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In Greenland

Iron Bark

Iron Bark
Under full sail


At Russell Boating Club's Tall Ships Regatta

Blue Water Medal

Blue Water Medal
Blue Water Medal

Books By Annie Hill

  • Brazil and Beyond
  • Voyaging on a Small Income

30 July, 2011

We woke up to a perfect, if perfectly calm, morning. We left straight after breakfast, drifting out of the anchor and leisurely making sail.

The ‘other part’ of the St Andrews Passage, which I had also always wanted to transit, was the Canso Strait, taking you between Canso I and the mainland, where the town is located. En route to the passage that goes past the town itself, we passed the Canso Light sitting on its wee island, which looks as though it might get washed away in the next severe gale!

As you turn the corner, the town is completely dominated by a huge church, and this continued to be the case as long as we had the town in view. The leading marks are, in true Nova Scotian style, well maintained and attractively designed and executed. I often wonder why, now that we have so many aids to our creativity, we can so rarely create something that is both functional and attractive. Indeed, creating something aesthetically pleasing seems to be an impossible challenge for most designers these days.

The passage was very pretty and the town looking most appealing under a sunny sky, bordered as it was by a calm sea. But I couldn’t help thinking that it’s probably a bit bleak in the winter. From all angles, the church was the town and I wondered how much influence, for good or otherwise, this institution has on Canso.

Canso is an old town, by New World standards and it is amazing how many of its day-marks are obviously of quite some vintage, but still standing. I am sure they must get battered by ice in the winter and they are undoubtedly built of soft woods, but in the middle of the channel leading out towards Ile Madame, was a structure holding a light. It was covered with shags – until I got my camera out – but although sagging and bulging, and well out of true, still appeared to be doing its job.

We drifted out and with no great distance to go, were quite happy with the light winds that took us most of the way to D'Escousse. If nothing else, it gave us an excuse to finish off the beer!

When we arrived at D’Escousse we found the harbour full of boats, enjoying the Yacht Club's annual festival. There was no sign of our friends Don and Marjorie, and after catching up with the irrepressible Claude, who shanghaied us to go and look at a building he's restoring (apparently to the accompaniment of a running battle with the local council); and visiting our dear old friend, 'Uncle' Bill's widow, who was baking vast quantities of bread for her son to take back home to Central Canada; and participating in the 90th birthday party of a complete stranger, we went back aboard. Trevor had been hoping to put Barky alongside to scrub off some barnacles and change the anodes, but this didn’t seem to be the right day for such a task!

We left today in very light winds, but sailed until we came to the St Andrews Passage to Canso. I've been dying to do this for years, but somehow it has never happened. It's supposedly quite tricky, but it turned out to be very well-buoyed and quite straightforward. 

Not even very exciting, it was all so well organised, but very pretty and well worth while! By the time we got there, what wind there was had headed us and there was a foul tide running, so we started the engine. There were more buoys and they took us along a slightly different route from that shown on the chart. We saw lots of seals near the strangely-named Sherewink I. The shores, covered in stunted spruce, had a number of what were apparently holiday homes along them.

We ambled along until we came into Port Glasgow, which is a real misnomer, where we anchored. There is no port at all and the only sign of any building is the spire of a church peeping over the hill. But it’s a spacious harbour, although there are a number of rocks and shallow patches that would make it awkward to sail in and out of.

28 July, 2011

This Eastern Shore is a truly delightful cruising ground.

Thursday saw us sailing in very light breezes and wending our way among a variety of islands and skerries, the sixteen miles to Beaver Harbour. There is a spit here, where I hoped we'd get ashore and explore, but after we had anchored, we realised that there were terns nesting there and as we didn’t want to disturb them, we stayed on board.

We left the following morning, with fog coming and going. Trevor had loaded in the waypoints and at a tricky moment realised that he had put in some incorrectly, so there was a bit of flurried activity. The compass badly needs swinging – the joys of a steel boat! - which makes the one in the GPS more important than is usually the case. But one usually has more time than one realises. There was a lovely bit of pilotage through islands, which I enjoyed doing the old-fashioned way.

