Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Northumberland Strait

Leaving Summerside for the short run over to Shediac, New Brunswick we were treated to a bit of wind. Starting at 6 knots it built throughout the day to 13 or so and we finished with a nice broad reach through the lobster pots into Shediac Bay. This was the first port out of Quebec City where we saw significant sailing activity. There were a number of sailboats on the bay as it was National Acadian Day and New Brunswick is definitely Acadian country.

After the English conquest of French Canada, there were several attempts to Anglify the area, one of which involved deporting all the French speaking residents. Many objected (having lived there for generations) and fled to the woods. These Acadian Francophones have a dialect and a culture distinct from the Quebecois. New Brunswick is the only officially bilingual province in Canada, most of the residents seemed to speak French or English with equal ease. They were certainly enjoying their day. 

In any case, we came sailing through the fleet at 8 knots or better, looking good, then in the process of getting the sails down strayed slightly from the channel and struck the sand bank, looking bad. It turned out (when viewed at low tide) that much of the bay has silted in and looks very little like the chart and you will see the depth sounder go from 15 ft to 5 in a glance. After some twisting and turning, we freed ourselves and headed towards the green buoys of the marina entrance, these looking peculiarly close to the rock breakwater. Before long we struck the sand again, having cut the corner across across a charted 14 ft depth which would in fact dry at low tide. Once again we freed ourselves and with scrupulous adherence to the buoyed channel entered the Point du Chene Marina, at the same time entering a rather wild Acadian Day celebration. 

'Anomaly' is a little long for the 35' slip but we were comfortable nonetheless

The Marina is quite a friendly place, run by the 125 shareholders through their manager, Walter. We very shortly met Larry and Sheila on a recently new-to-them Nonsuch 30 who where extremely generous in their hospitality. After spending the next day cleaning up the boat and exploring the immediate area, brother Jerry and friend Bob were parceled off to the Moncton airport (at 4:30 AM) to return to California. 

The Pointe du Chene Marina and wharf

Ann arrived from California the following day, at 1 AM and 'Anomaly' was back to her normal crew. We spent a couple of days re-provisioning and watching the local kids run through the parking lot and hurl themselves from the end of the wharf in a manner that would have California attorneys reaching for their contingency contracts, and then left for Charlottetown.

Shediac is the self-proclaimed "Lobster Capitol of the World". I have to admit they are big there...

'Anomaly' is currently lying Souris, Prince Edward Island, Canada

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