Tuesday, September 28, 2010

9/18 Crammond Islands in the West Bay

Saturday- Clear and sunny, smooth then a bit breezy

Ann writes:

A great day for birdwatchng. The Bald Eagles were catching thermals until they were almost out of sight and then taking off for other destinations, just like Jon when he flies his glider cross-country. I saw 5 Great Blue Herons by the Smokehouse, 4 Cormorants, 3 Bald Eagles, 2 jelleyfish and an eastern Blue Jay, all before lunch.

We had our best lunch in Canada at the Cape Breton Smokehouse- this time we both went for the smoked salmon plate which included the dense, nutty german bread, hardboiled egg, red onions, creamy horseradish and classical music in the huge log dining room overlooking the sparkly bay. We were the only ones in the room for most of the meal. The captain/cook came out and helped Jon get the internet weather forecast on his laptop, and they showed us their Nova Scotia cruising guides that seem to be out of print now. They had several that Jon was unable to find.

The anchor was slow in coming up, absolutely caked with mud, but I enjoyed the Bald Eagle circling overhead. Our first stop was Clarks Cove and Marble MountainThe "white chip marble beach" wasn't quite as white as we imagined, nor the water a blue as described, and it was filled with thousands of nasty looking little orange jelley fish that the locals assured us were harmless. We anchored long enough to explore the beach and inspect the work being done on the public wharf.

Our anchorage for the night was difficult in the Crammond Islands due to great depth near shore and mosquitoes; 3 more bites on my hand. I had to slather DEET all over me, but it was all made up for by the bald eagle perched on a nearby tree. He was really comical. The eagle was so big he bent the tip of the evergreen over and was awkwardly holding on with his golden talons. You could clearly see his golden beak on his magnificent white head, although in flight I've noticed that you see the white tail first.

Jon writes:

The day started calm and clear. Having no particular reason to leave early, we waited until noon and went ashore to the Smoke House again, this time both ordering the smoked salmon platter. Again very simply and perfectly prepared, beautifully arranged and presented on the plate. After lunch the proprietor came by with his laptop to show us the weather report: fortunately it looked as though Hurricane Igor would be passing well to the east. Good for us, not so good for Bermuda. I was also happy not to be in eastern Newfoundland still.

In calm conditions we motored to the white marble beach at Clarke Cove and anchored a few feet off the wharf for lunch. We weighed anchor and proceeded to the Crammond islands further down the West Bay of the Bras d'Or. The channel between the two islands creates a sheltered cove and though we found the water to be fairly deep throughout, we managed to anchor in 25 feet for the night. A bald eagle greeted us on the way in, perched in the tip of a fir rather unsuited for his weight.

Too big for his perch

The bald eagle contemplates 'Anomaly'

Ann contemplates the bald eagle, now a few trees further off
'Anomaly' is currently lying Pilotage Wharf, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Monday, September 27, 2010

9/17/10 Rain...

Friday: Rain from from 5 am to 9 pm and then some.

Ann writes:

An incredible amount of precipitation.
Happy with organizing photos and painting Kidston Lighthouse, but gloomy heavy rain ruined plans to visit other anchorages and the Smokehouse again, and certainly no birdwatching other than a cormorant on a mooring buoy.

9/16/10- A rough day for Jon

Thursday - grey drizzle
Anomaly in the "rare" fog of Baddeck

Ann writes:

After a bagel and espresso at Been There, Jon discovered that the auto-pilot head died again. We would have to delay our departure in an effort to revive it. I'll let him give you the details.

Not quite Starbucks
By 3:30, we decided to depart with no auto-pilot controls- the auto-pilot itself is working, but you can't adjust any of the settings. I suggested to Jon that he make a proposal to Raymarine that he go and fix all this buggy equipment that they are producing. There are a lot of "features" that just shouldn't be in equipment of this caliber!

