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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.