Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Chesapeake to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

After traveling 7,000 miles, it was time to get ready for our offshore passage to Canada.  We still had to provision, test the Webasto heater and get a health certificate for Kala.  All easily manageable if we could stay organized and not have any unforeseen obstacles.

First stop - health certificate for Kala.  Most foreign countries have strict regulations about animals arriving on private boats.  Since Kala is a part of our crew, we do our best to make sure she has everything she needs that a country could require including, a health certificate certified by the USDA, not one, but two microchips (one ISO, one non-ISO), a current rabies certificate, a rabies antibody test certified by the USDA, current vaccinations including DPT and Bordatella as well as an EU Pet Passport from The Netherlands.  Every time I am in the US I make time for another exam, just in case the new country would like something more current.  This time, we took her to Hilton Animal Hospital in Newport News, Va where the staff was exceptionally nice and the vet was patient and understanding.  Kala got a new health certificate and was ready to go.

Next - I dropped Kala off at Terrapin and headed out to the grocery.  Provisioning can be hard because whatever we eat really depends on the weather conditions and whether it is comfortable to cook down below.  I did my best making sure to stock up on essentials, including lots of midnight snacks, tea, and a weeks worth of fruits and veggies.

While I was focused on crew and food, Baxter was testing the diesel heater to make sure there were no leaks and it was all working before we were offshore.  With a couple tweeks, we were good to go.

Our friend, Daniel who would be doing the passages with us, joined us on Friday and we talked to our weather router, who indicated Sunday looked like the day to leave.  Early Sunday morning, we said our goodbyes to friends Norm on Tawhaus and Alan and Donna on Magic Dragon, dropped the dock lines and sailed out of the Chesapeake.  

As we turned north, the wind faded and we ended up motoring much more over the next five days than we had anticipated.  Each day we were excited to see a forecast of new wind, but alas, it wasn't what we expected.  We also had really unusual currents that we seemed to deal with the entire passage.  Each day the passage brought cooler air temps.  We started in pants and long sleeves the first night and by Thursday night we were in full foulies with winter clothes and beanies.  

The passage also brought new wildlife that we had not seen on our passages on Terrapin.  Dan and Baxter saw humpback whales breeching and tails slapping, pods of dolphins both during the day and at night.  Then there was the shark....  

I have always said that I'm not terrified of sharks but I guess I had not embraced what that really means and it should be qualified.  I am not terrified of reef sharks, nurse sharks etc...but one night at about 2am, we saw a fishing vessel without AIS (did not transmit position, speed, etc...).  Baxter and I realized he was probably dropping buoys behind him and since he was in front of us, we better be cautious.  If we were to run over a pot, it could completely disable the engine and without wind, it would not be good.  So we had the spotlight out and I was canvasing the surface while Baxter went down below to turn on the radar.  I was looking for bright orange balls or white buoys...not what I saw.  My light reflected a splash so I stopped and then I saw a dorsal fin slowly move up and then down - on the surface about 5 feet from the boat, I was utterly speechless.  The fin was a medium gray color about 12 inches high and the fish was about a foot wide.  All of a sudden, Terrapin seemed very small.  I had another hour on watch by myself and I was definitely wide awake.  It made sense, with the fishing boats, the sharks probably follow the boats to collect the scraps and he thought we were just feeding him.  Wow!  After googling images, I am convinced it was a great white, but no way to know for sure.  When Baxter asked if I'll swim mid-ocean again, my answer is a resounding no.

The next two days and nights were filled with more whales and dolphins and the moonless nights had showcases of amazing stars and galaxies and planets.  Friday morning, we were north of Cape Sable, the southernmost tip of Nova Scotia and headed into Lunenburg.  We dropped the anchor and I called Canadian customs who were the most friendly and welcoming people.  Once we were clear, we secured Terrapin and all headed ashore to explore!

Loaded up with the essentials
Hardest part is storing everything.
Kala waiting for her exam...not her favorite past time.
Completing the health certificate and giving her a treat - she's a bit demanding at times
The route - the canyons along the way produced some very funky currents and of course, lots of fishing vessels
AIS off Newport, RI / NYC - Canyons, cargo ships, fishing vessels
Pods of dolphins day and night
So many dolphins

Our night watch was cozy in our partial enclosure.  We were motoring in light winds but with the dark night, we used radar (left center) to see buoys or boats without AIS

Loving passage life

Arriving in Canada!


1 comment:

  1. I am with you in terms of sharks - not all but some. Kala must be one of the most "examined" dogs out there.

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