We came out into a large area of open water and drifted in the hot afternoon sun while we drank a couple of the beers that we’d bought in Sheet Harbour.

Just before tea time, we anchored in Mary Joseph, a fishing harbour with a large fleet of dead boats and the somewhat surreal sight of a large Coastguard vessel grounded ashore.

Saturday came in with a beautiful dawn.

But I was glad to leave Mary Joseph because I found it a rather depressing harbour. Just before we got under way, a fishing boat set off, calmly dumping a bag of rubbish overboard - plastic bottles and polystyrene takeaway containers. I can’t understand how people whose livelihoods depend on the sea can treat it this way. I’d have thought they could have dumped their rubbish ashore before they set off.

We sailed out in very light airs. We had a bit of fun by Liscomb Island when the fog came in thick and (once again!) the waypoints didn’t match reality. I was actually quite happy, because I was steering and had been taking in the route as we sailed along. The visibility was coming and going and I pretty much knew where we should be heading, but it’s a bit different when you suddenly come up and can’t see anything! But GPS or no GPS, a couple of bell or whistle buoys in the vicinity, doing their thing, are always welcome. We noticed that the sound of the whistle buoys seems to carry much better, regardless of the wind direction, than that of bell buoys. We were almost on the Liscomb buoy before we heard it!

The entrance into Spanish Ship Harbour was narrow and intricate with a bit of tide running, so we motored in. The harbour, which had looked so pretty on the chart, was nowhere near as attractive as I'd hoped it would be. A lot of trees had been cut down ashore and a major highway ran along the far side. Trevor went ashore to cut some wood, but came back complaining about the poor quality. Still, as he pointed out, with his trusty chain saw, he didn’t mind spending time cutting up indifferent wood because it wasn’t really that much work. 

As we sat having our sundowner, the fog came in and we wondered if we were going to be trapped there the next day.

We were planning to leave early, because we had a 45-mile sail ahead of us, heading for Whitehead Harbour, so we were relieved to find that the fog had vanished when we got up.

We were underway just after 7, with a light wind, which forced us to use the engine for a little while. It filled in to about F2 by 9 o’clock, but 2 hours later, there was no sign of the promised westerly. However, it gradually filled in as forecast, and we were soon sailing along in fine style. Well offshore there was not a lot to look at, so we appreciated all the more the sight of a very pretty little schooner going the other way. Trevor got some fine photos of her.

The entrance to Whitehead Harbour is hidden among islands and skerries and took a bit of sorting out. For once the Mr Loveridge’s cruising guide was not particularly clear and as we bounded along in a fresh breeze, there were a few tense minutes before everything fell into place. Once it did, it was quite straightforward and we made our way into the charming Yankee Cove with no more problems.

Astonishingly, five other yachts followed us in, including three Nonsuch catboats of various sizes. The place was positively crowded!

With easterlies forecast, and then rain, we stayed in Yankee Harbour for a few days. It was a lovely spot. One afternoon, I took Lisa and rowed all around the island that made up one side of the anchorage, leaving Trevor to wrestle with the cooker which had been misbehaving. That used to be my job – there are advantages to being a guest!! Trevor also assaulted the local forest and we spent time sorting out photographs, swopping with one another so that we each had a good selection.

21 July, 2011

Unbelievably, we ran out of water last night. Trevor was convinced that somehow I had managed to get through 180 litres since we left Halifax, which seems unlikely. I reminded him that I do still live on a boat when I’m not on Iron Bark and, moreover, at present have to fill up a 4 litre container as my tank needs repairs. And that usually lasts me more than a day. In the end he agreed that possibly there had been an airlock when he filled the tanks and that they hadn’t filled properly. After some debate about bludging water from one of the nearby houses, we decided instead to go to Sheet Harbour, where we could top up fuel and fresh food, too.

