Saturday, September 6, 2014

Lunenburg, NS

We made it! Our first official destination. Wow, what an amazing accomplishment to have sailed from the Northwest Arm in Halifax to Lunenburg - a mere 50-55 miles (90k). Not without its challenges, after we left Purcell's Cove on Sunday, August 31, we had a couple frustrating days on the water, winds in the wrong direction and waves hitting us from the bow. Safely and humbly, we are learning how Aletheia sails in different weather conditions. I wrote the following at Inner Sambro Island Wednesday morning as we sat in fog for 36 hours.

Today we continue at anchor in Inner Sambro Island, just west of Halifax. We've been stationed here since 8:30pm Monday night. After our departure from Purcell's Cove Sunday afternoon we found ourselves sailing into steep waves and higher than desired winds which doesn't make for a pleasant day sail. We took shelter Sunday mid-afternoon in Ketch Harbor and sailed out Monday afternoon, only to find we weren't making much westward progress towards our destination. A combination of Southwest winds (basically right over our bow) and a possible strong current kept us tacking back and forth near the same green can (buoy) for nearly 4 hours, trapped in a strange Twilight Zone, in calm seas. Admittedly, it could have been operator error. So pushing sunset, we turned on the Electric Yacht motor and hummed passed The Sisters breakwaters and the forever passing lighthouse. We thought about sailing overnight, but with very little wind, current and the miscellaneous shoal, we decided to take shelter in Sambro Island...
and here we await on the hook.

For 36 hours, here we sit, rocking beam to beam,
Engulfed in a blanket of fog, we look for a tear in the seam.

The smokey layer teases us as she lifts and thins,
Our optimism peaks, yet Nature remains; she wins!

Mornings on the desolate beach, soft sand between the toes,
A topless yoga practice and salty dog lightens my woes.

Resubjected to Mother Nature, my patience is quickly tested,
We must wait out this window with warm meals, time together, rested.

Unlike the convenience of cars, our travel options are few,
We are triggered by weather reports, clouds above and morning dew.

We will get there, progress be made with renewed patience and content,
As the seam unravels, sun (and land) exposed, we sail into the moment.

We excitedly weighed anchor from Inner Sambro Island Wednesday afternoon after the fog magically lifted. After nearly 4 hours of tacking (changing the boat's direction with respect to the wind), being pushed in the opposite direction and losing ground from waves and 15-20 knots of wind, we stuck our tail between our legs, admitted defeat and motored back into Sambro, passing Inner Sambro Island, the place we tried to leave that very afternoon. The feeling of defeat and frustration was overwhelming to us both as we tried to piece together why things happened the way they did. Operator error? A strange current? After speaking with some locals it became clear the weather may have played a very large role in our experience. In Sambro Harbor, we did manage to come across the day's catch of fresh haddock from a nice local couple and a 12 pack of ice cold beer. So far there are two things we can identify that make a negative experience sweeter - beer & a happy dog.

The following morning (Thursday) we set out after breakfast, but this time with the plan to take it slow, find different ways of sailing Aletheia's sails, by trimming the sails, and agreeing to the possibility that we could be staying at Sambro for yet another night should the winds and waves become unfavorable. What a difference a day makes! We sailed from Sambro Harbor west towards St. Margaret's Bay - tacking more gracefully, gaining speeds up to 5.1 knots sailing close-hauled (heading just off the wind at about 50 degrees). We even had a neighbor boat, Wind Thief, sail by and compliment our sailboat - I was at the helm (driving the boat) and felt confident, proud, wind blowing through my eyelashes and smiling. We made leaps and bounds on this day, tucked into Gravel Island for the night and headed for Lunenburg Friday morning.

A bit slower sail (again beating into the wind the entire time), we arrived into Lunenburg, Friday (Sept 5) racing the setting sun. Seeing the waterfront lights from our anchor was a proud moment for us both. So today, Saturday, as I write this, I'm excited to explore the town of Lunenburg over the next 24 hours, proud of my husband for his knowledge and competence and feeling positive. Tomorrow could be different, but I'll keep these thoughts in my pocket as we sail west and arrive at our next desired destination. We've already met an awesome and welcoming friend, Mike, whom has opened his door to free internet, hot water and fresh towels. He lent us his car to grocery shop, launder clothing and fill our water jugs.

We plan to depart Lunenburg Sunday morning around 6AM and head South Southwest on a North-Northeast wind towards Shelburne, NS. Sailors calls this wind the "sleigh ride" where we have a downwind that pushes us from the stern and can cover more miles. Recent advice from Attainable Adventure Crusiers - "never miss a North wind on this coast if you are heading south." Noted! 
Until then, hot water calls my name. Below are some photos from our last week of travel. Love to all!

For now,
Purcell's Cove sunrise on departure day
Intersection in Halifax - artsy kinda town
One of the coolest features on Aletheia - a tool chest (who knew)!
Potatoes for breakfast using my favorite wooden spoon
The dog house (aka where we store our water jugs)

Fresh blackberries on a hike up to Purcell's Pond
Napping salty dog

Grooming Day!
Sign in the head
Our bathroom (aka "Head") - this compostable toilet deserves its own blog post
Last day of groceries in Halifax
Last night in Halifax at Stillwell Brewery - would fit nicely in Denver
Doggie underway - a comforting spot. The temporary tool bag blocks him from climbing up while sailing
36 hours in this. Fog at Inner Sambro Island
After the day's defeat - back in Sambro. Another favorite dog spot 
'Merica! Blissfully underway
Approaching Lunenburg


  1. "I was at the helm (driving the boat) and felt confident, proud, wind blowing through my eyelashes and smiling." I love this.


  2. Love the photos and update. Mike seems like a great friend indeed! Cheers and beers,

  3. What a ride you are on, love your writings and poem is great.....Glad the three of you look happy, as long as there are smiles, there is love in the air!!! Keep on sharing....xoxo mama

  4. Your story and experiences are your true destination. Enjoy! Love to you three. DEJS