Monday, July 17, 2017

Newfoundland and Beyond

We are in Brigus, Newfoundland after having the most amazing week!  Thank you Al & Tess!!  You have the most amazing friends and the scenery was absolutely breathtaking.

We have lots of stories to tell and pictures to share...but we are pepping for our passage to Ireland and we might run out of time.  We plan to leave tomorrow and hope all goes well.

The passage is approximately 1750 nautical miles.  At Terrapin's average speed of 6.0 knots, it will take approximately 14 days.  We will have gales along the way, as well as beautiful days so we will take it as it comes.

To track our progress, click here or the "Where Is Terrapin" tab on the blog.

See you guys soon!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Halifax, Nova Scotia

The trip from Lunenburg to Halifax was just a quick 50-mile day sail.  We had whales, sunny skies and a visit from our spinnaker.  As we were pulling into Halifax Harbor, the wind kicked up to 30 knots until we got into a protected harbor at the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron.  We picked up a mooring and headed in to pay the capital of Nova Scotia a visit!
First night on the mooring was a beautiful evening
Lighthouses on the eastern shore
Welcome to RNSYS!
O' Canada
We took local transportation to immerse ourselves in the culture.  The Metro Transit system was great.  We went downtown and back for $2.50 (CAD)
Honing in on Patagonia and a local brewery...can't go wrong with either

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

More About Lunenburg...

So if you're ever north of Maine, it is definitely worth a trip to check out Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.  In fact, I even called my sister and suggested she should move here.  There's something for everyone and the summer months are gorgeous.
Colorful buildings - beautiful harbor - everything in walking distance
Ironworks distillery - pretty awesome tour.  In a building that was a blacksmith shop for almost 100 years.
The still that does most of the work.  We took home a bottle of the Rhubarb Espirit.  
The local daysail charter schooner, "Eastern Star"
If we're near land, we most likely are working on an issue.  In this case, it was the auto pilot.  Hopefully, problem solved.

Fun dinghy rides
Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic - How to make fish sticks...
Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic - this is an exhibit of the currents around Nova Scotia and Newfoundland as they come down from Greenland, Labrador and the North Pole.

I think I know where they can find this guy
Wooden boat building is alive and well in Lunenburg, NS
The coolest pub - The Knot.  You could almost miss it if you weren't paying attention.
Forty sculptures line Lincoln and Montague street with varieties of fish and even a mermaid.  This is a sculpin outside The Knot Pub.
The boat launch
More wooden schooners

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Canada Day 150 in Lunenburg, NS

Before the 4th of July comes July 1st...which doesn't mean much to Americans but here in Canada, it's a big deal.  It is their 150th birthday!!  We arrived in Lunenburg on Friday, June 30 - just in time to get some rest before the big day.  We had a great time exploring the town and learning more about this great little gem on the east coast of Nova Scotia.

Lunenburg was originally settled in the 1700s, when the British sent a group of protestants to settle the area (thereby kicking out the natives) and set up farming plots.  Unfortunately, it's not a great place to farm due to the cold harsh winters so that's when fishing took over.  That lasted for a hundred years or so until the world found out that this is a prime location for cod and haddock and the fisherman began to outnumber the fish and the area has now been overfished and the supplies depleted faster than can be sustained.  At one point in the 90's, the Canadian Prime Minister put a moratorium on fishing and it was a loss of approximately 40,000 jobs around Canada.  So the local industry adapted and evolved to focus on tourism.  Today, Lunenburg has tour buses arriving daily and the locals celebrate their history and Canadian pride.

We have enjoyed this awesome little town.  The mornings and nights are cool, with temperatures in the mid-50s and the days are sometimes as high as mid-70s.  Some days are rainy but some are hot and sunny!  Everybody has been so friendly and welcoming and the pubs have tasty beer.  We are so glad this was our first stop on our journey north.

Terrapin in the anchorage in front of town
Celebratory passage beers!! 
...and fish and chips.  I'm not sure if there is any other option on the Lunenburg menus.
Pints in Canada are between 18 - 20 oz, not the pesky 16 in the rest of the world.

Walking around town
Kala on her first dinghy ride after six days offshore - we couldn't get there fast enough.
St John's Anglican Church - a cool story about this but to be brief, the blue mural is the night sky as it looked over Lunenburg on the day Jesus was born.  It was first painted in 1754 - think of the math it took to figure out the star positions almost 2,000 years prior.
The mural was destroyed in a fire in 2001 and then repainted back to the original
The Mariner's Window in St John's

Friday, July 7, 2017

Liferaft Service

We purchased our Winslow life raft in 2012 and it was time to have it inspected and re-packed.  Since it is not something to skimp on, we made one of our stops in Rhode Island at LRSE, Life Raft Survival Equipment.  We decided to take the raft there instead of mailing it so we could see it opened and talk about the details.  

