After a few days in Shelburne Nova Scotia, we set off in fairly lively
conditions, which after a few hours, turned to not enough wind to sail, and
so the engines went on. We have very much enjoyed our few weeks in Canada,
and made new friends and generally had a good time. Particularly nice was
the absence of lobster pot buoys (the season has ended there) which are by a
long way the biggest hazard on the Maine coast. On the down side, some
things are very expensive in Canada - beer is about twice the price it is in
the States, smoking is astronomically costly which is probably a good thing
(twenty five dollars for one pouch of rolling tobacco), and dairy products -
cheese is more expensive per ounce than gold! Well, almost.
Anyway, we arrived back in the USA after 24 hours or so at
the port of Bar Harbor in Maine, and were somewhat unprepared for everything
that's happened since! First off we were subject to a boarding and
inspection by the Customs people when we did our inwards clearance. This is
a first for us, having never had to undergo a search before. As you might
guess, we had some particularly suspect items on board, which had to be
taken from us. Narcotics, or Mexican illegal immigrants? No. Namely three
Granny Smiths, two oranges and some celery. We were allowed to keep the
Golden Delicious and the bananas, however. I'm sure the American taxpayer
would be most relieved to know his money is being
spent so wisely - you can't be too careful with celery, you know. The
offending items were bagged up correctly and dispatched for incineration.
Fortunately we were not subject to any penalties for our infractions, and
were allowed to remain in the country. To be fair to the Customs officer,
the Golden Delicious were American (labelled as such with those annoying
little stickers which are difficult to get off), and the Granny Smiths were
from Chile (how ignorant of us - we had not realised!) The oranges and
celery were of unidentifiable origin, so there could be no arguing the
threat they posed to the nation.
After all that was over, we breathed a big sigh of relief, and spent a very
pleasant evening with our friends Andy and Sue from yacht Spruce, who had
arrived just after we did. The next day, after restocking our depleted
supplies, we headed off to Somes Sound (alledgedly the only true fjord on
the east side of North America). After a very picturesque sail up, we
anchored in the evening off Somesville at the head of the fjord, and went to
bed in a very unsuspecting manner... At about two o'clock the next morning I
woke up with an extreme and very familiar pain. By about three o'clock I
was screaming at the top of my lungs whilst being restrained in the back of
an ambulance on the way to the ER. Jim the ambulance paramedic also
happens to be the Adjunct Professor in Ship's Medicine at the Maine Maritime
Academy, so I was in the best possible hands, and the pain was quickly
relieved. At the Bar Harbor hospital some while later, a cat scan confirmed
what I already knew - a stone in my left kidney. We left the hospital a few
hours later, armed with a prescription for a some super painkillers, and the
usual instruction to drink several litres of water a day, in an attempt to
flush the stone out. So far, nothing like that has happened, but I shall
keep you posted. Lorraine has been a star throughout, sorting out
prescriptions, insurance, and generally looking after me. And Lucas of
course at the same time. Andy and Sue have been on hand with tea and
sympathy as well.
Despite being hauled out of bed in the early hours, Lucas had the best time
of all, as he sat in the front of the ambulance and was allowed to switch
the flashing lights on!
We are now pottering on our way south and west, just doing a few miles each
day, and exploring more of the fabulous Maine coastline as we go. Yesterday
we arrived in the small town of Friendship, where there seem to be more
lobster boats than people, and today we are setting off in the direction of
the town of Bath. All the while, we are watching the weather forecast
keenly. Here is today's forecast for our area, which all looks fairly
normal, until you look down as far as Friday night:
Today...W winds 5 to 10 kt. Seas around 2 ft.
Tonight...W winds up to 10 kt. Seas around 2 ft.
Wed...SW winds 5 to 10 kt. Seas 2 to 3 ft.
Wed Night...SW winds 5 to 10 kt. Seas around 3 ft.
Thu...S winds 5 to 15 kt. Seas 3 to 4 ft.
Thu Night...SW winds 5 to 15 kt. Seas around 5 ft.
Fri...SE winds 5 to 10 kt...becoming E 10 to 15 kt with gusts up to 20 kt
this afternoon. Seas 4 to 5 ft. A chance of showers. Vsby 1 to 3 nm.
Fri Night...Tropical storm conditions possible.
Sat...W winds 10 to 20 kt with gusts up to 25 kt. Seas around 7 ft. A chance
of showers. Vsby 1 to 3 nm.
Yes, a reminder that it is Hurricane Season, which we have come this far
north to avoid. Everyone is hoping that Hurricane Earl will follow
Hurricane Danielle out to sea by the time it gets up this far. It is
currently battering the BVI, and we are waiting for news of what's happening
down there. They will then be under threat from Fiona, which is following
closely behind. There are lots of places here we can tuck ourselves
securely out of the way, but will be keeping a close eye on it all. Watch
Pictures this time show Lucas enjoying Shelburne; Yacht "Twice Eleven"
(David and Tamsin - see previous blogs - who were also in Shelburne);
"Spruce" setting out from Shelburne in conditions much windier than it looks
in the photo; sunset on the way across the 160 nautical mile trip from Nova
Scotia back to Maine; "The Cat", a fast ferry similar to the ones used back
home, but much bigger, which is now laid up as they can no longer afford to
run it; and general Maine scenery, including a painted rock showing the
water level during the 1884 hurricane (hopefully not to be repeated this
week!), and the town of Friendship.