Thursday, August 3, 2017

Nova Scotia to Newfoundland

After being in Halifax, Nova Scotia for a few days, we were ready to head to Newfoundland (pronounced New-fin-LAND; not new-fin-len or new-fun-lun.  Easy way to remember is Newfound-land, understand)?.  

It would be approximately 540 nm so we readied Terrapin and ourselves and headed out of the harbour.  The skies were gray as we moved into the Atlantic and the fog settled around us.  We had fog and fog and more fog.  There very well could have been a hundred humpback whales breeching around us and we wouldn’t have known.  We liked to think they were there.

We also had fishing boats that would have a very close CPA (Closest point of approach) of less than 300 feet.  Since these boats could be dragging nets or have lines in the water we would hail them on the vhf just to get more info and make sure they saw us – usually not receiving a response and leaving us with the only option to change course.  With the fog, it would make a night watch a bit anxious, but definitely helped the four hours go by quickly. 

Since there was so much fog we turned on our radar to see any boats that may not have AIS.  Also to see any buoys that those boats might be dropping and another reason for radar was to see icebergs.  As we were between the coasts of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, it is common to have icebergs come down the Labrador Channel into this area.  We had a mark on our charts where the Titantic sank in 1912 after hitting one of these icebergs – it was south and east of us which meant we were definitely in range.  Now, the Titantic was out there in April and of course we had checked all the information available to see any iceberg reports or potential sites for icebergs and we should be clear – but we left the radar on, just in case. 

The last night of the passage was a spirited sail with wind gusting to 30 knots as we reached towards Cape Race and up the coast of Newfoundland at dawn.  As the sun came up, I could smell diesel (our engine wasn’t running) and hear an engine but according to AIS, there were no boats within a mile.  Twenty minutes later with more light, I could see the Canadian Coast Guard Cutter near shore.  Then we heard them report an iceberg off their starboard bow.  Baxter and I grabbed the binoculars and looked to make sure we were able to see an iceberg before we hit it.  Just as we were looking for the iceberg, we saw a bird taking off from the water flapping it’s wings furiously and then – there they were – the cutest little webbed orange feet – it was a PUFFIN!  I was so excited to see puffins in the wild.  Cutest birds on the planet and there were hundreds.  Newfoundland was going to be awesome!!

Last sunset in Nova Scotia before heading out to Newfoundland

Filled the tanks and the jerry jugs - Kala supervising and asking the dock hand if she can hang out on land with him.
Whales, whales everywhere...or so we would like to believe
Setting the spinnaker pole in the fog as we went dead downwind
This fishing boat was 800 feet away - too close at night but I'll deal with it in the daylight.
Baxter and Kala tucked in staying warm.
Since the fog kept us from seeing anything outside, we set up our watches inside at the nav station where it was nice and warm
Newly installed heater is ON!
Dawn on the southeast coast of Newfoundland - Iceberg just north of us
Good morning Newfoundland!
Puffins make us happy!!  About to pull into St John's harbor over Baxter's left shoulder

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