related to the Durham Marine heat exchanger installation. The large nut holding the flywheel was undone by hand....that is, it was never tightened up at all! The hoses from the heat exchanger were supposed to be connected to the hot water tank.....they were not, and were left loose and hanging. Alain generally could not believe how poorly the Durham Marine mechanical workmanship was performed and at such a ridiculous cost. Alain took out the original engine, tore it apart, and installed the new engine for less $ than Durham Marine charged to install the heat exchanger. How do you spell lawsuit in French? Oh well, it doesn't really matter; Alain is bilingual.

Clearly the highlight here, for us, is having our new Volvo D2 40 hp engine installed. With a dry weight of just 392 lbs. it replaces a 30 year old 550+ lb. 25 hp engine. Technology changes. The base engine was developed for industrial applications for heavy and medium duty and marinized for the highest marine demands.

New Engine Being Installed

The D2-40 is fitted with freshwater cooling as standard. This 4 cylinder diesel is very smooth running with re-designed combustion chambers and lower engine speed -2800-3200 rpm- together with the new inlet air silencer reduce engine noise by 3-4 dBA. The engine's high torque provides excellent operating characteristics to aid maneuvering, especially in confined spaces. The engine comes equipped with a 115 A alternator that has an electronic sensor for optimal charging capability. At idle the alternator provides 40-50 amps, and at cruising rpm about 100 amps. It is environmentally friendlier, with an advanced combustion system to increase fuel burning efficiency and minimize noxious exhaust emissions. Recommended oil changes for this engine are every 500 hours or once every season!

Now as you might imagine, I was getting fed up with having my home be a construction site, but in the end, it was all worth it. In his spare time, Alain introduced us to friends of his who invited us for a delicious dinner.  Their house sits facing the river and has a wonderful view. They said that they particularly liked watching the thunderstorms on the river, with their nearly panoramic view. Very hospitable folks. Alain has artwork in the little park right beside their house. The adjoining land was purchased by them, made into a park with the attendant artwork and landscaping, and subsequently given back to the town. While in the park Alain showed us where to find edible mushrooms. Very tasty! Most of the topsoil transported to the park contained edible mushroom spores.

Alain, Ken and of course, the Mushrooms!

Being able to access the internet was great. It became an almost daily routine to take the 20 minute walk to the Maison des Culture (the library).  We finally overcame various problems getting the previous two chapters on the web by being in daily contact with Tom Assenmacher by e-mail. We were able to check our bank balances and deal with financial matters online. The Caisse Populaire bank was nearby as needed...it was needed! We feel comfortable in the knowledge that Joint Venture is now much more ready to cross the Atlantic ... next year.

We met some great cruisers during our stay. Lorraine & Jean from Quebec City aboard 'Bec-Scie' invited us to visit their boat. They have been slowly finishing the interior for the last 15 years. The layout was quite unique therefore. The dining area is at the stern where you enter and the galley is a couple steps down in the bow. Jean has created an oval nav station with seat opposite the table. We were served chocolate/peanut butter squares which she had whipped up just before we came over. I wonder if I'll ever get so efficient in my galley. They only were there a day or two, but we were comfortable with each other right away and hope to run into each other again some day.

Two large sailboats came in together. They were both in the 40 foot range.  Michelle & Jurgen Reinhardt have a young black miniature schnauzer, and very hyper.  We visited with them the evening of their arrival and heard their hair raising story. Heading down the St Lawrence, half way between Rimouski and Matane they decided to anchor in one of the few places that you can get protection from SW winds. There is a small bay with an island and houses on shore. We had also pulled into this area to anchor overnight to get out of some rough seas. Because at that point we didn't have an engine, we didn't go very far into the bay to ensure that we could get out again under sail. These guys didn't have the same concern and went further into the bay. Their depth sounders showed shallow but that was written off to being artifact from weeds growing. They rafted up together and settled down to enjoy a quiet evening. However they anchored in too shallow water. The tide went out and the boats settled onto the bottom and leaned over to 45 degrees with one 40 footer resting on the side of the other. They had about 10 fenders between them but at least one exploded. In all the ordeal lasted about 5 hours...fortunately, there was virtually no damage done to either boat. Both boats plan to cross the Atlantic to the Azores next year and have arranged to winter their boats at the Dobson Yacht Club in Sydney, Nova Scotia...which is at the eastern tip of Cape Breton and an excellent starting point for the Atlantic crossing.

The cost of hauling and wintering a boat is quite low if you pay a membership fee of less than $100. The facilities described in the information from the internet are everything we would want. They gave us an application form and we filled it out and mailed it and a cheque to the club. We will likely meet these folks again, if not this year, then next. They like the idea of several boats going together for protection. Ken's not crazy about the idea and I can remember past experiences traveling with other boats which makes me reluctant as well. We feel that we need to be ready to handle our own problems and not worry about fitting into someone else's itinerary. We will see. Anyway, great folks. We can all picture meeting each other in the Azores.  

 

September 11, 2005

Ste Anne des Monts, Quebec

It's a bright sunny morning as we prepare to leave. We are finally on our way at 6.05 am. There is a light SW wind and we motor. Ken faithfully checks the engine gauges and takes a look at the engine on an ongoing basis.  All is well. Ken spotted wisps of hot air showing a whale blowing. As we got closer, we had good looks at several whales as they dived. We had hoped to reach Riviere au Renard today but as the day wore on, the wind continued to build to gale force and the following seas were getting up to 2.5 metres.  The forecast was for gales, 35 knots gusting to 40 later in the day. So we opted to go into Cap de Madelaine. The harbour is quite small with mostly small motor boats at dock. We wonder if the water depth is enough.  We don't really want to go aground again. However, a fellow is on a dock waving us in.  

There was about 7 ft of water beside the dock at low tide. Cap de Madeleine is a small village with some houses painted a pale pink.   All the colorful little cottages and motor homes are on different levels because there simply isn't much flat land.

On the high forested ridge, that  looks down on the village, is a statue of St. Madeleine that is illuminated at night. The wind howled during the night, as the forecasted gale made the boat shudder. It was difficult to stay asleep, and we both were awake off and on all night. 40 -45 knots of wind and the Genco dodger, bimini and surround stood the test with no apparent harm.

