Canada 2008: Quebec & The Maritimes
Locking down in the St. Lawrence Seaway in the Beauharnoise Lock on our way to Montreal.
Lionheart docked in Port d'Escale at the base of Vieux Montreal.
Opening day parade for the Montreal Jazz Festival 2008.
Traveling east on the St. Lawrence River from Montreal to Quebec City.
Approaching Quebec City on a rainy morning. Chateau Frontenac at the top of the hill, the riverfront at the bottom.
View of Quebec City from our dock in Basin Louise.
KAOS in the fjord-like Baie Eternite.
One of the many interesting sculptures at the marina in Rimouski, which is on the south shore of the St. Lawrence on the Gaspe Peninsula, in the Province of Quebec.
Shopping in Riviere-au-Renaud. Yummm! Mussels for dinner.
Perce Rock in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Notice KAOS through the opening.
The Captain and Nikolas confer on the next stop. The Cat Unit wants a dock, thank you very much!
Captain KAOS and Lionheart Captain by the 90 ton lobster that is the hallmark of Shediac, New Brunswick.
View of the Bay of Fundy, where the tide rises and falls 40 feet. (perspective: Long Beach daily tides are 5-7 feet)
Lionheart Crew visits the Hopewell Rocks in the Bay of Fundy.......at low tide.
The Captain and the crew of Pacific Pixie (including Moana the dog) at the Anne of Green Gables historic site on PEI.
Another PEI vista. Their main agricultural crop is potatoes, and trust me, they are delicious. This is a potato field in bloom. Note the red dirt.
This is 15-mile long Confederation Bridge which connects PEI with New Brunswick. We went under it on Lionheart. To travel across the Northumberland Strait on the bridge is a $42 trip!
The Captain on the waterfront in Halifax.
Fort Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island.
Lionheart at the dock in the fishing village of Sambro, Nova Scotia. The tide was about 14 feet which meant climbing a ladder to make it up on the dock at low tide.
Just had to share this clever boat name with my readers.
Heading into Mahone Bay, N.S., trying to stay out of the way of the largest sabot race I have ever seen. The sabot crews were all kids attending a sailing camp at the local yacht club.
A school & a church in Lunenburg. Typical of the historic buildings in the Maritimes.
Captain KAOS and Lionheart's Admiral in front of Charlotte Lane, a fabulous bistro in Shelburne. Two of the best meals we have eaten since our wonderful dinner at the CIA in New York in June.
A sunny afternoon on the beach in Port Mouton, Nova Scotia, on one of our last evenings in the Maritimes.
I write this page in a beautiful, snug harbor on Mt. Desert (pronounced dessert) Island in Maine, after spending the summer (73 days) traveling in Canada on what is known as the Down East Circle Loop. This segment of Lionheart's "great adventure" began on June 17, 2008, when we officially "checked in" through Canadian Customs in Brockville, Ontario, Canada, a small town on the northern shore of the St. Lawrence River. Prior to that day, we had been meandering along the southern shore of the St. Lawrence which is in New York State at that point. After checking in, all of our ports of call were in Canada until arriving back in the US, in Maine, on August 29. We had a fabulous trip, cruising along 1,627 miles of Canadian shoreline, which I will attempt to describe here in words and pictures.
Brockville is an interesting little town with a lovely town dock at the bottom of the downtown area. Even though it was raining, we walked up the hill to visit one of their local highlights; Fulford Place. This magnificent mansion was was designed by a noted American architect, Albert W. Fuller, and built in 1899-1901 for Senator George T. Fulford, successful marketer of "Pink Pills for Pale People". Yup, the guy made millions off of absolutely nothing! Well, he built a very nice house and branched out into lumber and other businesses of substances. The next day we moved on to Prescott which was settled in 1784 by United Empire Loyalists. Fort Wellington is located here but we skipped the tour due to rain. June 19, we were up early to transit the first of the 7 St. Lawrence Seaway Locks, the Iroquois Lock.
