This was the third summer that Sally and I have spent in Atlantic Canada on Gorgeous Girl. (I have recently learned that what I, and the map above, called the Maritimes does not in fact include Newfoundland. The proper term that includes both Nova Scotia and Newfoundland is Atlantic Canada.) I had spent six summers here on a previous boat. Our plan was to head east along the south shore of Nova Scotia then enter the Bras d'Or Lakes then head across to Newfoundland and, perhaps, circumnavigate Newfoundland, clockwise. We spent too much time enjoying ourselves along the west coast of Newfoundland to permit a full circumnavigation but we did make it to Labrador.
Our first landfall after leaving Maine was the town of Shelburne on the south shore of Nova Scotia. We took a mooring at the Shelburne Harbour Yacht Club.
2. Port Mouton
On Independence Day we sailed from Shelburne to Port Mouton. I have n idea why the locals pronounce Mouton as Mahtoon. There is a large bay here protected from the ocean by islands large and small and with plenty of isolated spots to drop an anchor. We chose a spot just off Carter's Beach.
The beach is near Kejimkujik National Park so it gets a lot of land visitors as well as boaters. That's "a lot" by Nova Scotia standards.
After a night at Port Mouton we had a down wind sail for the 41 nautical miles to Lunenburg.
Lunenburg is a great sailor's town. They've built or rebuilt some of the world's best known sailing ships.
The sprawling Scotia Trawler complex kept the fleet of Grand Banks fishing boats in shape.
We anchored across the harbor from town, near the golf course that has a spectacular view of the waterfront.
This one of the few places in Canada where we make use of the outboard on our dinghy. It would be a long row to the corner of the harbor closest to the supermarket.
We were there for three nights taking advantage of the bakeries, scallop shop, restaurants and the fabulous farmer's market.
It fills the hockey arena.
It was an overcast day when we were in Chester, not much good for photographing. Here are a few anyway.
That's "Front Harbour and the yacht club at the bottom of this street. We were anchored in Back Harbour.
This is the main street in town on a Saturday morning.
The black building on the right is the popular Kiwi Cafe.
After Chester we sailed across the top of Mahone Bay, the bottom of St. Margaret's Bay and into Prospect Harbour. Our destination was the isolated and pristine anchorage known as Rogue's Roost. The entrance is narrow and forbidding, between a large rock to starboard and a submerged rock to port. This was once a secret treasure known only to a few locals. The secret is now out and it can get quite crowded on a sunny weekend.
We were there under overcast skies with occasional drizzle so we had it nearly to ourselves.
I had never stopped in Ketch Harbour before. There are often big swells rolling in from the southeast.
But this year we had a very nice north wind that made it a comfortable anchorage for the night.
Malagash Cove is perfectly comfortable in anything but a strong east wind.
There are few houses along the shore but with no road traffic it's always quiet.
We went up to Sheet Harbour, six miles inland, to stop in at the restaurant there for Internet access.
It's a convenient stop for provisioning but we were still well stocked and didn't do any shopping.
Felker Cove is another anchorage I had never before visited.
It's near Necum Teuch, pronounced Neekum Taw. The cove isn't named on the charts but it's just south of Moose Head.
Yankee Cove is a couple of miles up Whitehead Harbour.
Like Rogue's Roost, it offers protection from every wind direction. We spent two nights there this trip, sitting out a day of rain, drizzle, fog, high winds and big seas.
There's a very nice shortcut inside the eastern tip of Nova Scotia.
Andrew's Passage wanders between rocks and islands with always flat water.
The route across the Canso Strait passes by the large island of Isle Madame.
This is the northeast corner of that island.
St. Peter's Lock
Ever since 1869 there has been a southern entrance to the Bras d'Or Lakes.
There's a short canal with a lock at St. Peter's.
Our first night in the lakes this year was spent in Corbett Cove, about three miles from St. Peter's.
In past years I've spent weeks wandering around these lakes. This year we went straight across to Baddeck.
Baddeck is where we do laundry, buy yarn, restock the larder, pick up tasty treats at the Highwheeler Cafe and chill out for awhile before heading across to Newfoundland.
We rented a mooring from the Bras d'Or Yacht Club.
Our friend Wilson Eavis was in town with his friend Kristen. Wilson treated us all to a wonderful seafood dinner at the historic Telegraph House.
Across the street from Telegraph House is the Highwheeler Cafe and Bakery.
The Highwheeler is the red building above. If you pay a visit to Baddeck, try the rhubarb streusel they make. I begin craving one when we we're still weeks away.
This is a lovely little harbor part way out the Great Bras d'Or arm to the sea.
This harbor is about as close to Newfoundland as you can get in NovaScotia.
There's a public dock inside a breakwater but it was full of fishing boats. We anchored off a pretty beach and were quite comfortable.
After a 70 mile passage across Cabot Strait we pulled into Codroy, Newfoundland.
We tied up to the public wharf.
Most harbors in Newfoundland have substantial public wharves like this one, all marked by a yellow beam across the top. Some have begun charging a modest fee but many are still free.
From Codroy we sailed downwind to Port au Port Bay and came into the small harbor at Blue Beach.
With the wind blowing us away from the wharf it was a struggle getting into that tight spot between boats. We were fortunate that Phonsie (Alphonse) Young was visiting his fishing shack. He took our lines then invited us for tea with his wife Mary.
That's Phonsie gathering fuel for the wood stove he built. The red building is his fishing shack.
