Closing the Loop

We got so wrapped up in getting home, that we neglected to post any updates all the way from Canada to home.

We turned around at Halifax, NS.  We left there at 3:30 AM on August 31.


We were anxious to get home, so we didn’t do much visiting or sightseeing on the way back. We did see Tim, Amanda, and David on the way, which was great. We made it back home on the morning of October 8.

7CAC4C90-E574-476B-9A13-D19538E35B4FSo now, we’re getting ready to head south to the Bahamas. We should be leaving here at dawn tomorrow, November 18.  Stay tuned.


Oh Canada!

We’re so glad we decided to come to Canada this summer. My journal can’t really give a realistic picture of our visit, but at least I can show you a few pretty pictures.

Sunday, August 5

We left Moose Snare Cove around 10 am to head for Canada. The water was very smooth. We saw lots of dolphins and a couple of small whales. We came in to Head Harbor on Campobello Island, New Brunswick. It’s full of fishing boats and lobster pot floats. Ron had been told that we could tie up to a lobster pot float, so we did that. Thy don’t have cleats so we had to grab ropes with the boat hook. Ron checked into Canada by phone. The woman was grumpy, but it went quickly.

Our arrival into Canada was as beautiful as could be.

Monday, August 6

We left at 6 am to make the crossing to Nova Scotia. It went smoothly and we arrived at Annapolis Royal in the afternoon.

Leaving New Brunswick on a misty morning.
Headed for Nova Scotia.

We were out on a mooring, but there’s a nice little dinghy dock, right in the middle of the walkable downtown area. We spent two enjoyable days exploring the town and its restaurants. We just missed the Natal Days celebrations, which is fine with me, because I don’t celebrate the British treatment of my Acadian ancestors.

There’s a 24-foot tidal range here. This is what the ramp/stair looks like at low tide.
We love this crosswalk in Annapolis Royal.
We had breakfast at this cute tea shop.
In front of the local pub. We liked their fish and chips, but not the haddie bites.
There were hundreds of these stone stacks along the pretty boardwalk.

Thursday, August 9

Arrived at Digby after a short 2-hour trip and docked at the marina at the yacht club. This is a good deal– just $50 CDN per night, including power and water. Harold, the dockmaster, is very friendly and helpful. The marina is right in the middle of the pleasant downtown.

The Royal Western Nova Scotia Yacht Club.

Friday, August 10

Ron picked up the rental car at 11. We took the tour at the power station and then drove to Port Royal. I was too tired and hungry to explore it, so we drove back to Annapolis and had lunch at the German Bakery.

A poster at the Tidal Power Station.

Saturday, August 11

We had breakfast at Fundy’s, then drove up to the Port-Royal Historic site. I had taken three kinds of pain medicine, so I was able to walk around and enjoy it. The replica of the original settlement was constructed from 1939-1941 and was based on a duplicate set of plans for the original Habitation that had been recently discovered in France. This was the first National Historic Site to have a replica structure built.

The people who built this site have done a wonderful job of recreating the buildings, furniture, clothing, decoration, tools, and food containers during the period, from 1605 to 1613.

The entrance to the Port-Royal reconstruction.
A piece of Mi’kmaq art hanging in one of the buildings.

We went to the Roof Hound Pub (by way of Bear River) for dinner, and we enjoyed the food and Ron had a nice beer.

Sunday, August 12

We spent a couple of hours cleaning the inside of the boat. I checked out the vendors at the Digby Scallop Days (nothing interesting), then we picked up donuts at Tim Horton and left for Grand-Pré.

Grand-Pré was first settled in 1680 and by 1755 had become much more populous than Port-Royal, probably because the dyke system built there allowed them to farm very successfully. There’s an actual flume from the original dykes at the historical center, along with diagrams and explanations of how they worked. I really enjoyed it and actually learned something about my Babin ancestors who lost their homes in the expulsion of 1755 at Grand-Pré.

An interesting display of a reconstruction of an Acadian dike, including an actual excavated flume.

