Halifax, NS

Halifax, Nova Scotia

We arrived after an easy day trip from Lunenburg and we were so pleased to see that we would be docked right in the heart of the downtown Halifax waterfront. In fact, just before we left, Chip, a great friend of ours sent us a clip of Jack jumping up and down on the boat deck that he filmed from a waterfront webcam located just off our swim platform on the roof of the maritime museum. Halifax is the second largest non-freezing harbor in the world (Sydney, Australia is the first) and it has one of the largest boardwalks with walkways spanning the entire downtown area adjacent to the lovely harbor. In addition, the Halifax downtown is connected by the world’s oldest ferry system in place since the mid 18th century when an enterprising young man connected Dartmouth to Halifax with his row boat paddling 4 hours per round trip carrying just 2 passengers each direction. Currently the harbor is traversed by a nearly continuous stream of modern ferry’s connecting 3 cities. Alec, Jack and I road our bikes to the ferry building and for $6.50 Canadian we were able to cross over, ride our bikes on the bike path to another city, have dinner and connect for free with a ferry heading back to Halifax.

A brief overview of the week in Halifax included a trip to the maritime museum, several bike trips, lots of dining out, a trip to see the low tide and walk the ocean floor at the Bay of Fundy,(one of the 7 wonders of North America), a day trip to the lighthouse in Peggy’s cove – a really sweet waterfront town with less than 300 residents but with a continuous stream of tourist busses arriving nearly hourly to see the lovely town, lighthouse (one of the most photographed in the world) and granite rocks breaking the crashing waves from the town which were left behind by retreating glaciers eons ago, and a several times a day trip to the “Wave”, a huge granite structure which Jack loved to climb and slide down.

Hearing of the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron and its storied history as well as protected (and more private) accommodations than we have been enjoying in the heart of Downtown Halifax, we opted to try that out for a bit and after a short 6 trip we moved Gratitude and April K. What a treat staying here was! In addition to watching the twice daily march of Opti’s carrying young children out for the their daily sailing lesson, the Yacht Club couldn’t have been any more welcoming. We found a long term employee who recommended his daughter for a night of baby sitting and Alec and I enjoyed our first date night in 2 months and to a one, each person we encountered was more genuine and kind than the last. Unfortunately we couldn’t get Jack in for sailing lessons but as we have decided to extend our stay here until Tuesday of next week, Ill try again on Monday to see if they can squeeze him in.

Our time in Halifax has been amazing. Today has been a lay day getting the boat spic and span and a few things in the larder for what was to be a departure tomorrow for a couple of days of cruising but we have since decided to delay for a couple of days to wait for smoother weather. So since we are staying if the weather permits, the one thing remaining on my list of things to see here was to take the dinghy to McNab Island and ride the bikes and have a picnic. In the meantime, today we are laying low and just getting caught up. Most of the boats that we are traveling with have already begun the trip to St. Peter and the Bras D’Orr lakes which is next on our itinerary. What is so great about this type of travel is that we can move at our own pace seeing and staying as we wish. Getting to Maine was a bit hurried in our itinerary as we had plans to meet family at nearly every stop but since we have left Maine, it has been far more relaxed with us all just deciding day by day what to do next. In fact, what we do after Bras D’Orr is still undecided. Considering Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island as well as the possibility of visiting some French owned islands in the region.

Hope you are enjoying the last few weeks before the beginning of the school year! We love you all!IMG_0959IMG_0924IMG_0888Note the sign on the wave 🙂  Clearly there only to keep the lawyers away but kids were up and down this thing all hours of the day and night!  Its really quite deceiving and is larger than it appears.

