Friday, May 06, 2011

Nova Scotia, Trepassey and St. John’s Newfoundland

We sailed straight up from P-town to Nova Scotia and made a quick overnight stop in Chester with Chrick and Beth before heading back up to Newfoundland.  Our confidence level about sailing in these waters was higher but it remains an area where planning around weather is key.

When we arrived in Trepassey we tied up again to the rickety dock.  We were surprised to meet a group of Spaniards on the dock.  They were taping an episode for a well-known series in Spain focusing on fog.  Trepassey has on average 200 days of fog a year, making it the foggiest place on earth.  An interesting claim to fame.  They were terribly disappointed as for their entire stay the fog levels were at an all-time historical low and the sun shone ironically the entire time.

In Trepassey we were met again with the same incredible openness and friendliness that had charmed us about the island on our first visit.  We were invited to a Newfie kitchen party, complete with crazily clad mummers banging on ugly sticks and singing and dancing.  The local priest dressed up as Elvis and sang a rousing version of School House Rock.  Two local girls offered to babysit the monkies while were were out.  One of them was absolutely terrified of getting onto the boat that we almost had to carry her on and off.   

And the fish. There was a fishing crew in the harbor from St. John’s and as they were unloading their fish they offered us a taste of the local delicacy in the form of 5kg of haddock cheeks.  A delicious, solid white fish that we cooked up in every creative way that we could think of.  5kg of fish is a lot for two people to consume in 2 days. 

A short overnight trip around the coast brought us back to St John’s where we waited for a weather window for our planned trip to Iceland.  We celebrated Emma’s birthday on the way to St John’s with hotdogs and Chocomel.  It seemed meager to us but she was quite happy.  We were sailing upwind and the monkies developed a hilarious game of sliding from one side of the cabin to the other on their bottoms.  This kept them busy for hours.

We stayed in the Royal Newfoundland Yacht Club in Long Pond for almost 2 weeks getting the boat, and ourselves, ready for the big crossing to Iceland.  The sailors at the club were enormously helpful, offering the use of a car, treats to eat on the way, moral support and advice.  Several people shared experience and advice on sailing North of Newfoundland to Labrador, Greenland and beyond.  We were even put in touch with a meteorologist who spent a great deal of time helping us to select the right timing and weather window to make our departure.  We were incredibly nervous about this trip, more worried than we had been to date and these people really helped to calm us.  Preparing the boat was an intensive chore, testing the storm sail, water, diesel, food etc. and ensuring that everything was even more secure that usual and that we were truly running a tight ship. 

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