Lunenburg to Yarmouth

In the last Ariose Note, Ariose and I became acquainted with the water of the Atlantic and I became re aquainted with my own fear. Did I really think that I could just brush away the anxiety of overnight passages that rendered me helpless in the past? Fear won.

Gathering up the resources in my brain, still swirling with the realization that I couldn’t just go and essentially forget the past, it occurred to me that a slow and easy pace would have to be the way to gain access to a world of passage making. George agreed! For now, I”m a coastal hopper and will focus on day hops with the occasional overnight, whenever the opportunity arises or my brain says “ok, lets give this a try again”!

So, I left Lunenburg in a beautiful early sun-drenched fog colouring the air with pink and orange as I spotted the lighthouse before turning to the South to find my first port – Port Medway N.S.

Coastal hopping adds considerable amount of distance to the process of getting south because each day you have to travel significant distances off of the ocean to hide behind islands, promontories and breakwaters. While sleeping, the only distance you’re making is purely in your dreams. So, thinking about the enormous distances involved that includes the entire coastline of the US and then multiplying it by two for time and distance and you’ve got what looks like an impossible task.

Each one of these ports that I visited along the Atlantic coast of N.S. had it own charm. Unfortunately, because I’m just using their waters to hide from wind and ocean swell, there isn’t a lot of exploring going on and most of them aren’t set up to access from the water for someone wanting to go ashore.

Port Medway and Liverpool, I’m afraid, will only get a cursory mention here. They served an important purpose in my journey, but, I cannot know them by this method.

The first port I stopped at for a significant period was Lockeport. Named for one of the first settlers to the area, the Locke family, it was a good choice for someone needing to stretch his legs and get a few supplies while being somewhat of a tourist. This would be the last taste of summer weather I would have before reaching much more southern waters. The first night I anchored on the South side of the town and rode the swells of the open Atlantic since the winds were from the North. It gave me a chance to see an incredibly beautiful beach (crescent beach) from the ocean side as, the next day I was motivated to find more protection from the southerly winds forecast for the evening.

The morning of the move, I pulled up the anchor, felt the wind play with the bow as I moved swiftly to power up the genoa and begin the task of tacking back and forth out of the bay, being mindful of course, of all the shoals marked on the chart. It took a while, but the effort of doing this on a beautiful sunny morning with no real time constraints, pays for itself in satisfaction. And satisfied I was, when I rounded the last bouy at the northern edge of the Island and turned up into the wind behind the break wall. Utilizing the lack of wind power to drop the main and feel the wind pulling Ariose downwind a little while I dropped the anchor and felt that satisfying tug in the anchor rode when it bights into the ground, swinging the bow into the wind and securing a spot for the night! With only the clinking of ground tackle and the flapping of sail fabric….I’m sure my sun drenched grin stretched as far as the whisker pole across the bow of Ariose. Oh yeah…..“This is why I keep doing this”.

Lockeport kept me smiling. As I searched for supplies, I found one example of everything a town needs to be self sufficient, but, only one. One post office, one fire hall, one drug store one restaurant and many people willing to chat with this lonely stranger in their midst, looking like a tourist who had lost his way and got separated from the bunch that trampled through at least weeks if not months before; a straggler for sure. People were so willing to chat, give me advice, fill me in on local folk lore, all delivered with smiles and genuine hospitality. They really endeared me to the place from the onset.

Town pier with the little Marina building on the left and the White Gull restaurant on the right.

I tied Poco methodically to the pilons of the pier, climbed up the metal rungs on the ladder heavily stained by barnacles and vegetation from the markings of a higher tide and spotted the White Gull restaurant. An unassuming but functional building which turned out to be serving their last meal of the season. I went into town hoping to make it back for a nice fish dinner…my first night out! And, so it was!

While in Lockeport, I walked a nice trail along a rocky part of the Atlantic, with a view to the beach that I had anchored off of the first night. Lockeport is essentially an island with a causeway being the main road in. Then another access is an old CNR trestle was clearly used during the booming West Indies trade by the Locke family, long in the past but was now just a quicker way for residents to walk up to a hardware store and gas station about a kilometer down the road. This trestle forms a nice scenic walk from town along the crescent beach road, along a back harbour, back onto the trestle and back into town, total distance 4 kms! (see the map of Lockeport above). It turned out to be the perfect place to get some exercise while admiring the unspoiled beauty of the beach.

A few days here while waiting for better weather gave me just enough time to stock up on groceries, fuel, sea sickness medication and water. The fire hall turned on their outside tap for me and the owner of the gas station delivered me back to the pier with 2 full containers of diesel for Ariose. So nice!

The next series of ports in my sights were within a days travel and were chosen for the upcoming wind speeds and direction. It’s especially important if a big blow is forecasted – like over 20 Knots; the more protection from the wind means less stress on the boat and on the Captain when he’s trying to get a rest filled night on the water. So, I set my sites on Ingomar and Clarks Harbour. Ingomar is only memorable for me by the effort I put into sailing amost all the way in through a narrow channel – lining up the zigs to line up with the zags of the channel is an interesting game to play. Sometimes it works out, but, sometimes an extra tack is necessary or a little help from the diesel, often with a little bit of anxiety thrown in for good measure. I always try to keep this option at the ready.