Scott at LRSE was extremely thorough and walked us through every inch of the life raft and all the items that are included.  The service potentially could have taken up to a week but Scott was so nice, understood our tight schedule and worked very hard to make an exception and get us out the door in a matter of hours.  We recommend LRSE without a doubt to anyone who needs a life raft serviced.  In any case, wherever you have your life raft repacked, everyone should definitely participate in the repack of their own life raft so they don't have to figure out things that are not obvious while their boat is sinking.  

What it looks like under the hard case.
After the cylinder triggers the inflation.
Discussing the boarding ladder and the tools inside the raft
Our raft has an interior light as well as a beacon on the outside top.
The righting straps and water ballasts.  The righting straps (blue lines) are used if the raft turns upside down and the pockets (ballasts) fill with water to keep the right from turning over.
The flares and the repair kits...again nothing you want to use but don't want to figure out while its happening.
Kala approved

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!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Traveling Through the US Visiting Family and Friends

The first week of June brought a crazy schedule but it was all in the name of fun.  We decided to head to Boulder, Colorado to see sailing friends and while we were there - indulge in a couple of concerts.  The first night was a reunion with Elaine and Peter on "Bob", Malcolm and Elia on "Orion" and Cathy and Ralph on "Free Rein".  We shared good food and great laughs and talked about experiences we had together as well as where we have been since we have sailed away from each other.  Last time we saw Bob and Free Rein was in April in Cuba and the last time we saw Orion was in February in The Saintes, Guadeloupe.  In the sailing world, when you leave an anchorage, it is a likely possibility you may never see these great friends again.  If and when you do have the chance to meet up again, we take the opportunity to enjoy and reconnect.  Boulder was definitely worth the trip!  

After an early 7am flight back to Atlanta, we picked up Kala from Summer Camp and headed to North Carolina to see the Lawsons.  Frank, Susan and Trey (missed you Caroline) are like family and it was great to see them....and of course, it was!  Frank & Susan have a boat on Lake Fontana, so we packed up the dogs, some snacks and headed out.  We spent the day water skiing and jumping off cliffs and just having a great time.  The next day we were headed out again, back to Atlanta.

Mike and Heather have been friends with Baxter since college and it is always great to catch up.  It has been a few years since we've seen them and as luck would have it, we enjoy the same music and we decided to partake in another stop on the Summer Tour.  Afterwards, we did the traditional concert dinner after the show and were exhausted by the time we were back at our hotel.  

The next morning was a longer drive of 10 hours to Washington, D.C but well worth it as we would get to see Baxter's sister, Anne Marie and one of his nephews Keegan - who just happened to be visiting from Alaska.  Baxter and I checked into an extremely seedy Motel 6 and then headed to pick up Anne Marie & Keegan a bit after normal dining hours.  Thankfully, they were patient, flexible and it was fun to hear about the week ahead for them in DC and catch up on Alaska happenings.  I was sure to text Anne Marie the next morning to let her know we survived the hotel seediness.

Like a rolling stone, we headed out the next morning for Rhode Island to meet Pete and Tammy on "YOLO" and Lee and Cheryl on "Hippocampus" for dinner.  The last time we saw Pete and Tammy was in April in Cuba and we left Lee and Cheryl in March in Leverick Bay, British Virgin Islands.  As always, it was great to meet up again thousands of miles away from where we have all been.

While we were so close to Boston - we had to call Ted and Maggie who we met on Stella Blue in the Bahamas in 2012.  We are so lucky to have stayed in touch with them over the last 5 years and we have been able to periodically reconnect.  Unfortunately, Maggie had plans that weekend, but Ted met us at our hotel in Boston and we all headed out to Fenway Park for a concert together.  Great times watching people, enjoying music and trying to figure out what a Chewbaca puppet has to do with the music (inside joke but had to throw it in there for historical purposes).  

From Boston, we were getting close to our deadline for leaving from the Chesapeake so we headed south for a quick stop in Annapolis to pick up a water maker.  We had lots to do the following week to get Terrapin and ourselves ready for an offshore passage.  

It's going to be a fun summer!
The familiar sights of airport security
Molly, Baxter, Elaine (BOB), Malcolm (Orion), Peter (BOB), Ralph & Cathy (Free Rein), Elia (Orion)
Baxter & Molly (with a photo bomb behind us), Malcolm, Max & Elia...enjoying the show at Folsom Field.
And back to the airport at 0-dark-thirty
Selfie with Susan and Ruby
Kala thinking this is a BIG dinghy
Party Tricks
You got this Trey
Beautiful brown-eyed girl
And now for the wake board expert...Frank
Ruby girl
On the road again...
VW Bus on the back of a Terrapin...
Baxter, Heather, Mike and I in Atlanta
The USCG Eagle Tall Ship at Sail Boston.  Ullman Sails Virginia who made Terrapin's sails also made the sails for the Eagle.
More Tall Ships
Ted, Baxter & I having a pre-concert beer.