The sun was peaking through, but the weather quickly deteriorated into steady rain and poor visibility. We passed through the Barra Strait Bascule-type bridge during a dry patch, but soon both retreated below for a time. Passing through another narrow entrance, this time to Little Harbour, we disturbed a Bald Eagle and 2 Gr. Blue Herons. The warm light from the windows of the German-run Cape Breton Smokehouse was a beacon in the grey dusk. We bundled into the dinghy and I struggled onto the high dock in full rain gear. There were only 2 other parties in the dining room, both german speaking. We proceeded to have a delicious dinner of Smoked Salmon appetizer followed by my tender grilled stiploin with garlic butter while Jon had a moist cajun salmon and 1/2 a head of cauliflower. The hostess could see Jon was not eating the cauliflower and asked if he needed more butter! She talked a long time to everyone in the restaurant. Though it was difficult to communicate, we managed to learn that the large ketch in the harbor, Nessie of the 7 Seas, is theirs and up for sale. She sounded sad to sell it, but it's a great ocean going yacht and not much of a daysailer.

Jon writes a rant:

Intending to leave just after espresso, I switched on the instrument system only to observe that the Raymarine ST70 Autopilot head had failed in exactly the same manner as last month in Cap a l'Aigle: splash screen, then nothing. Since we had both internet access and cell phone service at the dock, I began an effort to get it replaced prior to our leaving the Bras d'Or. The service technician at Raymarine's Canadian representatives wanted me to attempt to reflash the software, and so we waited until nearly 3 PM for the emailed file to arrive. By this time the weather was threatening, but we set out anyway towards a dark sky in the south.

Soon it was raining, and beginning to blow directly (as always?) from the direction of intended travel, and now time was short to arrive at the reportedly narrow entrance to Little Harbor. So we motored into it as the rain began to come down in sheets. I soon had quite enough of it, and began to hide in the companionway to keep the rain from stinging my eyes, navigating by looking at the nav station chartplotter below and steering the boat using the autopilot remote control. This control allows us to engage the autopilot even though the normal display head is broken, the caveat being that one cannot adjust the "response" setting and so the autopilot saws the wheel back and forth in a mad and frenetic attempt to keep the boat exactly on assigned course when a variance of one or two degrees would be perfectly acceptable with only 1/10th of the steering action. However Raymarine has seen fit to reset this response setting every time the autopilot is powered up, and requires a working display head to adjust it down, the same display head that had failed twice in a month.

And so we motored in rain, fog, headwinds and a nasty short chop through the various islands and shoals towards Little Harbor. The entrance was narrow, but deep right in the middle and we were able to drive in and anchor close to the southwestern shore. The harbor is quite sheltered and the anchor seemed well set, so even though the rain continued I decided to launch the dinghy and see if we could land at The Smoke House, which was the reason for coming here. We did not even know if they were still open for the season. The Smoke House was offered up by several people we had met along the way as something not to miss. Run by a German couple, it features smoked salmon (and other) dishes served in a finely finished log structure. We landed the dinghy on their wharf (still wearing full foul weather gear) and walked up the lit path (it was by now dark) and into a beautiful log building cozily heated by a large stone fireplace. Yes they were open for dinner, have a seat.

We quickly noticed that there were only two other tables occupied, and that we were the only non-German speaking people in the restaurant. We ordered and were presented with perfectly prepared food artfully presented, a stunning contrast from the deep fat fried food in Newfoundland and even the unremarkable restaurants in the tourist haven of Baddeck. All prepared and served by the couple who had sailed the large steel ketch anchored in the harbor from Europe and built the log restaurant by hand.

The following day it blew hard and rained continuously, simply a miserable day to go anywhere, so we stayed below. I used the time to reprogram all of the Raymarine instruments with the latest software, this experience similar to a Microsoft Windows update complete with stone age user interface and false error reports (written instructions: "ignore the error message which will report failure half way through…."). Then a couple of hours of fiddling to recover all of the settings lost in the process.

'Nessie of the Seven Seas' anchored in front of the Smoke House restaurant on a nicer day

'Anomaly' is currently lying Pilotage Wharf, Halifax, Nova Scotia

9/15- Exploring Baddeck

Wednesday, Bright and Sunny with late afternoon showers

Ann writes:

We strolled down Chebucto Street to the Highwheeler cafe/deli/bakery for breakfast only to be told by the snippy young waitress that "we don't do scrambled eggs, we only flip 'em". Somewhat taken aback, we went on to the Village Kitchen which apparently is owned by a late riser: closed at 9 am. So we went on to have a very nice breakfast at the Yellow Cello Cafe where they cheerfully prepare the eggs any way you like, the breakfast was excellent and a good value too.
Kidston Lighthouse, Ann Nunziata 2010

Jon had to get his espresso at Bean There where they also have very rich sour cream cinnamon muffins. We returned to Highwheeler for their cinnamon twists which , according to Jon, are similar to but not quite as good as my mother's roll ups.
We spent the rest of the morning at the Alexander Graham Bell Heritage center which is a really fascinating look at this brilliant inventors life.

