News 19

Nova Scotia to Florida
Canada, Eastcoast US, ICW

Lunenburg, NS
Birthplace of the New England Schooner

There hasn't been an update for quite a time now, in part due to the failure of almost our complete electronics system, incl. the digicam. Modern gadgets are simply not made for the Newfoundland fog. Most of the stuff is working again by now or has been replaced. Here follows the comprehensive narrative of the arduous summer and autumn

From Sidney, Cape Breton Island, we sailed to the south coast of Nova Scotia via the breathtakingly beautiful Bras d'Or Lakes. Again Nova Scotia is more a story of what we didn't see: fog, fog, fog... Halifax saw us waiting for mail that never arrived.

Passage to Portland, Maine. Finding the entrance to the harbour in zero visibility thanks to driving rain and thick fog (!) was a hairraising experience. Once inside we motored into one of the marinas (incredibly expensive) to clear customs and immigration. 9/11 has not exactly made that easier. The cheapest way to wait for a weather window proved to be picking up one of the moorings close to the fairway opposite the waterfront. Nice, but still expensive.

Oh those New England rocks... On we moved to Cape Cod, enjoying the light and its slightly Bohemian atmosphere. To avoid the infamous Nantucket Shoals we took the Cape Cod Canal to Buzzards Bay, Massachusets. Smooth and simple when you get the tides right, we enjoyed it. Next stop South Darmouth, MA. More confusing rocks and the Indian Summer in all its glory.

Portland, ME


The gale starts to moderate and we start sailing again

Now we wanted something more peaceful, the ICW. First we went through the Dismal Swamp Canal to Elizabeth City, NC. As at the first time it proved quiet and easy. The DSC has a bad reputation for shoaling and debris, we found it no problem and enjoyed its abundant nature. Of course you could still see the damage done by hurricane Isabel. Over 600 trees had to be removed to make the canal passable again and it had only opened again a few days before we went through.

In Elizabeth City we wanted to go to the Pelican Marina, where we had stayed a month the year before, only to find another victim of Isabel. So we enjoyed the hospitality of the Rose Buddies at the City Dock. Our old friends from last year found us all the same and we had quite a surprise welcome party.

From Massachusetts we made it one long haul to Norfolk, Virginia. The weatherforecast had promised us moderate Northeasterly winds and an easy passage. Well, we had Northeasterly winds for 48 hours blowing a full gale. 40 kts of wind, gusting to 50 and seas of 10 to 20 feet, sometimes more than that. They saw us running before the wind under bare poles still doing 5 to 6 kts. We handsteered in 1/2 to 1 hour shifts. No sleep, no food, everything wet, water above the floor boards, seas flooding the cockpit... We had a lot of fun.

As in real life every gale tends to blow out eventually, even if you cannot believe it while you are in it. We arrived in Norfolk, Virginia, on Columbus Day 1 am. Not much damage done to the boat but a lot to our morale. It took us a week to clean up the mess.

Dismal Swamp Canal lock

Sunrise in Elizabeth City


From Norfolk, VA, on the ICW to Georgetown,SC. Motoring almost all of the time from sunrise to sunset, eating up miles. Every now and again when there was a little more open water we could sail for a while, but never long. There is a sheer endless procession of sail and power boats and a congestion at each of the numerous swing or bascule bridges, especially at the ones with restricted opening times. At this particular one, the last pontoon bridge in the US, we counted fifty boats waiting. Hundreds of boats must be underway here and many of them make the passage twice a year: To Florida and the Bahamas in autumn, back up North to the Chesapeake and New England in the spring. They call themselves "snowbirds".


In Georgetown, SC, we couldn' stand it any longer and decided to go outside again. This time we really had a good Northeaster and three days and two nights later we arrived in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. We had managed to find a good balance between going away far enough from the coast for the wind but not too far to stay away from the Gulf Stream. Warm again finally. Palm trees, porpoises, pelicans, we love the North, but you can't beat warm and the sun.

We stayed here for a month. Mainly because by now we had an endless list of repairs or replacements: laptop, autopilot, depth sounder, pactor, SSB radio (still in the repair shop), digicam, steering lines for the windvane, winches and so on, and so on. We didn't see very much of the area beside hardware and marine stores. Time was running out anyway. We had to make south...


And so on we go: marina, anchorage, mooring, mile after mile to Lake Worth Inlet. From there we will sail to the Bahamas for four weeks and then return to Stuart, FL. Next stops St. Lucie Canal, Lake Okeechobee and finally the Tampa area. Gabriele wants to find a job and I have so many projects on the boat... In any way we will take a serious break.

It's the holiday season around us, we hardly realise anything of it and are far away from the mood, maybe in the Bahamas it will come to us. Too much strain on us at the moment. But we definitely like some of the kitsch...

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