Farewell to Magnus

Saxon Blue's Blog
Harvey Jones and Andrea Stokes
Wed 15 Sep 2010 01:00
44:22.531N 64:18.646W Tuesday night

We're moored alongside an old wooden dock inside the Maritime Museum of Lunenburg. Just along from us is the tallship Europa with Kali's partner Sam onboard and they're out having dinner together - they must have a lot to talk about!

We went out for breakfast this morning in Halifax so that we could all have a meal together before Magnus left us. He's gone hiking in the hills around Halifax for a few days before catching the plane home to the UK later this week. He was a great crewmate and we'll really miss him. He was particularly good at giving Andrea confidence when things were getting a little rough and doing it without seeming condescending. I'm sure he'll soon end up the skipper of a yacht and the owners will be lucky to have him.

Magnus cast off our lines from the dock at 1000 and we set off out of Halifax, past three huge cruise liners and lots of smaller vessels. The wind had gone light and was pretty much on the nose so we just motored along a few miles off shore and outside the reefs and shoals that surround the coast. Kali got some kip and Andrea did computer stuff. I kept watch but also did some reading of my book by Gavin Maxwell about his Basking Shark fishery on Soay just after the Second World War. It's an incredible read, combining the sea with the thrill and ambivalence of hunting such a superb quarry and then with the strangeness of the world after the war. I'm really enjoying reading it and can almost forget the ridiculous price I paid for a second-hand copy in Corner Brook.

We approached Lunenburg harbour at around 4pm, having made good time. The first view of the town was beautiful. It was founded by German settlers who left Halifax to set up on their own and it looks like a picture postcard Baltic port. The wooden buildings are all different colours and there's a wooden church with elegant spire at the top of the town. The whole town fronts onto the bay and there is a continuous wooden dock all the way along. Berthed on the dock, we could see Europa with her three masts and another tall ship with hers. There were other sailing vessels as well so the effect was like looking at the town as it was in the Nineteenth Century. It was really lovely. As we got closer, I looked at the stern of an old trawler and saw that she was the Farley Mowat, one of Sea Shepherd's boats. I think she must be the one that got impounded by the Canadian government but it was great to see her there after reading so much about Paul Watson and his campaigns with her.

Kali wanted to make an impression so we got the sails out and turned off the engine so we could ghost in under Genoa and sail right past Europa. Luckily, Sam was there to see us and there was some frantic waving. We picked out a dock that we fancied and then did our usual series of slow circles while we rigged everything up. I wanted to come in astern so we'd get less wave slap. We came in towards the dock with the wind on the bow and Saxon Blue didn't slow down as much as she usually does going astern so I was going a bit too fast as we approached the quay. I hadn't moored astern on a high dock before and I hadn't realised that the tender would arrive before the rest of us so that got a bit squashed before we sorted ourselves out. No harm done but it wasn't as elegant as usual. Still, that's another lesson to add to the list. Just don't make the same mistake again.

Sam was on the dock taking our lines so that made things easier for us - although possibly harder for Kali. Andrea and I went to the museum gift shop and paid for our berthing and picked up our comprehensive list of rules and regulations along with a bag containing a rainbow assortment of rubbish sacks and instructions for their use. After a bit of snack action in town, we met up with Kali and went over to Europa for a guided tour with Sam. It was fascinating to see how different she is to a yacht. She was built as a lightship so she's totally a working ship inside. Everything is massive and built for serious abuse. Then she has a full Barque rig with lines everywhere. Nothing is labelled or colour-coded and Sam admitted that it took him months to get to grips with what line does what job. We got to meet many of the crew who are mostly fit looking, earnest youngsters with impressive facial hair and made us feel old and conventional in comparison. They were all super-friendly and gave off the air of a dedicated team, especially as they were all working hard on getting Europa fettled for her journey to the Southern Hemisphere.

After that, Andrea and I went our for a simple but excellent dinner - the best cooking in Canada so far - and we're now back onboard Saxon Blue and getting ready for bed. I'm looking forward to exploring Lunenburg tomorrow and to planning our own trip southwards over the next few weeks. It will be a bit harder now without Magnus but I think we're all up for the challenge. We'll just have to be a bit better.


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