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June 11th, 2015 – The Split Crow is in the water!

It has been quite some time since I’ve written on the blog so I will try and get everyone up to date by writing the condensed version of what we’ve been up to since September.

We bought an industrial building at 360 Water Street in Summerside, PEI. If you check it out on Google Street View, you’ll think we were crazy but we were given permission from the City of Summerside to turn it into our residence. The building is right on the water (the Summerside Harbour which leads out to the Northumberland Strait) and right downtown. It was exactly what we were looking for even though it didn’t really resemble a house. Dennis was the one who saw the potential of the building and we are now in the process of renovating it. Thanks to a number of Summerside people, Jeff Barry, Wilfred Smith, Scott Buchanan, Roy Kilbride, Denis the painter and especially William Jones (I will write an entire post about William in a few days but needless to say, he is one amazing carpenter!), the place is looking awesome! We should be able to move in at the end of July.

Here is a picture of before and after (so far…)

Before and after (so far...)

Before and after (so far…)

We bought 360 Water Street in August of 2014 and once the deal went through, we put the Split Crow away for the winter (in Souris, PEI) and went home to get ready to sell our house in the spring. Within a week of being home, we got an unexpected visit. Janice Hughes, the owner of Hughes Communications, had a boat to cottage on Trout Lake but was thinking that she would like to move to a more permanent location and had heard that our house was going to be for sale. She looked around and I knew within five minutes that she was going to buy our house. Long story short, she did and is very happy there roaming the trails with her dog Daisy and paddling around in Crow Lake. Here are the pictures of the place that I posted on Flickr.

We spent the entire fall, winter and spring getting rid of most of our belongings. Dennis had quite a bit of worldly goods that he had to “thin out”. He was going from 23 acres to about 50 feet so there was no room for his collection of treasures.

We finally managed to get rid of a lot of stuff, loaded up the rest in a 20 foot U-Haul and headed out on June 2nd for PEI. We arrived the next day in the evening and just about froze! There was a frost warning out – yikes! Over the next two days, we unloaded our belongings into two storage lockers and basically got in William the carpenter’s way because we were so impressed with the work that had been done. We could not believe the transformation. I will post pictures of it on a later date.

At 360 Water Street, part of the building is rented out to a computer company – LiveTechs. The owner, Allan Ramjattan, has been very patient with the construction. He is a great guy and so easy to get along with. The other part of the building used to be rented out to a hair salon but we will be turning that into Dennis’ workshop for our very small business, the PEI Wooden Spoon and Sewing Company.

We suspect that there were a lot of people wondering what we were up to. Somehow, (thanks William :)) we were interviewed by the Journal Pioneer. Here is the article.

Finally, finally, on to the boat! We have officially moved onto the boat for the summer and will be bringing it to Summerside on Saturday and Sunday if weather permits. The boat went in the water today and we are very comfortable on it. Here are a few pictures of it being moved from the yard to the water.

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If you’re interested in seeing the boat going into the water, please watch last year’s video – it was pretty much the same thing except that Dennis and Peter had different shirts on (we hope!). Here it is:

Anyway, that’s about all the news for tonight. As you can see from my final picture, the boat is safely in the water. 🙂

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Posted by on June 11, 2015 in Everything Else!

 

September 1st and 2nd – Summerside to Souris

This is a picture of our boat taken by Donna McCarthy in Summerside.

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We finally, finally got to leave Summerside on Monday. The wind warning had disappeared so we were happy to get going! We left early – around 6:30 and the sea was calm for most of the day. Of course, the fog rolled in for a few hours but we always had some visibility. Dennis turned on the radar, just to be on the safe side, and discovered that it didn’t work. He had crossed some wires (or something) when he had been working on the light for the top of the mast a few weeks ago. Luckily, he managed to fix the radar quite quickly.

There were quite a few lobster or (crab pots – we’re not sure) along the way, so we had to keep our eyes peeled. Unfortunately, we caught a line and dragged a trap for a bit. We went around in a circle, trying to lose it – hopefully it had only caught the keel and not the propellor! It fell off when we went in reverse. Whew! Dennis was not looking forward to diving down on the prop and cutting the line.

We carried on and made it in to Wood Islands at around 4:00 – just in time to meet up with David and Joy who were very nice to us and bought us dinner at Crabby’s. The lobster rolls and chowder were both excellent!