 

September 12, 2005

Cap de Madelaine, Quebec

The next morning the wind had mostly blown itself out. When Ken tried to start the engine, there appeared to be no power and the circuit would go dead. Switching to both batteries allowed us to start without any problem. Hmmm.  Also, Ken noted that the engine compartment light and the starboard salon light were both burnt out.

We headed for Rivere au Renard about 40 miles distant. On the way, we saw quite a few seals peering at us with rather disapproving looks. It prompted Ken to wave and say hi. The seals were not impressed and dived. The wind was behind us as we motor sailed along. The sun was shining but we could see clouds behind us. The wind stayed moderate and only started to build later in the day as we closed in on our destination. A good 30 knots to finish out the day.

It was hard to find the entrance to Riviere au Renard; the chart plotter didn't have it for some reason. Once we were close though, the entrance could be seen. We quietly motored past large fishing boats to the small pleasure craft docks at the bottom of the harbour.

As we approached the dock, I realized that it was very short, so I positioned myself outside the life line, forward in order to jump off and keep the boat from hitting the adjacent dock. The distance was just a little too far as I prepared to jump. Suddenly my feet slipped out from under me; so there I am hanging from the lifelines by my left armpit. As I try to get my feet on the dock just out of reach, I get one toe of one foot on, and then the other, and in desperation I push myself towards the dock and land safely. That was the closest I have ever come to landing in the drink! By this time the boat is nearly stopped, as Ken has leaped to the dock with the stern line. Ken was to remind me later that with this new engine, he has the torque to curtail forward momentum pretty quickly. I was still thinking of landing with the old engine. Oh well, just another few bruises. Since we hadn't slept much the night before, we both were glad to sleep for a few hours in the afternoon and go to bed early.

 

September 13, 2005

Riviere au Renard, Quebec

The forecast is good and we leave early to round the Gaspe peninsula. In bright sunlight, we watch the magnificent scenery unfold. The rounded and wooded mountains with little villages here and there beneath them are picturesque. As we approach the rugged rocky peninsula, Ken takes the boat inshore so that we can appreciate the beauty and majesty of these mighty weather torn crags.

Magnificent Tip of the Gaspe Peninsula

We were making such good time in the mild weather, and with the season so short, that we decided rather than go into Gaspe marina; another 15 miles inside a deep bay, we would continue past the bay and south along the shoreline to Chandler.

By 2:30, we pulled into the fuel dock at Chandler and found ourselves aground in shallow water. The bottom was sand so we were able to back up and tie up. We had spent a week here 2 years earlier with our Tanzer 26, getting our brand new outboard fixed under warranty . We took Chelsey for a run along the long curving beach which had her jumping with joy. It was great to be here again. Putting Chelsey back aboard, we took our back pack and pull cart and walked to the large Metro grocery store. We filled up with steaks and chocolate bars and many other less important things.

We noticed, as we often have, how clean and pretty these small towns are. Houses are well maintained and painted pretty colours. Ken phoned Alain about the electrical problem we have been having.  He will meet us in Bonaventure which is located in Bay des Chalmers. We will call him when we arrive there. Steak for supper. Our barbequer does a superb job. Tomorrow we leave to visit the village of Bonaventure in the large and protected Chaleur Bay.

September 14, 2005

Chandler, Quebec

We didn't leave until 10:30...Ken says it was because I was dilly dallying, but it was actually because Ken was chatting with a sailboat owner nearby, waiting for the dilly dallying to finish. Anyway, as we came out of the marina bay, we found that the wind was from the south...dead on the nose.  It was not too strong at first, but built as the day went on. It seemed to take forever to slowly turn southwest into Chaleur Bay. The further we went, the smaller the waves were, but the wind continued to be strong and slowed our passage considerably. We would not reach Bonaventure until nightfall, so we decided to anchor inside a deep bay shown on the chart as Port Daniel. As we approached the protecting west shore, the wind and wave fell away and we dropped the anchor in calm water at about 1:30pm. Chelsey was eager for shore, so we put the outboard motor on Clipper and we all went to the nearest shore where there was a small rocky beach. We had to row in the last few feet and pulled the dinghy up onto the beach. We walked along toward the rocks which closed off the beach at one end and Ken climbed out onto a ledge of rock where he could see the beach further on.

As I started to ask him what he saw, he glanced back and shouted urgently, "The dinghy, get the dinghy!" Sure enough, the waves had managed to move the dinghy. I ran in bare feet down the beach watching as each wave moved the dinghy further into the water. Finally, the dinghy was in the water but the line was still ashore and I pounced on it. There had been nothing to tie the dinghy line to; we thought that it was safe enough mostly out of the water.  We dinghied out into the bay and down to the houses at the bottom, perhaps a mile distant. This time we pulled the dinghy completely out of the water because there was nothing to tie to again. I lounged in a wooden recliner chair in the warm sunshine and kept an eye on the dinghy while Ken jogged down a highway to a gas station to call Alain and tell him that we won't be in Bonaventure until tomorrow.

Back at the boat, we found the anchorage was rolly. We enjoyed a leisurely supper and called it a day.

 

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Port Daniel, Quebec

We were up early , pulled anchor, and were on our way to Bonaventure. The waves got smaller and the seas calmer as we progressed further into the Bay.  Small villages line the shoreline. As we motored into Bonaventure, there were about 30 boats on two long docks, mostly sailboats. We went to a long visitor’s dock, where a fellow boater indicated was for visitors. He also let us know the combination for the dock gates.

There was electricity but only at 15 amps so we had to be careful to keep our current draw within that.  The first thing we did was trip the circuit.  Later that evening, the marina manager showed Ken where the breaker box was located. We hoped to make some phone calls but the only phone was in the locked office. The marina is also a very large park with many outbuildings, electrical outlets and sites for trailers and tents. This was a favourite walking area for Chelsey and I.

 Several sailors stopped to admire the boat and ask us how long we were staying. They are having a race on Saturday and we are invited to participate. Ken's eyes lit up, but I feel strongly against racing our boat, because it is also our home. Although we are assured repeatedly "it's just a friendly little race", I know my captain - there is no such thing as a little friendly race...he goes all out. Ken respects my wishes and indicates we will not take part. We had finished supper and had concluded that Alain wasn't coming.