There was no wind, so we motored the 6 miles there.  We launched Lisa and rowed to a small wharf, with a launch alongside, as there was no other good landing.  As we tied up, a man walked over the road from the house across the way and welcomed us to the town.  It was his wharf and far from being irritated at our appropriating it, he told us that we could use his outside tap to fill up our water containers.  Nova Scotians are such generous people!  So while Trevor filled water containers and bought diesel I went and found a supermarket. 

Sheet Harbour is an attractive town and it was apparent that it had much civic pride.    There were handsome houses and the main street had been ornamented with new  Victorian-style lampposts and trees had been planted by the sidewalk.  Before shopping, I walked from one end of town to the other, stopping to admire the rapids that explained the fast-flowing current in the river.  They had once been dammed and diverted for hydro-power for a saw mill.  Now the river is dammed further up and the water runs freely here.  It was an attractive spot.

I had forgotten how fierce the sun can be in Nova Scotia and my face had been getting burnt, so I went looking for a visor. I had been surprised that I couldn’t find one in Lunenburg and now, incredibly, this item of head wear that was once so ubiquitous was nowhere for sale. I mentioned this fact to a nice lady in the hardware store. She promptly picked up the phone and rang her husband at home, giving him strict instructions as to where he should look for some ‘spare’ visors that she had, and to bring them to the shop. This he duly did and she offered me one from what he had brought. She refused any payment and insisted that I accept it as a gift. I was very touched at her kindness and consideration.

On the way back, I thought I’d get us some grog from the liquor store, and as I went in, there was Trevor coming out. Two minds with but a single thought! We combined forces (and purses) and staggered back to the boat with shopping, bottles and cans.

After we’d stowed our purchases, Trevor took me back ashore to the garage to show me a chain saw that he’d seen. Sawing up firewood is not his favourite task, particularly the pine that it most common around Nova Scotia. It takes quite a lot of effort and burns quickly. I had to admit that the little saw he showed me was light and small. And I know that Trevor some times was cold and damp in Chile simply because it took so long to acquire firewood. So ‘why not?’ I said and the deal was done. The Good Old Boys sitting around the shop part of the garage, drinking coffee, took a great deal of interest in the whole debate and transaction. I guess not a lot happens in Sheet Harbour.

We had noticed a pretty spot back down the river and decided to move back for the night, but the wind died, so after drifting a couple of miles, we headed inshore and dropped the hook in Watering Cove.

20 July, 2011

Today started off bright and sunny again – but no wind. Looking at the chart, a little anchorage called Malagash Cove looked very attractive. Only 13 miles away, it would be a pleasant day sail.

We went around the back of Harbour I, which gave us a bit of nice pilotage. Trevor uses GPS for this, but I try to keep my old skills up, working out which island is which and piloting by the chart.

Unfortunately, the echo sounder, which is of such help in thick conditions, is working rather erratcially at the moment. Trevor reckons there may be some barnacles on it. However, although it was occasionally misty, the visibility was generally OK.

The wind eventually picked up enough for us to sail – espeically as we weren’t in a hurry. . We sailed through the narrow entrance into Malagash Cove, tacking in to anchor. 

Some people standing on the balcony of their house, waved to us as we sailed in. Another pretty anchorage, with houses dotted around the shoreline.

18 July, 2011

Today was a really lovely one.

We had beautiful weather and as soon as there was a breeze we left Sambro and headed out towards the passage between Inner Sambro I and Cape Sambro. With a leading wind, we sailed through; the shoreline was pretty, covered in black spruce on the grey rock.

Soon we could see the handsome lighthouse peeking over the land.

The trees gave way to grass, at the end of the island as we came out into the bay.

We now had a clear view of the lighthouse and the keepers’ cottages, which looked abandoned. The lighthouses are no longer manned of course, but the Sambro Light must have been one of the cushier numbers. It would have been very rare for the keepers to have been stranded due to bad weather, so close to the mainland.