We left early again this morning and had some fog but also had some visibility so it wasn’t very worrisome. The weather forecast was not in our favour though and the entire area had another wind warning but we were ok. At around 9:30, Dennis just left his post to go make some coffee and I looked over on my port side and spotted a HUGE whale! It was very close and was about the length of our boat and travelling at the same speed. It surfaced twice, just long enough for me to see and then it was gone. Pretty cool though!

We got into Souris at 1:00 and enjoyed talking to Debbie. We felt like we were home! The marina had a couple of adventures over the summer and it was good to get caught up on the news. We also saw Dale (from Tranquilium) and had him over for supper.

The boat is coming out of the water tomorrow at 1:00 so if you want to see it, just watch on the harbour cam.

Here are a few pictures. The one on the left is of our view in the fog. The top right picture is of the information building at Wood Islands and the bottom picture is the Dutch Runner, seriously leaning in the Souris Harbour.

 

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So, we had a lot of fun this summer and would like to finish off our adventure with a little video that we made this morning. Enjoy! Stay tuned though for another new adventure!

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2014 in Sailing in the Northumberland Strait

 

August 24th – 29th – Summerside

Here are a few pictures of the goings on in Summerside this week. The yacht club had their 50th anniversary and had all sorts of activities including the Parade of Lights. Boaters were encouraged to dress up their boats with lights and do a sail past when it became dark. I got to be a judge and it was lots of fun! Boats were extremely well decorated. The sailboats, especially, with their masts, were able to really make things look spectacular! One of the powerboats, some people from New Brunswick, really put a lot of effort into the festivities as they had a small band (fiddle, guitar and banjo) on board – they could really play! Everyone also dressed up as pirates and as they went by for the sail past (several times), we could hear them belting out another round the Drunken Sailor! They got a prize for best participation! Anyway, here are some pictures of the Parade of Lights.

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The other pictures are of Summerside and surrounding area. The fields are a beautiful colour, getting ready for harvest. The picture of the dogs was taken along the boardwalk – everyone likes to walk their dogs there. The final picture is of the skateboard park – it is pretty big – almost the same size as the skateboard park in Barrie.

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We will hopefully leave for Souris tomorrow – we will only get as far as Wood Islands but the winds are in our favour so it should be a fun ride! Monday, not so much as the winds are supposed to switch. Of course, the forecast may change – who knows? Tomorrow, we should be able to see the Tall Ships leaving Charlottetown and coming into Summerside  and hopefully I will be able to get a few good pictures!

That’s all the news for now…

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2014 in Sailing in the Northumberland Strait

 

August 21st – 23rd – Port Hawkesbury to Summerside

On Thursday, we woke up early because the weather warning had been lifted the night before and we hoped to leave. Of course, a new weather warning appeared so we spent an hour weighing the pros and cons of leaving. The wind was coming from the west (which would mean it would be right on our nose) but it was supposed to switch to the north east (which would be perfect for sailing to Woods Island). We decided to leave and take our chances!

We spotted Dale from Tranquilium heading towards the Canso Locks and tried to radio him but he wasn’t answering. I managed to get some pictures of his boat in the rainbow. Here are some pictures of the beautiful rainbow that we saw as we headed into the lock.

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Once we cleared the lock, the waves picked up but it wasn’t too bad. We could have gone to Ballantyne’s Cove but decided to continue on to Woods Island. It was a long day! We got in to Wood Islands just after Crabby’s had closed so we didn’t get any lobster rolls! Hmph! (We have one more chance to get them on our way back to Souris).

The next day, we headed out early again so that we could get to Summerside. We actually were able to sail most of the way. Here’s a video of us sailing under the bridge.

So, here we are back in Summerside at our slip. Not much is new but we will be here for a week – probably until after Labour Day and then we will head up to Souris, put the boat up for the winter and come home.

Here are a few pictures of some kids getting ready to jump in the St. Peter’s Canal and the Parks Canada lady at St. Peter’s. She’s the one that had to open the bridge and then race over to the lock to let us through as well as another picture of the rainbow, the ospreys (all grown up)  and the lighthouse at Woods Island.

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Posted by on August 23, 2014 in Sailing in the Northumberland Strait

 

August 20th – Port Hawkesbury…

So, we are here for another day. The wind warning ended last night and we thought that we would be able to leave but a new wind warning was posted this morning, so here we are. We may be staying tomorrow too!

I will explain the pictures below. In the top picture, the coast guard, which is right beside the marina, spent quite a bit of time on a safety/rescue drill. We watched them for a while and got to talking to some other people on the dock. Then, I noticed that something was burning and when we looked at our stove, the eggs had been left on and they boiled dry. That was a bit of a mess!