We were relaxing with some wine, when we heard a knock on the boat...Alain and his girlfriend France, were there. The gate was locked, so Alain had climbed over. While Alain looked into our electrical problem, with Ken in his typical pose, bending over his shoulder to watch carefully. The problem was identified quickly and Alain set to work to fix it. I poured some wine for France, who is a young beautiful girl with long blonde hair. She is from New Brunswick and is fluently bilingual. We chat and I continue to pour myself more wine. Soon, I am practically telling her the story of my life.  She is very responsive and seems interested. Alain says to Ken..."Anita has a 'French' mind" meaning, I guess, that I talk a lot. Ken responds that it's a good thing that I can't speak fluent French. What was happening is that I was over indulging in the wine, but I was enjoying myself. After they left, I realized that I had talked her ear off and that I would have a hangover the next day.

 

Friday, September 16, 2005

Bonaventure, Quebec

I have a headache (hangover) and lay around most of the day when I'm not taking Chelsey for her walkies. We listen to the forecasts of storm force winds and storm surge which might hit southern Nova Scotia as a result of hurricane Ophelia. We think we did the right thing coming here to this very protected area. We might get some wind and rain but nothing like what would be happening elsewhere.

There are a lot of sailors sitting around the picnic area in front of their yacht club building. They are all very friendly, but almost no one speaks English. Alain is coming back Saturday night for a visit, so we are staying here at least until Sunday. The wind is blowing strongly from the wrong direction, so we are content to enjoy the relative calm where we are.  Later that evening, it rains and we get some wind but nothing compared to what was forecast.

 

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Bonaventure, Quebec

Bonaventure is a good size town with a major highway running through it.  The next day we walked into town and did some grocery shopping. We were somewhat foot sore by the time we got back. As the day progressed, the sailors gathered. Although the wind outside the bay was still very strong, down where we are, there is just a nice wind for the racers. We are invited for a beer and a hotdog that evening between 5 and 7 o'clock. We wander up to the club house about 6 but no one is handing out free beer, so we buy a beer each. There are no hot dogs in sight, so we chat with a few people who speak some English and then go back to the boat for a nice supper. Alain and his helper Jean Guy came to visit. Apparently Jean Guy and Alain grew up together and share memories of growing up in Bonaventure and area. We have an enjoyable visit. I am careful not to get soused.

 

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Bonaventure, Quebec

The day is overcast and rainy. The forecast is still for strong winds on the nose; so we stay.  The wind should be in our favour tomorrow and we want to leave early so I prepare a note for the marina manager giving our address and asking him to send us a bill for our stay. Chelsey and I take the opportunity to go for walks between rain showers. I enjoy a nice long read of a novel while Ken peruses some sailing books while the rain gently patters on the boat and surround. A very relaxing day.

 

Anita and Chelsey

 

Monday, September 19, 2005

Bonaventure, Quebec

We are on our way early after taking Chelsey ashore and leaving our note for the manager. The wind is light and behind us so we make very good time motoring out of the bay.  The wind builds up from the northwest and pushes us along nicely under genoa alone.  As we approach Shippegan, New Brunswick, we debate going into the very shallow bay. The land is very sandy and low along this coast, and we remember when we came here two years ago, it was a long way in following a narrow channel. Also, we can't get through to the Northumberland Strait directly from Shippegan....our mast is too high for the bridge. If we carry on overnight, we can be in Shediac, New Brunswick early tomorrow morning.

The wind is behind us off the starboard quarter which pushes us along but with a rolling motion which I find sickening. The weather will deteriorate as we get later into the fall, so we decide to do the overnighter. Our Autohelm has problems holding the course in the strengthening wind, so we hand steer taking turns. The rolling bothers me so we take one and a half hour watches. Then I bury my head in a pillow and drop off to sleep quickly.

We worry about Chelsey's needs and try to encourage her to do her business in the cockpit. She finally does after waiting as long as she could. We praise her and clean up the little mess without comment. Her health has been very good since we increased her insulin a month or so ago.

As I came up to take my watch in the middle of the night, I saw a huge cruise ship totally lit up behind us and overtaking us on the starboard side at least half a mile away. Later that night Ken notices the same ship in the distance heading south. Throughout most of the night the wind is from behind at 20-22 knots.

 

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Northumberland Strait

As daylight breaks, the waves continue to make the boat roll and we still have a few hours to go. Finally, we see the buoys to follow into Shediac Bay but not before dodging countless lobster pot markers. There are two marinas in Shediac. It is a deep bay and it takes a while to finally get to our destination. A fellow comes to meet us as we pull into an empty dock.  Ken tells him that we need diesel, only to be told that they do not have fuel there, and that we must go to the other Marina. We realize that this is not the Marina we were in a couple years ago. The fellow calls the other Marina and tells them that we are coming and need fuel and a berth. No problem. The fuel dock and the marina will be expecting us. We motor out following the markers because the bay is very shallow.  Chelsey is not impressed...what happened to going ashore? Soon we are there.

We top up the diesel and take a long end dock. Chelsey seems to say "about time" as we race down the dock....she doesn't quite make it, and looks at me with accusing eyes. Another gale is in the forecast. We are happy to be in port until the wind is favorable for us. As we register at the marina, we meet a very friendly older fellow. He tells us that the nearby restaurant is closing at the end of business today. They are selling all the menu items for $5.00 and all alcoholic drinks for $3.00 starting at lunch. After taking Chelsey back to the boat, we decide to go there right away, as it is just before lunch and there is sure to be a big crowd during the noon hour. We each have a big plate of fish and chips and a cold beer. We could have had lobster if we wanted but even at just $15.00 each, we decided to pass on it.

The marina staff guys are very friendly and willing to chat. Peter, one of the boaters there, volunteers to drive us to town if we want to do some shopping. We do and he drives us all over town telling us the history of the town. The population swells from 15,000 to 75,000 in the summer. Peter did some grocery shopping at the same time as we did, and waited for us after taking us to the hardware store. Peter drives us back, taking the scenic route once again. At one point we drop into the Marina where we first went when we arrived in Shediac. An older friend of his was in the process of launching and preparing to sail a homemade dinghy made in the replica of larger sized sailing yacht. The vessel was 12-14 feet long, gaff rigged, without ballast and weighed less than a thousand pounds. We watched as 3 adults gracefully sailed off in 10 knots of wind. That night, we enjoyed the steaks which we bought today.

