Wed 20 May 2009 20:01
At anchor Northeast Arm, Halifax Haorbour
Weather: Sunny, mild, a beautiful day
Day's Run: 61 miles
We have arrived Halifax, dropping anchor at 7.15 this morning. I knew I should call customs straight away but after being up most of the night navigating the approaches I was pretty well zonked and once satisfied that we were safe, I fell into my bunk from which I did not emerge until almost 11 o'clock. I cleaned up a little then proceeded ashore to the fuel dock at the Armidale Yacht Club where a very pleasant young man leant me his cell phone to call customs. "What time did you arrive?" was the first question I was asked. Here we go, I thought. "And why are you just calling now?" I explained. Well the upshot of this is that I had to do a full clearance, weighing anchor and going alongside the Armidale Yacht Club for the clearance procedure then once completed going back to anchor which is where we now are. But how did we get here? Yesterday afternoon we were plagued by calms but at 6 pm a southwesterly filled iu and a short while later we were running square with the boom guyed out on one side, jib poled out on the other making good 5 to 6 knots. At about 11 pm we had some confusion with a fishing boat. He called on the VHF radio with a position that matched ours pretty closely and he reckoned we were about to run over his gear. I altered course and plotted the position of his gear which he had given me on the chart but we were well clear of it. I advised the fisherman of this so he kept calling the mystery vessel and really got quite excited about it all. In fact Bob Cat was running around all skittish, I couldn't work out what was wrong at first but on consideration reckon he was confused with this excited disembodied voice booming through the boat. He soon calmed down once the radio silenced again. For all I know it might have been us, there was a fishing boat nearby who was shining his spotlight in our direction for a while, and Sylph's sloping forefoot has easily passed over fishing gear before with no problems, one advantage of her old fashioned hull shape, especially with the keel hung rudder, the only potential hazard being the wind vane self steering gear which hangs off the counter. But generally if we are moving along at a bit of a clip then lines are pushed down by the bow and pass under the wind vane's rudder before the lines have a chance to float up and foul it. Anyway regardless of who it was, we continued on our way without incident.
From 3 am on the wind started to ease as we came in behind the headland thatprotects the entrance to Halifax Harbour so that by 4 o'clock I decided to start the engine. This took a little while because the engine battery was flat; I must have a leaky connection somewhere. But we have now got this eventuality covered with the help of some new gadgets: broke out the trusty little Honda genset, connected it to the smart charger complete with 75 amp battery boost feature, and 30 minutes later the engine was running and we were on our way again.
So now the question is, where's Paul? Trying to explain to customs how long I was going to be here got a bit confusing, well you see there is this young bloke who is supposed to be joining me from the States. When is he joining? Beats me.
Hey the sun is shining. All is well.
While I am now resigned to being a salty old sea cat (life could be and indeed has been worse) I have to admit there are times when I wake up and find I was dreaming of a sunny bookstore window in a wonderful mythical world called Mary's Land; it seems to be my Elysium Fields. Maybe the next time round I'll get to be a bookstore cat. At least I know when strange voices are booming out at me during the night all I need to do is close my eyes and thereby transport myself to dream about sleeping in my secret place. Ahhh, life is but a dream within a dream.