Adventures of Adirondack

Adventures of Adirondack

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Lennox Passage viewpoint, and WHALES!!

We're anchored in a calm spot between an island and a lighthouse, just off the route to Bras d'Or, supposedly one of the finest sailing destinations in the world. It has fresh water, many secluded anchorages, cute little towns to explore and who knows what else. We'll be there in a couple hours for s few days; a more detailed report will follow. Yesterday we came across St. George's Bay towards the Cansco Straight on the calmest water we've seen on the trip. Dead flat calm, no wind, sunshine and about 75 degrees; it was just about perfect. We ran into a bit of fog so we used the radar and foghorn for a while. Sally made a phone call and was suddenly interrupted by a large collection of pilot whales! There were too many to count as they surfaced all around us. When we got to the entrance, a new bunch appeared. There were many more than before and much closer to the boat. We stopped as they went around us, some as close as 25'. It was awesome.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Tall Ships today?

We're in Pictou, the home of the Grohman Knife Company, the "Hector" and a stinky paper mill. The Hector brought 200 settlers from Scotland here in 1773 and is duplicated as a part of a museum depicting that event. We're tied up to a wharf right in town, but they are working on it to prepare for the tall ships that are supposed to arrive here today. We are heading towards where they are coming from, so we should pass them. Look for pictures. Wes wants to get some more lobster. When the Beckman crew was with us we bought two four pounders and cooked them up for a terrific dinner. Those are so big that ordinary lobster tools won't touch them and we had to resort to bid stuff from the tool bag. Delicious!  Capt. Jeff

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Annes, Lobsters and Windy Days

We spent a lovely few days at Summerside on PEI. There was a great marina - the Silver Fox Marina and Curling Club: boats in the summer and curling (throwing heavy "rocks" down an icy lane) in the winter. We were there with two other cruising boats, Ke 'Ola Kai and Tanglewood II, and their crews whom we have seen before at other ports and it was great to see them again.
Summerside is famous for its College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts. You can't get a degree there, but you can learn to play the Highland bagpipes or Scottish snare drum or learn Highland dancing or Island step dancing. We attended an afternoon mini concert with talented and earnest teachers at the college, which was great fun and later we attended their evening extravaganza, "Highland Storm," with lots of pipes and drums and jumping dancers.

The next day we rented a huge van (it was that or a small convertible that no one could in the back seat) and invited Dave and Lisa from Ke 'Ola Kai to join Tom, Mary Margaret, Jeff and I on a tour of the island. 

We saw lots of beautiful farms, red soil, potato plants, sandy shores and made a pilgrimage to the north shore and the provincial park of Green Gables, fictional home of Anne Shirley. The author of "Anne of Green Gables" spent summers with an aunt and uncle and based Anne's home on their house. It is quite the place - full of tourists, many from Japan where the movies were very popular and there was even an animated show based on the characters. It was great to be there with one of my "kindred spirits," Mary Margaret. We've both been reading the books by Lucy Maud Montgomery and were full of Anne lore. 

Jeff of Green Gables

We skipped the author's birthplace, school, the fake town of Avonlea and Shining Waters Amusement Park. It is a very Anne-y place. The dock master at Summerside said he has three red haired daughters and is very weary of visitors commenting on them (I'll bet none of them are named Anne - with or without an "e").

We headed home through Charlottetown, the capital of Prince Edward Island, then to the PEI end of the Confederation Bridge. This is the longest bridge built over water that freezes in winter - 8 miles long - connecting PEI with New Brunswick. We found a knitting shop nearby so it was a particularly good stop.

We left Summerside to cross the Northumberland Strait to Shediac, NB. The Pointe du Chene Yacht Club welcomed us warmly with a great dock, a yacht club flag, a lovely trail to town, friendly people and delicious seafood chowder. We walked to the main part of town to see the huge lobster statue, which almost ate M2! A former Wisconsonite stopped by to say hello and offered a ride to our crew to the train in Moncton the next day. Another couple lent us a car to get heavy groceries - what a wonderful group of people. 