The wind howls outside the marina, but we are safe and comfortably at dock. Gale force winds of 35 knots are forecast for tomorrow so we will stay where we are.

 

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Shediac, New Brunswick

In the morning it is windy and raining. Later in the day it clears up and I bundle up my laundry to do a couple of loads. While waiting, I visit with several of the local guys who tell about past storms and adventures they have had. Although the bay is shallow, local knowledge makes it possible to sail to a small island nearby where the fishing is good.

After so much time with French people, it is fun to listen to English spoken with a distinct New Brunswick accent. I make some phone calls to family and let them know where we are. Ken is missing a chart and asks about it at the marina office. The marina manager loaned Ken his truck. He comes back having had a great time talking to the local boating goods store manager. Apparently, a local from Shediac, Roger Albert, is in the Azores now; having just single handed there this past summer. Someone we may look up if he's still there next year.

Chelsey and I take regular walks up that long long dock to shore. She seems to have to go more often....I suspect just because she loves all the great grass to explore.

The wind blows hard again tonight, but the forecast is for better weather tomorrow. We go to bed early with plans to leave the next day.

 

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Shediac, New Brunswick

We are on our way at noon, with plans of making it to Port Borden near the end of the Confederation bridge, on Prince Edward Island. It's only about 35 miles away. As we motor out of Shediac bay, we find that the wind is blowing about 16 knots from the north west which is somewhat behind us on our starboard quarter. We settle down for a 6 or 7 hour day on the water.  We visited Port Borden here two years ago in our 26 ft Tanzer, 'Tabasco'.  We see the bridge fairly early in the day, but it takes another 3 hours before we are actually passing under it. What a magnificent engineering feat the bridge is. Very impressive. Of course, just as we approach the bridge, the wind pipes up to over 30 knots and the slalom course of lobster pot markers gets worse.

Another hour sees us pulling into Port Borden for some shelter. It is a little too shallow for us to tie up to the wharf at the end of the bay. We could do this with our Tanzer 26, but not with our Alberg 37. We anchor in the middle, in fairly calm water.

The first order of business is to take Chelsey to shore, so I use the mizzen halyard to hoist the dinghy motor off the back rail, and lower it as Ken guides it onto Clipper.  Chelsey is getting quite impatient wondering why Dad is taking so long. Finally, she is handed down into the dinghy and assumes her usual stance with front paws over the bow and ears flapping as Ken speeds away.  Ken and our little pet enjoy a romp on the beach, and a much relaxed puppy comes back aboard looking for her standard treat.

As we are lowering the outboard, a fishing boat comes by and suggests that as the wind will be even stronger tonight, we might be better to anchor closer to the shore where there are docks for the big fishing operation that stretches along this side of the bay. It does seem like it might be better, so tiredly, we use the electric windlass to pull up the anchor, and move the boat closer to that windward shore. After dropping the anchor again, we both notice that it is much more rolly here. Oh well, darkness is falling and we are very weary.  This was a tough day!

 

Friday, September 23, 2005

Port Borden, Prince Edward Island

We awaken to an overcast sky and rocky seas outside the bay. We are up early so that Chelsey can be taken to shore. We do the routine of transferring the outboard motor to the dinghy. Chelsey is dressed in her houndstooth jacket, made for her by her aunt Diane. Then over that, is her bright yellow life jacket. She is anxious to be off. I hand her down into the dinghy and Ken motors away with a delighted Chelsey. Her paws are up on one of the pontoons and eyes are firmly on the approaching shore. When they get back, I have a nice hot coffee for Ken and a treat for Chelsey. This is typical of the way we begin our day. Chelsey's needs first, then ours. She brings a lot of joy and warm feelings to our little family, so we don't grumble...too much. We read, play with the computer, and sleep most of the day between trips to shore for Chelsey. The wind is still strong from the SW, but is forecast to shift to the NW...a much more favorable direction.  If so, we will leave tomorrow.

 

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Port Borden, Prince Edward Island

The wind has veered from SW to NW overnight, with the forecast projecting 25-30 knots. Chelsey is taken to the pier for her last pee. Ken returns with Chelsey and said that a bunch of fisherman were on the pier in their vehicles. One of them opened their window and asked if Chelsey would bite him if he got out! Ken laughed and said "Oh, so that's why you guys are hiding in your trucks", and everybody laughed.

We motor out once again into the Northumberland Strait. The genoa is promptly deployed. Although the wind does not seem strong at first; in fact Ken asks me what I think the wind speed is. I said 15 or 16 knots. It's actually 28 knots right now, he says. The waves may seem a little small now, but that's because we have the tidal current in our favour. They are behind us and push us along under motor and jib.

The wind builds as I watch the following seas get bigger and bigger until most of them are 3 metres high (9ft) with some higher yet. The tidal current is very much against us now; a good 2 knots. It is gusting over 30 knots, the wind whining in the rigging and we have to reef repeatedly until we have less than half of the genoa out. We now have gale force winds of 35 knots. The waves pick up the dinghy and throw her towards  us. Continuously, she is slewed sideways and comes roaring at us at about the height of the stern pulpit rail. The waves form a wall of water behind us, sweeping us along with constant surges. At one point the dinghy made heavy impact sustaining a couple of cuts; one in the starboard bow area and the other on the starboard tail.

We have pushed the towing of the dinghy to the limits of reasonableness, and only continue to do so, in order to make it convenient to take Chelsey to shore when we anchor. The navigator suggests that we could find shelter before nightfall at the east end of Pictou Island. The crew gratefully concur. We continue to ride the waves as we round Pictou Island, until gradually finding ourselves in relatively calm water with protection from most of the wind and all of the wave. The anchor goes over and we are able to relax and grin at each other. On the cliff above us, we notice some people and their lone homestead. Somebody waves; we wave back. Somehow Ken always seems to know the best plan, and I am happy to rely on him...even if I sometimes have to be talked into things. 

The dinghy has sustained some damage that has to be repaired before taking Chelsey to shore. Ken quickly calls for the dinghy repair kit and in short order he has put patches on the two obvious holes. We pumped up Clipper,  transferred the motor and with Chelsey aboard, Ken is off again to the beach. The little wind that was there, fades away and we enjoy a quiet night.  Much more comfortable than our first night's anchorage at Port Borden. The forecast has the wind dropping overnight and changing back to SW.

