Southwest Harbor, ME (2.0)

Moving on from Maine

When last I wrote, we were leaving Halifax and as yet, undecided as to whether we would make it to ME or stop short in Lunenberg to await better weather. The weather did improve as we moved West allowing us to continue to Maine and we arrived in good spirits. After an uneventful visit from the US Customs and Border Patrol to clear us in, we all went to sleep for a nice 11 hour slumber.

The week in Maine was perfect in terms of weather and fun. Milt and Judy loaned us their car which we took to the Jordan Pound trails and enjoyed a 6 mile hike to the top of Penobscot mountain where we dined on a picnic lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with apples while sitting in the clouds. We were rained on and wet and tired and dirty when we emerged hours later to finish the hike around the beautiful pond, hiking on logs and rocks the remaining mile to the car. Rock jumping and hiking is Jack’s favorite, and anything to do with water is Alec’s favorite so we all finished the day incredibly happy and well.

Later in the week we took the bikes on the free LL Bean shuttle bus back to the Acadia National park in order to ride on the carriage paths built in the early 20th century by John D. Rockefeller Jr. Miles long and closed to all but foot or bicycle traffic, these carriage paths were built and later donated by the Rockefeller’s to be used exclusively by carriages. Readers may remember that when we were here last with the Lovett’s we took a carriage ride and learned a great deal about these paths, the park and the 16 stunning bridges that flank and connect these paths. The bridges are built from artisan stone workers and built to harmonize with the natural surroundings. I had hoped then that we could return with our bikes and spend a day enjoying the freedom of riding without concern for motorized traffic colliding with the 8 year old. Return we did and we had an amazing time enjoying the park in this way. The trees are just beginning their metamorphic change with the earliest red leaves just emerging. It was a great time to be in the park.

Another highlight of the week in Mt. Desert Island was the celebration of my 52nd b-day. Alec, Jack and Paul and April and I went to dinner at the lovely Asticuou Inn which has an outdoor patio overlooking Northeast Harbor. The weather was perfect for the entire week and we enjoyed high 60’s and low 70’s every day. Alec had several trips to Bealls for his favorite crustacean dinner and we managed to solve a couple of maintenance puzzles with the help of Paul aboard April K. All in all, the week couldn’t have been nicer. In fact, we were supposed to leave on Friday and we decided to stay a few days more – this time it wasn’t my request! It was April who wanted to stay and so we did – and none of us was disappointed. Next stop – The Dolphin Marina in Harpswell, ME.

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So Long, Halifax

So Long Halifax….

We departed from Halifax (2.0) this morning at 0600 and it was with mixed emotions that we said goodbye to this wonderful city. Some of you will recall that we only re-visited Halifax due to the necessity of acquiring legal paperwork necessary for the sale of a piece of property. This second visit; however, proved to be even nicer than the first and the reasons for this are many. First, our friends whom we met in Baddeck live in Halifax and in addition to sharing with us “local info” on places to go/eat etc, they visited and played with us. Truth be told, there is nothing that brings a city to life faster than spending “real” time with the people who live and work and thrive there. The Langleys truly thrive in this lovely city and they shared with us the many reasons why.

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This second “go round” included amazing trips to several fantastic “world class” dining establishments. On the first trip we sort of meandered around near the waterfront and found places to eat – never really disappointed but certainly not raving days later about the experience. Funny how I forgot one of my rules of travel which is to, whenever possible, get as far from the hotel (or tourist attractions) as possible to find the best food. Following Amanda’s advice on restaurants took us (except for one notable exception – AMano Italian on the waterfront in Bishops landing) much further away than the waterfront but not further than a walk or bike ride. We also found our way into several shops, the library, Canada’s oldest children’s bookstore, another bookstore and the most amazing charcuterie shop there ever was. The Langley’s came over for dinner one night and they spent the day with Jack yesterday afternoon so that Alec and I could enjoy an afternoon together finishing our sentences and focusing on each other while we were still awake enough to do so:-)

All in all, there is little that could have made this week any more enjoyable – whats more- we spent more time waiting for the weather to depart than we did waiting for the paperwork to arrive. This has also been Jack’s first week of school and while we are definitely working through some growing pains with all of us learning new skills, it looks promising.

So whats next…

We departed 8 hours ago and we are following the beautiful Nova Scotia coastline dotted with the most fantastic rock formations and picture post card lighthouses one has ever seen.

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Jack and I have taken our medicine to combat our recent onset of mal de mar – which even despite the larger swells from fairly consistent and organized seas on the bow, we are doing very well. It is my hope that we can continue until we arrive in Southwest Harbor, Maine tomorrow afternoon around 1400. We left it as a possibility that we could “duck in” if the seas were too uncomfortable but with a forecast of improving conditions through Sunday am – we will likely just continue on our present path. I took a photo of the route this morning before departure. It is pictured below.