The estate of Alexander Graham Bell is not open to the public
For lunch, we discovered the touristy-looking Bell Buoy restaurant actually prepares very good food, although my lobster sandwich wasn't quite as good as the one I had at Covehead, PEI. We did some provisioning at the Co-op, and by the time we were done the beautiful day had gotten quite dark and we had several hours of rain. Jon chose this inopportune time to wash the boat and got soaked himself. I explored the local stores which were fairly full of tourist trinkets with a strong emphasis on the Gaelic heritage of the area. I especially enjoyed Baddeck Celtic Gifts and Tartans and the Water's Edge Gallery and Inn. The latter was almost like an artists co-op with works from numerous local artists, including my favorite, Kerry Brown.

We walked through more rain to bell Buoy for dinner where we had very good fish and; chips with strawberry rhubarb crumble for dessert.

Jon writes:

Quite a nice rainbow to brighten an otherwise drippy day. I started washing the boat and was soon washing in a downpour, but kept going anyway - lots of salt to wash off from Newfoundland. The rainbow was actually a rather spectacular double rainbow, but I cannot get my pictures of it to assemble correctly, so this one will have do:

Slightly distorted due to pano effects, a rainbow encircles 'Anomaly'

'Anomaly' is currently lying Pilotage Wharf, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

9-14 Rainy Nova Scotia- Ingonish to Baddeck

Tuesday- Mostly cloudy turning to grey drizzle.

Ann writes:

Everywhere we go now, the story is the same: locals claim that Hurricane Earle changed the weather like a light switch. Hot and sunny before Earle; cold and rainy afterward. Some even claim that the hurricane's salt spray killed all the leaves before they could gain their wonderful fall color, so we may not see any this fall.

We slipped past the narrow entrance to Ingonish Bay around 9:45.

Will Anomaly squeeze through?!
Anyway, the tiny bit of sun quickly disappeared and after sighting a few seals, we plunged into drizzle which continued unpleasantly until we got a ways down the Greater Bras d'Or Channel. The weather improved a bit and we had a nice trip down the channel and finally into Baddeck about 4:30. Two staff members welcomed us onto the dock of Baddeck Marine.

Approaching Baddeck
Finally a town ready for tourists. Lots of cute shops and even a coffee shop for Jon. We had a great Roast Turkey dinner at the Telegraph House which interestingly is owned and operated by fourth and fifth generations of the Dunlop Family- any relation David?.  It was also great to be in a real Marina where we could have  a nice hot shower, our first real showers since Port aux Basque 2 weeks ago!

Jon writes:

We left Ingonish in grey weather and threatening rain. The forecast southwest 10-15 never appeared and though I optimistically set the main when it rose to 7 knots from the northeast, I took it down awhile later in 2-3 as we approached the Great Bras d'Or channel. The Bras d'Or lakes occupy nearly 500 sq miles of the interior of Cape Breton island and are really a bay off the Atlantic with two very narrow entrances at the north end - the Great and Little Bras d'Or channels. The Little one has been blocked (for sailboats) by a fixed bridge, but the Great is navigable. It narrows to less than 1000 ft wide at the entrance which limits the tidal range inside the lakes: even with a current of 6 knots flowing through the channel at peak ebb, not much water can leave! There is a very narrow isthmus at the south end and the St. Peter's canal has been blasted through it to allow small craft to enter and leave to the south. There is a tidal lock in the canal to compensate for the difference between lake level and ocean level, but the rise or fall is only a few feet. 

The Bras d'Or Lakes on Cape Breton Island and our route to Baddeck (click to expand)

We motored down the Great Bras d'Or channel and into Baddeck, passing Alexander Graham Bell's grand estate on Red Head. He spent his summers here and ran many of his experiments on aircraft and hydrofoil boats out on the lake. 

Alec Bell's estate on Red Head near Baddeck

In Baddeck was the first espresso shop we had seen since Charlottetown. It is the influence of the many New England tourists that populate  the town all summer. There was also food here that wasn't deep fried, again a first since Charlottetown. What there was not, was propane. You could exchange a standard 20 lb barbecue tank, but had to drive to Sydney to get your own filled. We are told this might be possible in St. Peter's. 