 

Sunday, September 25, 2005

East End of Pictou Island

The wind is has moderated and we pull anchor and are on our way early, making for Port Hawkesbury, our first landfall in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.  The wind blows at about 15 knots from the southwest. The seas are not big .  Hawkesbury is at the bottom of a large bay at the entrance to the Strait of Canso. We pull into an empty slip at the Hawkesbury Yacht Club shortly after 2:00 pm. We find out where the fuel dock is and move the boat there.  We will stay there for the night. The clubhouse is open, but only because of a club meeting; so we go in to register. The meeting has just ended and people stand around in groups talking and enjoying a beer or wine. Chelsey marches confidently into the large room looking for some likely target for some petting...which she finds.

We relax with a beer and enjoy meeting Jim & Carol Anne Organ who have recently returned from a 16 month long sailing trip to the Caribbean and back.  They share some of their experiences with us. A really nice, friendly couple. We trade cards and e-mail addresses.  Later I visit on their boat which is a 32 ft light displacement sloop 'SeaDuction'. They, of course, have some of the same equipment as we do. I was surprised that they do not have a surround for the cockpit, although they had made some weather cloths. I wouldn't want to do without our surround now that I have experienced the protection and extra living space created.  Perhaps down south, it is not as important as it has been for us this year! Any how after visiting 'Seaduction',  I came away with some good information and a couple of muffins baked by Carol Anne.

With lots of opportunity for walks, Chelsey was very chipper. I must say it felt nice to be off the big water. We are pleased by the fact that tomorrow, we will traverse the Strait of Canso and finally land in the protected waters of the Bras D'Or Lakes.  

 

Monday, September 26, 2005

Port Hawkesbury, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

We left Port Hawkesbury at 6:45 under an overcast sky. The wind is blowing 15 knots from the SW as we motor sail heading for St Peters Marina, Cape Breton. The usual gale warnings are listened to, but the Strait of Canso is narrow and protected as we proceed east to the Lennox passage. It is a bit of a maze in there, with little islands, shallow spots, and deep rocks. It is well buoyed, and with the GPS chart plotter, Ken has no problem navigating.

The water is shallow as we approach the Burnt Island bridge, which at this time of year, is only open Monday to Friday, 8:00 to 4:30.  Ken radioed ahead. The operator had seen us coming and will open the swing bridge for us. The approach to St Peters is littered with shallow spots so we have to navigate carefully. St Peter's canal is a tidal lock. It keeps the tide from affecting the Bras D’Or lakes from the south. We pulled up to the fuel dock at St Peters Marina at 11:30 am to get fuel and decided to stay there for the night. No one showed up until 4 pm as the season is late. 

This marina, where we visited two years ago, has all the amenities such as colour cable TV, comfortable leather chesterfields, lots of showers and laundry facilities, computer with printer and access to the internet, kitchen, fridge, etc. I was delighted to find a nice selection of pocket books which I traded for all the books on board I had already read. In the evening, we watched a program about the devastation from the recent hurricanes (Katrina & Rita ) in Louisiana on TV. We toasted our arrival at long last, in the Bras D’Or Lakes (translates to Golden Arm) of Cape Breton.

 

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

St. Peters Marina, Bras D'Or Lakes, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Today it rained off and on all day. Ken was up early and went for a shower while I slept. He watched some TV, mostly to do with the hurricanes in Louisiana & Texas. He commented on the slow response of aid to the first hurricane, Katrina, compared to Rita. Politics, with the invasion of Iraq, in the background of slow response of aid, coupled with huge increases in fuel prices throughout the US. Sounds like too much for George Bush to whitewash, is the consensus on TV.

In between rain sessions, I walked into town with Chelsey and later walked uptown again with Ken to do some grocery shopping. The Foodland store kindly gave us a ride back to the boat. We mostly bought fresh meat and vegetables and not too many canned goods. Any food left over after we've wintered the boat, will have to be given away or thrown out.

Chelsey and I had a shower and watched Oprah as we dried off.  Watching TV was a treat, even though I really don't miss it when on the boat. Late in the day, we pulled away from the dock. The wind was picking up so we anchored not too far away, where we were better protected and not rubbing against a pier. Enjoyed wine and cheese, salad, and some pasta for supper. Ken ran the engine for a while to heat up the cabin, charge the batteries and to provide some hot water for the dishes. What a luxury to be able to do that at anchor.

JOINT VENTURE at Anchor

Nice dry heat gets the cabin toasty in no time.  He usually likes to run the engine at around 1600 rpm, where the drag on the  engine with half depleted batteries starts out at 90 plus amps. In less than 45 mins., the drag is down to the mid 50's; time to shut down, as diesels are happiest when sufficient load is present.  A quiet night.

 

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

St Peters Inlet, Bras D'Or Lakes, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

We left the anchorage on a beautiful sunny day with a brisk north west wind.  There are lovely bays and islands to explore, so after about an hour, we dropped the hook close to a protecting shore and did the usual dinghy trip to shore for Chelsey.

Chelsey Going Ashore!

We were delighted to hear a loon echo through the silence. It seems like a long time since we have heard the distinctive call of this beautiful bird. Ken called back ... it seemed to be answered. But the loon decided that we were suspicious characters; dived and was gone. 

Ken decided to have some fun with the dinghy and did a speed test using the GPS. He attained a top speed of 13 knots and came back with a big smile on his face. Not bad for an 11 foot dinghy with a 6 hp Yamaha. After a leisurely lunch we decided to move along to another location which will provide better protection in the forecasted gales starting tonight or tomorrow from the south.

We motor through lovely scenery for an hour and enter St Georges Bay.

We Always had Great Scenery

We are almost to the end of the bay when Ken spots what appears to be a small bay of water separated from the larger bay by a low grassy bank on the west shore. It is protected on the east, north and west by land and on the south by the low bank. Looks like a good place to be in a gale. As we motor closer, we are incredulous to see a sturdy dock with even a bench to sit on. There is a large weathered sailboat up on a wooden cradle sitting on shore close to the dock. Is the water deep enough?  It was too good to be true...as we cautiously drifted into the dock we had about two feet of water below our keel. This was fine as there is little tide in this part of the Bras D'or lakes.

