Toward colder waters
We departed Linekin Bay and the east coast of the USA – aiming for Nova Scotia. We were not sure exactly where we were going to land. The wind underway would decide. Bay of Fundy divides the northern east coast of USA from the Canadian peninsula Nova Scotia. The plan was to head around the southernmost cape of Nova Scotia if the wind stayed in our favor. Another possibility was to find a harbor on the west side of the peninsula – before rounding the cape.
The nice wind gave beautiful sailing eastward Bay of Fundy. The fog was dense the most of the way. After one and a half day and closing in on the Nova Scotia west coast, the forecast “threatened” with winds from the wrong direction. Instead of heading around the southernmost cape of Nova Scotia, we sailed in to Yarmouth on the western side of the peninsula. In the afternoon we tied up at the now abandoned Ferry dock.
Through the Coast Radio Station we reported our arrival to Customs. After dark we welcomed the voyage’s until then nicest Customs and Immigration officers aboard Empire. Simple formalities and polite and friendly officials mean a lot for the first impression. Canadian authorities made a good score when they welcomed us to their country. We were also supposed to pay a fee for clearing in after hours, but the officers told us not to worry. They “forgot” to charge us, as they said…
Canadian National Day
We celebrated the Canadian Constitution Day the 1. of July, together with citizens of Yarmouth. On the dock it was set up for celebration the whole day – but it had deserved a bigger audience. Luckily more Canadians showed up dockside in the afternoon. The fireworks in the evening gave full score in the beautiful weather.
When heading off, the course was set south and around Cape Sable in beautiful sunshine – aiming for Lunenburg, further north on the east coast of Nova Scotia. When we arrived in the city where “Bluenose II” was under restoration, we also celebrated 7 years on a long voyage!
Historical seafarer town
During 1800 and 1900’s many of the world’s most famous sailing ships where built in Lunenburg. Among these ships was the regatta schooner Bluenose, launched in 1921. The ship won every race 17 years in a row. When the sailing ships of wood “lost the battle” for steam ships of steel, Lunenburg managed to stay in - developing a modern harbor for steel ship repair and maintenance as well as hanging on to the wooden traditions.
We knew that a replica of Bluenose was being rebuilt in Lunenburg, due to be launched in 2012. As we sailed into the beautiful harbor we sighted the big plastic shed – where the restoration was taking place. A visit to the shed to look more closely at the famous ship, was of course on the agenda during the visit in Lunenburg.
From Lunenburg we headed for Halifax. After three weeks on board Bjørnar signed of in Halifax. The “capital” of Nova Scotia is a small big city – but of course has connections by air also to Norway.
During World War II Halifax was of big importance to Norwegian seamen. Norwegian ships underway when the war broke out, were ordered to port - many of them to Halifax.
Camp Norway was established in Halifax during the war, where many Norwegian seamen were trained for operations against the German enemy. The Norwegian’s presence during the war was still noticeable. Several people with Norwegian ancestors came by Empire when we were tied up downtown Halifax, to have a chat.
The Royal Norwegian Consul in Halifax also found his way to Empire. Steinar Engeseth is a friend of Heidi’s father – and he enjoyed telling about Halifax and the city’s importance to Norwegians. He was also engaged in the fishing industry, and used the opportunity to “fill up” Empire with shrimps.
In the Pacific Ocean in 2008 we got to know the Canadian sailor Ian and the yacht Afriki. Coincidences made Ian and his girlfriend travel to Nova Scotia as we were there. We had a lovely reunion with our sailing friend, and we later met Ian and Yasmeen also in Newfoundland. After finishing his long sailing voyage, Ian had settled back on land (for now…) in his home country.
In Halifax we also got to know the Canadian sailor Ed. He was underway from Texas (in the Mexican Golf) to St. John’s in Newfoundland (Canada). Ed was expecting visitors – from his Norwegian sailing friends Tom and Christian – one afternoon while Ed was aboard Empire. Tom and Christian, cycling on their bikes on their way to Ed, suddenly discovered Empire on the dock, stopping their bikes shouting ”Hei, Empire – hvordan går det?” (“Hello Empire, how are you”). They had read our articles in the Norwegian magazine ”Seilas” and followed us on our web pages, and almost felt as they knew us.
To us it was new to be recognized like this. As we slowly (or maybe way too fast...?) closed in on home waters, this was one of many pleasant meetings with strangers following our voyage “in distant”.