LUNENBERG, NS

8 weeks – 1700 miles – 2 Countries – 9 Cities….. and counting… LUNENBERG, NS

We left Maine nearly 2 weeks ago and we have had tons of fun since that departure. We had a 33 hour passage from Maine to Lunenburg, NS and had beautiful weather for the entire trip. We were really able to identify several differences in our marine habitat on this trip vs. our previous Southern cruising. Alec and Jack both saw a whale, we all saw seals, I saw an eagle while enjoying an elliptical workout on the fly bridge and the numerous pods of dolphins we saw were a much smaller size and totally different than the ones we are used to seeing back home. Additionally, what Jack thought was a shark with two distinct fins coming out of the water and hovering near the surface turned out to be a sunfish. None of us had ever seen one before and Paul (our cruising buddy boat) thought they didn’t come this far North but further research indicated that in fact, it was a sunfish. Some of them can get as large as 2000 lbs. We have heard from some of the local Nova Scotians that their fishing industry is undergoing a drastic change. They have largely overfished and completely decimated the cod population but lobster has taken over as a large fishery industry. Due to the warming ocean temperatures, lobster which never used to come this far north are making the trip and sharks too, also never used to migrate this far north are also making an appearance. Strange to see such dramatic changes to a fairly stable ecology in ones own lifetime but it is what it is. Ill refrain from voicing any opinions as to the cause due to the varied political views of the very limited readership 🙂

So we arrived in Lunenberg, NS – Itself a UNESCO heritage site and clear to see why this adorable city has earned worldwide protection. Once a fishing village, the homes were built with very distinct characteristics – the widow’s walk where the wives would patiently pace awaiting the return of their husbands from “work” – additionally many homes had a 5 foot porch for the same reason. There was a monument to the many lost fishermen and their boats and throughout the town of brightly colored homes and businesses it was clear the impact that the fishing industry has had on this town. During some fishing seasons, an entire town of men old enough to fish could be lost do to the punishing effect of weather and reef. Deadliest Catch indeed right?

Alec has continued his quest for tastiest lobster and we found a fantastic bike/walking path not far from town where all 3 of us enjoyed an afternoon of biking.

We had a cocktail party for 12 fellow Nordhavn boaters who are all in town together and are forming the very loosely organized Canadien Maritimes cruising Group arranged by Milt and Judy Baker (Bluewater). It was lots of fun getting to know everyone and we have truly found “community” together while all of us are so far from “home”.

On July 19th we left Lunenberg to continue our trip East – next stop Halifax, NS.

So Long to Maine and the Lovett’s

So Long to Maine and the Lovett’s
It has been a fantastic week with one day and adventure more exciting than the last! Among the highlights:

We hiked two very lovely trails on 2 different days. One trail took us to the ocean and fun rocks to climb, and the other along a fresh water reservoir both so tranquil and peaceful. There are well groomed trails for every ability. One surprise while looking for animals was to discover that the bears have all been relocated off of Mt. Desert (pronounced dessert) island and the moose who do show up quickly leave due to lack of food. The absence of bears did nothing to diminish the special nature of this National treasure.

Mid-way through the week we left the wilderness to explore Bar Harbor – what a difference. April, Jennifer and I decided that a little girlie day of shopping was in order so the boys took a different car and route and we meandered the sweet streets of the “big city”. Despite the touristy nature of Bar Harbor, it still had a lot of charm and some cool hidden treasures sprinkled amongst the ubiquitous T-Shirt shops. After an afternoon of shopping, we met the guys for dinner at a lovely restaurant which has pieces sourced from the Rockefeller estate. Unfortunately this is a fact we only learned after enjoying our 2 hour carriage ride through the Carriage paths donated by the Rockefeller Family which was our field trip from yesterday. Miles of stone paths and fantastic stone bridges were made and donated by the Rockefeller’s beginning at the early part of the 20th century. Some of these treasures took several years to construct and involved bringing artisans and rock from Italy to achieve the harmonious effect. It was well worth the time and visit. Lunch yesterday was at a fantastic spot overlooking the Northeast Harbor (as opposed to Southwest Harbor where we are docked) and another town visit.

April and Paul aboard April K hosted dinner last night which was as delicious as it was timely as we barely made it back to Gratitude in time to shower and go.

Sadly we had to say so-long to Jennifer and Jay this morning and tomorrow we leave for Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. We will be traveling with 7 other boats for the short 33 hour trip. Tonight there will be a “Captain’s meeting” aboard Bluewater with Judy and Milt Baker. The Bakers hosted all of us earlier in the week for a lovely cocktail party. I had hoped to reciprocate this week but with all of the fun we have been having – there has been no time. Im sure we will have other opportunities in Nova Scotia. We were so tempted to let the group leave without us and enjoy another week in this idyllic spot but I was reminded that at each stop along the way I have wanted to stay stay stay and each new spot has been even more amazing than the last so we shall have to make it a point to return on our way South.

