Tuesday, September 21, 2010

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. 

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