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We aren’t certain for how long we will stay in SW Harbor but the next reservation we have set is in Martha’s Vineyard for September 10th. We have 2 friends scheduled to come visit us and Alec’s brother and SIL may be able to join as well. This together with a possible stop to visit them should ensure lots of fun family and friend time.

Thats all for now – Thanks for reading

Little Harbor, Liscombe and the Bras d’Or Lake

Little Harbor and the Bras d’Or lake

If you read the last post, you were probably expecting to see Prince Edward Island at the title of today’s post. One of the best things about this type of travel is that, on a whim and at the last minute, plans can be altered. In fact, holding too tightly to a plan when traveling in general but traveling by boat in particular, can have devastating consequences at the worst and at the least, will probably result in frustrated or exhausted crew mates. Going with the flow is essential. So when we got the call from the Bahamas that we would need one additional document notarized and certified, there is no way we could leave the province without having this taken care of. A certification is a document from the capital of the state or province in which you had a document notarized verifying that the person notarizing a document is authorized to do so. In our country this would likely have taken several weeks but in Halifax it only took 5 days the last time we were here. The sale of our property was to have closed on August 1 and dragging it out any longer could have very costly repercussions. So the decision was made that after PEI we would head back to Halifax for another week. Unfortunately, after discussing this with our buddy boat and sleeping on what this would mean for the overall timetable, it was decided that leaving PEI for another time would be more prudent. All decisions in life have an upside and a downside and this was just such a decision. While we missed seeing PEI, we did get a chance to enjoy the Bras d’Or lake and its many cuts and inlets. We were able explore by Kayak and dinghy and saw lots of eagles, a mink, seals (or otters), and we were able to do so in pristine conditions. Nova Scotia is well known for it’s fog outside of the lake but we had no such conditions during our entire stay in the Bras d’Or lakes region. It could not have been lovelier with near perfect temperatures and weather. We also had a chance to re-connect with other buddy boats Bluewater and Happy for another evening of cocktails and laughs.

 

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Having gained the windfall of additional time, we decided to leave ourselves enough time to explore some of the anchorages and cities that we skipped heading East and what a windfall that was. Working our way to Halifax we stopped in Liscomb for what we thought would be just a night. After a 10 hour run in what we anticipated would benign conditions, we had a rather confused sea state with 2-4’ waves off the bow – ideal conditional for mal de mar (seasickness). Jack and I felt lousy the entire day. A perfect opportunity to re-valuate the timetable and make some adjustments. Upon arriving in Liscomb we anchored and called the “lodge” to make reservations for dinner. What a treat this place was! Not only did we enjoy one of the nicest and most delicious meals we have had in Nova Scotia, but we also discovered that there is a 10km (6 mile) trail along the river. This together with the wonderful kayak opportunities, we decided that there was no rush to press on. We ended up staying here for 3 days enjoying 2 delicious meals at the lodge, hiking the 6 mile trail – which was moderate intensity in places but stunning and well worth the effort. As we were walking up to dinner, the dock-master asked us if we had been to the town of Sherbrooke Village which is nearby. Of course we hadn’t and in such a remote area, we had no ability to rent a car. April (April K) not to be too subtle asked “how might one get there with no car?” to which Chester, the dock-master replied, why you would drive my car!. So we did in fact, borrow Chesters car and head to that 150 year old town.

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I remember vaguely going to Williamsburg, PA when I was a young child and I believe this was probably the same. What we loved about it was that we have been teaching Jack (and re-learning ourselves) so much history lately, and this helped to solidify those lessons. Since we just learned about Alexander Graham Bell, this little town represented the time of history in which he lived. Mostly this town aimed to replicate, as closely as possible, what life was like living in 1867 and they did so with authentic period dress and speaking to us in first person on many occasions inviting us to “play along” – which we did. Jack’s favorite stop was the blacksmith shop where we watched craftsmen make pot hangers, hooks etc. Jack inquired about the Blacksmith making swords (an idea borrowed I think from Pirates of the Caribbean) and the man said that he made them on the off season when he had time for longer bigger projects. My favorite stop was the printing shop where we saw a printing press from 1867 still in use making menus for the restaurant and she printed up recipes from her own family 8 generations prior. It was here that I got my pie crust recipe and the recipe for butterscotch pie. Believing as I do that things come to you at exactly the right moment, I took it as a sign that today would be the day to tackle my pie challenge. Not only did I find the recipe for a pie and crust, but later in our tour we came to the wood maker shop where I was able to purchase a pie dough roller. So, in one fell swoop, I was ready to tackle my summer challenge.