The St. Lawrence Seaway was built as a joint venture between the US and Canada to link Atlantic Ocean ports with the Great Lakes ports. It was opened in 1959. Most of the commercial traffic on the Seaway is big ships carrying bulk cargos like grains, cement, salt, iron ore, coal, limestone, gypsum, etc., to ports around the world. The locks are built to handle big carriers. Smaller vessels do not lock through with the big commercial ships. The locks operate by draining 24 million gallons of water, by gravity, from the center of the lock, or, by filling up with 24 million gallons of water from the center. When locking down, the water is drained, therefore, you don't get pushed against the lock wall during the process which makes for a better locking experience for smaller boats. The big guys don't have these concerns. Generally, traveling "down" (east) in the St. Lawrence is much easier for pleasure crafts because you are going with the current. Prices of fuel not withstanding, it's always better to go "with" the flow than against it!
After clearing the Iroquois Lock, Lionheart headed into Crysler Park, which is a Parc Canada marina in a beautiful setting. Having arrived in the morning, we spent the afternoon stepping back in time in Upper Canada Village. This is a replica village exhibiting the way life was lived in rural Canada in the 1860's. The village is comprised of 40 heritage buildings, many of them dismantled and rebuilt above the flood line caused by the construction of the dams to make the Seaway. We visited a working mill which produced power by water wheel for the production of the lumber and the woolen industry of the time. There were costumed people demonstrating many other trades of the time and, of course, farming. There were lots of school kids there on field trips. We noticed them cleaning the shelves of the gift shop of all manner of plastic junk toys. I guess that some of them took home a handful of raw wool but China made out like a bandit that day selling useless junk to Canadian Children who all seemed to have money to spend. We asked some of the costumed "villagers" if this was their fulltime job, or what they did in the winter. Some were locals but many were cruise ship crew who work their off-seasons in other "entertainment industries." In Upper Canada Village that would be tasks like taking care of the farm animals and giving demonstrations of trades, etc. Who knew?
June 20 & 21 marked the summer solstice which meant the longest days of the year. These 2 days took us through 4 locks (2 each day). The Eisenhauer & Snell locks on Friday, took us around the Long Sault Rapids and there was a lot of waiting around to lock through. These 2 locks are run by the US. They lower the boat about 40 feet each and cost $20 each. Sometime on that day we left the Province of Ontario and entered the Province of Quebec. On Saturday we transited the first 2 Canadian operated locks; Beauharnois #1 & #2. These locks lower you 42 feet each and cost $25 each. Had to wait at the second lock for 2 big ships to lock through. (Commercial traffic always goes first on the Seaway.) Arrived in Lac St. Louis around 6:30 PM and anchored off the town of Beauharnois. For some reason there were fireworks in the sky that evening which was a nice end to a long day. On June 22, we completed locking through the last 2 locks on the Seaway. After leaving the locks, the canal returns back to the St. Lawrence River where you round a buoy that heads back west (against the current) to the Port of Montreal. The current was just ripping and there were some big freighters and tour boats coming towards us, making the river look very crowded to the Lionheart Crew. However, the Captain managed nicely and we arrived at Port d'Escale, which is situated in the Jacques Cartier Basin in the heart of Old Montreal, at 3:00 PM. That was a fabulous location for our stay in this beautiful old city.
We began our exploration of the city immediately by walking up Jacques Cartier Street to the top of the hill, which is Rue Notre Dame, the oldest street in the city. Jacques Cartier was the first European to see the island of Montreal from atop Mont Royal in 1534. The small French colony of Montreal was established in 1642. For the next 120 years the French and the British fought over North America. In 1760 the French capitulated and Montreal, as well as all the territories east, came under British rule. Montreal is a cosmopolitan city today where 35 languages are spoken. Fortunately for us, English is 1 of the 2 main languages. The area around the port is called Vieux Montreal (the oldest part of the city) and it is full of narrow cobblestone streets and 17th and 18th century architecture. Jacques Cartier is a walking street lined with shops and restaurants. From the top of the hill we could look across the river to the site of the l967 World Exposition. The major landmark left from that Exposition is the geodesic dome designed by Buckminster Fuller. It is now named the Biosphere and is dedicated to ecological studies and education.
