Prince Edward Island

Posted Aug. 30, 2008 at 22:46

We had a taste of PEI for a week or so, first for a couple of days in Summerside (which is a much nicer/safer and lower cost harbour in hindsight) and then four days in Charlottetown (Charlottetown is great though for re-provisioning).

We arrived to Summerside from Richibucto in a good downwind blow that reached 30kn occasionally, while we were doing the vele-slalom (like skiiing) around fishing pots.  Along the way, we noticed that one our radar reflectors (a 2 inch by 24 inch or so plastic container containing an aluminum frame) got loose up on the mast under the second spreader.  In these conditions it made an awful racket swinging back and forth and hitting the mast, chafing it's clear awlgrip coating matte, hanging on a single loop of line from the spreader near the mast.  So the next day after arriving to Summerside, Dora hauled me up to the second spreader on the mast to to re-attach the radar reflector with some cable ties and reinforce the other one too.  There are some nice pictures in our "Prince Edward Island" Gallery under the Photos tab, for example:

While at Summerside, we stocked up on seafood from a little fisherman store on the western-most wharf - $8-9/lb for cooked lobster, some halibut and cod... Yummy.

We had an inner staysail shipped ahead of us to the Charlottetown Yacht Club, so we headed there next to pick it up (had we known the difference in facilities and price, we would have stayed and gone by car to Charlottetown.  Dora had a hunch and she was right, but we didn't act on it).  Now we have nine sails aboard including the storm jib.  Of those, so far we've used four:  the cruising main and genoa, a North Sails #1 (large) light air racing sail (that took us on the 80nm journey from L'anse au Beaufils to Miramichi Bay) and the cruising asymmetrical spinnaker.  The rest are spares (North Sails 3DL main and #2 genoa, a Quantum 90% working jib, the new Quantum hank-on inner headstay jib and a storm jib for the same inner headstay).

We rented a car in Charlottetown to do some sightseeing and a brief visit with friends that have a house in North Rustico.   We drove around the central part of PEI, following the so called "Blue Herron" path.  Our impression of PEI is that it appears very docile, cute, the farming aspect reminding us a lot of Southern Ontario, except the trees along the property lines are all spruce.   It also appears that one of the favourite pastime activities for retired people in PEI is to drive lawnmovers - we've never seen so much mowed grass in a countryside setting (except on golfcourses and there are a lot of those here too).  The unmowed meadows are very beautiful, covered with goldenrod.   The farms are mostly potatoes, canola, wheat and spruce plantations.  Another peculiarity:  beside most farmhouses, there was a traditional fishing boat on the dry, some older, some ready to go if need, or opportunity arises.

The highlight of the car-trip was a visit to the Cavendish beach / National Park on PEI's north shore: we spent an hour walking on the beach in quite windy (north-easter) conditions that cooled the beach and brought the surf and improved the visual experience:

There are more pictures in the gallery...

I had some unforeseen and foreseen "boat-works" to do in Charlottetown.  The unforeseen one relates to a transom leak I first noticed at Riviere au Renard.  I checked the usual suspects that I'd already fixed (the emergency rudder cover plate and bolts installation) and that seemed fine.  Then I proceeded to haul out some more deeply buried materials from the lazarette and discovered that two open-top IKEA plastic bins are half full with seawater!  Probably a gallon and a half (5-6L)!   Luckily those bins contain scrap materials tucked in under the transom ledge (starboard pieces, our deck mast-hole cover plate, 1/4" aluminum stock for backing plates, etc) and they didn't mind much swimming in seawater for a couple of days.  The culprit:  the opening for the motorized arm of the transom swim platform has just a thin rubber membrane with a slit through which the arm slides as the transom is opened/closed (see picture below).  I think most of the water got in on the 40kn gale we had the morning we ended up diverting  to Riviere au Renard.  Some of the following waves came up the transom quite a bit (not to deck-level but almost) and the water pressure easily got under the apparently closed transom swim platform and through the slit in the membrane.   My first instinct: - just remove the arm/motor and the whole "convenience" thing, close the opening and convert to "manual" opening/closing of the swim platform (that would require some hardware fittings on the outside to keep the platform up/closed).  But first, due to pleas from the Admiral, I will try the $3 plunger solution:

Amazingly, it seems to fit perfectly over the white square when the platfrom is closed.

The planned boat-works were to finish my 2" custom built stainless steel tack-extender for the furling sail tack shackle and the aluminum enclosure case for protecting a laptop/gps in case of thunderstorm/lightning. These are done.

From here we're at crossroads:  the  hard decision is whether to skip the  long-awaited  one-week cruise of the south-western Newfoundland shore...  We probably will skip it, in part due to the Admiral's wish to spend more "relaxing" days in the Bras 'd Or Lakes.   Either way, we depart early tomorrow morning...