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Date: 10 Sep 2010 01:48:00
Title: Alongside in D'Escousse

45:35.365N 60:57.690W Thursday night

We've just been out for a walk through the village of D'Escousse on Isle Madame. This area is full of French sounding places as it was settled by them before being made part of Nova Scotia. The locals still speak a mix of French and English.

After passing through the lakes of Bras d'Or, we tied up for lunch at the end of a lovely little canal. There was another yacht there and we got chatting to the guy onboard only to discover that he'd set off from Southampton as well but 3 year ago. They've had a whole summer exploring Newfoundland after leaving for the Azores, thinking better of it and turning round again to come back. We had a lovely lunch of the Crab in a Bottle that Nyle and Willfred gave us before we left Cox's Cove. Our joke is that Andrea looked a bit taken aback when she was offered it as she imagined it was a whole crab that would be staring out at her. As it is, it's the finest white crab meat in brine and we're glad we've got another bottle.

After lunch, we called the canal people on the VHF and they drove down to open the swing bridge for us. We passed through that with the other UK yacht behind us and had only gone around one slight bend when we arrived at the lock at the far end of the canal. It can't have been more than 500 meters long. The lock keeper woman was incredibly helpful and soon had us lowered the 2 meters or so down to sea level. We're still a bit confused about how we came in at sea level, didn't go up any hills inside the lakes but still ended up 2 meters higher than the sea. Magnus asked and was told it was to do with the different tidal heights around the island so I suppose that makes sense. Still odd, though.

As we motored out of the lock, I realised that the rudder position sensor from the autopilot had come off again - it's the most ridiculous little bit of plastic to do a vital job (Raymarine issue rather than Discovery one) so I had to hand steer to our chosen harbour. Luckily it was only an hour away. The little harbour at D'Escousse has a winding entrance channel very like the one at Bembridge with a totally sheltered bay inside. There was space on the dock so we came alongside there for a change as we all fancied easy access to the shore.

Kali went off for an explore while Magnus and I tackled the non-functioning masthead anchor light. He went up the mast and we tested wires etc to no avail. We even had the switch panel out trying to find out why there was no power to it. Then I realised that it was plugged into the wrong hole in the connector block. We put that right and bingo, the light worked. Now that's really strange because it can't ever have worked wired like that but it's right inside a sealed box so there is no way it can have jumped into another hole. I'm sure it did work when we first got Saxon Blue so it's a complete mystery how it got that way. Still, we managed to fix it without dismantling too much stuff.

>From there, it was only a short walk up the quay to the cafe for fish and chips followed by ice cream. I had Maple and Pecan so, counting the potato in the chips, the cabbage in the coleslaw and the lemon in my can of ice tea, that's my five-a-day sorted. Magnus and Kali are now up in the yacht club watching the TV while Andrea is outside filming and I'm looking forward to my bed after another long day. It was lovely coming through the lakes, though. We covered a good distance with beautiful scenery the whole way and even a couple of sightings of an Eagle. A real change from the open sea that we've been in. Back to that tomorrow, though.

Harvey

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