Shelburne, Nova Scotia

Summer 2022
John Andrews
Mon 23 May 2016 12:33
43:45.5N 065:19.4W

Our next stop, Shelburne was over 80 miles from Lunenburg, so we planned an overnight stop in Herring Cove. Lobster pots are a real nightmare in these waters and even at over 100 meters depth you regularly come across buoys marking the pots, quite often with lines 20 or more metres long trailing on the surface. You can’t relax at all, you have to keep constant watch, changing course all the time to give the buoys a wide berth. Fog and rain make this even more difficult which were the conditions as we approached Herring Cove. We moored up on a pontoon in the pouring rain behind an American flagged vessel, which was on its way north to cruise the Labrador Coast. The cruising guide said there would be over 2 meters water at low tide, but a slight check in speed as we were making our final manoeuvres and 0 meters on the depth sounder revealed this not the case. The bottom was soft mud, but the next tide that would be even lower, so despite the rain we moved to the other side of the pontoon into deeper water. The wind was howling and the rain lashing down, so we made the first use of our splendid new enclosure and sat out the evening in the cockpit, in the warm, gazing out at our grey, uninviting surroundings. We did not go ashore.

The next morning dawned brighter and we made our way the 56 miles into Shelburne, doing the now accustomed dance around the lobster pots. Shelburne is another charming old town, founded in 1783 by New York Loyalists retreating from the American revolution and many of the wooden buildings date from that period.

The yacht club is really welcoming and even though early in the season with hardly any boats launched, happy hour on Tuesday (happy evening!) brought in a huge crowd which made us very welcome. One thing we’ve noticed is the Nova Scotians just love talking and we have heard many an extraordinary life story in the short time we’ve been here. Even complete strangers, usually men with dogs and a strange look in their eye, have stopped us in the street, rather like the ancient mariner, and have regaled us at length with stories about this and that. The club which has a lovely waterfront position and big, light airy conservatory is also a meeting place for various arts groups in the town, and on Wednesday it was the turn of the Lunenburg Hookers to meet. Not what you might think, obviously, but a group of very pleasant ladies of a certain age who get together each week to hook rugs, a local craft which involves creating rugs from narrow strips of fabric and wool, which are often specially dyed to create the desired colours. One of the stalwarts, a lady in her eighties, was persuaded to show us her William Morris design rug, a piece about 4 ft by 6 ft, with the most beautiful, intricate William Morris design, which had taken her over two years to complete. We were also very kindly lent a car by a club member, which was such a help. We were able to do a small tour down the peninsula to see Cape Sable Island from the landward side and also to do some last minute provisioning from the supermarket which is quite a way out of town. We have been taking soundings about what provisions we can take into the USA, our next stop and the advice is generally not to take any fresh food at all so while waiting for a favourable wind to take us across to Maine, we are busy cooking and freezing everything we’ve got on board. Despite the town still being pretty much closed, we have spent a very pleasant few days here, enjoying the company and admiring the lovely old wooden houses. We are waiting for the next favourable wind to take us across to Rockland, Maine our only over night passage on this trip. Usually the prevailing wind comes from the South West making it an uphill trip but we seem to be in a good weather pattern at the moment 
with generally high pressure, clear skies and a perfect south easterly wind is predicted for Friday, with hopefully no fog or rain.