We bowled along happily, passing Halifax and several other possible harbours as we made best use of the wind to get along the coast. We made it to Shelter Cove in Popes Harbour, but once again the wind died away and we finally started motoring in order to get in before dark. It was a gorgeous anchorage and for once we shared it with another boat.

The main water tank ran out as I was cooking dinner and Trevor accused me of squandering all our water because he filled it up just before I arrived.  However, I can't see that I've used any more than I usually do.  But we have another tank and that should easily last for several more days.

Trevor reckons that the cove is well-named and that in case of a hurricane, it would be possible to tie at all four corners and be safe. Unfortunately, as is so often the case along this coast, it’s not possible to go ashore for a walk without arduous bush bashing.  But it was lovely to look out of the galley window as I cooked dinner and to be able to admire our beautiful surroundings.

17 July, 2011

Saturday came in cool and wet, but we set off hoping to get beyond Halifax. There was the odd shower about and not a lot of wind, in spite of the weathermen blithely forecasting a F6 for later. For all that, we managed to sail all day.

After lunch we were not far off Sambro Harbour; it sounded appealing in the cruising guide, so we decided to put in and dropped the hook just after 3 o’clock, feeling quite chilled and in need of hot grog. 

Sambro is a tidy little commercial harbour, with a tiny marina which has room for 3 or 4 small visiting boats and 4 mooring buoys laid, also for visitors. These facilities made us feel we were welcome. 

 We put the dinghy in the water and went ashore to have a look round. There is not much in Sambro – a couple of stores and a number of houses – but it was good to stretch our legs and all the locals we spoke to were friendly. But it was still cool, and once back on board, I cooked a thick and warming hotpot for our dinner.

16 July, 2011

We left on a morning of thick fog: a yacht, Solana, that left at the same time was almost invisible, its white sails and white hull blending into the white fog.

There was hardly any wind as we motored out, and the calm lasted most of the day. Occasionally there was sufficeint wind to sail, but we were too lazy to haul the sails up, knwoing they would have to come down again when the wind died once more. The visibiltiy also came and went: occasionally we could see for at least 15 miles and occasionally we were lucky if we could see 15 metres!

We ended up motoring all the way to McGrath Cove, which turned out to be a pretty little harbour, surrounded by a small community of surprisingly large and prosperous-looking houses. Here and there were older buildings from an earlier time. Wharfs around the harbour had fishing boats alongside and it looked as though this was one place where people were still making a decent living from the sea.

The head of the harbour had a few skerries across, with narrow passages that obviously had sufficient depth for a small launch, as we saw several thread their way through. We planned to take Lisa through to investigate, but it rained and it blew for the next couple of days, so instead we loafed and read on board.

13 July, 2011

Lunenburg is one of my favourite places and I’ve been there sufficiently often that I know my way around. I always enjoy that feeling of familiarity. Unfortunately, the morning came in with heavy rain. As it seemed unlikely to ease up, we donned our oilies and went ashore to have a look round and see what was happening ashore.

The south end of the town was looking rather more prosperous than when we were last there, and we soon discovered why: Bluenose II, Canada’s iconic fishing schooner whose image is on the back of every 25¢ piece, was being completely rebuilt there. The original was built in the traditional manner, of barely-seasoned soft woods and iron and in the traditional manner, was pretty much at the end of its life after 25 years. Much money has been thrown at the problem, but there is nothing that can solve the issue of inferior initial construction. Finally money was collected to rebuild the ship completely. About the only original structure to be used will be the deckhouses. Traditional and modern building methods are being used, with much laminated wood instead of hewn timbers. Instead of pine, the hull is being planked in Angélique, a tropical hardwood with similar attributes to teak. Plenty of people are being employed in the project, many of whom will have learned new skills, or had the chance to use once again, skills that they have been unable to hire out in recent years. The whole project will cost about CAN$3,000,000 which seems a better use of money than an extra couple of miles of highway, in my humble opinion. My only disappointment came when I realised that none of the hands-on workers was a woman.

