Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Welcome to Nova Scotia

Seb and I sailed the Pjotter out of the St Andrew's harbour on July 28th, leaving the monkeys behind to take care of their grandparents for a few days.  Our destination was Halifax, Nova Scotia and we expected to have a nice wind of 12-15 knots and take approximately 48 hours to get there.  Ohh, the folly of our optimism.  There was not a breath of wind, the fog was even thicker than pea soup and the waves were large enough to keep the boat pitching about in a most uncomfortable manner.  This coupled with the chugging engine wafting diesel fumes in our faces resulted in a long and nasty trip of 57 hours.  We arrived in the protected harbour of the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron at midnight on the 30th and tumbled into our finally still beds with relief.

In Halifax we met up with some good friends Chrick and Beth who generously lent us their car to travel back to St. Andrews for HonGu's birthday and to run our many errands.  Our two visits to Halifax were spent doing some very efficient repairs and upgrades to the boat (including the installation of a new heating system) and taking advantage of the well stocked chandlers.  Our evenings were spent having cosy dinners with Chrick and Beth and on one occasion we took a short sail with them out into the Halifax harbour to enjoy the evening wind.  It was nice to use the boat for recreation for a change rather than our usual (and still very enjoyable) practical application of getting from A to B.  

The RNSYS is the starting point for the Halifax-St Pierre race and there were several interesting race boats in the harbour with us, including a former Volvo Ocean Race boat and an Around Alone boat (Spirit of Canada - Derek Hatfield).  Another boat that caught our eye was not taking part in the race but looked as though it had been through some interesting times.  This was a 49 foot aluminium boat from Ireland named NorthAbout.  We wandered over to have a chat and learned that this boat and its crew had completed two of the toughest cruising expeditions ever attempted, the Northwest and the Northeast passages.  Duly impressed, we bought a copy of their book, had a little chat and trying not to look too star-stuck, said we hoped to bump into them again in Baddeck in Cape Breton.   

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