JOINT VENTURE at the Lonely Dock

We tie up, pleased to have found such a protected place when we needed one. Chelsey is on the dock and ashore in short order. We are also delighted to walk ashore, sit on the bench and just enjoy the view. We take a bunch of pictures. The boat sits quietly at dock. As night falls, the temperature plummets to 8 degrees, so Ken starts the engine to warm up the boat. An early night.

 

Thursday, September 29, 2005

St Georges Bay, Bras D'Or Lakes, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

It is very cold this morning and the motor goes on to quickly warm us up.  The ceiling in the forepeak has a lot of condensation that dripped down onto the V berth. Ken chose to sleep in the main cabin and didn't have to contend with that problem. The sun is shining, but the forecast is for strong winds today and gale force winds overnight. We will certainly stay where we are. The wind builds and by noon is blowing 20 to 22 knots.

Ken spends part of the morning editing this journal, as usual. The computer gets handed back and forth, as each of us add bits and pieces before it's a print. After lunch, Chelsey and I go for a walk up a rugged road nearby and I see some deer tracks. The road ends at a wooden gate where the road ends at a road running across it.  

We follow this to a cluster of pretty cottages complete with flower beds and lawns. They sit on a high bluff looking out over the wind blown water. White foam crests the small navy blue waves as the wind whips up the water. Back at the boat, I spend the afternoon working on this journal. Later, Ken also takes Chelsey for the same walk. The wind continues to blow about 16 knots, but the gusts are up to 26 knots. The weather forecast continues to talk about gale force winds and in some areas...storm force...45-55 knots. We can't find a forecast for the inland waters of the Bras D'Ors but expect the wind to possibly get up to 40 knots in here. We are tied securely and should be OK. The surround continues to be steady and strong in the gusts.

Ken has lit the diesel Force 10 cabin heater which has been pretty finicky. After supper, Ken plays some of our favourite CD's which largely drown out the whining wind and the wind generators' resulting roar. We sing along and I am up dancing to some of the fast pieces. We make up the bed in the salon to be warm.  Ken falls asleep as I let the music continue to drown out the noisy night.  Eventually he asks me to turn it off and I do. But now the strong gusts of wind can be heard and felt as the boat shudders.

I worry that the two hefty lines holding the dock to the shore may be weakened by the elements and might let go. I lay there tense and unable to go to sleep. I head back to the V berth and read. By 2:00 am I am taking some gravol to help me sleep.  Eventually, I climb in with Ken and fall asleep as the wind blows strongly outside.

 

Friday, September 30, 2005

St Georges Bay, Bras D'Or Lakes, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

We awaken this morning to calm waters and clearing skies. After taking Chelsey ashore for her usual 6:00 am visit, with food and needle to follow,  I fall back into bed to catch up on some sleep. By 10:00 I am up and we quietly pull away from this lovely little refuge. As we pulled out of the cape, we found wind blowing 15 - 20 knots right on the nose. We motored for a couple of hours to the Crammond Islands where we found a good sheltered anchorage in the lee of one of the islands.

We took Chelsey to shore, to a low sandy spit with a small pool of water in the middle. Ken and Chelsey enjoyed a run down the beach, while I searched for shells. As we relaxed on the beach, Ken decided that he would build a fire. Soon we were scavenging for small twigs and kindling. I sacrificed the piece of birch bark I had picked up to add to my store of natural items I've been picking up as keepsakes. The wind kept blowing the little flames out. We made wind barriers using large wood and Ken persevered, and after many tries, had the fire going. He slowly built up the size of the wood until we had a good blaze that nicely offset the rather chilly wind. There is something so peaceful about watching the flames and smelling the wood smoke.  But after a while, the sun is going down and we must leave, so we ensure that the fire is out.

Back at the boat, we enjoy a quiet evening as the wind dies down.

 

Saturday, October 1, 2005

Crammond Islands, Bras D'Or Lakes, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

We are both very aware that we are now into the month of October. The last month of our trip. After a leisurely morning, we move on at 10:30. We motor along in a westerly direction on this beautiful sunny day. Ken wants to try and find a small marina he was told about. It doesn't show on the chart plotter. We need bread and milk, water, and garbage removal.  

We enter  large West Bay and head towards the end. The water appears to get very shallow so we anchor and decide to dinghy in. We enter the cove which is lined with several houses bordering a road.  We tie up to a small dock and Chelsey and I go for a walk up a path. We find ourselves in the pumpkin patch of a nearby house. I hope to see someone to ask about the marina, but see no one. We don't appear to be at the right place so we dinghy back to the boat.

Having given up on the marina idea, we hug the north shore, proceeding out of west bay. Ken is looking for good protected potential anchorage sites. We round MacKenzies Point and go into a small bay. We see a couple of sailboats anchored near shore. As we draw nearer, I see the name of one the boats printed on the sail cover....Puffin.

We had met people with a boat named Puffin two years earlier in Charlottetown, PEI. We met them again in Souris, PEI and then traveled together to the Magdalene Islands. When we arrived at Port Aux Basques, Newfoundland, we were surprised to find them there, and we had shared our experience of that tough crossing and the difficulty coming in from the fog. They are from Wales, and have been sailing on their 35ft steel sloop for a number of years. They have sailed in the Mediterranean, the Caribbean and South America. They had finally got around to visiting Canadian waters. They had left Port Aux Basques in the thick fog two years ago, and that was the last we saw of them. Later that day, we had found one of their 'Puffin' coffee cups sitting on a piling and took it onboard feeling that someday we would run into them again. Could these be the same people?

We couldn't see anyone on board and there was a dinghy tied up to shore. We decided to continue on to find an anchorage for ourselves which we did just around the next headland. After dropping the anchor, we had lunch. We just had to check out Puffin, so we all climbed into 'Clipper' and motored back and noting that their dinghy was now back at the boat. As we came closer, Ken noticed the pictures of puffins on either bow and as we came around the stern, I saw that the boat was from Cardiff. This was them!. We got the mug ready and called "Ahoy".

Up came Louisa and Ken promptly said, "We came to return your mug", handing it up to her. She was, of course, surprised to see us, and asked if we were the ones with the yawl. We talked about what had been happening to each of us. Apparently, Louisa and Rob have been spending their summers in Cape Breton for the last couple of years. I couldn't get over the coincidence of meeting up with them, given the size of the Bras D'Or lakes. Unfortunately, Rob was on shore, apparently building a garage to help house some of their belongings; so we didn't get to say hello.