Then we visited the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens. With enough pain medication, I was able to enjoy the walking for a few hours.

We stopped for supper at The Naked Crepe in Wolfville. Came back and cleaned the cockpit. Watched the fireworks at 10 o’clock—they were pretty good, and we had a great view from the boat.

I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of fireworks, so I’m only including one of the hundreds of photos I took.

Monday, August 13

We went shopping, lugged all the groceries and put them away, made the bed, did two loads of laundry. Ron returned the car and topped off the water tank.

Ron started the engines at 13:20 to leave Digby with the high tide. I decided to nap.

Tuesday, August 14

We arrived in foggy Shelburne after a 23- hour passage. After a lovely ride down the Bay of Fundy, things got pretty miserable after dark. I got 4 hours of sleep, Ron got 1. The cat got frantic, snuck under the back door, ran up the side of the boat to the bow, and jumped up on the roof—not at all a safe place for her underway, and especially with all the rocking and rolling we were doing. I stopped the boat and Ron went up and got her down. Most of the trip, we had about 100 feet of visibility. I’m so glad we picked a calm day to travel.

More fog!

Wednesday, August 15

We’re too tired to do anything but rest. I’m also feeling sick to my stomach.

Thursday, August 16

It’s Ron’s birthday. I made blueberry oatmeal muffins for a birthday breakfast. I still don’t feel good enough to go in to town. So we’ll be leaving Shelburne without seeing the town.

Friday, August 17

Ron got up at 6 to begin route planning, but we didn’t actually leave until 9:30. The forecast is for 1 foot seas, but we’ll see…..

Stay tuned for our next exciting adventure!

A month of Maine continues

Thursday, July 19

Somes Sound and Acadia National Park deserve more time than we had to spend here. The park is beautiful, and there’s so much to see and do here.

This morning we cruised up to the north end of Somes Sound for a whirlwind tour of Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor. We rode our bikes to the library in Somesville and caught the free (!) bus to Bar Harbor.

Somes Sound used to be called the only fjord on the US east coast, but it’s now been downgraded to a fjard. I think one must be a Swedish geologist to understand the difference.

We did a little shopping and had lunch at Leary’s Landing in Bar Harbor. Very nice fish and chips and excellent beer (Zoe).

Bar Harbor is a surprisingly cute town.

We took the free (!) bus to Sand Beach, which is a truly beautiful place, but it was jam-packed with people. If I were staying nearby, I might try coming here for a walk at dawn. We came back for some designer ice cream before taking the bus back to Somesville.

The free bus ride is quite scenic.

Friday, July 20

We cruised up to Roque Island. This is one of the very few sandy beaches in Maine. I was really wanting a scenic anchorage, and this definitely filled that square. And tonight there are only a couple of other boats anchored off the beach.

A few lobster boats came in in the fog.

Saturday, July 21

Because of the 12-foot tidal range, we had to time our beach visit to Great Beach carefully. We went over an hour before low tide, planning to leave the beach two hours later, which would be an hour after low tide, so that our dinghy would be neither way up on dry land nor way out in the water.

We had a lovely beach day at Roque.

We had the great good fortune of meeting new friends Jay and Jialin and their friend Leo, and talked with them for quite a while. Which made us a bit late for getting back into the dinghy, so it had taken on quite a bit of water. It was well worth it, though.

This has been a beautiful, albeit foggy, stay. We’d come back here any time.

Sunday, July 22

We headed off in pea soup fog (this is becoming the standard weather around here) for an anchorage formed by Opechee, Swan, and Pond Islands. We dinghied to a rocky beach on Pond Island and collected some stones. I picked up some shale for painting, while Ron collected some interesting granite to display in a glass container.

More fog! What a surprise!