There are so many interesting buildings and areas, exhibitions, museums, market places and restaurants in Montreal that we were on the move constantly for 4 days. Starting with a 4-hour bus tour of the city on June 23, we visited the Notre Dame Basilica built in 1829 which is filled with beautiful stained glass windows and amazing wood carving. Right up there with the famous churches in Europe. Driving out of the old district to the east, we saw the site of the 1976 Olympics, including the landmark stadium and athlete's village. Today the village is in use as housing. Unfortunately, the then state-of-the-art stadium is not used very much these days, and the retractable dome doesn't work. The tour also took us across town to the Mont Royal Parc which provides an amazing view of the city and river. The buildings in this area are old but well preserved and functioning very well. After this ride of orientation, we learned to jump on the METRO (underground) to visit areas like Little Italy and the Latin Quarter. Both provided wonderful dining experiences and a walk about among the residents of this beautiful and interesting city. China Town was within walking distance, as was McGill University and the Montreal Jazz Festival which began on June 26, our last day in town. The IMAX theatre was on the pier where we were docked and I treated myself to a 3-D U-2 concert show. The Captain declined the opportunity to have his ears blown off.
June 27, we departed Montreal at 8:00 AM in the fog. Going with the current, Lionheart was speeding along at 13.5 kts which is fairly flying for this trawler! The air above the river was teeming with seagulls as we traveled along with our fog horn blasting, arriving at Trois-Rivieres (3 Rivers) at 3:30 PM. This is where we reunited with our buddy boat for the Down East Circle Loop, KAOS. They were already at the dock and the sun was shinning bright, making for a glorious happy hour reunion on the dock. It was fun to catch up with our friends, Susann and Alan Syme who had taken a different route from Waterford, NY, to the St. Lawrence. Their trip took them up the Champlain Waterway to Trois-Riviers. June 28, both boats headed down river to our next port of call, Portneuf. The wind was blowing 25 kts, the current was ripping (fortunately in the same direction we were traveling), the ride was rough but we were fairly flying at 15.3 kts and arrived at Portnuef before lunch. A walk into "town" revealed a very small hamlet with few services. However, the marina was reputed to have a wonderful restaurant. When we repaired to that restaurant for lunch, we found a limited menu for that meal but a fantastic menu for dinner and decided forthwith to eat our evening meal there. At 5:30 PM, in a pouring rain and wind, we made our way to the restaurant which was totally empty except for the staff. Coming in out of the rain, we were stunned to learn that they required reservations and would not be able to seat us that evening.......at any time. Evidently they are the only restaurant for miles and they were fully booked and they could not see their way clear to serve us that evening. Well, who knew??? So, we repaired to KAOS which was docked right in front of said restaurant and vowed to drink enough wine so that we would be up for mooning the crowd (just picture that in your mind!) that was coming with reservations. Well, it was a shocking plan that was not implemented, even after all the lovely wine and hors d'ouvres were consumed. But we did vow never to darken their doors again, leaving the marina early the next day....never to return!
