Cabot Trail Done, Turning South

Posted Sept. 13, 2008 at 02:16

After spending three nights at isolated and well protected Dundee Marina (the remnants of Hanna didn't amount to anything but a bit of strong wind and rain for half a day), we enjoyed a half day of slow downwind sailing in summer weather and tee-shirts to the beautiful anchorage at Muskells Harbour about 4nm south of Baddeck.  It clouded over by the evening, and a front, with strong 25kn+ southerlies followed by 20kn+ northwesterlies passed over us that night, with rain. We didn't feel a thing in this anchorage.  The hills surrounding the anchorage created a few interesting wind-eddies, where the wind blew from unexpected directions, but never stronger than 10kn and most of the time almost total calm.

The anchorage is behind the sandspit and trees in the foreground, we were deep into the bay behind it.

Baddeck is just an hour's sail from here.  It's a real tourist town, with buses, cars and people still coming even in mid-September.  The first night we visited the Alexander Graham Bell museum and a traditional Ceilidh at the local parish.  It was really nice to experience traditional Cape Breton music from two very good local young artists (fiddle (violin) and piano).  We found "the" Baddeck yarn store and we're whole-heartedly and -walletly supporting the local yarn industry.  Dora was faced with a tough choice: spend a day at the yarn store, which she was inclined towards, or come with me to the Alexander Graham Bell Museum.  (In the end, we split the time and went to both).  Here, there is a yarn section even in the Coop grocery store.  Dora's nice summer picture in the cockpit ('Bra'd Or' gallery) represents her best sail'n'knit quality time.

However, our trip around the Cabot Trail of Cape Breton by rented car is by far the most beautiful experience.  We could have not anticipated the beauty that struck us as we got out to the Atlantic shore.  Since pictures are worth a thousand words (and possibly more depending on the writer :-),  I've uploaded a whole bunch of them into the 'Cabot Trail' gallery (photos of Dundee and Baddeck are in 'Bra's Dor').  We went around the trail in a counter-clockwise direction (a total of around 370km, with a few detours), so the sequence of pictures follows in an opposite direction as they are displayed newest first on the website (the photo titles give a hint about places where the photos were taken).   We walked the Middle Head trail from Celtic Lodge out to the point and back, that was a good hour and half exercise.

It is very hard to pick a few selections for this post, but here are a few:

The Atlantic side, looking south into St Ann's Bay.

On the dock of the Bay St. Lawrence village (this is off the Cabot Trail, on the north end of Cape Breton Island).

On the west side looking south with the Cheticamp harbour entrance visible in the distance.

The nights have become cool so we ran the diesel heater (Espar) for the first time this fall overnight.  Unfortunately, this may become the norm from now on.  So now we begin our journey south from here, for now the plan is to get to Halifax.  The trouble now is, that "nice weather winds" (southwesterlies) will be "on the nose" and colder, unsettled, frontal weather winds (northwesterlies) will be the "more pleasant", sailing-wise.
-- Z --