Tuesday, July 24

We would be heading north to Canada, but there’s a meeting of cruisers scheduled for July 27-29, the SSCA Rockland GAM and a WWS meetup. The weather’s going to be rough starting on Wednesday, so we headed southwest today. We arrived at Rockland in fog. [snark]Yes, fog.[/snark]

Friday, May 27

The dinghy raft-up at 4:30 was the first event of the SSCA GAM. We enjoyed chatting with several couples, although, as is usual with these things, it’s difficult to choose which conversation to join, and it’s hard to hear because you can’t be close to most people, and you have your back to half of them. But it was fun and we got familiar with a few faces. Linda and Dave were in a boat beside us, while John and Helen were behind us. Keith and Nikki were on the host boat with Ed and Ruth on Angel Louise. I had no brilliant idea for food to pass, so we brought mixed nuts. Some people did cool things—my favorites were raw mushroom caps stuffed with green-flecked cream cheese, and cucumber slices topped with cottage cheese and something on top of the cheese. Both simple but tasty.

Dinghy drift—actually, a dinghy tie-up.

Saturday, May 28

We had a great time at the GAM and made some new friends that we hope to see again along the way. Ron enjoyed a tour of the Sail Power & Steam Museum.

Sunday, May 29

The WWS meetup was a lot of fun. Meanwhile, the guys had their own informal meetup at the local pub.

Monday, May 30

We had planned to leave today to make our way toward Canada, but when Ron was ready to go to the fuel dock, the port engine wouldn’t start. The alternator on that engine hasn’t been working for a couple of months. Ron was finally able to get the engine started, but he didn’t want to leave the country with an unreliable starter. Fortunately, Journey’s End Marina is a certified Yanmar repair shop, so Ron called to see when they could look at the engine. They said they could work on it on Friday. But they didn’t have room for us in the marina (not that we really wanted to pay for four nights there), and Ron didn’t want to risk being in the harbor and not being able to start the engine to get in there on Friday morning, not to mention delaying our departure for five days.

So, he spent the day working on the engine himself. He found the problem fairly quickly—a nut that couldn’t be properly tightened without a washer, that was installed without said washer, and had rusted badly so that it no longer made contact with the two connectors required for the alternator and starter. Because it’s so hard to get at the back of the engine on this boat, It took hours to get the part off, cleaned up, and reinstalled. But, we now have two working starters and alternators!

Tuesday, May 31

We left Rockland and traveled to Opechee Island.

Leaving Rockland Harbor.

Wednesday, August 1

We were anchored at Opechee Island, where we were invaded by dozens of mosquitoes in just a few minutes of having the door open this morning. The fog was very thick, so we waited until 9:30, when the fog had mostly lifted, to leave for the trip to Roque Island.

Unfortunately, the fog dropped back down soon after we left, and it stayed thick for most of the trip, which made lobster pot avoidance very difficult. We kept killing mosquitoes all day—they seemed to keep coming from somewhere.

One cool thing is that Amelia spent a good portion of the trip outside of her “bomb shelter.” That’s a first. Normally, she gets into it and stays in until we are slowed down to approach an anchorage or dock. She wandered around and acted pretty much the way she normally does when we’re at anchor. She even caught and ate a “sky raisin.” (Flies are sky raisins to the cat. Deer flies and bees are jalapeño sky raisins.)

When we arrived at Roque at 6:00, there was a sailboat at the small beach where we wanted to anchor (the nerve of some people!), and five sailboats along the southern half of the long beach. Because we’re expecting two or three days of high winds from the southwest, we chose to share the small beach—we didn’t have to really snuggle with the sailboat, though we were a little closer than we would normally choose to be.

The mosquitoes continued to be a problem, so we had to spend the evening inside with the door closed.

I had a bad night, with half a dozen mosquito bites, a headache, an upset stomach, and the rocking of the boat in unexpectedly bumpy seas most of the night.

Thursday, August 2

The harbor is calm this morning and the mosquitoes aren’t bothering us.

Ron tried to find the cause of poor performance of the watermaker. The strainer wasn’t clogged and he didn’t find any other malfunction. Since the watermaker does work, but at diminished capacity, he decided to run it for several hours to fill the tank, and he plans to continue working on getting to the bottom of the problem.

Friday, August 3

We traveled up to Moose Snare Cove. This is exactly the sort of beautiful place I dreamed of visiting in Maine. The water is beautiful, the shoreline is pretty, the trees are wonderful. And we were isolated here, just the way I like it.

