We are Eric and Janet from Chicago, Illinois. We decided to embark on some new adventures and to document them in a blog. Eric is originally from Maine and a retired Army Special Forces Officer with passions for sailing, drumming, and whatever else Janet wants him to do. Janet is an Emergency Medicine physician and an […]
Tortuga is an Allures 45 that was built in Cherbourg, France in 2012. She’s an aluminum hulled, lifting keel sloop that was designed and kitted out to take her owners around the world in great comfort. Here is the Yachting Monthly video that reviews the actual boat.
This is an ongoing project/idea. As we travel the world either by boat, plane, or foot, we want to record the oral histories of the people that we encounter. We are deeply interested in better understanding the anthropological, historical, and cultural practices of the healers of the world.
We’ve heard this a couple of times since we’ve been in Canada while Tortuga’s been tied up in a few of the harbors/marinas. We wondered whether the people were fascinated by the fact that it is a boat traveling from the United States or for some other reason. We have not seen that many sailboats in the Canadian waters and big sailboats for that matter. The sailboats we generally see are smaller and local to the area, and likely out for daysails.
So we asked the harbor master in Pictou, and his impression is that people are more intrigued by where the boats come from.
The people we meet in the slips are generally very curious either about the boat and/or about the route that we are taking to get the boat back to Chicago.
We’re currently in Murray Harbor, PEI on a very quiet and calm Sunday morning. The water is a bit thin getting into the harbor, so we’re waiting a little for the tide to come in a bit to move over to the fuel dock, and then leave the harbor.
Yesterday’s sail from Port Hawkesbury through the Canso Canal to Murray Harbor was a ton of fun. We were reaching the entire way with 24-28 knots of wind. Once the sails were up, and the engine off we were making 7.2 knots over ground, which I was quite happy with.
Life boats ready to launch in Port Hawkesbury, Cape Breton
Entering the Canso Canal lock
#5 Cafe in Murray Harbor, PEI
Bowdridge Landing, Murray Harbor, PEI
Halfway across the Northumberland Straits we decided to heave to for a bit to see how Tortuga handled the seas. With her nose pointed 50 degrees to the wind, Tortuga calmed down and we sat there enjoying what was an awesome sailing day. Janet was a bit peeved as she had just labored to prepare lunch in the galley while we were underway and heeled over at 30 degrees.
We’ll leave Murray Harbor in a flooding tide and make our way to an anchorage in Pictou for the night. Tomorrow, we’re off Charlottetown to tie up for a few days.
We are anchored in Fisherman’s Harbor on the coast of Nova Scotia tonight. It has an abandoned fishing dock in a cove. We did not secure ourselves to the dock, but anchored a few yards away from it in a protected cove. Protected from the waves, that is, not from the wind. The wind is blowing at about 15 knots consistently (even at night) with occasional gusts, however due to a ‘short’ fetch (weather term that determines waves and storm surge), the waters are very calm. No other soul is out here, save a few houses on the shore and some birds on a gravel breakwater.
One surprising thing along the entire Nova Scotia coast is that it seems well connected. Even though we are pretty remote, we still have an LTE signal. Good for us to keep in touch with family and work.
This is our second night at anchor since leaving Halifax. We arrived in Halifax early yesterday morning, around 1am and had a late start after getting the boat ready and provisioned. After a quick stop to get gas at the Royal Nova Scotia Squadron Yacht Marina (yes, that is a mouthful), we sailed on to Jeddore Harbor, getting there by dinner time. Typically, the predominant winds are southerwesterlies, however yesterday we had a north east wind. Eric and my dad had the gennaker set up and ready to go for the day, however, we ended up sailing close hauled all day long.
My dad is joining us for this journey. He is getting a little bit of everything: wind, waves, sun…a quick sailing inauguration on the open ocean. We had some pretty strong winds yesterday and it was a welcome reprieve once we got into port and settled in for the night. After dinner, another great sunset with fishing boats docked along the coast.
Today, we had the gennaker up all day. The wind was behind us all day. There were a few other sailboats out there in the morning, but most of the day we saw no other boat on the horizon. While we had a bit of weather early in the morning, it turned out to be a good day of sailing. Some sun, plenty of wind. We made up our half day by putting in about 65 miles today.
Tomorrow, we hope to get into the Canso Canal. It’ll be an early start and another long day, but this will get us into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which we are told is warmer, much more protected, and have a good chance to see humpback whales!
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.
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.
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.
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!