 We picked up a new crew, John and Jane, and left yesterday to head back to Charlottetown by water. The wind picked up as we traveled, so we passed under the Confederation Bridge and ducked into a harbor that was the ferry dock that is no longer in use. We tried anchoring, but it was very bumpy in the wind and went into the inner harbor and are tied to a fishing boat listening to the wind howl. The weather prediction is for diminishing winds later today and we're hoping to cross to PEI later, but will have to see. Books and yarn certainly make waiting easy! Sally

Finally Stopped by Weather

Today is the first day in the whole trip we have been stopped by weather. Wes wants to go out and play in the forecast 6 to 10 footers, but I'm too scared to even venture outside and look at them. We left Shediac yesterday with our new crew, John and Jane, and started for Charlottetown, the capitol of Prince Edward Island. Jane proved her mettle right away by crawling inside our hull and replacing some bolts securing the dinghy, a job that Wes should have volunteered for. The wind started to pick up from the southwest and we pulled into a little wharf at Cape Tormentine that used to be the ferry terminal before the Confederation Bridge was built. It's pretty run down and has no amenities, but it sure beats being out in the waves. I told Wes he can go swimming in the surf, as there are some world class beaches right around the corner from us.

Hot news. Someone took a video of our little incident in Bobcaygeon, where Wes ran us up on the rock. It's been posted to YouTube at  Amazing. Please don't tell anyone about it, as Wes is a little embarrassed about the whole thing.  Capt. Jeff

Friday, July 20, 2012

Rest at Shediac

We crossed Northumberland Straight yesterday to enter the Pointe du Chene Yacht Club basin, a private yacht club among the friendliest we've come to. No one met us at the dock with beers like Shippagan, but almost as good. Yesterday some of us walked the incredible beaches here and swam the warm ocean water. Lots of people are here, a very busy spot. There's this huge dock thingy (a nautical term) with big Coast Guard and RCMP boats, seafood places, like I imagine Cape Cod to be. We finally have a serious boat failure issue, my reading light seems to have burned out for good. But we are roughing it, and I'm getting by with my headlamp. We like it at this marina, after walking three miles to check out the Shediac Marina. Big party here tonight and we are parked right next to the clubhouse. But we are roughing it. Capt. Jeff

Monday, July 16, 2012

Gannets Galore

We rounded the tip of the Gaspe Peninsula and passed the highest lighthouse in Canada on a beautiful sunny day.

Soon afterward the famous Perce Rock came into view. It is huge, sitting off the coast with a hole on the eastern end (that you can not take your boat through, much as Jeff and Wes wanted to try). We anchored off the island nearby, Ile Bonaventure, known for its large colony of nesting gannets.

Gannets are seabirds, white with black wingtips and lovely golden heads, that are part of the booby family. They skim over the water then rise up a bit and suddenly dive into the water, pulling in their wings at the last second with a splash and catch a fish. They come ashore, 50 thousand of them, to nest and have their chicks, on the bluffs and ledges of the island, making a raucous noise as they come and go. One of the pair stays on the nest and when the mate returns, they do a dance of rubbing beaks and necks together.

We hiked to the nesting colony across the island and came back along a trail along the shore, seeing seals and gulls and murres with bright red legs standing along the cracks in the face of the cliffs. We had bowls of delicious fish soup at the park restaurant then dinghied back to "Adirondack" and spent the night at anchor.

The next morning was gray and rainy, so we didn't see the sunrise on Perce Rock, but we circled Ile Bonaventure and saw all the birds from the water side. Then we headed across Baie des Chaleurs to Shippagan with a wavy, rocky trip, but improving weather as we went along.

We arrived in the marina to find it was the start of the 51st annual Seafood Festival. Our lines were caught on the dock and we were handed beers by our dock mates. There were lots of people, lots of boats all decorated with the Acadian flag (the French tricolor with a gold star on the blue to signify the North Star). We watched the parade of boats participating in the blessing of the fleet, had dinners of lobster (Jeff) and traditional clam pie (Sally - think chicken pot pie made with thick clam chowder) and listened to music and watched the fireworks!

