Sunday, August 8, 2010

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 most of Saturday and the winds were on the bow most of the way. With the waves on the beam this meant a great deal of rocking and rolling. It did not clear until late in the afternoon. As we approached St. Pierre the winds kicked up to 30 knots. I was quite concerned about getting in and setting an anchor. The winds moderated to about 20 knots inside the harbor. I pulled up to the customs dock and was advised to head over to another dock. I tied up with the help of a gentleman from another boat. The customs and immigration people walked down the dock to greet me. As I was checking in XO decided that he needed new friends and started rubbing against the officials demanding attention. He made a very pleasant check in even better.

I am slowly getting more comfortable with Reboot. In the past 30 knot winds on the beam would have made me very nervous. Now it has happened so many times that I just take note of it. On the other hand I don't think I will ever get over the anxiety of being on a lee shore (in this case rock) under power. Every change in engine noise makes me nervous.

I am off to explore this morning. I have been told that the restaurants here are excellent so I am sure I will pig out at least once. I also need to purchase a courtesy flag as I didn't expect to need one for France. St. Pierre seems to have a unique version of the French flag so perhaps I can find one of those.

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