9-13 Goodbye Newfoundland: Rose Blanche to Ingonish, Nova Scotia

Monday- a very cold starry night

Ann writes:

We made it out of Rose Blanche harbor by 4:26 AM, actually 30 minutes earlier since Nova Scotia is Atlantic time zone. I lasted only an hour in the cockpit; I just wasn't dressed warmly enough to withstand the wind from the East. Later, it was mostly cloudy, but occasional sun kept it tolerable.

Around noon, I was able to keep watch while Jon got a little rest, and of course that's when I saw our only wildlife of the day- 2 pilot whales and a leatherback turtle!

It seemed warmer near Nova Scotia, but then it was bitter cold after we arrived in Ingonish Bay.

We anchored since it was too crowded at the public wharf

Jon writes:

The harbor entrance at South Ingonish bay was described as "extremely narrow" and should not be entered at night, so in order to make the 90 miles in daylight we had to leave Rose Blanche at 4 AM. This is easily done in these days of GPS and radar, and with 15 knots of north east wind we could have sailed. But it is very difficult to raise the sail in the dark as one cannot see to clear the battens from the lazyjacks (the batten make corners on the trailing edge of the sail which catch on the lazyjacks - these are lines designed to contain the sail on its way down). So I motored for a couple of hours until daybreak, then set the full main and mizzen. We were able to sail until about 11, when the wind softened to 6 or 7 knots. Downwind, combined with nearly a knot of foul current, this was not going to get us into Ingonish in daylight, and we ended up motorsailing the rest of the way.

And it was a narrow entrance! The last red and green buoys (you steer between them) seemed to be only 25 feet apart, the rocks on either side encouraging you to respect their meaning. 

Landfall at Cape Smokey, Nova Scotia

The ski resort at South Ingonish Harbor

9/12/10: Waiting for calmer seas in Rose Blanche

Sunday, sunny and windy and not much to cold front other than name: COLD!

Ann writes:

During our boat-made mocha's and cinnamon rolls, we were treated to a carillon (bell) concert, presumably from the local Church, although I was surprised to hear Anchors Aweigh which Americans will recognize as the fight song of the US Naval Academy.
After lunch @ Fisherman's Friend of crispy chicken caesar salad, we walked down main street and took more photos of the picturesque village.

Anomaly's 2nd visit to Rose Blanche

Looking out towards the Lighthouse
We then walked back to the Lighthouse shops; Jon for Scotsburn chocolate icecream, and I for a book I couldn't quite recall. Fortunately, the Grub Box hostess remembered it was Writing the Sea, by leading Newfoundland author and Rose Blanche native Cassie Brown, but I guess the only copy sold. We bought souvenir hats instead.
I walked to the end of the local road across from Big Bottom and had a nice chat with a fellow from Calgary who said his family spends several months a year here. He'd originally bought in The Petites, but that nearby outport is already abandoned.
The locals stopped by on the dock to watch a young fisherman insulate his exhaust pipe, and as I was trying to photo an odd bird, they told me it was an immature ("this years bird") "Sea Pigeon". I've tried finding it on the internet and the descriptions for non breeding Black Guillemot, Common Guillemot and Pigeon Guillemot are difficult to distingish. Anyway, right then, another "otter" appeared, and we all agreed it is really a Mink.

The only mammals we saw in Newfoundland were squirrel, mink, mouse, dog and cat.

9/11/10 "Fog implies visibility of less than 1 mile" : Ramea to Rose Blanche

Ann writes:

The early morning forecast wasn't great, but we decided to move on. We followed the ferry out of the harbor in the fog. I tried taking just half of a meclizine pill which seemed ideal, but I still dozed off staring into the grey fog.

Reefed Mainsail

By 2 there was hazy sunshine, and it was quite nice around 5pm when the other Morgan caught our lines off the floating dock in Rose Blanche.

We ran up to our favorite Newfoundland Restaurant, Fisherman's Friend, where I had a more sensible meal of Seafood chowder and pan-fried cod. Jon and I had to share the last partridgeberry parfait for dessert. Meals at the restaurant are accompanied by recordings of Newfoundland folk songs which are a bit sad, speaking of the difficult lifestyle, death of the fishing industry, and leaving ones family village forever.

