When we set out that Friday morning in August 2006, our planned destination wasn’t even Lunenburg, it was
Wanting to get an early start, I planned a departure of . Having owned the boat for less than a month, I was still becoming acquainted with her systems, and I shouldn’t have been shocked when the engine wouldn’t start right off the bat. The batteries were dead (what did I know about properly maintaining 12-volt batteries at the time? Not much.) I didn’t know what to do to remedy this situation quickly, and I did feel rushed, it being nearly 55 miles we had to make that day. I called my friend Super Dave, a past captain of mine from a tall ship on which I had done a short stint to
The invitation to
I guess it’s time to introduce my original crew. There were three aside from myself; two sailors and a wooden boat builder. My sister was up for the weekend excursion, and I knew that with her would come chocolate and great breakfasts, as well as her unfailing ridiculous and nonsensical behaviour that would keep me laughing, if no one else. I was thrilled when my friend Colin offered to help, giving up his coveted 1 day-off every 2 weeks from sailing the Bluenose II. Colin Duann is also a very talented artist in the field of film and photography. I'm grateful for the record of memories he created with our cameras on that trip, providing me with photos and footage of the 'early days' which I might not have made the effort to record on my own (please treat yourself to his Into the Mystic Bluenose film on Youtube, under 'whoneedsahandle'). Lastly, a visiting boat builder at the
As I was saying, we motored out of
It was about when we spotted the famous
Most Maritimers know the expression, ‘If you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute…’ and not that any of us were complaining, but moments after taking a final sight of Peggy’s Cove, mist and fog began to roll in, and visibility quickly diminished to a varying ½ to 1 nautical mile. Now I wished I had that GPS. I was left with the most basic of navigational techniques, dead reckoning. For the next 10 hrs we would try our best to keep on our compass course, while watching how fast the water passed the hull so we could make a guess at our speed through the water.
I went below to take another look at where we were, and I gave Colin a new compass course to account for the shift in the wind direction that accompanied the fog. The wind had increased, and we were finally able to sail. That was reassuring, because without radar, it’s hard to know if you’re about to hit another boat in the fog if you can’t have some sort of audio clues, which the sound of the engine can disguise. If another boat on a collision course with you is also under sail, without radar or foghorn, well, we don’t really like to talk about that.
At some point that afternoon, I decided to change our destination to Lunenburg. I had sailed in and out of there many times on other boats, like the Bluenose II and
As the hours passed, I made educated guesses every 15 minutes as to where I thought we were. At around , visibility temporarily improved to about 2 ½ miles and I was sure I should be able to see either Big Duck or Little Duck Island off our starboard side. Instead, Colin spotted a red and green bell buoy. That was totally unexpected; according to my charts, there were no such buoys for miles in any direction of my assumed position. I asked him to sail closer so we could read its identifying numbers. Disbelief soon followed, as we realized we were at the approaches of
I took a deep breath, tried not to let my confidence take too hard of a knock, and I recalculated the rest of our course based on our new position, hoping that this time it was right! I came to a decision, and told Colin the plan. We would sail a northwesterly course for ‘X’ amount of time, then we would have to gybe, and sail a southwesterly course for another hour, and if visibility remained what it was, Cross Island, at the mouth of Lunenburg Bay, would magically appear out of the fog. I couldn’t believe my luck when, plus or minus 15 minutes, Cross
We got an early start Saturday, under blue skies and gentle breezes, and backtracked to