Escape from Reality indeed!

Sunday, August 5

We left Moose Snare Cove around 10 am to head for Canada.

We LOVE Boothbay Harbor!

We still have a lot of Maine to see, but I’m in love with Boothbay Harbor.

Beautiful flowers are everywhere around town.

It’s a tourist town, but just like my other favorite tourist town, Provincetown, it has a lot to offer. All that money pouring in from the hordes of visitors supports some wonderful restaurants, galleries, and shops.  This is the most tourist-friendly town I’ve visited, and it’s especially friendly to boaters. At least four free dinghy docks, one of them huge. You can always dock near whatever you want to visit. At least two clean public restrooms, right at the top of the dinghy docks. A free trolley that will take you to the supermarket, among other places. Lots of room in the harbor to anchor for free.

There’s so much space for anchoring. A little lumpy when the wind is southerly, but mostly it’s calm and quiet.

Of course, all that money we’re saving by anchoring, we’re spending on lobster rolls, blueberry pancakes, Italian food, and ice cream.

Look at how much lobster is in this roll! Plus, you get butter instead of mayo.

The Maine State Aquarium is here, too. It’s small, but we really had a great time there.

This adorable skate is just 3” across.
Baby lobsters in an ice cube tray.

We got to pet the shark.

They have a lot of information about lobster fishing.

There are sailing lessons just off our anchorage every day.

There’s a wonderful used bookstore just a couple of blocks away from the main dinghy dock.   Books on the porch are a quarter, paperbacks are 50 cents, and there are a lot of books about New England, and Maine in particular.  It’s run by the Friends of the Library.  We donated a couple of dollars over the cost of the 20 books we bought, because, really, the prices are ridiculous!


I know we have to move on to see more of Maine (puffins!), but I’m going to be sad to leave Boothbay Harbor.


We’re back! Provincetown was the highlight of our Northern cruise four years ago. So we knew we’d have a good time here.

This was our view on arrival.

We anchored out for most of our visit. The seals are still here.We just happened to be here during the Portuguese Festival, which was amazing!

The seawall was covered with cormorants, and most of the nests had babies!We had the best seat in the house for the Blessing of the Fleet.

The fishing boats, all decked out in flags, pass by the bishop on a platform.

The town is full of galleries and high-end gift shops. I can’t afford any of this stuff, but I love browsing.We rode bikes every day, which was good exercise, but the truth is, Commercial Street is so clogged with cars, bikes going both ways, and meandering pedestrians that riding is not exactly fun.But we persevered.  We had Portuguese donuts every morning, and made two visits to the Lobster Pot and two to The Canteen (amazing hot lobster rolls!).  We watched the parade, but honestly, it was a bit of a letdown after the awesome dance demos we had watched the day before, and then saw again the day after the parade.All in all a very successful Provincetown visit.

At this point, it was time for 4th of July fireworks.  Unfortunately, by the time we knew where we wanted to be, it was too late to get a reservation in Marblehead, and we wouldn’t have been able to see the fireworks from Boston Harbor.  So we went on up to Marblehead, knowing we’d have to leave by the morning of the 4th.

Light dawns on Marblehead.

While we were in Marblehead, we spent a nice afternoon with friends Julie and Paul.While I’m glad we got to see iconic Marblehead, I don’t need to go back there.  It’s not walkable for me.  And there’s no free anchoring.  Moorings are $45 a night, and the harbor is crazy busy.On the 4th, we moved on to Portsmouth, NH.  Our friends David and Sally came to see us here, and we had a great visit..This is another town I don’t need to see again.  It’s moderately walkable, but a bit much for me.  We had to stay in an expensive marina with a very nice dockmaster, but no amenities.  The water was pretty bouncy.  We’ll have to find a better spot to hang out with David and Sally on our way south.Next episode:  Maine!!