On June 29, we arrived in Quebec City in a pouring rain. We had been trying to get reservations at the marina in the Louise Basin for weeks and were finally notified that they could accommodate us from the 29th to July 4. We were thrilled because this marina is right at the base of the Old City (Vieux Quebec) and July 3 was the 400 year anniversary of the founding of Quebec City. What a blast we had until the evening of July 2 when I learned of my dearest friends sudden death. July 3 it rained buckets all day which fairly ruined much of the outdoor spectacle that had been planned to kick off a month of celebrations. Fortunately for the huge crowds, the rain stopped in the early evening and by 11:45 PM, when the fireworks show began, it was clear and dry. Backing up to begin the Quebec report on June 29: After we arrived and got situated in the inner harbor, the rain lightened up. By 5:00 PM, we could see the beautiful city which marches up the hill from the river to the Chateau Frontenac. Along with KAOS, we walked around the inner harbor to the foot of the hill. Here again are narrow cobblestone streets; very European and very quaint. We ambled around, stopping in a square for a glass of wine, and then took the funicular to the top of the hill. We stopped for dinner in another square at the top of the hill and then strolled down the hill, around the harbor, back to the marina. Along the way we happened upon a tent with wonderful music emanating from within. Turned out to be a free music venue (featuring "Indian" - First Nation Artists) that was part of the anniversary celebration. Inside we found bean bags on which to recline while watching a wonderful projection of color and movement on the ceiling which was timed to the music being performed. It was sort of a 60's experience and we loved it! The next day dawned bright and sunny so immediately set out for the top of the hill again and took a carriage ride. This open-air experience included a trip through the old section of the city (Quebec is the oldest and most European city in North America) which was a walled citadel in the early years. Then, we went through the new section where the government buildings and high-rise hotels are located among many beautiful parks and squares, beautiful old and new homes, and through the Plains of Abraham park area. The Plains of Abraham was the site of a fierce battle in 1759 between the French and British over control of Quebec. Both generals died in the battle and victory went to the British. However, as you probably know, Quebec City has maintained it's French heritage and French language to this day. While we had anticipated difficulty with the language, we had absolutely no problems. In fact, just standing on the sidewalk with a map and a puzzled look inspired locals to stop and offer their help and directions, in English, to a lost looking tourist. After the horse tour, we toured the Chateau Frontenac which is one of the beautiful Canadian Pacific Railroad hotels dating back to the mid-1800's. All around the Chateau are buildings dating back to the 1600's. As our stroll neared the dinner hour we found a lovely sidewalk cafe specializing in fresh mussels served by the pound in the sauce of your choice. A fabulous dining experience was had by all. July 1 was Canada Day and we did our chores while the rest of the city had a party. While sitting outside the marina laundry room waiting for my clothes to dry, a lady came along walking her dog. She spotted my "Oaks at Ojai" T-shirt and struck up a conversation. Turns out that Barbara Kutchma and her husband, Ed, and the dog Coco, live right down the street from the Oaks in the town of Ojai. They are members of the Ventura Yacht Club who had shipped their 30 ft. Comano Troll cabin cruiser, named Pacific Pixie, to the east coast and were doing the Down East Circle Loop. I thought at that time that they were a pretty gutsy couple to do this trip in a boat that small and light. As it turned out, Pacific Pixie wound up traveling with KAOS and Lionheart for much of the rest of the trip to Nova Scotia. They snugged up in the flat part of our wake and "drafted" when possible.
After our day of chores, we did a bus tour of the countryside north of Quebec City, where we saw the Montmorency Falls which, at 250 feet high, are actually higher than Niagara Falls. However, they are not nearly as wide and, therefore, really don't remind you at all of Niagara Falls which we had visited 2 years before while in Oswego, NY. Our ride took us on a rather eclectic tour into the farm country and a series of stops which included a chocolate factory, a country bakery, some farms fruit stands, a giant Catholic Cathedral (St.-Anne-de-Beaupre Shrine), and the studio of a famous copper artist, Albert Gilles Marchner. We saw some of his work at St. Anne's where he had crafted the cathedral doors with 50 panels representing the story of the life of Christ. His work was commissioned by the likes of the Fisher brothers (original GM owners) Walt Disney, Roy Disney and Pope Pius XII. The work is amazing and becoming a lost art. His wife and daughters are carrying on the business but their pieces are much smaller in scale and much more commercial. Anyway, that was the best stop on that tour. July 3 was a total loss, as noted above, and July 4 found us once again on the St. Lawrence heading east.
