We cast off from St Pierre at 11:45am, with a little spring line training maneuver.
The fog started light and grew denser as we left the harbor. After an hour we were within fog horn distance of Newfoundland. We were shrouded in fog.
It is easy to see why sailors are superstitious, our ears played tricks on us. The sounds we heard were either gulls, low humming diesel engines, or cries of lost sailors.
But our captain is not superstitious, he is known to flout conventions by bringing bananas on board, and even whistling. We wished he headed the warnings or we wouldn’t be typing this from the life raft – just kidding – we were safe on board Tioga. We were assured of safe passage since at the behest of the captain, Dan and Peter placed coins under the mast during the last refit and the novenas offered by Lisa and Peter at the local church on Ile aux Sailors.
At one point, Steve smelled bleach and assumed the Clorox tanker was bearing down on us. But in fact it was Lisa bringing the boat to a higher standard of microbiological cleanliness.
We continued to sail through dense fog and enjoyed a feast of Grandma Muzziolis chicken cutlet, rice, and carrots. It will be a cold wet night but the crew of Tioga is ready.
We arrived in France about 9am and tied up at the Yacht Club of Saint Pierre. Yes, there are French territorial islands just off the coast of Canada.
The town was beautiful, a cross between New England and European architecture with Caribbean colors. We checked in with Immigrations, then Customs. Lisa our resident Mass State Trooper traded patches – receiving the National and Local border control patches for hers. The Customs agents were friendly and provided information on the local restaurants and markets. We headed into town for breakfast, but found many places closed and settled in at a nice cafe.
We returned to Tioga and the crew was able to shower, finally. Dan decides to do a quick load of laundry – 2 hours later, having difficulty opening the dryer door, ready to peel it open with a crowbar, the nice woman at the desk came to assist – European dryers must open differently than those in the US.
The crew headed back to town and split up – Philip and Peter went on a hike into the hills to launch Moby for some aerial recon and photos. Lisa, Dan, and Steve went to a local pub to check out the beverages. Difficulties with Moby, was the only disappointment of the hike. The top of the hillside provided spectacular views of the town, the coast, and islands.
The crew reunited at a local street party with live band and drinks. At 7:30 we headed to dinner where special guest chef Stephan Ro-Bear made an appearance. The crew dined on escargot, scallops, smoked cod, and redfish. We stopped back in the pub for a nightcap (or 2) and headed back to Tioga for a well deserved sleep sans watches.
We awoke this morning to dense fog and headed to breakfast at one of the recommended restaurants. It turned out they served toast, croissants, and baguettes – that was it.
We took a water-taxi to Ile aux Marins – Island of Tides. This small island, with 20 year round residents is like stepping back in time. The only vehicles on the island are a 4 wheeler and a few sit-n-ride lawn mowers. We visited a fort (4 cannons), a shipwreck (20 feet of the bow), a church and graveyard. Very similar to Cuttyhunk with its small houses, abundant vegetation, and ocean views. The crew agreed this island was a highlight. We enjoyed a nice lunch at the island’s restaurant and museum and boarded the ferry back to Saint Pierre and another night of fine local hospitality.
Years and years of film school and investments into film equipment and software finally paid off:
We continued to sail along; a some what lazy morning.
The clouds moved on giving way to a beautiful blue sky. The winds were perfect, the right breeze out of the right direction. Captain Philip held another morning training session with Lisa and Steve. The new crew is standing tall and looking good.
As the wind died we raised a new sail, the spinnaker. A little more difficult to rig than the Gennaker, the blue and white sail maybe an original from when the boat was built, making it 41 years old.
We picked up speed, approaching 8 knots on calm seas. It was time for another flight for the Drone – Moby.
A new catcher was born, with Steve showing enough proficiency to make Doug look like Bill Buckner. Moby provided great footage of Tioga under sail with the Spinnaker. The wind picked up and it was time change the laundry, dousing the spinnaker and going to genoa and main. We kept with speeds above 5 knots as the fog began to roll in. Except for a few brief moments of clearing we remained in dense fog.
Steve began to cook chicken and beef to add to the pasta for dinner tonight. Paired with Peter’s homemade Sangiovese.
Members of the Academy will stand by with baited breath, and you our loyal blog followers are soon to see the critically acclaimed movie trailer……
We don’t know whether Etmal is an acronym or a foreign word, but we do know that today’s 24 hour open ocean run was a respectable 142 miles, surpassing the 114 we completed yesterday. If you do know the origins of Etmal, please submit your answer written out on a 20 dollar bill to 118 Bass Point Road Nahant, MA care of Sydney Mahaney.
During the last 24 hours we noticed that the Kings Spoke braid made by former crew member – and we do mean Former – has begun to come undone. This was a serious concern, since new crew could no longer determine the correct position of the rudder. Captain Philip communicated with his legal council to seek warranty claim and damages. We close todays blog entry 60 miles from French soil.
As we prepare to hoist the tricolor courtesy flag, the crew has begged Peter and Dan to stop doing poor imitations of Pepe Lapew, and Jaques Cousteau.
Overnight watches were awesome with spectacular light show of shooting stars, the Milky Way, and constellations. The winds were good and the seas were flat. Philip and Steve heard the splash of a whale as it did a drive by. The winds diminished around 4am as predicted by the weather reports. The hand of nature required fuel, so we fired up the iron Genny to keep us moving forward.
We motored until 9am, the Captain and Lisa took time to scrub the deck, with a little humorous belly aching from Steve in the V-berth who was awaken by the cleaning services. We stopped the engine and the Captain and Lisa tested the cool waters of the North Atlantic with a swim.
A clean boat and partially clean crew. Dan told the Goat Joke and smelled like one too. Lisa spotted a whale, another small section of its back as it broke the surface. We spotted several seals as we sailed along. At one point Peter spotted what looked like a shark dorsal fin just ahead. As we passed we realized it was a Mora Mora, a giant ocean sunfish with a dorsal fin on top and bottom of its large round body. We decided it was a bad design for a fish; kind of like a Yugo. It kind of drifted and flopped along with no real direction of travel.
The wind and seas began to rise. Before long we needed to douse the Gennaker to save it from a certain blowout. We unfurled the genoa, raised the main and moved into the Freight Train mode. While the Captain and Peter were pulling up the main a pad-eye holding a snatch block ripped from the mast base. Thankfully there were no injuries. We hit a top speed of 8.7 knots – plowing through the choppy seas.
We dined on Peter’s stolen recipe of sausage, onion, peppers, mushroom, and grapes in white wine sauce. Washed down with a nice bottle of Italian red wine.
The winds remain strong and the seas a little choppy, an overcast sky will steal away what would have been a beautiful sunset. Tioga moves on with fog bank approaching.