Jon writes:

The forecast was light for this day, but then a north east gale warning for the following day. The wave rider buoy off the Burgeo Bank was still reporting 8 ft seas, but it didn't look that bad and the wind was predicted to be southeast shifting to southwest at 10-15 which would not be too bad to work our way west. The strategy was to get west far enough to make the sail back across the Cabot Strait to Nova Scotia a single day's sail, rather than overnight, because the weather had become rather unpredictable more than about 18 hours out. So we left Ramea and found no more than 6 knots of wind from the southwest, motorsailing all the way to Rose Blanche. We knew this harbor to be well protected from a north wind. We tied to a float at the end of the public dock, and as we were talking to the locals in relative calm a sudden puff of cold north wind signaled that the gale was coming. And it blew that night a steady 32 knots gusting up to 38. But tied to the float directly into the wind in that small protected harbor it was much quieter than the two days at Ramea, or the one at Harbor Breton. The following day was calmer, but still a gale warning in the Cabot Strait, so we explored Rose Blanche more thoroughly and prepared the boat to leave early the following morning.

Rose Blanche from the lighthouse (click to expand)

9/10/10 Another day in port.

Friday- complete silence in early AM, but downpour again by 10.

Ann writes:

Uncertain if we should try to move west today; locals say "I hears a bit of a roar out there". We certainly had the 60-100 mm of rain predicted. Real Newfoundland weather! We waited until 1pm, but the seas were still almost 7ft.
During lunch again at Eastern Outfitters, I did get to see the Women's SF, but Wozniacki choked against Zvonereva, and I'd been sitting so long waiting for it, that I persuaded Jon to go for a walk. Little did I know what a great spot we'd discover!
First we did the obvious and ascended the highest point, Man O'War Hill for a commanding view of the island. By now it was clearing so we continued on the road to Muddy Harbour. At the end of the road, we could see some signs indicating the Walking Trail which turned out to be a very nice boardwalk skirting almost the entire island. It passed by the lighthouse and many little named coves along the back of the island, while keeping us comfortably suspended above of the boggy, peaty ground.

Fishing stages, Ship Cove

Ship Cove, Ramea, from Man O'War hill (click to expand)

Ann climbs the steps to Man O'War hill

Lots of steps.....

Muddy Harbor at low tide, actually should be called Rocky Harbor

Ann dressed for the boardwalk

The Ramea lighthouse and Coast Guard transmission tower on Northwest Head

Ramea boardwalk from the lighthouse. The boardwalk goes clear around the island. (click to expand)

Ann laments that this field of iris growing in the bog was not in bloom

9/9- Laying Low in Ramea

Thursday- Rainy and windy with gusts over 30 kts by early morning.

Ann writes:

Jon gets no rest; something is always rubbing, scraping or banging and always when it's dark, a downpour, or a wind gust.
We had lunch at Eastern Outdoors which had very good fries but a small mealy burger. Note to self: avoid beef in Newfoundland. I actually found the US Open tennis coverage on TSN network; lots of , but it was a real snooze fest since they announced the score before the showing, and Nadal/Verdasco was scheduled for later. Boring!
I cooked veal scallopine and blueberry muffins for dinner. We're down to 1 propane bottle; I think we have a leak because it smells so strong in the cockpit when we're sailing that I have to move away from the side the cabinet is on.

9-8 Hare Bay to Ramea

Wednesday- Our beautiful starry night has turned to wind.

Ann writes:

I didn't think we'd be able to leave, but it calmed at sunrise. We set out for Ramea since a gale warning is in effect for tomorrow.

Jon navigating the Fjord Coast of Newfoundland

At least we had time to see 2 other fjords. Rencontre Bay was definitely the most dramatic. The high walls are more sheer rock and the falls carry more water over longer drops. At the end of the bay, a pair of bald eagles were soaring over a waterfall. 

Rencounter Bay

 Francios was one of the last viable outports in a much more shallow fjord. Many cottages here are still brightly colored, and a waterfall cascades through the middle of town. The floating dock had space which is rare in this little harbour, but we couldn't stay due to the coming storm.

Francois- an outport hangs on

We reached Ramea around 6:30 and got to see the shoreline that was obscured by fog previously. 

 Then commenced an almost comical congregation of the town men advising Jon where and how to tie up for the impending storm. Everyone had a different opinion, (and probably very little experience with sailboats.) Jon had quite a difficult decision to make Anomaly secure. 

