| A SHORT
CRUISE ON THE NORTHUMBERLAND STRAITS
by JIM FRASER in WAYFARER NAOMI
Part 1 of 2
I planned to spend the last week and a half of my annual vacation pottering along...
The waters of the Northumberland Straits are much warmer than
Saturday, September 11
Forecast N/E 10-15 knots to light
I launched my Wayfarer, Naomi, at Port Elgin in
Naomi on Baie Verte
Withies off Tidnish River
After a short sail, Naomi arrived off
I left Naomi by the bridge (above) and hiked along a rail bed which was once part of the ill-fated Chignecto Marine Transport Railway. Since the French period in the 17th century, there were various plans to build a canal across the Isthmus of Chignecto. Vessels traveling up the eastern seaboard of
I anchored for the night alongshore on...
Sunday September 12
Forecast S/W 15 knots afternoon to S/W 20/25 knots
Naomi sailed easily on a force 2/3 reach until near the approaches to...
The tidal flow is 2 knots in the approaches but near the road bridge it reaches 4 to 5 knots. I stopped at the Pugwash Marina (above) which is located near the bridge. They had one visitor slip which I took. After a leisurely meal of spaghetti, wine, and veggies, I headed for a coffee shop in Pugwash. Later, some of the boat owners at the marina dropped by to talk.
Monday September 13
Forecast W 20-25 knots veering to N/W 20-30 knots during the morning
With the winds freshening even at dawn, I wanted to get under the road bridge at Pugwash and head for the more sheltered
Eventually I compromised. I waited for the current to decrease somewhat before shoving off. However, my plans came apart. I used one of the oars to push away from the dock so I could clear the neighbouring yachts and swing the bow into the stream. Unfortunately, the strong current punched Naomi back against the dock and she slid sternwards along the dockside. Before I could react quickly enough, the oar blade caught between two floating docks, jammed in the rowlock and snapped off!
I quickly tied Naomi to the dock mooring cleats and searched for the piece which had snapped off. Perhaps with bolts and duct tape I could lash the oar together again. The shattered blade was gone but I kept the rest in case I found the remains above the bridge. All I could purchase at the local hardware store were some poor quality 7-foot oars which I reluctantly bought. I can’t imagine cruising anywhere in a Wayfarer without a decent set of oars but these pudding spoons would have to do. The only place I knew which sold well made 9-foot oars on this coast is Stright-MacKay’s in New Glasgow. However, this chandlery is located near the end of my intended cruise.
Mast lowered, Naomi heads for the Pugwash Bridge
I lowered the mast, and motored under the bridge. In the basin beyond, I hoisted the main and had a great sail (above) up the
During the evening, I reclined against the thwart with my inflatable mattress serving as a cushion and backrest. The canvas boom-tent rippled from gusty downdrafts, but it sheltered me from the weather. Naomi rested solidly on the mud bottom. Right outside, a strong, chilly north wind raised white caps on the basin, whipped tree-tops, and blew across the marsh grass in bold green waves. Bald eagles soared in the turbulence. I enjoyed these views nestled in my dinghy....
Mounds of salt at the mine
Tuesday September 14
Forecast N/W to diminish by S/W 20-25 knots by evening
I waited for slack high water at 1130 before lowering the mast and motoring back under the bridge to Pugwash. A sloppy sea still ran in Pictou Roads. Naomi rose and slammed over short, steep waves. A green buoy bobbed a distance to windward. I wished I had a large-scale chart of the harbour approaches to indicate how far to seaward I must travel to clear Pugwash Reef. Finally I cleared the reef and swung Naomi to starboard. The northwesterly headwind became a more congenial breeze on the quarter. My destination was
While cruising along the coast, I encountered (above) the luxury yacht
As I sailed up
The inner harbour at Wallace was crowded with fishing vessels and the outer high wharf sides were too exposed to tie alongside comfortably. I sailed onward, lowering the mast, and motored under the Wallace causeway (above). Beyond the causeway lies an extensive marsh which is designated as a national wildlife area. Several seals entertained themselves sliding down greasy mud banks before splashing into the water as Naomi passed, but I didn’t envy their larking in that thick sticky mud.
I anchored Naomi in the marshes, where I hoped she wouldn’t dry out at any point on the surrounding mud banks. Then, wearing high sea boots, I cautiously slogged ashore (see boot prints above), to roam the more firm marshland. Later (see photos below), I relaxed in Naomi, listening to the wind whistling through the marsh grass, and watching the wader birds, geese, and eagles seek their meals.
The night was too clear. I gazed at the bright arch of the milky way through my 7 x 50 binoculars, and then tried, with difficulty, to pick out the basic constellations I am familiar with at home in the murky Dartmouth night sky. This mass of stars was overcrowding my night sky! At one point, I was pleasantly distracted as a meteor trailing a long fluorescent tail streaked across my view....
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