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Thursday, July 31, 2014


Yesterday was full of surprises. It started about 5 am when Myron decided the weather and tides might actually be conducive to a trip outside and north. The engine and dinghy were stowed away, the anchor was up and we were on our way by about 5:30 am. *YAWN* All before the coffee was put on. Our route was modified to run us along the shores of some small islands aptly nicknamed 'Bird Islands.' I was thrilled to see puffins! They flew around the boat as we motor-sailed along.

It was a blessing to have a rare, sunny clear day. We rode the winds downwind until we hit a breathless pocket near Cape Smokey. It is quite a cape. It has a significant influence on the weather. As we rounded the cape to turn toward the narrow channel entrance for Ingonish, we found out where the wind went. It rushes down the other side of that mountain cape and blasts the water below. We wrangled the main in before approaching the channel, which was well marked but not in agreement with our chartplotter. Granted we are not getting all GPS satellites and our error is sometimes showing over 40 feet.

The guide mentioned several alternatives to anchoring, but we were interested in the 350' sturdy, albeit abandoned, wharf. These places are new to us and we do not really know what to expect when we arrive. We found the wharf populated by several sailboats and a little powerboat. The folks on board were happy to help us with lines. We soon discovered that four of the sailboats represented a cruising club out of the Royal Canadian Squadron from Halifax, stopping over for the night on their clockwise navigation of Cape Breton. We had been introduced via email to Bill and Chris on the fifth boat, 'Plover,' a Dickerson made on LaTrappe River in the Chesapeake.

We were informed we may need to adjust our position on the wharf because a 50' Hinkley, 'Remedios' had motor problems and was being towed in. She drew too much to put her on the end of the wharf, so we moved there to the shallow water and created an opening. Franz and Mary had a very able crew visiting on board (Hugh, Katlin and Liz) who stepped up to the task when Franz decided to decline the tow and bring Remedios in under sail. They said the most difficult part was sailing her into that small channel. At one point they were down to a half knot and hoping not to drift into the gravel bars on either side. Once in, they did a 'sail by' of the wharf to assess the situation and then requested that a dinghy be on hand. Myron and I quickly launched the dinghy and installed the motor. I put on my gloves and we sped out there to assist. I was impressed how well they worked as a team. Franz would call out speed and the crew would take in sail. It was a delicate balance in keeping control of Remedios but yet slowing enough to get her stopped in time. We were asked only at the end to assist and that was to take the stern line to stop them. I believe Franz meant for us to take it to the wharf, but the distance was great and time was short. I gripped the line as best I could, braced myself against the bow of the dinghy while Myron put everything our motor had into reverse. We were shipping water into the dinghy but ultimately the forward motion was stopped and we took the stern line to shore. All was well. No boats or bodies were hurt. Just another adventure. We found out afterward that Remedios weighs an impressive 75,000 pounds. She had shredded a belt and some local mechanics were immediately on scene to ascertain what to order. It pays to know people and Franz knows the manager of the golf course nearby.

Apparently all the folks in the sailboats knew each other and had pre-planned a dinner party at the Keltic Lodge. They graciously invited us to come along. Lovely people. It was a wonderful evening and I am glad we accepted.

The four boats in the cruising club left just after 5:30 am this morning under an orange sunrise. Hold Fast, Remedios and Plover remain at the wharf - although Plover plans to leave this afternoon for Newfoundland. I am not sure of our plans. I just made coffee. I plan to drink some. That is as far as I am planning right now.

We have seen loons, bald eagles, a pipefish (like a straight sea horse), seals, great white sharks, puffins. We still hope to see a moose, but who can complain about the sightseeing thus far?

Love to all,

Posted via Ham Radio.

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