Jon writes:

The forecast now called for a gale to blow from the southeast that night and the advice of the cruising guide was that these bays were not tenable in those conditions, so we would not be able to anchor the next night in either Rencontre or Francois bays. The next harbor west on the coast was Ramea, so we toured those bays on the way to Ramea. The charts of the area carry a warning notice stating that they are based on surveys from the 1800's and may not be up to modern charting standards. In the entrance to Rencontre Bay we encountered a sudden rise in the bottom sounding from over 400 ft to 28 ft in less than 2 boat lengths with nothing shown on the chart. I discounted this as perhaps a fish, which sometimes happens. But we found it again as we exited the bay in the same place. Noting the shear cliffs surrounding the bay above the water, one can imagine that the bottom under the water must have similar precipices. 

From Francois to Ramea was 19 miles, the forecast northwest winds in fact turned out to be east southeast - directly from Ramea - and wanting to get there in time to be securely docked for the gale we motored upwind to get there. We arrived and took the same spot on the public wharf we had a week earlier, however a local came by and suggested that it was going to be pretty rough there and we should move. So we moved to a smallish float further into the harbor. 

This collected a crowd of locals, all of them arguing about where 'Anomaly' should best be tied up, given the expected conditions. The argument was very difficult to follow, taking place as it did in that peculiar foreign language of Newfoundland. However the consensus was that we should move again, this time to a very tight spot on the middle of the fishing wharf. Being a fishing wharf, it is all rough timbers and covered with old tires used as bumpers. Fine for a working boat, but very bad for the yacht finish. I blew up all of the inflatable fenders I had (6 of 'em). These are made like a Zodiac inflatable boat and are large enough (the largest is 8 feet long) not to slip between the timbers of the wharf and tough enough to bounce off of the tires and rough lumber. Since we were bow into the corner of an "L" in the wharf, I was able to run a line from the bow down the leg of the "L" to help hold the boat off the dock. 

'Anomaly' tucked in at center frame, Ship Cove, Ramea

As it turns out Ship Cove at Ramea is not well protected from a southeast wind. As darkness fell it began to blow, fortunately more east than southeast and so quartering on the starboard bow. The line holding the bow off began to stretch and I had to use the anchor windlass and a second line to warp the bow further off the dock. It blew than night and through the next day, shifting to the southeast which was nearly broadside. It was rough enough that the ferry, which is something like a 120+ ft very stout motor vessel did not leave Ramea, good thing as it was created a bit of a lee - "a cut" the locals called it - for 'Anomaly'. We ended up getting steady 35 knots with gusts to 40, somewhat higher than we had seen with the remnants of Earl in Harbor Breton. The fenders and dock lines had to be checked periodically, because the wharf does not move up and down with the tide as a marina float would, so the lines must be either left loose enough to accommodate the 6 ft tidal swing every 6 hours, or tended to night and day. 

9-7 Facheux Bay to Hare Bay

Tuesday- Mostly cloudy, cool and humid.
Ann writes:

Some strange cries echoed over the ridges from an invisible valley beyond the ridge: Moose? Disappointing not to see one. The birds didn't appreciate my iphone concert of bird songs, either.

We had a short pleasant motor to Hare Bay. There is a twin waterfall very near the entrance in Mare Cove. It looks like water levels are low; there are at least 6 visible falls and several other deep cuts in the high granite walls probably carry water in wetter periods.

Anomaly anchored in Hare Bay

This Bay is actually inhabited.  A motor boat, a runabout and a dinghy were anchored in front of a red cabin and we could hear voices occasionally. We anchored on the other side of the 2nd to last cove and could see 3 waterfalls from that vantage point. We dinghyed around the Bay to the bases of the waterfalls which tend to disappear into the gravel moraine below them. One had a nice little multi-level cascade into the bay. We were able to go ashore at Sandy point where I found periwinkles, mussels and butterclam shells. Also a bit of plastic trash along the high shore line of the beach that was rocky enough to make walking difficult at times.

Base of waterfall emptying into Hare Bay

I started to paint plain air and of course it started to rain, so was forced below. Cooked pork chops and potatoes. Note to self: Local pork is much better than the beef.

