Home tomorrow, the 12th of July. Sometimes it seems like we left yesterday, sometimes like we have been gone forever. By the time we return to Lunenburg we will have travelled close to 900 nautical miles and have been gone for just over three weeks. The principal mission for the trip was to complete the required inspection while the ship was out of the water. Though events, beyond our control, the yard delayed hauling us for some time and then could not get us back in the water before the long weekend. These delays added up to us missing the window to visit Gloucester and help them celebrate their 450th anniversary. This was a bitter pill to swallow and sharing the news with the crew was not easy. Schooners Columbia, Pride of Baltimore II, Adventure, Thomas Lannon and Ardelle were all in attendance and Bluenose II would have fit right in. Of course, there are no long weekends or even regular weekends aboard a ship, so it was dry dock watch for the crew and waiting for the yard workers to return. I certainly shared in their disappointment.
After our launch on Tuesday, the 4th of July, we spent an hour or more floating about Pictou harbour testing systems. With engines, generators, and a multitude of pumps and through hulls all testing ok, we headed out into the Northumberland strait.
With a hole in our schedule, we were unsure where to take the ship and crew. Charlottetown, just a short hop away, fit the bill of being a good sized, well-fitted outport and what a reception they gave us! With little notice we had over 1000 visitors across the decks. Thanks to CBC and the Guardian for helping us share the news and tell the story.
From Charlottetown, we set our sights on the top of Cape Breton. The area from Cape St Lawrence to Cape North encompassing the hamlets of meat Cove, Wreck Cove and Bay St Lawrence, the area is a jewel on the top of Nova Scotia. High cliffs plunge into the sea withstanding the battering north winds and tremendous waves they generate. Dotted along the shore are river mouths with their valleys winding into the highlands. We’ve passed by several times in my career and the area remains on my bucket list of places to visit.
From the top, we sailed along the east side of Cape Breton to Bird Islands. With flocks of puffins as thick as mosquitos, it was a treat for the crew to see many varieties of sea birds. I can understand why the tours to the Islands are so popular.
From Puffins to historic forts, Louisbourg was our next stop. The off-watch crew enjoyed hiking the coastal trail and exploring the town. I did get ashore to meet Eric from Fretwood Mac. He donated a lovely Epoxy fret work cut out of the ship. From Louisbourg to Hubbards we had a pleasant journey, and the ship was pleased with her bottom paint and flew along the coast so we could arrive during daylight hours.
In Hubbards we were treated to the sight of future crew sailing around the ship. While the young ones sailed even younger ones had an art class ashore and I received some wonderful photos of artwork.