Having left Quebec City with the tide at 5:30 AM, we arrived at Tadoussac (a trip of 109 miles) at 4:30 PM It was actually a rather rough day on the water which included a major rain squall just before our arrival. It was also the first time we saw whales since Florida. Tadoussac is at the mouth of the Saguenay River. The Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park is a major center for outdoor enthusiasts. There is a museum and observation center where you learn about fjords and the marine animals that make this area so popular for whale watching, kayaking, hiking, camping and boating. We anchored in Tadoussac Harbor overnight, taking care to stay in enough water to accommodate the 17 foot tides. As the tide receded, KAOS saw some pretty significant rocks surface close by. July 5 we headed up the Saguenay River to anchor in Baie Eternite. On the way into the mouth of the river we saw a pod of Beluga Whales. These are toothed whales, pure white in color which are 10 to 16 feet long and weigh 14,000 to 30,000 lbs and eat 50 lbs of food each day. It was the first time we had ever seen them. They were cruising around eating. They didn't do any air maneuvers, so we didn't get any good photos. We didn't want to get too close. In fact there are rules about distances to keep from the whales to observe them so that they are not disturbed. When we arrived in Baie Eternite we were wowed by the beauty of the fjord. That evening we celebrated the 4th of July with KAOS and Pacific Pixie, serving burgers, hot dogs, potato salad and lots of bug spray. Yup, those Canadian mosquitoes will drain your blood and then carry away your sorry carcass! We spent 2 nights in the wilderness, among the 600 foot granite cliffs and pine trees. On July 7 we returned to Tadoussac. On the 8th we headed for Rimouski which is on the southern shore of the St. Lawrence, on the Gaspe Peninsula. It was raining and rough and, as I watched the little Pacific Pixie taking the waves, I thought to myself that they were a very hardy crew. I was quite glad to have the big Lionheart with her tall bow to take the wave splashes and the stabilizers to take out most of the rock and roll. We saw big whales on this crossing, probably blue whales or humpbacks. They were too far off to identify for sure. The next day, July 9, the weather deteriorated with ever increasing wind and wave heights. Pixie decided to turn in toward shore and a marina around noon. KAOS and Lionheart, being larger, forged ahead to St. Anne des Monts where they could accommodate 2 large boats. We had been warned, and found it to be true, that after leaving Quebec City there would be fewer marinas to choose from and very few that could take more than 2 or 3 boats over 40 feet. This was a major consideration for the rest of the trip. We stayed an extra day in St. Anne des Monts because of high winds and then moved on to Riviere-au-Renaud. On that run we made our most northern latitude at 48 deg. N. (Lionheart has been as far north as 59 deg. 50 min. N when we visited Glacier Bay in 2002.) We anchored inside the breakwater at Riviere-au-Renaud, and then took our dingies into the small fishing village the next morning. There we found a whole fleet of French sailboats, all in the 40-60 foot range, which were participating in the second part of a France to Quebec to France race. It's kind of like the Baja Ha Ha, in that it's more of a group crossing than a real race. We had seen some of the boats in Quebec preparing for the trip back. Anyway, we saw them off as they headed for the Azores and thus back to France. We thought about them often over the next month as the weather in the Atlantic was just awful. I wondered how they all did, especially the boats crewed by families. Tough group for sure! We, on the other hand, purchased mussels for dinner and made our way through pretty calm waters and sunshine, around the eastern tip of the Gaspe Peninsula, to view Perce Rock and I'lse Bonaventure near Perce, still in the Province of Quebec. Thus we entered the Gulf of St. Lawrence, leaving the river and it's huge currents in our wake.
Perce Rock is a scenic rock that looks very much like the rock at the tip of Baja California. In fact, there is a photo of that rock formation in the very first segment of this website. We rounded that point on Nov. 9, 2005. I'lse Bonaventure is a rookery, inhabited by 250,000 nesting birds, including gannets, seagulls, and puffins. We couldn't get close enough to really get great photos of the birds but it was an awe inspiring sight to see so many birds flying and roosting. Fortunately, we were upwind when we cruised past the island. Chandler was our last stop in the Province of Quebec. A small harbor and fishing village, where we stayed 2 days while a storm blew through.