Walking back through the town, we were disappointed to see that the blacksmith’s forge had been taken over by a boutique distillery. Not that I have any objection to distilleries, boutique or otherwise, but it’s a shame that the forge had to go rather than one of the many knick-knack shops. We also got sidetracked by a large shop selling gorgeous clinker day-sailing boats, with a very friendly and owner who was only too happy to tell us all about them. We finally made our way to the library, so that we could send e-mails and I was delighted and flattered to be remembered by one of the ladies working there. What a memory she has! Then we went and did some food shopping and dripped our way back to Iron Bark.
Sunday came in fine and sunny: we were not the only ones to be happy, because a street festival that had originally been planned for the previous day, had been postponed in the hope of better weather. We rowed ashore to go and visit some friends who live nearby.
By the side of the road was a large pond and to my delight, beavers were swimming about in it. Two adults were resolutely swimming back and forth with either food, or building materials and we were amazed to see them disappear under the road. A beaver’s lodge is usually mounded up in the middle of its pond, with an underwater entrance – it seems a little eccentric to have one under the road! The babies were alternately floating and paddling about with their skinny little tails cocked up in the air. Although not much bigger than a kitten, they seemed very self-confident and apparently unconcerned that a passing bald eagle might fancy them as a snack.

When Trevor managed to drag me away, we carried on up the road, but a few minutes later were almost run down by three mad cyclists. With exclamations of delight, we realised that these were our friends, Thierry and Maren, with their son, Joshua. They had heard that we were at anchor and were coming to find us. Joshua was going to the Festival to do a bit of busking – he’s a brilliant tin whistle player – so we all turned back towards town.

Later, Thierry, Maren, Trevor and I wanted to have a sit down in the sunshine, drink a couple of beers and catch up on each others’ news, but Nova Scotian wowsers disapprove of such decadent behaviour. A bona fide pub will allow you to drink without eating – as long as you don’t do it outside where you can be seen and corrupt the morals of the youth; any other hostelry which sells alcohol can only do so if you eat food as well. In the end, Thierry suggested we buy a few beers and go to the yacht club. This sounded like a grand scheme: the Lunenburg yacht club is a wonderful affair – a floating raft with a small shed on it, moored in the harbour. It was built by the locals in order to provide a place to meet after racing and is the perfect place to loaf on a sunny afternoon.

I have an old friend who lives in town, and Trevor and I went to spend a few hours with her before going back to Thierry and Maren’s house for dinner. They have quite a bit of land and we were introduced to the latest family members – two delightful donkeys, whose role in life is to pack out firewood and, in due course, provide transport by pulling a cart to and from the weekly Farmers’ Market. Thierry’s ‘Wylo II’ design, Io, was also close to hand, getting a well-deserved refit. I was happy to catch up with Esther, all grown up now and about to leave for France the next day, but still a keen sailor.

Monday was, as the weathermen would say, ‘a-mix-of-sun-and-cloud.’ We went for breakfast ashore: a nearby B&B is run by David, whom we met in Tasmania! Talk about a small world. He is a keen sailor and has an extreme gaffer which he’s looking forward to racing. The hull is a 19th century design (I think) but built of alloy. It looks absolutely lethal, carrying a cloud of canvas, but I gather that David enjoys going fast!

We stayed on for a day of fog and drizzle and then left on July 12th, heading Down East.

08 July, 2011

My decision to have my own boat and live in New Zealand, rather than to carry on voyaging with Trevor, has added an extra layer of complexity to my life, which I could well do without. Worse though, by far, is the extra layer of expense and the concomitant excessive consumption that comes with it. For most of my life I have managed to avoid long-distance travel by any method other than small boat. Now I find myself choosing to fly long haul twice a year. It is the one aspect of my decision that I really dislike: not so much the flying itself, but the extravagance and wanton waste of the whole exercise. But it’s the price I pay for my eccentric choice.

