Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Back to New England, and On to Nova Scotia

We visited Anguilla for a few days, and then Susan flew home to RI.  Two new crew, Matt Johnson and Tim Walters joined Sam and me for the return passage.  On the way back north I made sure to stay on a course that would allow us to divert to Bermuda should the weather warrant.  Sure enough, a front was coming with predicted gusts to 65kts.  On to Bermuda!  We waited out the storm for a few days, then proceeded north again.  We crossed the Gulf Stream with the help of the "Iron Jenny," and pulled out the early May in New England gear.

Tim, Matt and Sam

Keep the hot coffee coming!
Our summer trip was next! Susan and I planned to sail to northern Maine, then cross over to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, spend a few days there, then round Cape Sable and head north eventually arriving in Cape Breton to cruise Lake Bras d'Or.

At the beginning of our usual overnight passage from Cape Cod to Maine we saw a group of whale watching boats off Provincetown, and decided to investigate. Through the fog this boat emerged:

So we hung around to watch the big show:

For the next hour traveling north, we saw many other whales in the distance:

Pretty spectacular, but we had to move along . . . .

After an uneventful night we arrived at Mistake Island Harbor.  This is a beautiful, isolated spot well north of Bar Harbor, which I had been to before.   Just as gorgeous as before:

Pratique alone in Mistake Island Harbor

Low tide, slippery when wet!
The next day we sailed across the lower Bay of Fundy to Yarmouth, N.S.  As if a switch was flipped, it turned mostly cloudy and cold, so we decided to enjoy Yarmouth until the weather changed.

Welcome to downtown Yarmouth!

Commercial fishing boats in Yarmouth
Despite all the commercial boats, there wasn't a lot of fresh fish to purchase locally.  Plus, Canada closes their waters to lobster fishing this time of year.  Fortunately, lots of meat was available:

Good weekend to visit a Canadian fishing capital!!
Local Raymarine autherized dealer?
Wait, is it cold because we are frozen in time?  
Pratique waiting at anchor for the weather
At least the birds are happy!
After three days we decided it was time to reconsider our plans.  Cape Breton would have to wait for another season . . . .

After a cold overnight crossing we dropped anchor in Bar Harbor Maine, at a familiar spot just north of the sand bar.  We went crashing to sleep, and when we woke up at noon it was 80 degrees and sunny!  Oh, one more benefit to returning to Maine--Lobstah!

Lobstah's back on the menu!

Next:  More from Maine!

Monday, May 16, 2016

St. Lucia to St. Martin: Dolphins and Orcas

Susan and I sailed back up to St. Lucia and met our trusted and able-bodied crew, Sam Dickson.  You may remember Sam from the trip south! This week Sam is joining us to get back to St. Martin, with touring stops in St. Eustatius and Saba.  We didn't have a lot of wind, but the sights were memorable!

First highlight was a ridiculously large pod of dolphins swimming south off the coast of Martinique.  There were hundreds, so we slowly turned the boat back south to watch them:

"OK, that was cool, but what else ya got?"

Next day we were off the coast of Nevus/St. Kitts, and the sea was glass.

See, glass sea.

Susan was first to spot the "What is that dot?"  We got closer and this is what we saw:

Sam was first to identify them as Orcas.  I must say I was skeptical until I checked the markings against Google.  The distinctive gray saddle patch and the white markings are the giveaways.  Sure enough, there are not one but two types of North Atlantic killer whales.

Sam also captured two pics of two of them swimming under the boat to check us out.  One has even flipped over, I guess for a better view:

Later that evening we anchored off Oranjestad in Sint Eustatius (Statia) and the next day we walked the island.

Steep road to town!

We hiked to the top rim of the dormant volcano called The Quill.  Spectacular!

Deep, lush crater behind us
Sam, atop the Quill, with Oranjestad below and Saba in the distance
On the Quill with Saba and St. Martin in the distance

Final stop: Saba

Looking way down to the airport.
The "beach"
Why we take a taxi here

Then back to St. Martin:

Megayacht "A" and Pratique arriving in St. Martin