As we headed back to Joint Venture, Ken decided to dinghy into the very end of this bay called Ross Pond, where we could see cottages and power boats moored. We tied up to a dock there and took Chelsey to shore. There was a 40 foot fishing trawler with a Northumberland Strait hull tied to another dock, below a cottage on the hill. The name on the hull read 'Jersey Pirate'. A man waved to Ken. Ken waved back. Ken was interested to see a set of rails coming out of the water and running along the land to a large shed beside a house. On the rail was a cradle holding a 36 ft sailboat.  Soon a fellow came down to us from the cottage and introduced himself as Johnny (the one who waved), and after some discussion welcomed us to bring our sailboat to the dock if we wished. He explained that his neighbor built the track to launch and haul his 37' Alberg yawl! Unfortunately, the owner wasn't home so we didn't get to meet him. His name is Leo. He spends his summers in Cape Breton and his winters in Newfoundland. So, we unwittingly have landed where another Alberg 37 yawl normally is. Ken told Johnny to tell Leo that we could smell his yawl! We decided to take the offer of dockage for the night. It's nice not to have to dinghy Chelsey to shore at the crack of dawn. Safely tied to the dock without problem, we enjoyed calm waters and a quiet evening.

 

Sunday, October 2, 2005

Ross Pond, Bras D'Or Lakes, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

We awaken to another sunny day. Ken goes ashore to take some pictures of the rail setup for launching keelboats; Johnny is there, and after a little chat, he invites Ken into his place to show him some good spots for anchoring on the paper charts that he has. I am wondering where he got to, when I see him with Johnny and his wife coming to the boat. We have a nice chat but they have to leave as company is coming to their house to celebrate Johnny's mother's 93rd birthday. Shortly after, we leave; with friendly waves from Johnny wishing us good sailing.

We motor sail up West Bay passing many small islands. In the afternoon, we come to a very narrow opening into Little Harbour where our navigator guaranties good shelter. The harbour is not small but is sheltered on all sides. Up on a hill, we can make out a large building that Ken thinks is a restaurant he was told about by Johnny and his wife. There is a dock in front with a sign that identifies it as the restaurant. We drop the anchor and take Chelsey to the dock . We walk up and take a look. A plaque announces this as the Smoke House Restaurant.  

The building is a large log cabin with a porch running the full length of the front. I go in and talk to the hostess who has a German or Bavarian accent. They are open until 9:00 tonight. She looks out the window and sees Chelsey in her bright yellow life vest walking with Ken and assures me that our dog would be welcome to come into the restaurant. As we walk back to the dinghy, we decide to go there for supper. We dinghy over at about 6:30pm. Chelsey was very good and stayed on Ken's lap as we ate. The food was good but we both felt too full when we left. Back at the boat, we made the bed in the salon, as it is too cold in the forepeak at night. I suffered from indigestion and didn't have a good nights sleep.

 

Monday, October 3, 2005

Little Harbour, Bras D'Or Lakes, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

The day is sunny and we are on our way to Baddeck where we visited two years ago. The wind is light, as we motor through sparkling water. After a couple of hours, we pull onto the end of the big pier at Baddeck. Friendly folks say hello and take our lines. Ken is looking for a fuel dock. This is not where it is but it doesn't matter as we have enough. As it turns out, the marina just ran out of diesel. Ken just likes to top up at every opportunity. The marina office is closed so we won't have to pay for dockage. There is a 65 ft schooner docked near the end of the dock and an advertisement for sailing tours that is operated by a nice lady who turns out to be the wife of the owner of the schooner. There is also a large motor launch that is moored at a dock beside the main pier. This too, is a tour boat and the fellow manning that advertisement suggests that it would be a good place for us to dock as the inside area has the dock on one side and the pier on the other with more than enough room for us.

We immediately take this suggestion to heart and motor around and tie up, protected on all sides from any kind of weather. Of course there is no weather to worry about but I like feeling secure anyway. It is certainly more convenient than the pier where one has to climb up onto a network of 4 by 4's and then step across a 2 ft opening onto the pier. My fear of heights makes this difficult for me. We ask where the nearest grocery store is located and where we might find some Medi-Cal dog biscuits for Chelsey. We are running out and have been reduced to giving her half biscuits to make the last few go as far as possible. We have barely enough to cover the bottom of the cookie jar. The fellow manning the motor launch used his cell phone to call the local kennel and was told that the vet had the appropriate biscuits available. We were told that it was not within walking distance. Hmm..taxi maybe? Whereupon, the lady volunteers to loan us her car and give us directions on how to get to both the grocery store and the vet. Wonderful!

Leaving Chelsey on board...with a few of the last bits of her cookies, we head out.  My poor directions and Ken's speedy driving results in us getting onto the wrong road, but Ken's work training helps him figure it out and we find the Vet clinic in short order. I buy two big bags of dog biscuits and spend some time admiring a large, truly beautiful, black and white tom cat. Off we go to the grocery store and buy our usual steak and chocolate etc. Back at the marina, we enjoy talking to people on the dock.

The schooner was just leaving with about 10 passengers. She raises her many sails and is a beautiful sight. We are told that the owners (one of which was the lady who loaned us her car) are taking the ship south to the Caribbean at the end of October with four inexperienced fellows as crew. The plan is to go straight down to St Martin without stopping at Bermuda. The wife and two teenage daughters will fly down...thank goodness! Taking inexperienced crew offshore is a significant risk.

While Ken worked on editing the journal, Chelsey and I walked over to the nearby marine store. Outside was an Alberg 37 painted a bright yellow and named 'Sunny'. It sure looked smaller than 37 ft with the bright yellow colour. A fellow there told me that a couple had taken this boat to the Caribbean with their two young children aboard. They were away two years and returned. The self steering on the back of this boat, looked a lot more complicated than our Cape Horn (Ed. Note: SUNNY belongs to Bill and Norma Marchant of Baddeck, NS,  whom we met years ago in Solomons, MD on their way “south”).

Walking back to the marina, I called and spoke to the Air Miles people about the flight home. The flights leaving Sydney going to Toronto leave early in the morning with a transfer in Montreal and arrives in Toronto before noon...not bad. The flight back, however, will have two transfers and take about 7 hours!! No choices. I do not book, as I want to discuss the dates with Ken first. Air Miles require at least 7 days notice before a flight can be obtained.