Jon writes:

With only 3 knots of west wind, a sloppy left over sea, and only 5 miles west on the coast to go, we motored out of Facheux Bay and into Hare Bay. It is even more spectacular than Facheux, and we chose the Northwest Arm at the head, leading to a large pool in which we anchored. There were two or three cottages there, one of them actually occupied. In fact there were two other boats in the pool, contrasting with the complete seclusion in Facheux Bay. Nevertheless a serene setting. We explored the pool and tributary waterfalls in the dinghy.

The entrance to Hare Bay

Double waterfall on Hare Bay

The North Arm anchorage at Hare Bay (click to expand)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

9-6, Harbour Breton to Facheux Bay

Monday (US and Canadian Labor Day)- A cool and breezy sunny day.

Ann writes:

Viewed a Salmon farming operation on our departure from Hr. Breton.  Note to self:  write indignant letter to Julie Packard re: she shouldn't be so quick to criticize an operation that keeps this community alive.
Not exactly a polluting operation- this harbor is over 400 ft deep

Tending the salmon cages- I will order more Atlantic Salmon from now on, regardless of Ms. Packard's opinions!

Started sailing, but conditions turned from tolerable to terrible in a matter of hours. I became a useless lump barely hanging, pondering how to lose my breakfast gracefully.  Jon, on the other hand was a real hero, finding a closer alternate anchorage, and then hand-steering to reduce the bashing on the bow.  He got absolutely soaked by the spray.

I ended up with a mild case of hypothermia- I was shaking uncontrollably and somewhat hysterical. Jon had to wrap me in blankets and heat up the master berth.

Jon writes:

We left Harbor Breton with the intent of sailing to Hare Bay, one of the fjords to the west. The wind built through the morning until we had the 2nd reef in the mainsail close hauled, with a seaway that was very confused by the large left over swell from Earl. This made it heavy going. We had to round a point to the west and could then turn further off the wind. By then we had nearly 30 knots, the course to Hare Bay was going to be a wet and rough one, so I turned instead toward Facheux Bay - both closer and another 30 degrees off the wind. Hand steering to try to avoid the larger mountains and holes in the water, we entered the relative calm of the Facheux fjord feeling quite soaked and chilled, and anchored in Brent's Cove about 5 miles in on the west side. The fjords have vertical granite walls perhaps 1200 ft high broken occasionally by waterfalls. The walls continue below the water: much of the time the bottom was too deep to measure - more than 600 ft - only  a few feet from the shore.

At the anchorage, there was not a single artificial light visible except our own, the Milky Way shone brilliantly in the sky. The closest small town is 30 miles away, the closest city 130. There is no light pollution here!

Leaving the Facheux Bay anchorage at Brent's Cove

Across Facheux Bay opposite Brent's Cove is its twin, Allen Cove
This is the mid south coast of Newfoundland, cut every few miles by deep fjords. The two islands lower right are, peculiarly, French territory and one must clear customs into France to enter them.

The "fjord coast" of Newfoundland (click to expand)
Facheux Bay extends 9 miles into the Newfoundland rock, but is only about 2000 ft wide at its entrance. The depth soundings through most of the bay are about 380 meters - 1200 ft deep!

Chart of Facheux Bay (click to expand)

'Anomaly' is currently lying Baddeck Harbor, Nova Scotia

9-5, Earle passes by

Sunday- Still very windy, blowing the clouds into a sunny day.

Ann writes:

Earle was kind of a blow hard; very little rain after last evening, so we were able to get out the bikes again today.  Had a great day beachcombing and picnicing at Deadman's Cove.  So many beautiful multi-coloured stones on the beach.  We also hiked to the top of Gun Hill, which I discovered was blanketed with blueberries.  New slogan for Palmer:

Harbour Breton- Blueberry Capital of the World!
Made my own version of put in this evening- Bacon stir fried with onions and red peper, add cooked rice and stir in 2 beaten eggs.  Season with salt and red pepper.

Jon writes:

The next day continued to be windy, so we bicycled to Dead Man's Cove and then hiked to the "look off" at the top of Gun Hill. 

Dead Man's Cove

Panorama of the U shaped Harbor Breton (click to expand)

Trail and stairs up the ridge to Gun Hill look off
Who needs a Stairmaster when you have Gun Hill - a small sampling of the several hundred stairs

Ann with a bunch of blueberries - the ones she hasn't already eaten
'Anomaly' is currently lying Baddeck Harbor, Nova Scotia