At the start of this trip, I asked Jack for 2 goals for the summer. He said he wanted to learn cursive and he wanted to master division. I am so proud to say that Jack mastered both of these goals that he set for himself. Unfortunately, the goal that I set for myself, to make a pie crust – something that I have tried and tried for years to accomplish, still had alluded me. I finally discovered why… about a month ago when doing to light research for my pie project, I discovered that if my equipment or kitchen ever got above 73 degrees F, I would have to cool everything down again. This information was extremely timely because that was clearly my problem with making a pie in Florida in the summer. There is rarely a time that our kitchen is ever below 80 degrees. So, on this day -so cool in Nova Scotia that we wore sweaters and foul weather gear, I decided today was the day. Jack and I, having returned from the Sherbrooke Village decided to get busy and make my goal a reality. Success! We both did it!

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Another highlight of the week was Jack Face Timing his friends on the first day of school. Getting a signal was a challenge but we managed, however briefly, to connect, and Jack got to say hello to everyone for a few moments on Wednesday. So began Jack’s first day of school. Bridges Montessori provided us with some books and suggestions for study material and we have gotten busy putting it to use. We have done some work this summer to ease the transition into school time but we are trying to commit to doing this in earnest from this point forward. It really is harder than it looks finding the time to commit to school. One may think we have nothing but lazy days and time on our hands but our days are surprisingly full . I think that we are going to have to commit to less time underway and longer periods in each stop.

We are presently offshore traveling on a Southwesterly course approximately 65 miles East of Halifax. We are still undecided if we will anchor in one of the sheltered coves for the night or press on to Halifax for an arrival today – we are letting Mother Nature decide for us. If is is rough, we will tuck in for the night, and smooth sailing… we will press on.

Amanda and Adam, our new friends from Baddeck, live full time in Halifax and have graciously provided us with a ton of new discoveries to explore in Halifax so even though we are going to take care of this document, we will certainly avail ourselves of the “local view” of things on (as Amanda put it) Halifax 2.0. On our list is the art museum, the children’s book store (we have run out of books), and hopefully time spent with the Langley family.

We are still planning on a September 1 arrival (possibly a day or two on either side of that) for Maine.

Thats all for now!

Love,
Alec, Laurie and Jack

“Connection” and Baddeck

“Connection” and Baddeck

“Connection.” That was the word that Amanda, our new Canadian friend used twice when describing, on two separate occasions, what she sought when traveling in new communities.
This got me thinking about my own traveling experiences and what we all seek on our “great explores”. Absolutely who could argue that when traveling it is those connections with other cultures that leave us with the most profound and lasting impressions of a place and truly the single greatest predictor of the litmus test “shall we return”.

Since arriving in Canada, we have had experience after experience with the people here who have left us feeling absolutely “connected.” Day after day we shake our heads in amazement at the kindness and generous nature of these beautiful people. From the vendors in the farmers market who, even with a line forming behind me wanted to find our where we were from and for how long were we staying and the lovely bartender who wanted to help us make change for the ferry and while doing so, explained the history and difference in Canadian currency. With ferry’s arriving and departing every 15 minutes, she most certainly missed her ferry but that didn’t seem to phase her as she, with total genuine kindness chatted with us for several minutes. And Im not referring to that sort of polite kindness that we expect when interacting with service providers but that genuine kindness that comes from “being” in a comfortable and peaceful internal space. Canadians have that peaceful kindness in spades and they so generously share it with the visitors to their country.

Back to Amanda and Adam and their 2 children Elle (10) and Gray (8). We met Adam in Halifax as he is the Director of Operations for Develop Nova Scotia (formerly Waterfront Development; and he manages the wharf in Halifax and in Lunenberg. Adam was, of course, kind and friendly in his work capacity but also engaging with Jack, not only because he could immediately relate to him due to his own son, but it just seemed that that was the kind of guy he was. Adam mentioned that his family had a home in Baddeck, which just happened to be the next stop on our planned trip. We made a very loose plan to get together when we arrived and I knew that Jack would be over the moon to have a friend to play with. Connection… we all need it, even 8 year olds. Funny thing, all challenges bring reward right? At home Jack is a little shy with other children when he first meets them. Not so when traveling. He has no trouble at all since we have been aboard jumping right in to meet another child. Must be that he sees that he has no time to waste – we could all learn that lesson couldn’t we?

