In the Halifax Area...

Posted Sept. 22, 2008 at 06:14

We had a beautiful downwind sail from Popes Harbour to Halifax on a nice cool but sunny day, flying the spinnaker for most of the time. We were in the company of Wind Whisper again as they caught up with us after spending two days in Cape Breton. We both fueled up at Armdale Yacht Club and spent the night at the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron to do laundry and hose down the boat. Apparently, wejust missed Derek Hatfield and his new Spirit of Canada raceboat by one day as he sailed for France from the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron the day before we arrived.

On Saturday we motored over to Murphy's Restaurant docks downtown Halifax, with just barely an hour left to find and shop at the Farmers Market that is open Saturdays only. It is held at the old stone Brewery, and is an interesting mixture of little shops and fruit and vegetable stands. Live music was provided by a number of young artists performing along the passages. It was really convenient to dock downtown, because we could do all this on foot.

We had a nice lunch on a patio where a lot of folks were from the Atlantic Film Festival that was wrapping up that day. While eating, I observed a smooth trick by one of the film festival consultants, who, near the end of his lunch remained alone at the table with his beer almost finished. He got up, as if leaving and went just outside the patio fence and lit up. As the waitress came to clean up, she stacked the glasses from the table, one got into the unfinished beer too. At this moment, the gentleman remarked over the fence with a gesture by his smoking hand that he was not finished with the beer yet... Of course, the young waitress apologized, and said that she'll bring a replacement. Naturally, the replacement was an almost full pint of beer. A few minutes later, while he was "finishing" his topped up beer, I mentioned to him, smiling approvingly, what a smooth trick that was... He replied proudly that it took him years to perfect it, and that is works nearly every time...

The afternoon was spent criss-crossing the streets and of course a brief visit to the citadel above the downtown. The citadel is nicely kept (probably nicer than it was at its heyday), with full uniformed and costumed soldiers, guns and cannons on the ready, tradesmen and their families from the mid-late 1700 era of the British Empire.

There are an above average number of used and new book and magazine stores, but we couldn't find a single bakery to buy proper bread in the whole afternoon of walking through downtown. The town is lively, full of tourists and lots of students. On the waterfront, replica tall ships, whale watching boats, working pilot boats are coming and going every minute. That also meant that Dazzle was having a bouncy berth tied to a bouncy floating dock, with the wind pushing onto the dock. In the evening, the same ships were taking groups out for hourly sails with blaring disco music and more bouncing followed. After midnight, everything quieted down, including the wind, so we slept surprisingly well. No complaints, since this time in the season, the dock was free, the marina office was closed.

We woke up to the sound of horrendous horn blasts - right in front of our dock the Queen Elisabeth II (cruise ship) was making its 180 degree turn to come alongside at Pier 21, since we took her spot at the restaurant dock (just kidding). Not to be left out, next in line was the Royal Princess (another cruise ship).

It was a good time to leave the Halifax downtown and harbourfront as the town population was about to double for a couple of days. The plan is to go around the large peninsula into St Margaret's Bay, find a marina and rent a car to do shopping and sightseeing, some of it still in Halifax. After that, we would start to make our way down the South Shore of Nova Scotia, with a few stops in Mahone Bay, Lunenberg, etc.

Tonight we're in a most beautiful anchorage, recommended to us by our sailor friends Tom and Regina (who sailed their boat Rauhalla with us last year on Georgian Bay and Lake Superior), who visited these shores on a similar trip with their boat twenty years ago. Without GPS, entering some of these rocky places was more hairy indeed...

Not to let me off the hook and enjoy the nice, sunny, last summer afternoon (we arrived early, around 2pm), I had to redo the windlass (the electrical winch for raising our anchor) wiring. The original installation was done very poorly, and the exposed wire terminals all corroded, some wires were not even in their crimp terminals properly (just squeezed with the plastic), which I didn't realize until I took it apart. (Trying to leave our previous anchorage we found that the windlass wouldn't move... We got it moving by using a small jumper wire to operate the windlass relay.) I don't understand what practice that is to use butt splices and open crimp terminals inside an anchor locker, which is the most corrosive environment on a boat. Without sealed protection, it wont last a season or two at best.

On the bright side, as if someone "up there" knew about the state of our windlass, we found two mooring balls here, so we didn't have to use our anchor at all. By the time the sun was going down, the windlass relay wiring was back together and working again (I did away with a lot of the butt splices and soldered instead, covering with liquid tape - that should be much better. I have adhesive lined heat shrink tubing as well, but I want to give this liquid tape a try - it looks promising).

The local town population showed up briefly on the other mooring with 6 power boats rafted together, music, conversation going on - all lasted about two-three hours from the first boat arriving to the last boat leaving. There were more boats just coming and going. This must be a very popular anchorage, used as the marine promenade (even though it would appear secluded on the chart). Now we are as we were when we got here - alone.

Dora got to observe the work closely as I hung the "air chair" above the foredeck for her so that she could enjoy the sun and knit a sweater for me. She also made a nice vegetable soup, made some dough with our built-in food processor and baked a nice bread. Who needs a bakery? -- Z --