Even further north
Sometimes we felt that time was passing by too quickly when we were sailing closer to Nordic waters. We would have loved to spend more time in American and Canadian (and later, also Greenlandic and Icelandic) waters. With a shrinking travel budget and with plans to tie up in our home port in Oslo before the ice closed the fjord, we had to sail on. On a good weather forecast we headed of from Halifax, aiming for St. John’s on the east coast of Newfoundland. Maybe we would see our first icebergs?
The voyage toward St. John’s lasted for five days and the fog was dense most of the time. On the second day from Halifax Eirik started complaining about pain in his bottom. On the third day we understood what it was all about. A closer inspection of Eirik’s ashole showed wriggling 0,5mm thick about 10mm long worms in large numbers! Also in his stools it was wriggling. Luckily is Empire not a wooden boat – in case it was combined woodworms that had showed up! The good thing was that Doctor Otto at Tåsenklinikken, who sorted out Empire’s ships pharmacy before we left home port, had been foresighted. Pills for worms was present in the medicine cupboard and all crew members were immediately put on Vermox treatment. Also on Marius we discovered worms, but it seemed as the adult crew bypassed the attack (this time?)…
Worms catches easily when living tightly. We altered from using clothes nappies to using disposable diapers, still we had enough to watch out for – with two very young crew members aboard touching about everywhere and everything...
Shortly after arrival in St. John’s the welcome committee stood on the dock. Ed had given a notice of Empire’s arrival to his sister, and she did a great job welcoming us. A few days later also Ed arrived St. John’s in his 28” sailing yacht ”Rol’n Rose” – and by doing so he ended his long voyage – for now…
We were invited to Ed’s parents home – and Eirik and Marius found their first Canadian friend in Ed’s sisters son, Oliver. It was not the same fun a few days later when we were about to head off, all the children shouting “My best friend – I will never see him again…!”
Music playing boats – and icebergs
It was culture week in St. John’s. Every day at 1200 hours all ships in the harbour played a melody. Tugs, supply ships and carriers all honked their horns to a well directed symphony – a new tune every day.
Ed took us sightseeing on the road. We experienced beautiful nature and friendly small towns. What we saw of Newfoundland was not looking too different from western parts of Norway, still a bit less steep mountains. Quidi Vidi, the small bay just north of St. John’s was a beautiful local harbor. Maybe we sometime in the future will stay over the winter there…?
Also Ian and Yasmeen found us again in St. John’s – after they had enjoyed camping life in Newfoundland for a week. Another nice reunion, maybe we will see them in Norway shortly?
Even though we again would have loved to stay for longer, we headed north for our last stop in Newfoundland. Squeezed in between the wreck of a fishing boat and the shoreline we found room for Empire at the Coast Guard pier. Shortly after when we walked ashore dressed in rubber clothes, we managed to walk only a few steps toward “downtown” before Graham stopped us. He had seen us come from Empire and wanted to give us a hike. We were soaking wet but he did not care and invited us in to his car..
In the following days we got to know Graham better. He was the chef aboard the Coast Guard ship ”Harp”. Already the same afternoon he showed up on the dock with two large plates in his hands. He wanted to give us a taste the same local food that he just had served for dinner aboard the Coast Guard vessel. And we got to taste several different courses in the days that followed. And not only that – we were also invited to use the little Coast Guard house on the pier. The house had a washing machine, several fitness equipment and a TV. Especially the washing machine was of interest… Hospitality like this you don’t find everywhere!!!
In the path of the Vikings
In a rental car we hit the road north from St. Anthony, to check out L’Anse Aux Meadows – and the remains of the Viking Village discovered by Anne Stine og Helge Ingstad in the 1960’s. The village is today only ruins, and nearby a live Viking village is rebuilt, where also the humans are alive. A great experience for all four of us, with live “Vikings” in their right environment...
On our way back to St. Anthony during a stop on Cape Onion, we experienced our first icebergs. Two big mountains stood aground far out in the horizon – which tells something about the size! We lost our speech and turned thoughtful – standing there knowing that we were about to sail further north.
Will come back
We did not manage to leave on the first weather window. A possible short weather window, mum’s nerves and Marius with a virus infection giving blisters and no appetite, helped us with that decision.
When we finally threw off from St. Anthony heading away from Newfoundland we knew one thing for sure – sooner or later we are going to visit Newfoundland again!
The course was set north, toward Greenland and icebergs...