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Since arriving here in Baddeck we have had one more fantastic experience after another. Connection. Pictured below is a drone shot taken by Milt Baker (Bluewater) after a day of jumping from our boat deck – kids and adults alike. (Yes that water is cold but not as much as you may imagine.) Jack has had the opportunity to play with Gray, being pulled in the tube, jumping from their wharf, and Gray spent some time aboard Gratitude playing with legos. Amanda came shopping with April and I for an afternoon and, together with Milt and Judy (Bluewater), Paul and April (April K) , and Sally and Whitey (Happy), we had a drink at the local yacht club.

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We had April and Paul over for dinner to watch the boat parade and there have been sailing regattas nearly every day including today – rain and all. The town had their annual festival to celebrate Natal Day. Nova Scotia has been a member of the Canadian Confederation since its inception on July 1, 1867. The term “natal” is derived from the Latin word for birth and, hence, Natal Day is the official “birthday” of the province. And today is a perfectly wonderful rainy day. Just in time too since laundry is piling up and Jacks school work is a little behind. We did spend most of 1 day at the Alexander Graham Bell museum. We all know that Dr. Bell invented the telephone (even he knew that it wasn’t always appropriate to have it around even banning it from his own study). But he also spent a great deal of time and energy experimenting with flight. Baddeck was his summer home and we are anchored in the same spot where, in 1909 the Silver Dart made it’s first flight on the ice covered harbor. The Wright Brothers’ first flight was in 1903 of course but ailerons, the control surface on the aircraft which allows for directional control was invented here and also simultaneously in France. These were monumental advances in aviation. Who knew? 🙂 So we have been able to get in at least a little school work.

So, what is next? We enjoyed a tremendous meal last night and talked over the loose plan for our next stop. We will probably leave Baddeck when the weather clears on Sunday and head back down toward St. Peters, the canal where we entered the Bras d’Or lake, and then to the Canso Canal which will take us Northerly to the top of Nova Scotia and then to Prince Edward Island. We have reservations secured there from Monday-Friday (thanks to April our fleet cruise director). Still working on rental car arrangements and tourist plans but we will have time to figure that out. We will probably take 2 days to get there as the trip involves locks, and unfamiliar lake territory. Better to cruise in day light.

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Thanks for reading! We miss you all
xo

The Bras d’Or Lake

The Bras d’Or Lake

We are currently in St. Peters having just cleared through the lock on Wednesday.  We ran overnight from Halifax and arrived right at the bridge and lock opening at 0800.    St. Peters is a very small community yet locals turn up every morning to greet arriving motor and sailing vessels.  We got the distinct impression that this was a daily ritual for some sweet retired people who like to be the welcoming committee and what a welcome it was.  Alec and I usually do quite a lot of homework before arriving in a new area – especially one involving bridges and/or locks yet when we arrived we both seemed to be walking in a fog and unfamiliar with the procedures.  We were also tired from running overnight with each of us only getting 4 hours of sleep at the most so that was probably part of the issue but the help from the locals was both a pleasant surprise and helpful boost bringing me right up to speed where I needed to be getting through this skinny canal.  

 

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A little bit of history about this lock and canal, it was blasted through a solid granite hill and opened in 1869.  If you refer to the earlier map you can see that we entered from the South into the lake (on the map it looks more like many lakes due to the winding and weaving canals and peninsula’s that connect it all but it really is just one large connected brackish estuary.)    If not for this entry it would have been necessary to go halfway around Cape Breton and enter via the Great Bras d’Or and much of the exploring of the lake would have been lost.  

 

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The Bras d’Or Lake is yet one more UNESCO Biosphere Reserve on our beautiful tour of this very unspoiled province.  The lake is an estuary where brackish water and fresh waters pours into a large drainage basin from rain water runoff, snow and rivers.  The lakes is surrounded by aboriginal populations of the Mi’kmaq people indigenous to the area before the early settlers from France and Germany.   We are leaving St. Peters today for a 2 hour trip to an anchorage for the night and then tomorrow we will arriving in Baedeck for a week or so.  There is a yacht club there where I inquired about sailing camp for Jack for a week but unfortunately they have no openings.  The good news is that we will be arriving before the regatta and festival which is their busiest week of the year.  

Sharing the dock with us for the past 2 nights was a sweet couple named Peter and Ginger who left this morning for a 2-3 week passage to Ireland.  Godspeed!  

  

Maps, Flags and Practical Matters

Flags, Maps and Practical Matters

While talking to my sister I was reminded today of a sentiment that I have shared on numerous occasions while reading the blogs of other cruisers. Sometimes when we are exploring and becoming; out of necessity as much as interest, intimately familiar with an area, we forget that people reading will rarely share that level of familiarity with it’s location geographically. For that reason, on this post I have shared some screen shots of Nova Scotia including it’s relative position to our country as well as proximity to past and future destinations.

