Leg 5/5 – north america (USA, Nova Scotia & Newfoundland, Labrador)
HALIFAX TO WOOD’S ISLAND
So, we arrived in Halifax on June 1st. A big moment for us, each hoping that this relatively unknown city would indeed deliver on all of the hopes and dreams that we have been building on for the last year and a half. No pressure Halifax!
POWERFUL KINDLY PEOPLE AND THE ILLUSIVE MOOSE
“Do you sell worms?” is not something I frequently ask when visiting a supermarket. But I did ask this and was rewarded with a positive answer in the General Store in Norris Point. Macsen has taken up fishing and needed some live bait. He spends as much of each day as we will let him fishing from the wharf and passing time with the local fisherman. Bob Howell, who is 85 years old, has become a particular friend and has given Macsen a new lure that has been most successful in catching connors and sculpins.
WHALES AND ICEBERGS
Departure from Port aux Choix on July 1st was another early one, the monkeys were still asleep when we shook our lines free of the wharf at 0500. Happy Canada Day! The seas were calm and we were able to sail about half of the 72 nautical miles to Red Bay, Labrador. We were full of excitement for three reasons; we were on our way to Labrador for the first time, we were hoping to see whales and we were desperate to see an iceberg. This excitement had us wildly scanning the horizon with our binoculars peeled.
THERE ARE NO BEARS ON HAWKE ISLAND, NO BEARS, NO BEARS AT ALL…
Red Bay is one of the 12 ports along the Labrador coast mentioned in Spanish archives as key Basque whaling sites. In the 1560’s and 1570’s as many as 1000 men and 20 galleons came to this little harbour in the summer months. In 16th century Europe, whale oil was the prime source of light, was used as a lubricant, an additive to drugs and an additive for several products such as soap.
After a short stop on Mary’s Harbour to provision and get water and fuel we were on to Cartwright and then further to Hopedale. We were determined to get as far north as possible as quickly as possible as the nature is more rugged and the chance of seeing a polar bear is significantly higher with every latitudinal degree. The further north we went the more rugged the nature indeed became but our progress was slow with little wind, too much motor sailing and a daily push against the Labrador current.
UNCHARTED WATERS, NO PEOPLE, JUST A POLAR BEAR
From Hopedale we travelled 55 nautical miles up to Tunngaylualok Island, then another 95 miles past Nain, on to Cut Throat and finally another 50 miles to Mugford Bay. There was more and more ice in the water the further north that we ventured, and the odd cheeky seal floated by relaxing on a piece of sea ice.
Between Mugford Bay and Makkovik we stopped in two amazing anchorages Wyatt Harbour and Shoal Tickle. In Makkovik we tied up to the public dock attached to the local fishing plant. Those plants in Labrador that are still open are generally processing crab at this time and a few large, colourful boats were tied up to the adjacent dock.
LOVELY FOGO ISLAND AND THE KING OF THE CODS
From Makkovik we bade farewell to lovely Labrador and took a big jump (307nm) to St. Anthony’s in Newfoundland for re-provisioing. We arrived at night and were surprised and delighted to see a large grey ship with a Dutch flag flapping off the stern. It was the Maaike-Saadet with Jacco and Jannie on board, two people that we briefly met in the Netherlands but were eager to get to know better. And we were eager to snoop about on their Bestevaer sailboat.
Long Pond, France and Welcome to Canada
Although the 32 hour trip from Fogo to St. John’s (well Long Pond in Conception Bay just around the corner) required too much motoring (yet again!!!) than we prefer, the abundance of whales on each cape made it all OK. At Baccalieu Tickle we drifted for 1,5 hours enjoying their antics and one cheeky one swam right under the boat.
At home in Halifax
380 days, 15.000 nautical miles, 17 countries, many adventures and an amazing time together as a family. This journey has come to an end and we are very excited to have arrived at our new home in Halifax. The boat is docked and the champagne has popped.