Bay of Islands
Our next stop was in the Bay of Islands. Most of the shoreline of that bay is at the bottom of steep cliffs that can cause dangerous "blow me down" conditions.
That's a Blow Me Down behind the little Puffin Islands. Just below the Puffins is Woods Island.
That's Woods in front of the same Blow Me Down. There is a large, perfectly protected, anchorage inside Woods Island. The entrance is a bit tricky with ledges angling out from both sides.
This is looking out the entrance. The Bay of Islands Yacht Club has placed a pair of stakes on shore to serve as range markers, making it perfectly safe.
Inside the harbor, the yacht club put in the floating dock that we tied to, along with a local power boat. The yacht club is located several miles up the Humber Arm near the large town of Corner Brook.
We spent a night at the end of the floating dock there.
The next day we made a short excursion up the North Arm.
The wind was in the wrong direct for anchoring there so we returned to Woods Island Harbour. The following day we headed up the Middle Arm.
Wherever small boats can be beached, there are fishing shacks. This is Jennings Cove.
At Penguin Head, the arm splits into two smaller arms. We chose the Penguin Arm.
This is the anchorage at the top of Penguin Arm. After a rainy night we came back down the arm in showers and drizzle to Cox's Cove.
While we were anchored off the village, Darren Park came by in his skiff to give us a fresh cod he had just caught. He's a local tour guide. Check him out at www.fourseasonstours.ca.
Our first stop in Bonne Bay was at Norris Point.
It's near the entrance to East Arm.
Just around the corner from Norris Point is Neddy Harbour.
Gros Morne mountain is just visible in the distance. It's the flat topped one to the left of the closer one that appears taller. Gros Morne National Park surrounds Bonne Bay.
This fishing boat is dragging its net aboard. They're about to head out, going after halibut. We left before they did and moved two miles across the bay to Woody Point.
It's slightly more urbanized than other west coast villages we've seen, second only to Corner Brook. There are two convenience stores, a gas station, coffee shop, tavern, library and a 108 year old theater..
The public wharf was fully occupied. Instead of rafting up to a fishing boat, which is commonly done here, we anchored out.
This is Woody Point's Come Home Year.
Newfoundland villages that have seen many of their residents move away plan Come Home years when they're encouraged to return for a reunion.
Near the top of theEast Arm is a park camping site at Lomond Cove.
With the forecast of a SW wind, we expected to spend the day there and to take advantage of the showers.
The free dock was damaged so we anchored out.
The facilities were quite nice but the plumbing for the showers had been removed.
Instead of the expected SW wind it came up out of the north so we moved back to Neddy Harbour which offers wind protection from any direction..
We spent a week in Bonne Bay moving around as the wind allowed, sampling as many of the cafes/pubs/taverns/restaurants as we could manage, and taking photos. Here's a better one of Gros Morne mountain.
Here's another showing snow patches remaining (in August!) on a couple of slightly lesser mountains.
Our final port in Bonne Bay was the town of Rocky Harbour.
The only available spots on the public wharf were too exposed for the strong north winds so we anchored at Bear Cove waiting for the wind to lighten up.
It was the next morning when we moved to the wharf, had a fine breakfast at Java Jack's, then spent the rest of the day wandering around town. It's the sort of place where you can find gluten free moose burgers, deep fried cod tongues as well as gourmet french toast.
Our next stop after Bonne Bay was at Cow Head, about 20 miles north.
We tied up to the large public wharf for the night. We had seen two other sailboats visiting the west coast this summer. We finally got to meet the couple on one of them. They're from Goderich, Ontario They're slowly touring Newfoundland each summer, leaving their boat here each winter.
We had planned to stay only one night but the weather wasn't appealing so we stayed longer. The town of Cow Head, the winterside, is across the causeway from the harbor which is also known as summer side.
The beaches on both sides of the causeway are all smooth stones.
Port Au Choix
We had a nice sail north from Cow Head, stopping for a night in Gobineaux Bay near Port Saunders.
In the morning we sailed around Pointe Riche and into Port Au Choix. The floating dock was fully occupied so we tied to the fixed public wharf.
The dark hulled sailboat on the floating dock belongs to a young couple from South Bristol, Maine. They were on their way back from Labrador. There is also plenty of room to anchor in the harbor.
This is the other side of the harbor. The original settlement at Port Au Choix was in an entirely different cove.
There was an active Basque fishing station here in the 1500s.
This is an undeveloped cove between the old and new ports.
We had a nice sailing reach from Port Au Choix 39 miles northeast to St. Barbe in 20 knot west winds.
We anchored in a small cove just south of the wharf used by the ferry from Blanc-Sablon which is on the border between Quebec and Labrador.
A work crew was repairing the dock between ferry visits.
The other side of the cove was much quieter.
The next morning we had a nice light air sail to Red Bay, Labrador.
This was once a Basque Whaling station and is now a World Heritage Site. There was a whale in the harbor as we came in. We had trouble getting the anchor to set in the cove behind Saddle Island and went instead to the end of Western Arm.
That's Saddle Island to the left and Western Arm to the right.
The next morning we moved to the public wharf.
Even the fog around here can be dramatic. It's now too late in the summer to continue a circumnavigation so we'll be turning around and heading back the way we came. I'll close this chapter with a photo of something that is quintessentially Newfoundland & Labrador: bake apples (aka cloud berries) growing in the peat moss barrens.