Going Further West - or So We Thought Until Kyle Showed Up

Posted Sept. 28, 2008 at 00:21

Lunenburg is truly a unique, historic, Nova Scotian town.  A lot of the original homes have been preserved and restored, all painted in different colors: blue, yellow, red, pink, purple.  Most have plaques identifying when and who they were built for.  There are a lot of art and craft shops, a nice grocery store right where we were docked, so re-provisioning the fridge was easy. Ofcourse, we paid a visit to the Canadian sailing icon, appearing on coins and stamps, the replica of the famously fast schooner Bluenose,  Bluenose II, fortunately finding her at her home berth in Lunenburg.  She's just gorgeous - all wood, beautifully kept, shining (her woodwork is refinished every month, and there is always one of the crew with a brush in hand).  She's been to Toronto in June, but I was too busy below decks Dazzle in Port Credit to notice... Now we've caught up (see photos in our Lunenburg gallery).

We were at the Yacht Shop floating docks that has a well equipped marine store and Susan, the manager, was really nice and offered us a ride to the other side of town to refill one of our 5gal diesel jerry cans (that's all we've used since motoring into and from Halifax).   The liquor store was on the other side of the street from the gas station, so we re-provisioned there as well :-).  We also picked up locally fished scallops (Adams and Knickle fishery in Lunenburg), so Dora made a wonderful, grilled scallop dinner in lemon and garlic with some fresh ocean perch - yummy.

As tradition would have it, when we were returning to the dock from town that evening, we found another boat that came in while we were away... - you guessed it - Wind Whisper.  We last saw them three days ago as they were preparing to receive Denis' parents in Halifax.  Now they were all together and that called for celebration, so we were invited over to meet Denis' parents and enjoy a fruit flambes desert that Denis skilfully prepared on top of their barbecue.   During the evening conversation we found out that Denis' parents know our home town from our old country - his uncle had a heart surgery there at an institute headed at the time by a well known specialist, so they were all there from Russia for a while.  We had a great evening.

Next morning we left Lunenburg to take advantage of the nice weather and make some progress toward Shelburne, our 'staging' ground for crossing the Bay of Fundy into Maine. There were some strong southerlies forecast (not due to Kyle yet), and our docks at Lunenburg would have been exposed. We had a nice, sunny, calm motor-sail to Carters Beach (protected from southerlies) in Port Mouton harbour.  It's a beautiful, white sand beach - it would have been better on a nice hot summer day, but we're into autumn now, the air and water are cooler, so we didn't swim :-(.  Shelburne is an easy day sail from there.

Alas, overnight I heard the Canadian Coast Guard mention the dreaded "Hurricane" word - Hurricane Kyle, that just a day ago showed up on charts only as a "possible cyclone", is on its way to the Bay of Fundy (close west of where we were) according to current projections, with southerly winds of 50-60kn late Sunday.   Since Shelburne harbour seems to be open to the south a bit, and Lockeport, the only other significant harbour is close to the ocean front, just behind a low-lying island protecting it from the open ocean to the south, I decided to turn 180 degrees and go back east, and up the LaHave River.  Hopefully, this will put some distance between the projected path and us, so that the winds may be less.

Just as we raised anchor at Carters Beach to head to LaHave, my phone rang - our sailor friend Tim from Halifax (with whom we went out to Rhubarb near Peggy's Cove) phoned to warn us about Hurricane Kyle.  He confirmed my plan was a good one, so we felt reassured, not having been to and seen any of these places before.  It was a nice sail back with an easterly wind to our starboard quarter and a few hours later, we were heading into the very scenic LaHave River, and up another 5nm to the LaHave River Yacht Club.

The LaHave River Yacht Club is already closing its season... More than half the boats are already on the dry and more are being hauled out via a marine railway system.

The club members we talked to are very nice, very friendly and offered the use of their own moorings during the coming storm (the club docks are not strong enough, so everyone is asked to go to moorings when the wind blows over 20kn).

The only other option that I was considering is going further up the river into Bridgewater and tie up to the concrete wall where an old, decommissioned rusty navy destroyer is moored together with a larger fishing boat and whoever else ends up going there.  That part of the river is a bit more protected by hills, but the river and the dock are oriented in a southeasterly direction on the north side of the river - so any strong southeasterly or southerly would blow over and push hard onto the dock.  A concrete dock wont budge no matter how hard the wind blows... But the exposure and chafing of lines with the 5-8 foot tidal range and being glued onto the wall is the downside.    So we decided to stick it out on a mooring ball, since the forecast is currently for winds not stronger than 45kn (worst case 50-60) in the open ocean near the shore, and we're behind a few hills inland.  To make things a little more secure, I thought I'd make use of our diving suits we acquired in Tobermory (Bruce Peninsula, Georgian Bay of Lake Huron) during our trip to Lake Superior in 2006, to take a closer look at the chain holding the mooring, so here I went:

The chain seemed to be at least 3/8" (one up from our anchor chain (5/16")) so I slipped our anchoring bridle (*-footnote) onto the mooring chain below the water and we'll use that as our primary set of lines to hold us.  The lines of the mooring ball, that are also in good shape, are hooked onto the same cleats, not under strain, acting as backup.

It's hard to tell how Sunday night will play out and write about this beforehand, so I'll stop and we'll post an update Monday later in the morning if we're ship shape.  We're in the eastern section of the Nova Scotia Southwestern Shore forecast area and they just upgraded the wind strength forecast to 45-55kn in the western section due to strengthening of Kyle.  There is still also still a possibility that it will track more closely to or over us.
Cheers, --Z--

* a piece of metal plate with a slot that goes over the chain link and two 3/4" 15ft anchor rode (nylon line) pieces attached to the plate)