As evening fell, many tourists walked up and down the pier. We barbequed a couple of pork chops and bedded down for the night, shortly thereafter. It gets cool in the night and the forepeak v-berth gets mighty cold for some reason. We have taken to converting the port settee into a double bed and sleeping there.

 

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Little Harbour, Bras D'Or Lakes, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

After a leisurely breakfast, we pull out of Baddeck harbour at about 10:30. The wind was from the SW at 15 to 20 knots. With the wind behind us, we put out the full 150 % genoa. We didn't need the main or the mizzen, as we were moving at 6 or 7 knots, gybing as necessary, as we progressed northward towards the Seal Island bridge. The leaves are now beginning to change color in the dense forest covering the high hills. Since the wind was pretty fresh and we were in no hurry, we decided to take shelter at the north end of Otter Island, just a few miles or so from the bridge. As we pulled into the lee of the island, the wind and wave moderated and we dropped anchor. We will stay for the night.

We pumped up the dinghy...it was still leaking...and transferred the motor to the dinghy. Chelsey is eager to go to shore as I hand her down to Ken in the dinghy. I decide to go into shore this time as well; so away we go with Chelsey's nose to the wind and ears flapping. The rest of the day was spent relaxing, playing games on the computer and working on this journal. Our trip is nearly over.

We plan to come back into the Bras D'Or Lakes next year for shakedown before we leave for the Azores. Our feelings are mixed. In a way, we are looking forward to all the challenges of getting the boat ready for the haul out. But...now the trip feels too short...we are everything to each other when on the boat.  Soon we will be back with all the distractions of the troubled world, TV and the pressure of earning a living.  We have already started our wish list, for the boat for next year, but we still have to pay for what's happened this past year. C'est la vie!

 

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Otter Island, Bras D'Or Lakes, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

We are up and on our way at 6:45 am. As usual, when seeing a bridge in the distance; it takes longer than expected to pass under the Seal island Bridge. The clearance is 36 metres, so we should be ok! The channel opens out to the ocean as we motor along in the initially light airs. A freighter approaches us on it's way into the Bras D'Ors and we see several fishing boats . After rounding a couple of headlands we begin our travel down Sydney Bay. There is a freighter coming in from the sea behind us with a pilot tug companion leading the way. Ahead is a cruise liner, and to complete the busy view, a huge ferry pulls away from shore and heads toward us. We maintain our course keeping all these vessels in view. Then we notice a lone sailboat heading in our general direction. It's a yawl!, it's an Alberg 37 yawl; we can tell even though we're about 500 metres apart. We finally cross in front of the following freighter, as it slows to 5 knots or less.

We give the anchored cruise ship a wide berth and sight the marina ahead on the starboard side. On the port side and just opposite the marina, is another huge cruise ship. Somehow I never thought of Sydney as a tourist destination. We motor into the Dobson Yacht Club basin and see the fuel dock at the far end. There is not much room between the two long docks on either side of us. As we approach the fuel dock at the end of the marina basin, Ken pulls as far over to one side as possible and then turns to come along side the fuel dock. No one answered our radio call, and there is no one to take our lines. We can't quite come along side, so in the tight space, the helmsman is forced to turn out and travel back the way we came, until he can turn around, back near the entrance and try again. Slowly, we motor down and this time get close enough for me to take a leap of faith;...and land safely.

Tied securely, we go looking for someone to assist in our re-fueling. Topping up the diesel is almost always our first order of business, when the opportunity is available. We want the tank full when we leave, whenever that may be, and of course, the likelihood of condensation forming in the tank is reduced. The Dobson clubhouse is obvious and we enter. It opens at noon according to the sign on the door and it is 10 minutes to 12. The door is open and a lady is preparing her cash register behind the bar, as I say hello. Soon we are filling out forms and paying for our storage and haulout. The bar is located in a large room with lots of small tables, and seats at the bar. Nearby is a very big dining room, that we are told is rented out for weddings, etc.

We were asked how we found out about this marina. We mentioned meeting Michelle and Jurgen Reinhardt, in Ste Anne des Monts. We are told that they are wintering in Prince Edward Island, because one of the two boats traveling together broke it's mast in a gale; reportedly traveling 9 knots at the time. I will try to get in touch with them and find out what happened. She takes us outside and flags down Robert Etheridge, the fleet captain. He looks after assigning docks, and gets us diesel. He is a friendly rotund guy who is very helpful. We are asked to take a temporary dock until the usual boat returns. This we do, understanding that we may have to move in a day or so.

We have arrived. It seems strange to know we won't be moving on until next year. During the afternoon, while I was taking a nap, a fellow knocked on the boat....Ken went topside in response. It was 'Bram' (Smith)....from Alicia III.  Alicia III is the Alberg 37 yawl we saw on our way in through Sydney harbour. Bram has owned Alicia III since 1999, and has been a member of the Dobson Yacht Club for about 3 years. He single hands his vessel as standard; and has circumnavigated Newfoundland at least once, with countless other trips to the area over the last number of years. He's got the Cape Horn self-steering as we now do; he's amazed how well it performs, especially in heavy weather with big following seas, in conditions where hand steering is untenable. We are certainly glad to hear this confirmed.

Later on, Robert shows us a pile of lumber that we can make our cradle out of. We will probably haul out in about a week. Robert has agreed to let us store our "ditch bag" with it's expensive load of emergency food and water, in the club house. We will store our outboard motor in the shed. We have to arrange our flight home including of course, our little pet. She has put up with all the inconveniences on the boat...having to stay in a little cage for 5 hours is no big deal...she has done it before.

As always, we learned a lot on this trip, and made a few new friends along the way. We look forward to our transatlantic crossing next year with added confidence in the boat and each other. Our trip on water is over for this year, and we hope that you have enjoyed reading about our adventures and misadventures. Even though this journal is written in the first person, it is a collaboration, with Ken making sure we note the facts accurately. We appreciate any feedback or suggestions you might have.

The Reward at the end of this phase of ‘Our Adventure’

You can e-mail us at: sailjointventure@hotmail.com

 

Ken, Anita & Chelsey 'Joint Venture'