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The First Trip of the Season

Ship's Position: 
Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Halifax, Nova Scotia


As Dinah Washington once sang, “What a Diff’rence a Day Makes,” or in our case a week. We motored out into the fog last , into the leftover swell from a system that had passed unsure about ourselves and our little ship. We set the fore and jumbo sails and headed offshore to be outside of the remaining lobster traps. With the season ending May 31st there were still a good number of traps in the water, filling the demand for one last feed before the season ends. With a fair breeze we eased through the fog, keeping an eye for traps and boats. Dodging lobster traps is not always an easy proposition and involves some skill and lots of luck. The deeper the water, the less line cluttering the surface. So as we passed offshore from Cross Island, the navigation became easier. We were all happy to find we passed through the fog into clear visibility as we watched Rose Head fall behind the starboard quarter. 


As we squared away for sea, or BSOP (Beginning Of Sea Passage) as it is noted on the paper chart and passage plan, we broke the crew into watches and set off. With some new helmsmen at the wheel, lots of sea room is always a good idea while learning the trick as to keeping a big schooner on course. With a quartering sea sometimes reaching ten feet, there were some challenges, but they all sorted out the basics by the time we arrived.


The passage was reasonably quiet and we saw only one marine mammal. An Atlantic White-sided Dolphin came by to have a look at what we were doing. He briefly swam alongside the ship and then turned and crossed our stern giving us a great look at his colours. They are typically 8-9 feet in length and weigh 400-500 pounds, and the one we saw was all of that. The size difference between the dolphins and the smaller seals and porpoise we see in Lunenburg harbour is quite striking.


Due to the lobster season and possibility of fishing.gear near Sambro Banks, we passed through the outer traffic lanes. This adds quite a bit of time to our passage from Lunenburg. The entrance to the traffic lanes at “1-Echo” is fifteen miles seaward from Chebucto Head. That’s a couple of hours of extra travel time for Bluenose II and puts us beyond sight of all but the tallest peaks and radio towers on the fog bound coast.


Entering the harbour was uneventful with little commercial traffic and a strong 25 knot wind pushing us along. The mate Erin brought us into Maugher’s Beach lighthouse where I took over to finish the voyage. We docked in our usual place behind the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic near the Sackville, missing our old friend CSS Acadia who is across the harbour at COVE while her dock is being upgraded.


After a weekend in the big city, we repositioned ourselves to Lunenburg to finish up the spring refit and to look ahead to our harbour cruises. With our company store open and our public access season starting on Saturday, we are looking forward to meeting new friends from around the world and sharing the story of Lunenburg, Captain Angus Walters and his mighty ship Bluenose.