On July 15 we crossed into the Province of New Brunswick, making our first stop at Shippagan. This area is known as the Acadian Shore and we were hoping to catch the Acadian Seafood Festival which was advertised as being in mid-July in Shippagan. We were disappointed to find that the only evidence of a festival in the town were festive flags on the fishing fleet and 6 young women wearing tiaras and drinking at the marina bar......the festival court, I guess. Well, check that box and move on to Escuminac (not a festival site) and Bouctouche which was having an Acadian festival, including music and dance. We walked all over Bouctouche looking for festival venues and found none. On Friday night, July 18, we were told that there would be music at the marketplace. We made the short walk from the marina to the marketplace and were told the music would start at 8:30.....it was 7:00 at the time. So we repaired to the waterfront bar where there was a country and western band....singing C&W in French. After 2 beers, I could suddenly understand what they were singing. Alas, it was not actually bilingual beer but bilingual singers who had changed to English! On July 19 we moved on to Shediac, the lobster capitol of New Brunswick.
Shediac Yacht Club is the only marina that can accommodate large boats, so that's where we stayed. It's a lovely little town and the yacht club folks were very friendly. Also, the yacht club is located on the local sand beach along with a number of restaurants, bars, ice cream stands, T-shirt stores, and fishing boats. We stayed in Shediac for 5 days while storms blew in the Northumberland Strait which was the next body of water to tackle. Pacific Pixie caught up with us in Shediac and we got to know them a little better as they encouraged us to consider joining the Ventura Yacht Club when we return to California. While staying in Shediac, we rented a car and drove down to the Hopewell Rocks on the Bay of Fundy. In this national park one can observe the famous 40 foot tides of the area. We enjoyed walking down to the beach at low tide and observing the floor of the ocean that is exposed by this phenomenon. Then we ate our first whole boiled lobster of the trip. Our friends on KAOS spent a number of years in this part of the world and showed us how to eat the whole lobster down to what is just a pile of shards! It was delicious, and while it was our first, it was not our last lobster in the Maritimes. Then we drove back to Shediac by way of Moncton, New Brunswick, where we made a CostCo run. While everyone fulfilled their shopping lists, I was able to see and purchase Rich Mayne's Colorevolution products which are available in CostCo's around the world but not in the USA....yet! It was a thrill for this mom to see these great cosmetics in their packages on sale to the world. You go Rich!
On July 24 we headed east in the Northumberland Strait and crossed to Prince Edward Island, arriving in Summerside before noon. KAOS had lived on this lovely island some 35 years ago, when they were first married. They had also picked up 5 family members to enjoy a return to their roots, so the Lionheart Crew teamed up with Pacific Pixie and did some island touring on our own. We started by attending the stage production of Highland Storm which is presented by The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada. It is a show similar to River Dance but it features bagpipes, drumming and a harp as the musical background. The story is told through song, highland dancing and step dancing. The program was staged by students in a tent, and the price of admission included a big chance to be mosquito bitten if one did not come prepared with bug spray. While they did not sell alcoholic beverages at the performance, there was a single malt scotch tasting bar which made for a pretty happy group for those who like scotch whiskey. It was popular with our Captains. The next day we rented "a wreck" to take a tour of the central part of the island. Actually, before we took to the road, Barbara and I took a 2-hour walking tour of Summerside. The old town is famous for its wonderful 19th and early 20th Century architecture. Many buildings remain from that time and have been lovingly restored. The tour included a stop for homemade ice cream and rhubarb juice at one of the famous homes. I also enjoyed the murals on town buildings that depict the early business of potato farming and fishing on the island. The afternoon ride included stops to enjoy beautiful scenery, and the acquisition of fresh mussels and oysters for dinner. Also a stop at the big tourist attraction on the island, the site of the home of the author of "Anne of Green Gables." This children's book, written by Lucy Maud Montgomery and published in 1908, was inspired by a farm which still stands in Cavendish, PEI. This book is loved by children around the world, especially the Japanese. There is a whole tourist business that caters to young Japanese couples who come to the island to be married. There is a Anne of Green Gables Festival every summer which is centered around the performance of Anne of Green Gables--The Musical, which is performed at the performing arts center in Charlottetown. The Captain and I spent July 26 enjoying that musical performance and touring Charlottetown, which dates back to the 1600's and is very picturesque.
