Safely arrived in Halifax
Well, that's the first section of our voyage successfully completed. We're safely moored up on a floating pontoon next to Murphy's Bar in downtown Halifax. It's the first city we've been in since we left Southampton on May 1st. In just over 3 months, we've covered 7000 miles and seen some truly amazing things.
This morning, we woke up after a good night's sleep anchored just off a tiny, tree-covered island with about 1 meter of water under the keel. I watched a Heron hunting along the water's edge and, as we set off, a Bald Eagle flew slowly by. During the day, we saw seals, leaping Tuna, a small whale and the usual collection of seabirds. Now, I'm looking out over the harbour at the lights on the oil refinery which are strangely beautiful but a complete contrast to where we started the day and seemingly in a different century from where we've been recently.
It was a great day of sailing. We motored out through the islands and put the sails up as soon as we were in the open sea. The wind was on the starboard quarter all day so we alternated between full genoa with main or both the headsails poled out. We were making good time all day and were pleased that Leonora, the 85 foot ketch we met in Cox's Cove, didn't make any ground on us. They were 5 miles off our stern all day and I don't know what they were up to but, with their extra waterline length and sail area, they should have passed us within a couple of hours. Still, Saxon Blue can get cracking and we weren't hanging around.
As we got close to Halifax, Magnus called up Europa, the tallship that Kali used to work on and where her boyfriend Sam is currently the carpenter. Europa was only about 15 miles ahead of us which isn't far, considering how big the ocean is. They answered the VHF and Kali was able to have a chat to Sam which must have been exciting and embarrassing as it's bad enough talking on the VHF when you're asking the Coastguard for some help, let alone when the world and his mate is listening in on your romantic moments.
As we came into Halifax harbour, we saw two big container ships - similar to the ones that go into Southampton - so that was a fitting way to mark us coming back into civilisation. There was an air-show on as well so the sky was full of jets and military planes. We found a suitable-looking dock but had to wait while some local boats got themselves alongside - I suppose they thought I was dithering as I'm not used to the cut and thrust of big city berthing. We're now moored behind an Oyster 72 and opposite a rather ugly pretend sailing boat that takes day trips out around the harbour.
We had a celebratory drink and then headed into town for a pizza. Andrea and I are now back on Saxon Blue while the kids are off out enjoying themselves in the big city. They've both been marvellous for so long and I hope they're having a good time. We're tired but very happy to have got here. We've been talking about it for so long as being the first totally safe port once we'd left home and now we're here. Saxon Blue looks great - no damage and not even looking tired. We're all fit and well so boat and crew have made it through the Arctic in good shape. We're even all still enjoying each other's company (or at least Andrea and I are enjoying Kali and Magnus' company and they make a good job of hiding it if we're driving them mad). Pretty successful so far, then.
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