Good-bye, St John’s

After two weeks in the St John’s area, we are finally moving on and will now cross the Atlantic ocean to Ireland.
We were impressed!

Extremely friendly people (with an interesting accent 😉 )
Superb landscapes
Warmer weather than expected and lots of sunshine
An interesting city, with a uniquely situated harbor, a thriving pub scene, historically relevant Telegraph Hill, the eastern-most point of continental North-America and lots of colorful houses
Plenty of whales
– but no icebergs

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The crew from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland

Here are some pictures of our crew that made it from Halifax via St Pierre to Newfoundland.

Dan MacMackin
Lisa Mogan-O’Keefe
Peter Barba
Philip Kersten
Steve Roberts

Impressions from Newfoundland

 

“There is a reason why most cruising guides for Newfoundland are written by Americans”, one follow boater told me here at the RNYC.
“Canadians prefer to keep this cruising ground a secret…”.

They have a good reason for that as this place is fantastic to sail and explore. With endless coves and bays, impressive mountains, sea live galore and about 10,000 miles of coastline – and extremely friendly and helpful people of top of that.

 

We had two very pleasant weeks. As expected mostly downwind sailing. Some fog here and there, but by far less than expected and with much milder temperatures than anticipated.
We covered about 1100nm, visited very interesting harbors with Shelburne, Lunenburg, Halifax, St Pierre and St John’s.
With Lisa and Steve, we had very eager new crew and managed to get two more people exposed to ocean sailing.

The gennaker was repaired
Peter’s underwear proudly shows when we are hoisting the gennaker sock now
The gennaker is untwisted and repacked
New holes in the partners have been drilled and tapped, the mast base block is reinstalled
The tele-lens contacts have been fixed
One of Moby’s rotors has been fixed
The safety cushions in the cockpit have been stitched
The bracket to tie the raft down has been readjusted
Diesel and water tanks have been topped off

We are good to go.
Through the week, the new crew of  five will fly in. We will purchase the remaining food items and will pre-cook and freeze a couple of meals.
While it does not look like much wind for our planned departure on Friday, we are optimistic that things will work out.

Coming to an end

We left St Johns harbor to move Tioga to the Royal Newfoundland Yacht Club where she will berth until the next crew arrives to sail to Ireland.

We cleared the gut, raised the sails and the freight train left the station. We spotted a few whales and dolphins. The dolphins were playing off in the distance, but provided a great floor show for the crew.

The new crew, Lisa and Steve, earned their stripes. Rounding the point we picked up a close hauled azimuth, heeling with a rail in the water, and screaming along the very impressive coast. Lisa handled the helm as if she was an olympic sailing champion, with the Captain easing the sheets to spill the wind though the gusts. Reaching the tip of Cape St Francis, Steve took the helm and earned his diploma with the tell tales glued to the sheet. At 80 degrees and 7 to 10 knots of wind it was a beautiful sunny day for sailing in Conception Bay and the crew basked in all its glory. All the while Peter was sewing the Gennaker sock, even sacrificing a clean pair of skivies for a makeshift patch. Dan took the helm so we could launch Moby for one last flight as we neared Kelly Island.

We entered the channel to the Royal Newfoundland Yacht Club as the sun began to drop. We stopped at the fuel dock to check in and fuel up. The diesel fill-up was an honor system where you filled up and provided the waitress with your liters for payment. We were provided a tie up at the Commodores slip.

The crew dined at the club with mixed reviews on the Poutines – french fries with gravy and cheese curds. We settled in for much needed sleep.

We awoke for clean up day – where the out going crew scrubs down the boat to prepare for the incoming crew. Steve had laundry duty, Lisa detailed the galley and Dan disinfected the head. Captain Philip and Peter did small repairs. Once the boat was ship shape, we moved the boat to a another slip before heading into town.

We did some site seeing and shopping before stopping in for a cold beverage. Next stop was a local brewery and pizza. The George Street festival was in full swing and the crew stopped in to hear some Canadian Rock. We headed back to Tioga for Jiffy Pop and a final toast to a great adventure.

It was not without a fair bit of sadness that this crew was preparing to bid adieu to Tioga, Captain Philip, and each other. We had spent the past 10 days together as a team, facing fog, fog, and more fog. We were blessed with skill and leadership of Captain Philip, and a crew, some experienced and others with a willingness to learn. Bluewater sailing is one of those things, if we had to explain it, you wouldn’t understand.

Those on board sometimes hope for divine intervention, but all we have is each other. We make a silent promise that I will risk my life to save yours and vise versa. To the next crew of Tioga, we wish you fair winds, safe passage, and godspeed.
Wow thats deep!

 

Welcome to St John’s

After a calm night where the only sound we heard was the waterfall, we lifted anchor and motored out of Aquaforte/Cape Boyle Harbor.

We were happy to see that the fog was far out to sea and enjoyed a sunny and warm downwind sail along the impressive east coast of Newfoundland.

The crew became quite proficient in hoisting and dowsing the gennaker as we tried to sail whenever the breeze kicked in.

While we saw an occasional whale here and there, we did not even get close to the very large number the evening before.

We rounded the eastern-most point of continental North America, Cape Spear (a historic site, marked by a 19th century lighthouse), and aimed at the narrow opening between the impressive rock formations to get us into St John’s harbor.

We motored past Signal Hill with walking trails and the site of the first transatlantic wireless communication, Cabot Tower, which commemorates John Cabot’s discovery of Newfoundland.

For centuries, Newfoundland was the largest supplier of salt cod in the world, and St. John’s Harbour was the center of the trade. As early as 1627, the merchants of Water Street were doing a thriving business buying fish, selling goods, and supplying alcohol to soldiers and sailors.

Despite numerous attempts with the authorities to get a spot a little closer to town, we ended up at the far end of the very industrial harbor, got cleared in by Customs and soon had a French sailing vessel, Eilean from Marseille, tied up to us.

We were quite surprised about the high temperatures, rigged the fly over the cockpit for some shade and celebrated our arrival with the very nice Scotch that Dan had brought along (Shackelton – based on an antique blend of Mackinlay’s rare old highland whiskey).

A nice meal in town followed by life music in an Irish pup rounded off another perfect day.