On July 28 we left PEI, crossing the Northumberland Strait, and arriving in Pictou, Nova Scotia, before lunch. Yet another quaint little town with a serious Scottish heritage. Also found a haircut in Pictou. Since KAOS was still having family guests, we headed out on the 29th by ourselves and anchored in Havre Bucher; the only boat in the harbor. There are some homes around the little bay and one boat, out for a family bay cruise, stopped to ask if we really were from California and how did we get there? Most land locked people find the answer to be somewhat amazing. Sometimes, so do I! Anyway, there was a huge thunder, lightening, and rain storm that evening. Thank goodness, once again, even without the aid of any sailboats nearby, we escaped a direct hit which would certainly fry all of our electronics and cause a huge problem in completing the trip. On July 30 we passed through Canso Lock and the St. Peters Canal into the Bras d' Or Lakes (pronounced bra-door) on Cape Breton Island. This is beautiful area, settled in the 1600's by Scottish and French immigrants. It is a very popular summer resort area, known for it's beautiful seashores and the Highlands National Park. We spent 2 weeks inside the Bras d' Or Lakes. During that time the Captain returned to New Mexico to attend the internment of his Mother's ashes in Los Alamos and visit with his brother and sister and their families. This necessitated a driving trip to Halifax to deliver him to the airport. KAOS and Lionheart teamed up for this since their guests were departing to return to their home. Halifax is a lovely city and we enjoyed an afternoon touring the old part of town.
For most of the time spent in St. Peters at the dock, we had a rental car. With the Captain, or Pacific Pixie, or KAOS crew, I managed to see most of Cape Breton. We visited the Alexander Graham Bell Museum in Baddeck; a quaint little lakeside village. We got lost going and coming back, therefore, we saw a lot of the countryside. The museum was very interesting. Everyone knows that AGB invented the telephone, but, did you know that his main field of interest and research was teaching the deaf to "hear" and to speak? In fact, his wife was deaf. When she got tired of "listening" to AGB, she turned out the light so that she couldn't read his lips. It was also on the museum excursion that I found out that our friend's dog Coco has a nickname of Moana Whinner. This little dog, who looks like a Doberman who was left in the dryer too long, cannot stand to lose sight of her Captain. When he leaves the car, she moans, groans, whines and talks. What a riot. Coco is forever Moana in my mind. Another memorable day was spent with KAOS at the Fortress of Louisbourg. Now, I have seen a lot of forts and reconstructions in the past 3 years, but his one was outstanding. The fort is in a beautiful setting on the northeast coast of Cape Breton on the Atlantic Ocean. It was settled in 1713 by the French. By 1740 the settlement numbered 2500 civilians and 700 garrison troops. In 1745 the fort was captured by the British and the French were deported. In 1748-49 a treaty returns the fort to France and the French return. In 1758 the British capture it again and again deport the French. In 1760 the British pretty much leveled the place with explosives and left. In 1928 it was proclaimed a national historic site and in l968 restoration began. Today you can visit 1/5th of the original area that has been completely restored and is a living museum of life in Fortress Louisbourg in 1745 right down to the food served in the 2 restaurants. No burgers or hot dogs on a stick here. Lunch is a choice of mussels, cod, fish chowder, pea soup, with wine rum or milk to drink. You get a giant cloth napkin and a pewter spoon with which to eat. The wine must have been there since 1745 because it made my eyes water when I drank it. The Quebec couple across the group style table almost sprayed theirs on me, even through they had been warned that the quality was not up to today's standards of French wine. On the way back to St. Peter we stopped for Tea at Rita's Tea Room. Rita McNeil is a famous Canadian singer. Both she and Anne Murray hail from Cape Breton. Rita's music is the modern version of Maritimes folk music. It's kind of a mix between country and western and a sea shanty and I love the sound. I bought a CD as a reminder of the music we enjoyed while in the Maritimes. Another evening we attended a local Ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee) at the Bras d' Or Lake Inn. A Ceilidh is a modern version of a "Kitchen Party" which provided family community entertainment before the advent of radio and TV. Then and now, it is an evening of local talent kids, adults, and sometimes professionals who live in the area. There was highland dancing, clogging, fiddle playing and folk singers. It was a hoot!
