One of the American yachtsmen in Francois (who
sailed a big posh Swedish yacht) was advising dismally that the wind always
blows from the south west here, at this time of year. Nova Scotia is south
west of Newfoundland. My lack of concern and comment that I went to
windward faster sailing than motoring in any breeze, was greeted with disbelief
- or surprise at such a small engine.
Both the American yachts were planning early
departure although the larger one was still moored at 10am when I was
shopping. My casual attitude to setting off, was really because the 160
mile crossing was unlikely to be completed in one day and my current predicted
arrival time, if this wind holds is 7 am tomorrow. Two nights at sea seemed more
likely to give a daytime arrival.
He was right about the wind yesterday but the
forecast was for it to come round to south today. I headed south all yesterday and did not tack west until
midnight. As hoped the wind has come south now and we are bouncing along
at 5 knots heading for the entrance to the Bras d'Or Lakes. As long as the
wind does not get up too much, sunshine and spray seem what this
game is all about.
No-one can call a Contessa, going to windward with
her rail in the water, a dry boat, but nothing is getting in the
cabin. Not even the spray hood is up yet, it seems a shame to block
out the sunshine.
There are few birds about: Some gulls and the odd
shearwater but not the constant fulmars and
shearwaters of further north. There was a big school of dolphins (at least
40) yesterday playing round the bow and eventually left astern. In
the night there were two visits, one by a single dolphin and later another
school. There may have been a lot more that
I did not see; I do sleep most of the time at night.
The alarms go off every hour, if the off-course
alarm (showing a slight windshift) or the AIS (showing a ship) do not wake me
first. There have been three ships closer than 5 miles in the last 24
hours, so not heavy shipping. They are tankers and container ships heading
out of the Great Lakes or Quebec. Most important: No fog, so you see
ships perhaps 10 miles off. I much prefer a decent breeze, even from
ahead, to motoring in fog.
For those lamenting the lack of pictures in the
Newfoundland fog here are a couple, not posted as I was short of phone
This was Petty Harbour, the first harbour
south of St Johns with Assaf, the wandering Israeli.
Look, you can see the fog, although it was an
attractive little place.
This one is St
Pierre on the day when the sunshine started. A neat, prosperous
feeling place, until the French stop subsidising it.
They may have earned enough from the Grand
Banks fishery in the past and hope for the same in the