This year Trevor and I were to get together in Nova Scotia. The nice young man at Flight Centre and I spent a long time in setting up the cheapest set of flights, with the least waiting time. All to no avail. About 3 weeks after everything was done and dusted, he asked me to come back into the office. Apparently airline companies in USA had changed their schedules and we had to do the whole exercise again. In a foolish bid to save money, I went by way of Los Angeles instead of flying direct to Vancouver and across Canada. Never again. Los Angeles must be one of the least-welcoming airports in the world, which I gather is saying a lot. With the original flights I had a wait of 7 hours – more than enough, so perhaps the fact that I now had 16 hours to wait influenced my negative reaction, but the impossibility of getting an affordable telephone or Internet access so that I could inform Trevor that I had at least crossed the Pacific, had not a little to do with it. That and the fact that they refused to take my bag from me until 3 hours before the flight was due to leave.

A volcano is Chile had been erupting and throwing ash into the skies of the Southern Hemisphere, and flights had only just got back to normal when I left, so it was important to reassure Trevor that I had managed to get away. In the end I telephoned – credit card only – and the 20 second message I left on our friends’ telephone cost me about $15.

We left LA 40 minutes late and I had to sprint across Newark to catch my flight to Halifax. This meant that I was unable to buy the duty-free bottles that I had intended to take as presents. However, when I eventually came through the gates at Halifax, there were Trevor and Don to greet me and it was all worth while. As it was close to lunch time and as my body, after 2 days of travel had no idea what time – or even what day – it was, a glass of beer seemed like the go. So we had a fine glass and a decent sandwich before driving back to Halifax.

Iron Bark looked very smart, swinging to her mooring off Don’s house and after enjoying a hot shower ashore (with lovely, big towels that Marjorie piled on me!), I went aboard and lay down for a few hours. It was good to be back on board a boat after all the madness of getting there.

I got up in time for sundowners and Trevor and I enjoyed a wonderful evening catching up with our friends. I slept well and have to say that I never suffered from the slightest twinge of jet lag. I put this down to a lifetime of insomnia!

Don is a highly-respected writer and journalist and Trevor and I were both very surprised and honoured when he said that he wished to record an interview with us. Silver Donald Cameron is host and executive producer of The Green Interview, in which he talks about “The World’s Biggest Issues” with “The World’s Finest Minds”. Obviously, he makes exceptions! It was a fascinating experience: twenty-first century technology means that all is required is a camera operator, the interviewer and the interviewee. Little tiny microphones are attached to one’s clothing, there is no fuss about make-up or anything of that sort and minimal manipulation of lighting natural or otherwise. I have been lucky enough to know Silver Donald for more than a few years, which must have helped, but he was so relaxed that I felt as though we were simply chatting in the sunshine on the deck behind his house. Whether or not the interview will ever be shown, I don’t know. Neither Trevor nor I is used to this sort of thing and we may not have come across well. However, it was such a compliment that Don thinks sufficiently highly of us to feel we have something to say that may be of general interest.

Apparently the summer, up to the end of June, had been non-existent, but I seemed to have brought the Nelson sunshine with me. After a couple of days on Don’s mooring, we set off for our wee cruise. There is a huge amount of cruising to be enjoyed in the Maritimes and with the season being so short, most of my trips there have included a brief visit to Nova Scotia and a gallop along the coastline in order to explore Newfoundland and the Labrador. This time, I had said to Trevor, I would really love to explore Nova Scotia itself, to say nothing of catching up with friends that we have met over the years. I suspect that the logistics of getting me back from Newfoundland or Labrador may have something to do with the readiness with which Trevor accepted this suggestion.

