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Showing posts from August, 2010

Earl has to Die!

I am sitting here in St. Pierre (N 46 46.608 W 056 10.490) watching the hurricane track of Earl and the tropical storm Fiona right behind it.  The projected track for Earl will bring it over Reboot on the weekend.  There is some chance that it will dissipate before reaching here and a high probability that it will at least reduce from a hurricane to a tropical storm or tropical depression before reaching St. Pierre.  The highest probability - 40% - is for a tropical storm with wind speeds from 39 mph to 73 mph.  Fiona has not developed to the point where the impact here has been calculated.

I am sitting at a dock at the very east end of St. Pierre.  There are several breakwaters between Reboot and the Atlantic Ocean.  I am on the west side of the dock.  My conversations with the other cruisers here have reached the conclusion that the west side will be more protected as the winds come up from the southeast than the east side of the dock.  Also, there are several floating docks on the …

The weekend in St. Pierre

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It looks like I will be here through the weekend.  See, this is France and no one in France works on the weekend.  That includes the gas station (where I had hoped to purchase diesel for the boat), the sail maker (if I can identify one, the grocery stores etc.  I have posted a link above so that you can get a nice look at what is a very quaint and pretty place.

As Dr. Pangloss taught Candide "all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds."  ("Tout est pour le mieux dans le meilleur des mondes" in honor of St. Pierre)  Amazing that I remember this as I had to read Candide in engineering school in 1965.  I guess some advice is so good that it just sticks.  Of course Voltaire was writing satire and all sorts of terrible things happen to our poor protagonist Candide.  It is sort of like the way I am feeling today.

Anyway, I have internet and the card reader arrived so I can spend some time uploading pictures for everyone to enjoy.  I will also get around to p…

Back in St. Pierre

I am back in St. Pierre after a terrible night.  Tired, so a quick summary:
1.  The wind went from nothing on the bow to 30 knots on the stern.
2.  Wave went from 1 to 3 feet to 10 to 12 feet.
3.  Ripped the main sail
4.  XO puked
5.  Toilet overflowed
6.  TV broke loose and smashed a wall lamp.
7.  Wall lamp bracket got revenge and punched a hole in the back of the TV (the TV apparently still works thank goodness.)
8.  Pretty much everything I had left out ended up on the wet floor.

I love the cruising life!

Current Position

At 9:47 AM on 8/27/2010 Reboot (and I) were at 46°46.31'N 055°36.21'W
heading 277T at 4.7.
Heading for St. Pierre for fuel, long night, double reefed main.
Now wind back on the nose and dying but waves still 6-10 feet

Crows Nest, St. John's

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I was taken to the Crows Nest last night.  This is a (formerly private) officers club in St. John's.  Founded in the beginning of the Second World War as a refuge for the officers supporting the convoy traffic it has remained open and a private club since that time.  With the dramatic reduction in the number of military officers the club has opened its doors to visitors.  The membership requirement is now also "an interest in maritime affairs."  If you are St. John's don't be put off by the private club signs, just go in and introduce yourself to the staff.

The club is less a club than a museum.  Plaques from many of the ships that have called at St. John's adorn the walls.  Models of Canadian Forces aircraft hang from the ceiling.  In fact the club has so many artifacts that most of them are put away in storage.  The best piece is a WWII U-Boat submarine periscope.  At the end of the war a U-Boat surrendered off the coast of Newfoundland.  It was towed into S…

Irish Loop - Newfoundland

I rented a car with another St. John's visitor and we drove the "Irish Loop."  This takes you from St. John's down to Cape Race, over past Trepassay, and then back up the west side of the Avalon Peninsula along St. Mary's Bay.  The weather was overcast with occasional showers.  More important, the wind was from the Northeast at about 15 to 20 knots.  What a difference that made.  As we drove down the "South Coast" (which is actually the East side of Newfoundland - go figure) the wave trains coming into the port cities were awesome.   I was happy to be on land looking out rather than sailing by.  In fact, when I got back to Reboot Randy, the skipper of the whale watching boat docked behind me, mentioned that the waves were 20 to 25 just outside St. John's harbor.  Strangely Dennis, the other Wisconsin boat in the harbor, decided this was a good time to set off to the Azores.  Wind in his face, heavy seas, go figure.  Particularly since he has been he…

Ham Radio - British Sports Cars - XO - Beautiful Women - Music in St. John's

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I started the morning by taking a cab to Avalon Mall, St. John's big shopping mall, to meet many of the Newfoundland Ham Radio operators that have been supporting me and tracking my course across the Maritimes. We had coffee and great conversation and I was offered a ride back to Reboot. There was some laughter about my ability to fit in the car, and it was not until I got out into the parking lot that I understood.
Graham, my host, had driven his 1969 Lotus Super 7 sports car to coffee. This is a classic British sports car. Think Emma Peale in "The Avengers." I climbed in and wiggled my butt down into the very form fitting seat, attached the 5 point racing safety harness and we were off. Graham fired up the engine with its open exhaust and every head in the parking lot turned. Off we went to purchase coffee and drive me back to the boat. Of course, given that it was sunny, 75 degrees, and about as beautiful a Newfoundland day one could ask for the coffee run qui…

George Street St. Johns's Newfoundland

Last night I treated myself to a martini and steak at a high end steak house here in St. John's.  As usual I ate at the bar and the restaurant was sufficiently crowded that I ended up talking to several groups of people over the course of my dinner.  Since I finished later in the evening I decided to take a walk up to George Street.  It had transformed itself into the loud party street for which it is famous.

