A Brief Respite


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We set out yesterday in a slowly lifting morning fog.  The original plan was to reach for PEI, but because of the fog delay I felt like we were trying to force the miles, which became less-fun.  We decided to sail the twenty or so miles to Halifax and tie up at the city marina.

Once that decision was made, the pressure of trying to achieve as many miles as possible was lifted.  One of the enduring maxims of sailing is, “Do not sail to a schedule”.   I now see the wisdom of that philosophy.

Halifax is a very dynamic city with more than a few mega-yachts in port.  We pulled into a very tight space, essentially parallel parking a 45-foot sailboat between a multi-million dollar motor yacht and the city wharf, with a few hundred people looking on.  No pressure.

We took the opportunity to hose down the deck and take on a little water.  Once bright and shiny again, we moved Tortuga over to another, less crowded berth behind the Marriott Hotel, where she now peacefully sits.

Janet and I will be back in a few days, along with her father, to move Tortuga further northward and up the mouth of the St. Lawrence Seaway.  More to follow.

Running for Cover


We set out this morning from Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia headed for the northern part of the province and the Canso Canal.  The plan was to do an overnight sail for the 130+ miles.  Shortly into the trip the wind picked up, which sailors love, but thunderstorms began chasing us up the coast.

Looking at the  radar, the storms were popping up all around us, so we ducked into the first harbor that we found, which was Sambo Harbor, just shy of Halifax.

Sambo Harbor is a commercial fishing center.  The nearest restaurant was a mile walk, and there are no showers or any other amenities.  We’re sitting here tied up to a commercial dock, and have decided to leave early in the morning and continue our press towards the Canso Canal, and then the 80-mile journey to Charlottetown, PEI.

The weather is supposed to be better over the next day or so.  Light winds and little chance of thunder showers.  The boat can handle the weather fine, but sailing through the night being ravaged by storms is not my idea of fun, and after all, this is supposed to be fun.

Rolling Seas

Tortuga Maine
Leaving Maine behind in the setting sun

We left Belfast, Maine at about 3:00 pm with the intent of missing some bad weather that was moving out towards the end of the day and into the night.  The winds were supposed to be in excess of 30 knots with seas on the beam at about 8-feet.  This was not my idea of a comfortable, overnight passage.

The trip down the east side of Penobscot Bay was uneventful and slow.  The wind was less than we expected, but we sailed on regardless.  Each hour that we spent in the sheltered Maine bay was giving the weather more of a chance to move out towards the east.

As night settled, and we cleared the last of islands of Maine, the seas grew to 8-10 feet on the beam, which caused Tortuga to rock back and forth.  While the boat was quite happy to do this, both me and my crew-mate, Bob, were less so.

As soon as the horizon disappeared into the darkness, I lost my perspective, which is necessary for me to fend off seasickness.  I dove for the scopolamine patches, but it was to late.

Bob and I spent the entire night, violently ill, standing 2 to 3-hour watches in rolling seas, plodding along slower than we had hoped.

As the soon the sun came up, so did the thunder storms in the middle of the Gulf of Maine.  Still feeling the after affects of the sea sickness, we rigged the boat for storms and pressed on towards our goal of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

We reached Yarmouth under sunny skies and slack winds, motoring into a well-marked and protected harbor.  Cleared Customs and Immigration, dinner, and then to sleep.

This morning the skies are scattered with little wind.  We’ll press on towards Cape Sable, the southern tip of Nova Scotia, and probably grab an anchorage for the night.

I spy….

Killams Wharf Yarmouth webcam
Killams Wharf Yarmouth webcam

Eric is on Tortuga heading in to Canadian waters.  He, along with another crew, did a 150 mile overnight sail across the Bay of Fundy to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.  Winds and waves were up, so I imagine a night in a slip is a welcome reprieve.  I just got a text from him… now that he is back within cell phone coverage… that he went through immigration and entered the the harbor there.

Not sure if this is common throughout Canada, but Yarmouth has a city/town webcam and I found Tortuga motoring into the dock!  It’s the boat with sails down just in the middle left of the screen. Pretty cool!


Back on the boat

We’ve been a bit remiss in documenting our last travel leg from New York to Maine. We intended to post daily logs of each day, but haven’t gotten around to it. It looks like we can post date entries, so over the next few weeks that’s what I intend to do. It is as much a way for us to share our adventure as it is a way for us to keep track of our sailing legs. So take a look at the month of June for ‘newer’ entries.

Eric’s on his way back to Maine to restart the next leg of the journey, hopefully to Quebec. I hope to join up in a couple of weeks….unfortunately we all still have day jobs.image

Home Again


I really loved sailing into New England.  The further north we got the more happy I became.  The land became familiar to me; places that I’ve been to, stories, memories.  Albeit the perspective from the water was different.

I grew up in Maine, so that will always be home to me, regardless of where I walk or roam.  One lesson that I learned in life is that no matter where you grew up, every other place that you come to know will always be compared to that benchmark.  I remember standing in 130 degree heat in the Middle East and thinking,  “Wow, this is so much more hot than Maine”  Really?

My son Christopher was onboard, and I wanted him to feel the “special-ness” of New England, specifically Maine.  Of course he’s been there many times as my family still lives in the area, but it dawned on me that his home, his benchmark,  will always be Atlanta.  I watched him struggle with a lobster on a pier on Belfast, and he sprinkled every other sentence with “ya’ll”.

Maine has a way of capturing people.  I can name several people that migrated to the State, and just never really left.  I guess is some way, I migrated away from Maine, but never really left as well.

New York to Maine

We completed another long passage, going from New York to Maine in just over a week.  Aside from Janet and I, we had my son, Christoper onboard with us. We put him through a mini-sailing camp complete with navigation, sail trim, line handling, knot tying, engine maintenance, and general boat cleaning.  It’s an awful lot to ask a 12-year old to live on a boat for 8 days, but he did it like a champ.

I’m certain Janet will write more later, but we alternated anchoring in small coves for the night, and picking up a mooring or a slip. We tried to sail every day until about dinner time, allowing us to make 60+ miles every day under really nice conditions.

One thing that I learned is that it’s possible to walk from Gloucester to Portland stepping on lobster buoys and not get your feet wet. I was astounded at the number of lobster traps in the water.  We had to get pretty far off shore to lessen the risk of getting entangled in one of the lines.

The wind was all over the place; a little bit of everything. We got a chance to reach a bit, but mostly we were running downwind as we made our way northward. We even had the Parasailor up a few times in light winds to see how she flew. What a great sail!!