I’m sitting in a quiet place reflecting on the past two weeks, all the waterfront news, and all the crew have accomplished. Along the waterfront, a small voyaging schooner has returned to her home waters. Under the command of Tom Gallant and chief mate “Jimmy the Cat,” schooner Avenger has returned from an extended stay in the Caribbean. Held up while looking for crew in Bermuda, the captain found a willing soul to make the deep-water passage. Avenger has made the passage 34 times by all accounts and is possibly like the old milk horse plodding along the familiar route.
This route south has been followed by Nova Scotia schooners for generations. After the cod fish was caught, dried on flakes, and packaged, the staple food of the Caribbean was sailed to the south and sold. On the return trip, salt, rum, and other goods were loaded for the northern ports. Bluenose made the trip to Puerto Rico in 1922 and returned to Lunenburg after stopping in Turks and Caicos for salt. There was great interest reported in the papers as all the waterfront wanted to know if she could make a fast passage.
In modern times, Capt. Tom is not alone in his passages south. Many small yachts make the annual trek south, stopping either in Bermuda or along the eastern seaboard before returning in the spring with the fairer weather. This year there was a change in the Canadian Border Services policy and yachts were not going to be allowed to enter Lunenburg. With the alarm raised by a local community leader, the town managed to have the policy changed. With that decision, the flood gates were opened. We have seen yachts from all over the world: Norway, Switzerland, United States and the commonwealth red ensign have been popular in the harbour.
On our little ship we have been busy entertaining visitors from across Canada and around the world. Asia, Germany, United Kingdom and all across North America all have representatives here in Lunenburg. After we dock, it’s amazing to walk along the packed wharf and listen to the different languages being spoken. Nova Scotia, Lunenburg and our little schooner are known around the world, and it shows. Out of all the people we meet, not many have never heard of Bluenose, Capt. Angus and their exploits. The visitors that have not heard the tales of the Queen of the North Atlantic are soon educated by our passionate crew and leave with a great appreciation of life on the coast and fishing under sail.
In the past two weeks, we have visited ports nearby on the coast in support of local events. The most exciting for us was the Nova Scotia Schooner Association annual race week. Hard fought competition on the water, camaraderie ashore in the evening. Again this year, the fleet offered to take our crew racing for the day. With a lunch made and packed by our trusty cook, and leaving a skeleton watch behind, we spread the Bluenose II crew across the fleet. I don’t know who won the race, but I do know that our crew are better for having met and sailed with schooner enthusiasts from the NSSA. Thank you!