I had not made it more than half a block when one of the groups that had chatted with me at the bar spotted me and adopted me for their pub crawl. So up and down the street we went.  Most bars had live music and their outdoor speakers competed to see who could be the loudest.  Shades of Summerfest in Milwaukee, the sound levels were overpowering.   Every type of music was represented and the crowds ran from in their 20's to old geezers like me.

The guys also promised me a free pass to one of the whale watching tour boats.  I am looking forward to being out on the water wi…

St. John's Newfoundland

I arrived in St. John's yesterday afternoon.  The entrance is quite narrow protected by granite cliffs on each side.  One in the harbor widens to a long bay.  I am rafted up at the far southern end of the bay.  Would you believe that I am rafted to another Wisconsin sailboat?  Dennis is planning on leaving on Saturday for the Azores.  It really gives me pause, but I don't think I am ready.  We will see if I get crazy or head back down to Florida, Mexico, Belize and Guatamala as I originally planned.

I walked along George Street last night.  For my friends from Key West, it is Duval Street on steroids.  The only things on George Street are bars and clubs.  No shops.  Just bars and clubs.  Of course I went to bed long before the street came alive - I am guessing close to 10 PM or so.

I am looking forward to exploring Newfoundland over the next week or so.  I have done a lot of short stays in various places so that I could get here during the summer season.  So it is time to lay …

On the way to St. John's

I left St. Pierre this morning after a delightful two days. This French island is very small making it possible to explore in a short time. I met a professor from Marymount Manhattan College quite by chance. She overheard me saying that I had lived in New York City. It turns out that she lives in Styvasant Town, the same place I lived between the Navy and going to graduate school. It was owned for many years by Metropolitan Life where my father spent his career. Recently it was purchased by Tishman. With the housing crisis it is worth 1/2 of what they paid for it so they simply walked away.
St. Pierre is a storybook place. Most of the homes are brightly painted. It exists as a tourist location. But even that is low key. There are very limited services, a couple of bars, several restaurants, two grocery stores. It was a fun stop.
I am now on my way to St. John's, a trip of about 180 nm. It will take me a couple of days. As I was doing my chart plotting I realized that from St. John…

St. Pierre - St. John's - Azores?

I left St. Pierre this morning after a delightful two days. This French island is very small making it possible to explore in a short time. I met a professor from Marymount Manhattan College quite by chance. She overheard me saying that I had lived in New York City. It turns out that she lives in Styvasant Town, the same place I lived between the Navy and going to graduate school. It was owned for many years by Metropolitan Life where my father spent his career. Recently it was purchased by Tishman. With the housing crisis it is worth 1/2 of what they paid for it so they simply walked away.St. Pierre is a storybook place. Most of the homes are brightly painted. It exists as a tourist location. But even that is low key. There are very limited services, a couple of bars, several restaurants, two grocery stores. It was a fun stop.I am now on my way to St. John's, a trip of about 180 nm. It will take me a couple of days. As I was doing my chart plotting I realized that fr…

In France!

OK, not the one you are thinking of. I am in St. Pierre, an island off the south coast of Newfoundland (N 46 46.6 W 056 10.5). This area (including Nova Scotia) was settled both by the English and the French. Although the Nova Scotians take great pride in their Acadian heritage the truth is that most of the French were deported for their unwillingness to pledge to the English King. However, the French held on to St. Pierre. It is my understanding that the French did not have "colonies", rather their non-European possessions are "departments" of France. So, like Alaska and Hawaii in the United States St. Pierre (and the Ile aux Chevaux next door) have the same representation, laws and rights as if they were a European province in mainland France.The transit from Port aux Basque, Newfoundland was a 30 hour mixed bag. XO and I left Friday in late afternoon fog expecting it to clear and get warm overnight. We also expected favorable winds. The fog persisted for…

Port aux Basque, Newfoundland, Canada

I made it to Newfoundland. I am currently on the Southwest coast in Port aux Basque. This is the ferry terminal for the run from Sydney so I got to watch the ferries avoid me all night long. At least up until the last few minutes. At that point in inbound ferry was standing off waiting for the outbound ferry. Needless to say I waited for them both to clear the channel before proceeding in.Port aux Basque has VTS, that is,Vessel Traffic Services. At 5 miles out I reported in. From that point on not only did they give me traffic advisories but they warned the other traffic of my presence. Not a bad deal. I was greeted by a local man who waved me into the dock and then helped me with my lines. One problem with coming into new ports is you are never exactly sure where you can tie up. I have learned to tie up and then ask questions since driving around rarely helps one figure out where to go. It took me a minute to realize that my helper was carrying his oxygen bottle around with…

Sydney, Nova Scotia

I came into Sydney yesterday morning. That was not the plan. I intended to spend the night in Louisberg, NS. When I arrived around midnight I could not make any sense out of my sight picture and my chart. It appears that they have moved the buoys. This is not unusual as when local conditions change the buoys are changed to keep one safe. In fact as I learned on the Alligator River exit you always follow the buoys, not the chart if you don't want to run aground. I made three approaches to the Louisberg Harbor. It is not a friendly place with rocky shores on either side. After the third attempt I realized that I was not willing to go in any further without daylight. The moon had come up but it was only a half moon in clouds so I didn't get enough light from it either. It was a very quiet night so I considered just dropping the hook. Unfortunately the bottom drops away quite quickly. I was already freaked out by the rocks so even though my radar told me I was well of…