Heart’s Desire coming to Gloucester Schooner Festival, Labour Day weekend 2015

Well, since returning last fall Matt and I have certainly dropped the ball with our blog. But I’m happy to say we, and the boat, are alive and well on Martha’s Vineyard for the summer. We’ve had a big year and bought a house, which we’ll write about in the future, and have a new addition to the family, a kitten named Leroy!  You’ll have to come visit us at the Gloucester Schooner festival to meet him! Hope to see you there!

Our stow-away cat!

Beating East around Cape Breton

We bid farewell to Newfoundland in the early morning twilight on August 22nd, a day shy of a month since we’d arrived. We took off unsure exactly what our destination would be but we did well and with lovely weather decided to continue 75 Nmi south to Ingonish, having previously visited the protected harbour on our way north. (more…)

Our Last Three Stops in Newfoundland – La Poile, Petites, Port aux Basques

We didn’t tarry long in Grand Bruit but set out the following morning for the only remaining out port on the south coast we had yet to visit, La Poile. I’m not sure if it was the disappointment of finding Grand Bruit empty or if I was just worn down, but I hardly set foot in La Poile. We tied up on the far side of the ferry wharf, chatted with the locals and watched the comings and goings on the waterfront. We stayed only one night and set out the following morning without a fixed destination, only intending to work our way west. We had read about Petites, a community that was resettled in 2003, so after only 15 Nmi we decided to motor in a take a look.  (more…)

Turning Point! Westward in Newfoundland

We started this adventure on the 14th of June and after some 56 days we turned around and began our way westward, back along the south coast of Newfoundland. From Bay D’Espoir we had a lovely 35 nm day running down wind and working our way up into Devil Bay and then into Rencontre Bay, where we picked up a mooring off of what had been the out port of Rencontre West. (more…)

Trip Log – Bay D’espoir, Nfld

We are very far behind in posting about our trip, but will continue where we left off in Newfoundland around mid August. Leaving the magical fjordland and continuing our way east along the coast we entered the Bay D’Espoir. This beautiful area is a series of passages and bays that continues some way east and north becoming more and more protected the further you go. Ironically this bay is pronounced “Bay Despair” here, but it seemed like this area was one with renewed industry and perhaps more hope than despair for the time being. (more…)

Atlantic Fjord-land

Over a year ago when Jessica and I first began talking about taking Heart’s Desire up to Newfoundland we thought of Gros Morne National park, probably the most well know fjord in Newfoundland, if not in North America. I’ve never been there, but it’s supposed to be extraordinary. It’s the fjord whose photo graces the travel brochures of Newfoundland. It’s the Fjord that everyone who comes to Newfoundland strives to see, and are able to get to. That “able to” being key. I”m sure that Gros Morne lives up to it’s reputation, and I look forward to going there some day, but if you want fjords, I mean really want fjords, then you must go to the South Coast, but you’ll have to find your own way there. (more…)

Big Noise in Grand Bruit

Grand Bruit or “Grand Brute” in Newfoundland speak, is a beautiful town named for the large waterfall that cascades through the center. Most places along the South Coast have french names with Anglicized pronunciations. Some places have also informally reverted to the spellings indicated on the 1790’s charts made by James Cook, who could not spell in French, on his expedition along this coast. (more…)

Rose Blanche and Outport Communities, Newfoundland

We spent our first morning (July 24th) in Newfoundland strolling around Port-Aux-Basques and debating whether to stay another night, in the hopes that the fog would lift for our trip down the coast. At 1pm with our minds made, as the fog may never leave, we cast off our lines and alerted the Port-Aux-Basques traffic authority we were on our way. They replied back that there was no traffic within 5 miles of the harbour. Our way was clear! (more…)

Fear and Awe – Grey River, Newfoundland

I’m not sure that I have the literary ability to convey the majesty of place in which I am writing this. I stop to listen and hear the song of birds echoing off tree lined walls of granite, only a stones throw away, rising up to disappear in the fog on either side of us. I can hear a waterfall, but it is hidden in the woods somewhere near. Drips of fog fall from the rig to patter gently upon the deck, lulling the mind into a state of peace. The rest is silence broken occasionally by the warbling cry of a loon.

Southeast Arm of Grey River fjord, Newfoundland.

Southeast Arm of Grey River fjord, Newfoundland.

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When the wind doesn’t blow… South or West coast Newfoundland?

When we departed White Point in northern Cape Breton we were headed to Codroy, Nfld. We thought the weather sounded great, 15 to 20 knots of nice southwesterly wind. But we’re learning (the hard way) that Environment Canada is a little too conservative for their wind reports to be practical. We got up at 3:30 am, and were off by 4 am for the 75 nautical mile crossing. With only 5 knots of wind, and big rolling seas coming east from the St. Lawrence and west from the Atlantic, we were going nowhere fast. By 11 am we were only 20 miles into our trip. After some hemming-and-hawing we made our decision to head for Port-Aux-Basques, a closer destination on the south coast. (more…)

Trip Log – Cape Breton Highlands (East)

Our last night in the Bras d’Or Lakes was spent in Otter Harbor, a common place to anchor and wait for the proper tide before running out the narrows, where the current can reach up to 8 knots. After two weeks in the lakes it was refreshing to once again see the unbroken horizon of the sea and to feel that we on our way. (more…)

Trip Log – Sailing and crabs in Baddeck

We had great wind and were having a lovely sail into Baddeck, deciding to burn by the harbour before dropping the sails. Unfortunately as we entered the only channel, between docks and a mooring field, a passing group of site-seeing kayakers were spread across the channel. They were now stopped, and taking photos of us… I’m not sure if they realize that we couldn’t just stop, and had very little room to maneuver, but luckily their guide got them moving again and all was fine. (more…)

Trip Log – Bras D’or Lake

The Bras D’or Lakes, Nova Scotia, referred to as “Canada’s Largest Inland Sea” were a pleasure to sail around. We spent almost two weeks enjoying nice weather, flat water, and the cruising life. The danger in these lakes is the phenomenon of lathargia; where days somehow don’t start until noon and sometimes you forget to go sailing… (more…)