Halifax to St. Johns, Newfoundland
My crew, Cindy and Megan from Michigan, and Art and Dan from Canada, who all applied through crew seekers, join me for departure from Halifax on Sunday, 9th September. Before departing we will gather as much information as possible about the iceberg activity and locaions (see description of next leg) and, if the collision risk seems significant, we may change our minds and cruise Nova Scotia for a while before heading out directly for Oban.
Tuesday 11th Sept
We've been waiting in St Margaret's Bay for the hurricanes to pass.
Hurricane Leslie has now passed and gone north of St John's, Newfoundland and hurricane Michael is hitting it now. Yesterday we provisioned, filled with diesel and water and had a final lobster (1 3/4 lb each) dinner on board at Shining Water's Marina.Today we're taking Denise and Art by sail to Hubbard's Cove and treating them to lunch at the Trellis Cafe.We're then dropping them back and sailing straight off to Rogues Roost (a hurricane hole on the Atlantic Coast) for the night. Today it's 30 knot winds gusting to 50 knots but tomorrow it's forecast SW force 4 so we set sail, first light, for St John's, Newfoundland, nearly 3 days behind schedule.
Wednesday 12th Sept 09.00
High moved in from Quebec so departed 16.30hrs yesterday. Now 480 miles to go to St Johns. Wind - W force 2, calm and sunny. First school of dolphins and eagle with large fish in talons.
Dan, Megan and Cindy crew. Delay caused Art to cancel.
Thursday 13th Sept 09.00
Barometer continues to rise, it's now 1028Mb, wind - SW force 4, slight seas, sunny.
370 miles to go to St Johns. Wind is sailing us along at 6 knots, powering us by the aerogen wind generator, and the hydrovane wind steering is steering us. All is very well.
Friday 14th Sept 09.00
230 miles to St Johns. Just crossed the channel into the St Lawrence River. Dozens of large dolphins going around boat. Treated crew to Spam fritters yesterday - they loved them. Wind W force 4/5, some swell. Force 6 last night and quite rolling. Dan is committed to getting us potted seal in St Johns.
Saturday 15th Sept 09.00
100 miles to go to St Johns and now 7 miles off coast of Newfoundland in thick fog. Calm seas, little wind. We continually have fulmars sweeping past the boat and gliding over waves. Also occasional petrels. Megan and Cindy just spotted a metre long sunfish.
Sunday 16th Sept 02.20
Just arrived in St Johns. We've had thick fog all day as we've motored only a few miles off the Newfoundland shoreline unable to see anything. However the marine life has been spectacular. Seals, a 2 metre giant leatherback turtle and an ocean sunfish both feeding off the many varieties of jellyfish in the water. Also puffins. At dinner a flock of Leaches Petrels arrived in the foggy darkness and stayed with us, chattering away and flying around for several hours. They would crash into the cockpit cover or the rigging and fall on deck semi concious. They all survived and we held some for a while as they recovered. They are just like swifts and spend most of their lives at sea flying just above the waves.
Monday, 17th Sept
In season it's not easy to get a pontoon in St. John's to tie up to. There only seemed to be 2 or 3 spaces for a boat our size but we were the only yacht in town. You can ring up the Port Authority on (709) 738 4782 and they will direct you. I had had no luck previously on the internet. We moored at Queens Wharf, east of Pier 14, under the bows of a merchant ship.There is no water available along side - you have to find somewhere nearby to fill your water cans and carry them to the boat. The only company that would provide diesel for a boat of our size was A-1 Fuels (709 747 9000) who drove close to the boat and had a very extendable fuel pipe.
Tuesday, 11th September
A final feast of Nova Scotia lobster - each one weighed 1 3/4 lbs.
Fulmars were with us from Nova Scotia to Scotland. Like the petrels they spend most of their life at sea and have a nostril above their beak to expel salt.
A dolphin under the bow, showing us the way
Saturday, 15th September
In the dense fog we could hear petrels all round us, chattering around the boat. Often they would crash into the the cockpit enclosure and fall on deck, temporarily unconscious. They always recovered and flew away though.
0300, Sunday, 16th September
G&Ts to celebrate safe arrival in St. Johns.