We left early the next morning through the Shippagan Gully, a narrow passage through mud flats full of great blue herons and black capped night herons all standing in water up to their knees quite close to the boat. We had a nice run south to Escuminac, where we found a fishing fleet marina with space on the wall. We got out the bikes and had a good ride and dinner at the local diner. Today we continue south to Buctouche then over to Prince Edward Island the next day for highland pipping and an Anne of Green Gables pilgrimage! Sally

7/17/12 - True to the cruising lifestyle, we met a man on the dock at Escuminac who told Jeff of a diesel mechanic at West Point on PEI who might know about fuel filters. So to West Point we went, skipping Buctouche. The marina was very shallow, but we made it in (at low tide too!), found Albert Boyle with the help of a fisherman on the wall and now have a supply of 10 micron fuel filters and the reassurance from Albert that those are what we need.

We walked to the lighthouse - the tallest on PEI - which is now an inn, making it back to "Adirondack" before it rained. This morning the tide is up and we'll head to Summerside.

Prince Edward Island, home of cheap(er) fuel

We continue to be amazed at our good fortune in the weather department. We have yet to be pinned to the dock by bad weather! This morning we woke in Escumianac, NB, in the largest fishing anchorage in Canada. Nothing special for scenery, but warm water, friendly people, good protection and only $11.75! We left Shippegan yesterday, the town with the incredible party, fireworks and the most friendly folks we have yet to meet. We're still having trouble with fuel filters, going through one a day now as they plug up. Either we got some bad fuel a while back or the biocide we put in is stirring up things, who knows? We are going to get 11 more on Saturday and it will work itself out. Even Wes is baffled. The folks we have been traveling with passed us up yesterday, so we are alone again. We really like the security and companionship of another boat and have especially enjoyed this bunch. Capt. Jeff

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Heading South!!

Today we hit our farthest northern point on the trip at 49 degrees 15.688 minutes latitude (to compare, Roselawn Ave in St Paul is the 45th parallel - half way between the equator and the North Pole) and we are now heading south. We are cruising along the northern coast of the Gaspe Peninsula with a west wind pushing us along - sometimes a bit more forcefully than we would like.

This morning the weather prediction at Saint-Anne-des-Monts was for light winds in the morning, building to strong winds in the afternoon, so we headed out at 5:30 after giving friends on Ke'Ola Kai, a beautiful sailboat, a push off the dock.

The winds started to kick up right as we got to Grande-Vallee and we tucked in and are now tied up to a pier, sheltered from the winds. The forecast is for winds tomorrow in the morning, then calming down over the next few days. It looks good for making more progress around the Gaspe.

We explored up the Saguenay Fjord with crew Janet and Peter. We had a lovely time on a mooring ball in Baie Eternite - hiked up to see the statue of the Virgin up on Cap Trinite with views of "Adirondack" looking very small in the bay. We continued up the fjord to La Baie at the head of Baie des Ha! Ha! and spent a night then went back down the fjord to Tadoussac, where we changed crews.


We crossed over the Seaway to Rimouski on a clear day with light winds and are now on the south coast of the Seaway making our way east and now SOUTH!! Sally

Monday, July 9, 2012

Matane explanations

We says he was fighting about something involving the micron sizes of a diesel fuel filter, a topic worth making a stand about. It sounds pretty stupid to me.

We're in the commercial dock area of Matane, tied up next to commercial fishing vessels in an effort to save marina fees. No showers, power, water, wifi or any other extras, but a good dock out of the gale force winds. (We ran in them today and didn't think they were that bad.) Our traveling partners on Ke'Ola Kai went all the way up to the local hotel and got a password for their wifi so we were able to access it from our Wirie system. Waaay cool; everybody at the dock now has wifi. Capt. Jeff

Out the St. Lawrence

Lest anyone think I'm just goofing off on this voyage and neglecting my duties as Benevolent Overlord (or as Sally affectionately refers to me, "B.O.") I have decreed yet another edict: Upon graduation from high school or reaching the age of 18, whichever comes first, all will make some sort of one year contribution to the world. This may include military service, peace corps or the equivalent and requires a communal living situation, maybe like a barracks. There will be no deferments for financial, political or other sorts of status.