From Newport to Cuttyhunk to New Bedford

Leaving Mystic, our plan was to anchor at Newport, RI for a couple of days. But our plans were changed so we could have our niece Amanda spend several days with us. So we took a slip at the fancy but expensive Newport Marina for one night so we could pick her up. They actually have a heated pool!

The location of the marina is also awesome. They’re a block away from the cute downtown, with shops and restaurants aplenty. And we stumbled on the IYRS School of Technology & Trades, and took a self-guided tour.

Then on June 8 we were off to the island of Cuttyhunk, MA. We really didn’t know what to expect there, although we knew the island has a very small population and there aren’t a lot of amenities for travelers.

We truly enjoyed being there. The island is beautiful and walking it is pleasant because there are flowers and wildlife all around, and no traffic. The hills were challenging for me (Linda). But it was worth it.

Somebody on the island is painting rocks and leaving them around, which I loved, since I’m a rock painter myself. Ron dinghied us to a beach where Amanda and I gathered up all the beach rocks we could carry, then went back to the boat and painted some.

(Amanda painted the first one. The others are two of the four I left on the island.)

We were just a day early for the famous boat-delivered lobster dinners, but we did get a couple of lobsters cooked for us, and we just had to go pick them up. There were only about 20 boats on the moorings the first night, but next day that number more than doubled. So they did send out the seafood delivery boat.

Now it was time to take Amanda home and pick up our nephew Tim for a visit. We took a slip at Popes Island Marina in New Bedford and rented a car for the drive up to Taunton to make the switch.

We wanted to take Tim for a cruise, but the weather was too rough for cruising. So we drove up to Provincetown for a day trip. We stopped at Highland Light and Tim and Ron climbed to the top.

We ate at our favorite Ptown restaurant, the iconic Lobster Pot, then wandered Commercial Street a bit before we headed back to the boat.

The next day, Ron and Tim went off to do the New Bedford Whaling Museum. By this time, we were on a mooring buoy, so they took the marina launch over and back. They really enjoyed it, and the bonus was that they got in free with our membership to the Mystic Seaport Museum.

Amelia wanted to go, too.

After we took Tim home, we had one more day in New Bedford, so we got to meet Facebook friends Beth and Tim in person for a nice dinner and quick visit to their home in Fairhaven.

Next, we’ll be off to Provincetown for a nice long visit.

Two more states

In my last post, we were in New Jersey, having just left Cape May. We spent two more nights in NJ, anchoring out. We’ve avoided dealing with a lot of traffic so far, because we’re traveling so early in the season. Things picked up a bit on Memorial Day weekend, as you can see from this very crowded fishing charter off Sandy Hook.

On May 25th, we headed off to Port Washington, passing the obligatory photo op (look at all those poor schnooks on line for the ferry back to NYC)

and heading up the East River though the dreaded Hell Gate (which is totally a non-event at slack water).

As we said when we were here 4 years ago, we love Port Washington! Moorings are free up to two nights, there’s a free town launch, and there’s a shopping center with a Burger King, a Stop & Shop, and a bunch of other stuff, just across the street from a free dinghy dock. Plus our friend David (my ex-husband) lives just one stop away on the LIRR. David came out and spent a day with us. Weather was foggy when it wasn’t raining.

From Port Washington, we moved on to Mystic, CT.

This was a cool stop. We were docked within the Mystic Seaport Maritime Museum. Ron got to wander the grounds for several days. They very kindly allowed me to ride my bike around (bike riding is not allowed normally) because my ability to walk is so limited. They have a fascinating indoor display on whaling that I unfortunately couldn’t enjoy because I had an allergic reaction to the smells from the preserved whale parts like teeth and bones.

We had a couple of really great meals at the on-site restaurant, Latitude 41. The museum is having a special exhibit on Vikings right now. We were a bit disappointed–it just didn’t offer much in the way of artifacts. Lots of giant paintings on the walls, and some recorded lectures–not very exciting. The Viking ship replica is cool, though!

And so is the Charles W Morgan.

In case you don’t recognize it, that second photo is a windlass, for raising and lowering the anchor.

Tune in again for two more states, in our next exciting episode.