Lunenberg to Saint Pierre Passage

August 31, 2014 – 11:00 ~ Lunenberg to Saint Pierre

It was time to leave the beloved small town of Lunenberg, Nova Scotia, the weather was right. We greatly enjoyed our 13 day stay in this quaint and extremely friendly place. The contrast of culture was surprising, we were in Newport for 2 years and found it difficult to connect with people, aside from a few exceptions. People we met in Lunenberg were so giving it was astounding.

After a 3 days battle installing our new autopilot, which does not come with amateur instructions, I suppose they assume a professional will be doing the work, Jay was close to loosing his mind, he thought it was too similar to a motor and nearly gave up. He, as usual, persisted and we were finally ready too leave, actually a day late according to the navigators good weather window predictions. We woke up at 8:30, early for us Coconuts, on Sunday, and headed out the harbor. We did a few tacks to check the rigging and make a couple of adjustments. We tried calibrating the auto pilot but the boat wasn’t flat enough, I suppose you have to have a motor so that the boat can be flat when calibrating it, all too high tech for us. I made breakfast burritos, toast, oatmeal, coffee and tea as we headed out to sea. All 3 chicas feel fast asleep right after, we don’t see much of them the first 6 to 12 hrs of sailing.

Winds were SW at 20 knots, we beam reached until the entrance to Halifax and then turned running down, straight towards our destination, a lovely sunny sail. Well, it didn’t last long and our beautiful sail turned into a hell of a sail. The toughest passage on our, las chicas, log book. The winds picked up to 30 knots sustained, gusting up to vomiting speeds, seas got rough and stormy weather rolled in for the next couple of days. It was unbearable to be on deck, the wet and rocky conditions made it a torturous work out to be out there. Bellow deck was damp and not very pleasant to the stomach. There was a lot of upwind sailing during those couple of days and thankfully Messenger can sail well alone with the tiller tied up which speared me having to drive and gave Jay plenty of time down bellow to rest and dry up. Everyone, except for Caribe and Jay, got sick on this one but they were both also on the verge. At one point Jay laid down on the windward deck and he nearly drowned when a wave engulfed him and filled his napping wide open mouth with water. Tactfully the Captain did great and got us to our destination in a little under 3 days.

It was rainy when we arrived early on a Wednesday morning, no one answered on the radio when we called and had no idea where to go but we saw a couple of douane gentlemen waiving us down from a pier so we sailed up to it and tied up. After a worshiped shower and a nap came the immigration agents and then down went the yellow flag and up the French flag, “où pouvons-nous trouver une baguette?

After a fancy dinner out we had all forgotten about our kick in the butt passage and it all seamed so worth it!

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Newport to Lunenberg Passage

July 14, 2014 – 12:00 ~ Newport to Lunenberg

Finally we set sail again, after the longest stop we’ve ever made since we started sailing, Jay 9 years ago and myself (Natasha) 5 years ago. We cast off under fair winds from Newport, Rhode Island, headed for Lunenberg, Nova Scotia. Within the hour into our passage all 3 girls were sleeping. Later on that afternoon Caribe throw up for the first time in her sailing career. I ducked and she got me on the shoulder, otherwise she would have got me head on. But that was it, she never got sea sick again on this passage and we had some rough patches where she was jumping up and down as happy as could be. Luna is a natural just like Jay, Sol on the other hand, lays horizontally the entire time, she even eats and plays laying down and does get sea sick when it gets rough. Even though we had purchased a brand new auto pilot (a kind donation from G-Ma) we still hadn’t had time to connect it so Jay was a slave to the tiller, I drove for a couple of hours that first afternoon. At night we had fair winds and the sea got considerably calm as we reached the Gulf stream, that madrugada I relieved the Captain for a few hours again.

Day 2 – Dolphins visited us twice, they were dark gray with a bright white underside, we also saw a portuguese-man-of-war, a jelly fish with an inflated sail like bladder which floats on the surface. The jib came out of it’s track, this was another thing we bought new but hadn’t installed it, the old aluminum track was bent so it was difficult to get the jib to slide up in it. Jay had tried twice y la tercera es la vencida, so he was on his last try when he got it up. We also left without cutting the dinghy in half so we had been towing it with 2 lines, one broke off so Jay had to replace it while underway.

Day 3 – Tides from the Bay of Fundy were affecting the seas where we were, 200 nautical miles away. Currents were strong and seas disorganized. We had to gybe constantly with the incoming and outgoing tides. The wind picked up to 20 knots, so we put down the jib knowing we probably wouldn’t be able to get it back up and just sailed with the main. I toke a turn at the helm at noon with the radio headphones, picking up some Canadian talk shows and classical music. The dinghy had been doing well for the most part while being towed, surfing and gliding behind us. Some unconscious thought made me look behind us and I saw the dinghy was upside down! I screamed for Jay and he jumped into the cockpit in a flash. The next few hours turned into a physical torment as we tacked and gybed back and forth in 8ft seas trying to rescue our dinghy, our live raft, our car! I laid stomach down on the leeward deck as Jay sailed by the dinghy trying to snag the floating line that was attached to it but after more than a handful of tries and being doused with a cold wave we decided to change tactics. We sailed directly upwind from the dinghy and put down the main, as we drifted down to it Jay put on a harness and secured a rope to it. That part was planned out and we had spoken about it but what followed was a total surprise. When we were about 10ft from the dinghy Jay stripped his clothes off and jumped into the cold North Atlantic butt naked and swam to the dinghy. He quickly secured a rope to the dinghy and swam back to Messenger climbed back onboard at the transom pulling himself up with the back stay, a feat probably nearly impossible to do on a regular day. But pumped with adrenaline he climbed up with no problem. Later, in retrospect, he told me all he could think about was of the shark infested waters he had jumped into. But voilá, we had it back and although we were exhausted, cold, bruised and bleeding, we had not given up, we had managed to save our dinghy. The hard part of the rescue was done but we still had some work cut out for us. We pulled the dinghy along side Messenger and flipped it over, it was full of water so then Jay had to jump into it and bail it out and secure new lines to it. Down bellow, where the girls had fallen asleep with the rocking and rolling, the boat was a disaster, everything had fallen about.

Finally that evening the wind and seas had calmed and we began our slow approach towards Lunenberg. That night I drove for a good long stretch letting Jay finally get some needed rest.

Day 4 – Winds at 10 knots and we are finally parallel to land, seas have been calm and wind consistant making the boat flatter and our passage more comfortable. We saw a moon fish, 2 small sharks and a small whale in the distance. We arrived into Lunenberg before noon and too tired to sail onto a dock to check in so we anchored and rested until the next morning.