Thanks for reading and please let us hear from you and your summer adventures!!!

Love Alec, Laurie and JackIMG_7313

Maine

We arrived in Southwest Harbor,  Maine on Monday, July 9th to the most amazing weather and views I have ever seen.  After a bit of tidying and settling as well as a napping by the April K crew – we checking in and got our plans for the week.

Our friends from Stuart, Jennifer and Jay Lovett arrived around 4:00 Pm on the 9th and we went to Beal’s lobster pound which was a short walk from our marina.  This has been an amazing week so far with plans quickly shaping up for an immediate departure for more fun today but Jenn wanted to help me get the picture posting thing figured out – which was successful as you can see.  Below are pictures of our dinner last night.    Between the 6 of us (Jack had a P, B and J sandwich) we consumed 16 lbs. of lobster.  Jenn said that Takk (our dinghy) rode a little lower in the water on her return to Gratitude.

Happy 4th of July!

Hello everyone and Happy 4th of July.  I say this even on the 7th of July because never have I ever found a more patriotic group of revelers than the folks from Massachusetts who have been having a party for a week.   Rumor has it this is due to the 4th falling on a Wednesday but we have our doubts.  They just seem to be enjoying this incredible weather and traditional down home holiday as though it were in their bones!

If only I could import a photo 🙂  Really, I am going to figure this out someday but in the meantime, Ill do my best to describe the sights that I see outside our wheelhouse doors.   We are on a mooring ball going back and forth to the dock to visit Alec’s brother and his family via dinghy.  We were originally at the dock but a snafu resulted in us having to leave on the 5th.  This has (as these things always do) turned into a very fortuitous thing as sitting here in this incredibly beautiful anchorage with the safety of a mooring is fantastic.   I can see in a 270 degree view boats of every shape size and color and fellow boaters who share our deep appreciation for all things nautical.  We are listening to music provided by a party at the yacht club who rented us this mooring and every door and port is open allowing the not to be believed cool 70 degree air to drift through the boat.  The beach is blanket to blanket covered with Bostonian’s not missing this glorious day and I can see nary a boat, house or business not waving the beautiful Stars and Stripes.  We did see some fireworks on the 4th in this small town of Onset, MA; but the big cities had the big displays.  This small town will have theirs tonight just about 500 yards from our “Gratitude”.  Hoping to be upwind for this adventure!

To bring everyone up to date quickly –  We had the longest passage ever for us last week when we logged 66 hours underway.  The weather was phenomenal and the trip otherwise unremarkable – just the way we like it!

We arrived here to be greeted at the entrance to the canal by Peter, Alec’s brother, who gave us a dinghy escort into the marina.  Peter and Anne treated us all (April and Paul as well) to a beautiful traditional New England dinner of lobstah rolls and some clam type specialty called a quahog (sorry Anne, Im sure I got that wrong).  In any event, both were delicious and the evening could not have been nicer.

Since then, we celebrated Jack’s birthday aboard Gratitude after enjoying a perfect home town parade.  Celebrating with us were Peter and Anne and their daughter and son-in-law and granddaughter, Grace (Jack’s age).  Grandma Jean and Grampa John from St. Mary’s in Stuart who live part of the year in Rhode Island.  Another record – 12 people aboard for dinner in the salon.

Yesterday was a bit rainy – perfect weather for Jack to dig into his lego project and I opened the first paperback book of the summer.  We opened the doors and turned off the generator so without the extra power to run the vacuum and washer/dryer – what was I to do but relax and read.  Darn…..  🙂  Anne and Peter came to dinner last night and tonight we will join them for dinner and watching fireworks.  Some of Anne’s family will be there as will Paul and April.   More celebrating!

Tomorrow we leave for Maine.  Planning a short trip up the Cape Cod Canal followed by a 25 hour passage.  Looking so forward to meeting more friends from Stuart.  Jenn and Jay Lovett will be meeting us to spend the week.  Hoping to get some hiking in the Acadia national park and who knows what else!

Thanks for reading and hope this finds you celebrating our beautiful independence with loved ones!  God Bless America!!!!

Jack got this 2000 piece lego set for his birthday.  Below is the final piece coming together.  Congratulations Jack!!