The bottom picture is of John. He is on the boat in front of us and has been here for eight days. His wife left to go to Newfoundland so that she could look after her ailing mother and he has had a variety of other crew members who have also left. One lasted nine days and the other lasted eleven. So, now he is kind of stuck. He’s waiting for his wife to return and just bought a membership to the yacht club! His original plan was to sail south but it looks like he might be putting the boat up here in Port Hawkesbury.

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John bought his boat in Louisiana, near New Orleans, shortly before Hurricane Katrina hit. He and his wife were at home in Belleville and after a lengthy delay, finally got to go down to down to assess the damage. His boat was in a marina all tangled up with all the other boats, docks and debris. He said that the water level went up 22 feet. There was (is?) a condominium at the marina and the first two floors were underwater. It took him two days to get the boat secured and he left it tied up to the remnants of a dock. He said the smell of everything rotting in the humidity and heat was terrible. He went back home to start straightening out the insurance and found out that the salvage company came along and took all the boats away – just hauled them to a variety of fields. He then went back down to New Orleans and spent a good long time looking for the boat and finally found it in a field with hundreds of other boats. In addition to the damaged boat, somebody had taken everything they could off the boat – cutlery, binoculars – anything that was of some value.

He managed to get it trucked up to Belleville and then fixed it up and is sailing it now. Here are some pictures that he took of the damage. Yikes!

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So, that is all the news for today. We are keeping our eye out for the weather and hopefully be able to leave soon.

 

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2014 in Sailing in the Northumberland Strait

 

August 19th – Port Hawkesbury

So, it looks like we are stuck here for today. The marine forecast does not look very good for anywhere in the Maritimes!

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Tomorrow doesn’t look that much better except that the wind is going to switch to the north which is apparently good for us. We will see!

Last night, Mike, Nadine, Marike, Nevé, Marcel and Mijanou arrived from Fort Louisburg. They were headed towards Halifax and stopped in for supper. They brought pizza and I made a salad out of the last of the lettuce. They are returning to Alberta on Thursday but it was nice to see them one last time. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to redeem myself in cards with the girls! Here’s a picture of the whole gang!

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We will probably do boat chores today – cleaning and shopping. We will most likely get our exercise by going up and down the giant hill in order to get to the grocery store! I can’t imagine driving here in the winter!

Tomorrow, weather permitting, we will get to Ballantyne’s Cove and then on Thursday, we should be back at the Woods Island ferry terminal. We may as well get ourselves a lobster roll!

That’s all the news for today!

 

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2014 in Sailing in the Northumberland Strait

 

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August 16th – 18th – Little Harbour, St. Peter’s, Port Hawkesbury

There’s a really neat anchorage called Little Harbour in the Bras d’Or Lakes – there is a tiny little opening and then it opens up into a nice, safe place. It also happens to have the Cape Breton Smokehouse Restaurant and the cooking is German, so of course, Dennis wanted to try it. The Smokehouse is a beautiful log cabin and is run by two people who sailed their boat from Germany. They actually have their boat out in the harbour (here’s the link to it on Yacht World as it is for sale) and sailed it from Germany to Africa and then to the Caribbean and then finally to Cape Breton.

After supper, we went for a walk and saw a couple of beavers in the stream down from the restaurant. Here are some pictures:

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The next day, we left the Bras d’Or Lakes and went through the St. Peter’s lock. We decided to tie up at the lock for the night. I went for a big bike ride and was not disappointed with the huge hills! Quite the workout (totally needed though).

Just before I got back to the boat, I thought I spotted Dale from Tranquillium. We met him in Rimouski last year and again in Souris this summer. I called his name but he didn’t respond and I thought that I must have been mistaken. But after supper, we went for a walk to the marina and there he was! He came over for tea and we compared notes on our adventures.

We kept our eye on the weather because Environment Canada had issued a wind warning and everything on the map was red. So, this morning, we debated as to whether we should leave or not. We discussed it with the guy on the boat that was also tied up in the lock and he said that there was no risk and that we should be bold. (Quote, unquote). He reminded us of the Bruce Willis of Quebec that we met last year. The Bruce Willis of Quebec had a super fast boat and always wore the coolest sailing outfits. He also only went where the wind took him so we met him in several different places as he criss-crossed the St. Lawrence. The guy we met in the canal, was quite like him but older. He has crossed the Atlantic five times and seemed considerably more adventurous than me!