In the photo I have drawn lines connecting cities that we have previously cruised to/from and the associated milage of those trips. If you are interested in calculating the time enroute, we are cruising at between 7 and 8 knots. All milage is in knots. Yesterday morning at 10:00am we departed Halifax and will continue to the Bras D’or (pronounced bra door) lakes which is to the far East of Nova Scotia. Previously we had planned and hoped to make it to Newfoundland, which is further East still, but while discussing our rough plan and itinerary for the trip back South again, it was clear that any attempts to make it there and also to Prince Edward Island would result in us rushing through as though we were participants in the “Amazing Race” rather than the retired and relaxed pleasure cruisers that we are so we are regrettably postponing that destination until hopefully our trip HOME from Europe in several years from now.

 

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An interesting a fun fact about flags (If you have no interest in flags stop reading:)

Back before the invention of the VHF radio, yachtsmen communicated with the outside world via flags. Every position on a boat has a meaning and nautical flags exist to cover nearly all manner of needs a traveling yacht may require. For example, the D flag means “I am maneuvering with difficulty” and the Q flag means “I am in quarantine arriving from a foreign port”. There are flags to request a pilot boat and to even request ice. While most of this communication has been relegated to the VHF, there is still a great tradition to flags and even today, the Q flag (solid yellow) is used when entering a foreign port and prior to clearing customs. This flag informs everyone on the dock that no persons may board the vessel until it has been cleared by customs and all occupants of the vessel (except 1 Captain if required to meet with authorities) must remain aboard until it has been cleared.

While cruising in the US, we have a private signal, a flag which is our family flag similar to a family crest. Anyone familiar with Alec’s family would immediately recognize it as being a member of this family. On the bow of the yacht there is a place for a club affiliation flag and of course, on the stern the ensign or country flag of the vessel’s documentation would be flown. When entering a foreign country the Q flag is raised and once customs has been cleared, the Q flag is lowered and the country whose waters you will be enjoying will be hoisted as a sign of respect. This is done on the Starboard side at mid-ships and is considered a place of honor on the boat. We are currently flying the Canadian cruising flag as well as the Nova Scotia province flag. At each port in our travels, the US flag has been hoisted out of courtesy for our presence at the dock. Pictured below is the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron where we have been docked for the past several days, and all of the flags of the visiting yachts in residence. I love the tradition of flag etiquette and thought you may be interested too. There is something so special about seeing ones own country flag in a foreign port being flown out of courtesy to a traveling yachtsman.

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Practical Matters

While cruising offshore for the 3 day passage between Cape Lookout and Onset, MA, we were saddened to see an inordinate number of mylar balloons floating in the water. As Jack’s birthday was rapidly approaching and we would be celebrating in Onset, we had a family meeting and discussed the effect of these balloons on the environment vs. their contribution to the world. It was decided at that meeting that this is something that we could live without and Jack agreed and felt strongly that we should no longer purchase balloons. We had a chance to try this out at Jack’s birthday party and their absence had no effect on our joy or celebration and then again at a carnival type celebration in Halifax there was a clown making balloon animals and Jack said “no thank you.” At the time, Jack had asked me to post this on FaceBook, and Im sorry to admit that I never did. Social media is something that I struggle with. If anyone would like to repost this, that would be perfectly fine with me. Which brings me to an article that I read yesterday in Ocean Navigator magazine. During the Volvo around the world sailing regatta, one of the boats agreed to collect water samples (the approximate circumference of a soda can) and submit them for testing. These samples indicated that in every body of water including Antarctica there are micro plastics (smaller than 5mm). The significance of this can’t be overstated. Of basic importance to all of us, these plastics are being ingested by zooplankton which are in turn being ingested up the food chain and are landing on our plates. These plastics are permeating our oceans and being ingested by mammals and fish alike. The additional plastics entering our world will cause these numbers to more than double. This should shock everyone who is reading this. India is taking the bold move to eliminate single use plastics by 2022. Several years ago when reading a completely unrelated study about the effect of BPA on humans (their origin in plastic), we tried to eliminate plastic from all of our food containers. For years we have stored our food in glass containers, purified our water and stored it is glass bottles in the fridge, etc. But this is not nearly enough. Many of the restaurants in Maine have begun only offering straws to customers who request them. Plastic grocery bags are a huge source of ocean plastics. Water bottles are poisoning our streams and rivers and ending up in the ocean. What can each of us do to minimize what ends up in the ocean? We are going to have another family meeting about this and Ill post what we agree – what can you and your family do?

Thanks for reading.

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.