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.
Once moored we were fortunate that Angelo, the owner and operator of North River Kayaks (now with a location in Baddeck), passed by and invited us to come listen to music and have a beer at the local Bras d’Or Yacht Club (BYC). What we thought would be a happy hour beer turned into a full night drinking the local Big Spruce beer, and we made a plan to take Angelo and his guide Justin sailing a couple of days later.
Baddeck is a nice town with great facilities for cruisers and wifi everywhere. We stayed on a mooring owned by Baddeck Marine, but there are also moorings by the BYC and there is limited room to anchor in or near town as well. Docks are also available at Baddeck Marine or the town for $1.25/foot overnight.
In town we visited the Alexander Graham Bell museum, which was an interesting portrayal of his life in addition to the commonly known invention of the telephone. Unfortunately his beautiful house on a hill outside of town is privately owned and you cannot visit. Otherwise the town has a few restaurants, a liquor store, a grocery store and a funky little library. The small island that shelters the harbour has a nice walking trail, and free ferry service from the mainland. They have a small, enclosed beach with lifeguards, as well as picnic tables (under roofs). We swam from the boat to the island but took the dinghy when we did the walk so our shoes stayed dry.
On our third day in town we got out sailing around the area. It was fun to again get people out for a sail, which we hadn’t done since Halifax. Often cruising from place to place, we don’t try to push the boat, cruise around with others or venturing off our intended path. For this reason sailing for fun without a destination adds a little excitement (which when making passages we generally don’t want). With Angelo & Justin we ended up sailing along with the charter boat Amoeba, whose captain and owner we’d met on the dock. Amoeba, a staysail schooner, and Heart’s Desire competed along in a great breeze with bald eagles soaring around us. A few beers were tossed over from Amoeba thanks to the generosity of Captain John. I think their charter guests enjoyed the schooner show and we had fun knocking about. After our sail we had some scrumptious local mussels on the boat and met another of Angelo’s guides, Eric, and a travelling salt, Trevor. Trevor was contemplating a transatlantic and told us about freezing in to overwinter in Greenland in the past (twice!!!). We hope he is safe and enjoying his next adventure.
The following day we readied to take off, but not before joining guides Justin & Eric at Angelo’s house for a fabulous snow crab feast, our last supper in Baddeck. This was a special treat and something I had been hoping for since we started planning the trip. Snow crab is fabulously sweet and tasty but difficult to find and almost always frozen if you do. Luckily we hit the season, and Angelo’s friend works at a processing plant and brought us 25 lbs. Full of crab we enjoyed a desert of crisp in a crazy tall treehouse built by Angelo and friends, overlooking St. Ann’s Bay, where we would be headed the following day.