While in the Lake we met several other boats that were doing the Down East Circle Loop in 2008. We have all been in touch for the past 6 months but were strung out on the route. We caught up with Change of Pace and Ocean Flyer whom we had met on the Great Loop of America trip in 2006; Tortolla, whom we met in the Bahamas in 2007, and their friends on Gandalf whom we had met in Montreal. It's a small world when you are cruising far from home. It was fun catching up with them all.
On August 6, Pacific Pixie departed St. Peters heading for Portsmouth, Maine, where they would ship the boat home to California by truck and return themselves, with Moana, by car. On August 10, KAOS left for Nova Scotia. On August 12, after the Captain returned from the US, Lionheart left for the trip down the coast of Nova Scotia. As we fired up the engines and electronics, the Captain discovered that the radar had died. He was not pleased (slight understatement) as we were heading into fog country. We needed to catch KAOS so we could run with their radar. We caught up 2 days later in an inlet where the Liscombe Lodge is located. Beautiful resort. We anchored with a number of cruising boats and Canadian vacationing boats. KAOS had an on-board happy hour where we got to talk with this diverse group and a good time was had by all. Between August 16 and August 28, we stopped in Sambro Harbor, Mahone Bay, and Shelburne for several days each, and spent one night at anchor in Port Mouton. On August 25, we departed Sambro Harbor in the fog, with KAOS keeping us in radar sight. While this was not an auspicious beginning, all went well and we enjoyed cocktails on a sunny beach in Port Mouton late in the day. In Mahone Bay we rented a car and did some land cruising with KAOS which included a day in Lunenburg which is the home of the famous Grand Banks schooner Bluenose. Lunenburg was the site of yet another horse carriage ride that showed us the buildings of this village which was settled in 1750. The Bluenose Coast of Nova Scotia is an exquisite stretch of coastline. There are many harbors and small fishing villages. Fishing is a big industry in this area, as is tourism. Each place we stayed had it's special features however, I think I have gone on long enough with this page. So, I will cut to the final leg of this section.
August 28 found KAOS and Lionheart at sea, crossing the the Gulf of Maine (Bay of Fundy Mouth), predicted to be a 20 hour trip. Leaving Shelburne, Nova Scotia, at 4:00 PM, the Captains figured we would capitalize on the falling tide and gain an advantage of a pushing current to cross the Gulf. It was known that the weather would be deteriorating behind us in Nova Scotia but we figured we could beat the worst of it across the Gulf instead of waiting for the next weather window. It was a long night with no moon but incredible stars. It was very rough as well, but certainly not the roughest we have had. Our night crossing from Colon to Bocas Del Toro, Panama, with the Feslers, still holds the record in the rough passages category. However, this night caused the Cat Unit to once again question his tour of sea duty and to lodge a strong protest and sleep-in the next day. The Maine lobster trap mine fields started about 10 miles off shore. By the time we were 1/2 mile from the cove they were really thick and very hard to dodge in the dark (did I mention no moon again on this overnight?). We managed to miss them all by following KAOS with their 2 giant spotlights trained on the water and their Admiral calling the turns. By 5:00 AM we were on a mooring in Seal Cove on Mt. Desert Island. We went to bed at dawn happy to be back in American waters.
This was a fantastic trip for us. There were some new challenges dealing with the currents, tides and weather. There were also the usual challenges of equipment failures and maintenance. We enjoyed our boat buddies on KAOS and the new friends we met along the way as well. We have now been "out" cruising for 34 months and have covered a total of 20,356 miles since leaving Long Beach. The next 2 months will be spent cruising down the coast of New England at a leisurely pace. We need to stay south of the cold weather that's coming, and north of the hurricanes that keep coming. As always, the weather gods will guide our lives. Lionheart is for sale and hopefully she will find a new owner somewhere on the east coast. Otherwise she's coming back to California on a yacht carrier in early 2009.