Nova Scotia to Maine

So, we’ve been quiet for a while because we’ve been so busy! I thought this lifestyle would afford more relaxation but it seems that getting the boat and ourselves up to par takes a lot of time and effort! I’m going to provide a quick update on what we’ve been up to!

This is a photo as we left Shelburne headed on our first overnight passage (2 nights actually) to Maine. We could have sailed around the tip of Nova Scotia and had a shorter passage, but the tides and currents are quite crazy in the Bay of Fundy and we decided we would rather do an overnight than deal with that craziness.

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The pictures don’t do it justice, but the full moon was amazing. Unfortunately, we entered into thick fog about 3 hours into our passage. It was a bit disconcerting as the currents were also quite strong (we passed through an area named “The Rip” and “The Big Rip”) that tossed our boat when our engines couldn’t quite keep up with the current. We have radar and AIS on board, which allowed us to do this passage with comfort knowing even in fog we can see what is out there – it’s just a little more stressful in my opinion to not physically be able to see anything past my boat.

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Pat and I took shifts (4 on, 4 off).  It was cold and wet outside. Our new friends we met in Lunenberg who are expert sailors did this crossing a few days before us and saw dolphins on the bow. I was dying to have this happen for us, but I couldn’t stay outside for long with the weather. It was quite honestly exhausting. Neither of us really slept, worrying about the other out there by themselves. We had harnesses and tethers and would tether ourselves to the boat every time we went outside.

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I had the sunrise shift, which was such a treat and made the long night feel worth it. This never gets old.

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This no where near does it justice, but I had to include the picture as this was quite possibly the most amazing thing I saw. On the second night I was on shift as the sun went down and the moon came up. I was looking everywhere for the moon and as I looked behind me I saw this amazing, huge, vibrant, red, moon coming out of the ocean. I will never forget that – SO AMAZING.

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We navigated through what I’m sure was thousands of lobster pots on the way into Casco Bay in Portland, Maine.

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We met up with our good friends from Lunenberg again – the kids had fun on the beach and at the playground.
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The next day we went on the train near our mooring and……

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I got a haircut! Ahh, to feel semi-attractive for a few hours! Our boat does not accommodate a hair dryer, and it wouldn’t really matter if it did since I’m out in the wind and weather all of the time so to have my hair styled felt amazing!

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We met up with my friend Paula from my studies at UT Austin and she took us to the beach! The kids were quick to make friends and the boys learned to bodysurf – a new favorite pastime.

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In between trying to kept the kids entertained we’ve been doing a lot of work. We took the life raft in to be serviced (a big load off that we know it inflates!), we bought many little things we need to fix things on the boat, loaded up on safety equipment we couldn’t get in Canada, we replaced the speakers, the deck shower, ordered parts, set up a haul out and servicing at the local boat yard, and I started my semester with ASU.

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We are finally at the boat yard and the boat will be hauled out on Monday. Fingers crossed the bill won’t be outrageous, but I’m not holding my breath with the amount of work we need done.

The boys have been keeping busy fishing and have caught a few squid and several Mackeral. The harbor we are in is quite busy so we have caught and released.

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Once we have everything fixed on the boat, we’ll head South doing day sails – first Kennebunkport, then Portsmouth, Boston, New York,  etc. We can’t wait to get moving again!

***Below is a note I wrote while on night watch if you’re interested in what that was like! We’re slowly but surely becoming real sailors!

First Overnight Passage

I’m writing this during one of my night watch shifts (8-midnight). It’s about 11:15pm and I’m exhausted. I’m writing this as a means to entertain myself and stay awake. There isn’t a whole lot for me to do because we are motoring (we could sail in the dark, but with the crazy currents and unpredictable winds as you enter the Gulf of Maine, we decided against it). My main job is to make sure we are on course and that we stay out of the way of any other boats we see on radar or AIS. The radar screen is blank and the 2 boats that were near us earlier have now gone a different direction. I did some stretches, looked at pictures, tried to read (I had to stop because it was putting me to sleep), went outside in the cold, and have drank a ton a water. I was hoping for a nice night sail, and while the full moon is out, it is very foggy and cold. I’m staying in the cabin monitoring the instruments for the most part.

All I can think about is going to bed, but I know Pat didn’t get to sleep until about 9:30 and his next shift doesn’t end until 4am. I’m going to try to go a bit past the official end of my shift (midnight) so he can sleep a bit longer.

Both Pat and I were a bit nervous about our first open water/overnight sail. We talked with our new friends we met in Lunenberg who are very experienced sailors and got a few pointers from them. We prepped the boat, prepped the kids, and tried to prep ourselves. We were able to sail for the first 3 hours or so until the wind shifted directions and we were “head to wind”. At this point we turned on the motors and shortly thereafter we were engulfed in fog. There were several islands, rip currents, and rocks we had to navigate through so it was a bit stressful until we were out in the wide open. Pat got the kids ready for bed, and I was at the helm. The kids seem to understand that they need to entertain and feed themselves. Noah especially has been extremely helpful so that Pat and I can either focus on sailing/navigating or rest.

I’ve read and heard people talk about how they “find themselves” during night sails. You are all alone in the ocean for hours – just you and the stars and moon and if you’re lucky dolphins playing at the bow.. I was really looking forward to that time, but honestly I am just too tired to have any deep thoughts or put myself through sitting in the cold and wet outside.

This is night one of two – the entire passage to Portland, Maine from Shelburne, Nova Scotia is about 44 hours. We left in the afternoon so we will hopefully arrive mid- morning (during daylight).

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