Clarks harbour is memorable for some different things. If you look on a map of Nova Scotia, Clarks Harbour pretty much has the honour of the most southerly point, jutting out into the Gulf of Maine, like a child tempting to feed a lion some flesh at the zoo. I guess that gulf kinda makes me gulp and the lump in my throat remains. It’s exposed. I was a little nervous to round this cape but I didn’t fear anything was going to happen….I mean, what could happen?– it’s just water like everywhere else.

But, this is the Bay of Fundy with the highest tides in the world. This means also that there are some serious currents to worry about and some strange things that start to pull at your boat if you have no experience with how they interact with the topography.

While travelling along in a westerly direction hoping to turn north toward the harbour I look down at the electronic chart and see that I’m actually going south! How can this be? I look again at the direction that I am pointing and it’s still to the West. Then, I noticed a little caution on the electronic charts which tells you to zoom in to read what it is. Oh, a tidal stream! I was caught in a tidal stream! Ok, so I’ll just power up and motor on through. Nope! Full sails with good wind and a cranked up engine were still no match and I just had to ride this wet water slide south until it spit me out down below. Another lesson. Use the tide charts to plan your departures and arrivals. I ended up having to wait several hours from 2pm until 5pm and motor into the harbour in the dark with the current pulling me in. That’s the way it goes. No harm, but, still a little unnerving to say the least. When I finally set anchor for the night just off the town docks, I was so glad that I had food prepared so that I could collapse into my bunk after a good hot meal. And that I did!

The rough water and the impending darkness as I fought my way up toward Clarks Harbour.

In the morning, I got a taste of the other memorable thing about Clarks Harbour. (pic of Clarks)

The realization that the temperature had dropped enough over night to snow and that it did start snowing so early in my trip with so many miles and an entire coast line of the US ahead of me. I awoke, looked out the companionway to what appeared to be the back end of Santa’s sleigh but that Santa must be going back to get another load because all that was there was some of my stuff. The snow flakes falling on the deck, sticking to the rigging, lying innocently on the various ropes and sailing gear in a juxtaposition that I didn’t find particularly amusing. I mean, I love the snow, but, this is a sailboat and someone at the movie set must have mixed up the props for summer in the tropics scene with bits of that last movie about Santa and his raindeer! (pic of snow)

It was definately time to use this!

Ok, enough about Clarks Harbour! On to Yarmouth.

New learning at hand regarding the power of these tides near the Bay of Fundy, I carefully planed my exit strategy from Clarks Harbour. I woke up a little later than I wanted in order to catch the end of the ebb tide that would pull me out of the harbour so I scrambled to get ready with the hope that I hadn’t missed the ride. Ahh……I hadn’t! Even at slack, I was able to motor out at over 5 knots and get comfortably into open water before shutting down the engine and hoisting the sails. It was a great sailing day and I made terrific time with the tides, wind and waves helping me along. I was very happy to make it to the long dredged narrow channel of Yarmouth, so that I could see my way into what could be my last stop in Canada! I contacted the municipal marina who assured me that I could tie up or use one of the mooring balls for free since they were officially closed for the season. This was great, but, what I didn’t expect though, was the level of this commitment to free stuff and hospitality to boot!

He gave me a key to the showers in a super well heated building, that I joked might be a great place to bed down for the night while he offered me another key to an outside tap for water. “ If need anything to just give him a call”! I almost felt sheepish but, accepted the very welcome things that would make stopping in Yarmouth off season most pleasurable! And just to show my appreciation, I stayed for many days, and had many hot showers.

It was a gray and cold few days in Yarmouth, but the town gave me lots of chance to stretch my legs and refill propane and food stocks. Also, since I didn’t get the right weather for my next big leap into the unknown for 4 or 5 days, I had lots of time to edit videos for Episode 2, write the blog entry and write and record the song Deep Blue. When I did leave, it was definitely time to go and to do my first overnight! Besides, there is no other way to cross the Bay of Fundy! It’s sink or swim time! Ooh, not a good phrase to use at this point.

See you next time! Be sure to check out the link to Ariose Sailing below

2 thoughts on “Lunenburg to Yarmouth”

  1. Ho Ho sailor …. Why are you out and about in the off season , filling da sails is not easy to come by , sometimes there are good windows , gotta watch for it , using the wind n tide across fundy reminded me of a sleigh ride , Lunenberg to cape cod strait as she goes 3 days , but if not , one stop is southwest harbor , there is no immigration there tho , more south is Biddeford ,Biddeford pool. especially ,the best protective hidy hoe , provisions are not far on land , next is little harbor near Portsmouth ,there are showers , 5 miles into the city ,…. have fun and fair winds ! Davy

    1. Nice to reconnect with you Davy! Yes, still fighting snow squals and cold temperatures. At least i recieved s gift of a wool blanket today. That will really help the morale. Not to mention looking ahead at temperatures further south!

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