Wes got into a fight with Tanglewood II's mascot, a nice little penguin down the dock. Wes has not been worth all the trouble he's caused.

Right now we're in Rimouski, Quebec after a bit of a windy run from Saguenay in 55 degree weather we landed here, in kind of a boring area of town. The marina restaurant was great, much better than expected. It's still windy out there and we have yet to decide whether to go today.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Really up in the Saugenay River

We are waaay up the river, north of Tadoussac, which is right on the St. Lawrence River. We're getting ready to go whale watching tomorrow morning and will try to catch the tide at slack there. The ebb is reportedly up to 7 knots and when it swirls around with the current from the regular flow of the St. Lawrence it might get interesting. This is also where all the food and cold water upwell and it brings in nine varieties of whales, and we've only seen two kinds so far, the belugas and a couple Minkes. Wes is excited, and really turns out to be quite the whale watcher.

Our little problem with the finances and such has all been resolved with the LEGO corporation. They have installed me as the Benevolent Overlord of the world, giving me sweeping powers to make the place better. They are going to take care of all our financial needs so that I can't be bought and sold like the rest of the world's political heads. I may be buying a few boats or I may be turning into a Ghandi look-alike, with no hair, no carbon footprint and no possessions. I haven't decided yet.

1. Campaign finance reform. No contributions over $100. Contributors need to identify themselves.
2. Government has no place in the marriage issue. Adults can marry whomever they want.
3. No more riding lawnmowers allowed except for the handicapped and commercial uses.
4. Motorcycle riders need to wear helmets. Loud mufflers on any vehicles are illegal.
5. Assault rifles cannot be sold by anyone to anyone. The government will buy up those in use.
6. Citizens can carry firearms only to or from a legitimate sporting function. This includes hunting.
7. We're all adapting the metric system.
8. Four years of free education beyond high school for those who are capable.
9. New simplified tax system that can be computed on one sheet of paper.
    -No mortgage exemptions for second homes or boats
    -No mortgage exemptions for homes over $400,000
    -Offshore business and tax shelters are taxed the same as holding in the US.
    -Graduated income tax rates which end at a 50% rate for income over $1,000,000.
10. No more lawn fertilizer or weed killers

Capt. Jeff

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Strawberry Fields (Not) Forever and A Whale of a Day

We found the market just across the marina in Quebec City and strawberries are in season - so we had strawberries for breakfast and dessert, along with croissants and chocolate bread from the market. A very yummy find.
After a final dinner on Odyssey, we said good-bye to Greg and Sally as they started back up the St Lawrence River to cruise the Rideau Canal and head back to Michigan. It was sad to see them head out of the Quebec City marina - we hope to find a place to cruise together again in the future.

We left Quebec City on the falling tide and headed to Cap-a-L'Aigle, a pretty town on the north shore of the seaway. We had a good walk around the town the next day, waited out a thunder storm in the harbor and then again caught the tide to head to Tadoussac at the mouth of the Saguenay Fjord.

The area is known for the large number of whales that congregate at the mouth of the river. As we got closer, another boat told us they had seen a pod of belugas. Soon afterward we could see the white specks of belugas and were excited to see just that, but then a group of five beluga whales, four adults and a baby, came right to the boat. We turned off the motor and for half an hour the whales swam around and under the boat! It was magical.

Today, we headed up the Saguenay to L'Anse-Saint-Jean. The water is so deep the depth sounders just went blank. The water is as deep as the sides are tall and is 180 meters deeper than the seaway. We arrived in time for a good walk and stop at the bakery. Tomorrow we'll continue on farther up the Saguenay to explore. Sally