We left Halifax on a foggy morning, with a light breeze to waft us down the harbour. If you sail in Nova Scotia, you’d better get used to the idea of sailing in fog! The fog came and went and was rarely enough to be a significant issue. Unfortunately, the breeze varied from flat calm to fresh enough to douse the topsail, so that on occasion we ended up motoring. We came to anchor in Rogues Roost later in the afternoon. It was just as pretty as I’d remembered.

The following morning we went ashore, looking for the path that Mr Loveridge’s cruising guide had assured us was there. In spite of following his directions with care, we could find no trace of it. Trevor volunteered to bush bash until he could find a way up, while I went back and moved the dinghy to a likely-looking spot. Trevor joined me onshore and we worked our way through some relatively thin scrub until we came out on top of the little island from where we could look around at delightful views.
Yesterday’s fog was long gone and we could enjoy the vista of inlets and islands that is what makes this part of the world such a superb cruising ground. Our bliss was somewhat marred by my being bitten viciously on the forehead by a deerfly. The plethora of biting insects – blackfly, deerflies and mosquitoes – are what prevents this part of the world from being a perfect cruising ground. Some would add fog, but I don’t, of which more anon.
We strolled around and then went back on board to loaf in the warm sunshine and I pottered around in the galley cooking something a bit special to celebrate our first night at anchor again.
The following morning, we left for Mahone Bay mostly sailing, but with the occasional use of motor when the wind died completely, with fog banks coming and going. We anchored in Deep Cove, which, in our cruising guide, had 5 stars for prettiness. Well, maybe it was once as pretty as that, but nowadays it is surrounded by over-large, flash houses and some sort of resort. All this building has really spoilt it.

Trevor and I went ashore for a walk across a peninsula to look over the other side. It was a pleasant enough stroll, but of course one can’t get off the road to find a decent walking track. And we agreed it would have been pretty nice to have found a pub somewhere. It has to be said that the cost - and difficulty - of buying a cold beer to enjoy in the sunshine, is one of Nova Scotia’s major drawbacks!

Thursday morning saw us leaving under sail, in bright sunshine. It was a glorious, sunny day, with a steady barometer and a light S breeze. It was great fun, tacking between Big and Little Tancook Is, although by then the fog had returned and at times hid some of the landmarks – even those that were quite close to us. We didn’t get lost, of course, because we had the GPS. But GPS also makes it less fun.
I remember with great pleasure the times when we sailed Badger in the Maritimes and had to work so hard to find our way around in thick fog. We would examine the chart and work out a route that took us over – or past – obvious features, such as a shoal, or a steep-to skerry that we could approach sufficiently closely to see or hear, without risking running aground. I would steer, watch the echo sounder and keep a look out; Pete would watch the log and work out the next course shouting up such things as ‘you should see a skerry to port in about 3 minutes’. It was enormously satisfying to bring up to anchor in a harbour that you hadn’t even seen, and then wake up in the morning to discover where you were. On one or two occasions, we entered and left without ever getting a clear view! Even now, I would like to ignore the GPS and use my old skills, but I think Trevor would reckon I’m daft.
The wind varied from about F2 to the occasional F5 and Trevor was tucking in and shaking out reefs. I timed him: five minutes from start to finish in good conditions. A bit less to shake one out. No wonder I like junk rig.

We came into Lunenburg under sail – which generally means mainsail and jib and often a bit under-canvassed, as we were on this occasion; in fact we ran out of wind at the entrance to the harbour and had debated starting the engine. And then, just to be spiteful, we were hit by a nasty squall just as we were coming into anchor. Trevor wanted to run down, turn round and reach back, which I find can be quite scary, because things are happening too fast and in a hard gust, gybing is nerve-racking. I much prefer to beat up under more control, going slower. Fortunately the mainsail came down OK in the squall, but the jib sheet had got caught under the staysail gasket when it was stowed. And for a moment, it was a bit tense. We dropped the hook and broke out the rum, discussing the boats at anchor.