Anyway, we decided to go and it worked out just fine. We tied up at the Port Hawkesbury Marina at 12:30 in the pouring rain but at least the wind had slowed down. We might get stuck here tomorrow, again because of the winds, but that is to be expected at this time of year.

No other news!

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2014 in Bras d'Or Lakes

 

August 15th – Baddeck, Maskell’s Harbour – Visit with the gang from Alberta

My brother Mike and his family arrived on Thursday night. They have been travelling around Nova Scotia and PEI for the past couple of weeks and we met up with them in Baddeck. The weather did not really cooperate but we were determined to go for a sail and swim so on Friday morning, the whole gang (including Nadine’s father Marcel and her sister Mijanou) joined us.

They all piled into the boat and we had a good laugh because of all the stuff they had! I wondered how long they were planning to stay – several weeks? But Nadine said that it is best to be prepared and she was right as it was pretty cold, windy and rainy.

We were actually able to sail over to Markell’s Harbour and anchored there for the afternoon. Almost everyone went swimming (Marike and Nevé were the only sensible ones not to go as it was pretty cold). The girls tried their hand at fishing. They had no luck catching our lunch so it was a good thing that Nadine brought food along!

I learned a new card game with Marike and Nevé – Spit. It is a fast actioned game and both of the girls were easily able to beat me! I tried several times to beat Nevé but she in particular, seemed to have a knack for it. Very irritating to be beaten by 12 year olds… 🙂 I should have made them “walk the plank”.

We motored back and of course, we were headed into the wind so it wasn’t quite as much fun as sailing but nobody turned green. After a very tricky docking (with the wind going in all directions), Dennis managed to dock the boat and let everyone off.

It was a great day and hopefully everyone had fun! The only thing we forgot to do was to play the guitar and strumstick – since they were a “captive” audience, it would have been perfect! Here are a few pictures of the day.

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We are slowly starting to head back to Prince Edward Island. The sun is shining so we will take a couple of days in the Bras d’Or Lakes and then head over to St. Peter’s, to Port Hawksebury and then Ballantyne’s Cove. Depending on the wind, we will then make a run for PEI and start thinking about coming home.

 

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2014 in Bras d'Or Lakes

 

August 12th to 14th – The Bras d’Or Lakes

We’ve been anchoring out lately and enjoying the good weather. The swimming has been great and walking, well what can I say? The hills are unbelievable here!

I don’t have much news today. We are waiting for Mike and the gang – they’re at the Woods Island Ferry Terminal eating lobster rolls right now. Hopefully, the rain will hold off tomorrow for the big sail and swim!

Here are a few pictures – pretty nice here…

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Posted by on August 14, 2014 in Bras d'Or Lakes

 

August 11th – Alexander Graham Bell Museum

Along the waterfront, there is a beautiful statue of Alexander Graham Bell and his wife Mabel. Dennis thought he’d be funny and pose with them. Check out what he is holding up to Mr. Bell’s ear – I can’t imagine what he would think of all the modern technology!

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So, we went to the Alexander Graham Bell Museum and it was definitely worthwhile to see. There are many replicas of his inventions as well as a few original pieces. I think Mr. Bell was way ahead of his time! The museum has many interactive objects for kids as well as a few programs. One of the programs was kite flying and we had a good laugh when someone’s kite got all wrapped up in the Canadian flag. The Parks Canada worker had quite the time trying to unravel it! I also noticed a kid fascinated with a rotary dial telephone – it was the same phone that my grandmother had. The kid kept dialling and dialling, (he doesn’t know what he missed!)

Anyway, check out a few pics below.

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Our only other exciting news was our exit from the town wharf. The wind was blowing us onto the wharf, so the captain untied the bow line and kept the stern line attached to the bollard on the wharf. He told me to turn the wheel hard and then rev the engine but we couldn’t make any headway – we couldn’t get off the dock. Then, he told me to turn the wheel hard the opposite way and then put the engine in reverse while he hung onto the stern line. That seemed to work except for the dinghy bumping along the piers – thump, thump, thump… Oh well, no damage was done and the onlookers had some excitement. Dennis actually took a bow and everyone clapped! (Sigh – he is incorrigible).

BTW – apparently there is a web cam in Baddeck pointing at the wharf. Too bad we didn’t know that earlier because now we are anchored out in a very nice cove. Great swimming! We will be heading back on Thursday though to pick up Mike, Nadine, Marike and Nevé for a sail and swim. They are on their east coast tour for a couple of weeks.

That’s all the news for today. 🙂

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2014 in Bras d'Or Lakes

 

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