Category Archives: Sailing in the Northumberland Strait

August 15th, Pictou

So, here we are in Pictou – a very pretty town with lots to do. We did some shopping this morning and moved the boat around so that we could reach the power and water. Our cord and hose is really far away from the utility box, but it is very nice to have amenities such as lots of running water and electricity. I don’t think I’d have lasted on the Hector! The Hector is a ship that brought the first Scottish settlers to Pictou and the passengers endured many hardships while crossing.

Pictou has a museum and a replica ship of the Hector and we explored that this afternoon. It was very worthwhile and the displays were excellent.



The crossing over from Scotland to Nova Scotia on the Hector must have been terrible. First of all, the ship left bout a month late. The first part of the journey went well but at about three quarters of the way across the Atlantic, the ship met a heavy gale and pushed them back about two weeks sailing so the whole voyage took 12 weeks.


This is what I read today about the trip:
“Little did they know that John Pagan had not loaded any provisions for their first year in Pictou, nor had he loaded even sufficient food to last the long voyage. No one could foresee the terrible storm that would blow the Hector so far off her course, nor the disease that would run rampant through the emigrants crowded into her hold. While the rations were considered plentiful enough at first, the passengers complained about the moulding oatcakes and would throw them, half eaten, into the scuppers of the ship. Hugh MacLeod would gather up these discarded scraps and keep them in a bag, possibly sensing that in the days to come, they would be sorely needed as food…Eighteen of the children died, and were committed to the deep amidst such anguish and heart-rendering agony as only a Highlander can understand. Their stock of provisions became almost exhausted, the water became scarce and bad; the remnant of provisions left consisted of mainly salt meat,which, from the scarcity of water, added greatly to their sufferings.”

Here are a couple of pictures of the replica ship:



So, it was a very good museum to go to and I would highly recommend it.

Here are a couple of pictures of one the original Pictou buildings – apparently it is the only building in Canada that has a window in the chimney.



Dennis got a good shot of an unusual homemade boat:

And, the final picture today, is of course, yours truly – he was in his glory!


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Posted by on August 15, 2013 in Sailing in the Northumberland Strait



August 13th – Montegue, PEI, August 14th – Pictou, NS

Yesterday, we headed off from Wood Islands to Montague intending to stay for a couple of days but the weather report did not look very favourable for traveling to Pictou, so we only stayed one night as I didn’t want to be going against a 30 knot wind for an entire day. I know, pretty wimpy…

Montegue has many mussel farms along the river. Here are a couple of pictures of the machine that is used to harvest them:



As we went down the river, we spotted Glen’s favourite boat the Sandpiper (well, Dennis spotted it – I wouldn’t have recognized it from a ferry boat!). Here is a picture of it but I am fully expecting Glen to post a comment! 😉


We left Montegue at about 10 this morning and saw quite a few seals. They are actually quite annoying because you can see them pop their heads out of the water and check things out for quite some time. They seem to like swimming on their backs and generally have a good time until you have the camera finally zoomed in enough. Then, they duck under and resurface several minutes later in the distance. This is the only picture I got of one:


We arrived in Pictou and checked it out. It looks very nice and there seems to be a lot to do. I managed to finally get Dennis to see the error of his ways after he spent some time in the stocks.


The pipers were out tonight – here is a photo of them:


I also took a video of them:

This is a picture of the sky just before we got back to the boat!


That is it for tonight!


Posted by on August 14, 2013 in Sailing in the Northumberland Strait


August 12th – Wood Islands Ferry Terminal

Well, sadly we left Summerside with a rather ungraceful exit yesterday. We didn’t hit anyone, but it was hard getting off the dock. The wind had died down considerably so we felt that we could leave. The minute we left the dock, it picked up to 15 knots and it became a bit of a dicey situation with everyone poking their noses out of their boats to see who we would hit.
Dennis managed to get the boat under control and decided to back out of the marina (kind of like taking an exit bow) and off we went to Port Borden.
We sailed, literally sailed, under Confederation Bridge and actually took a turn under it because it appeared that we had caught a lobster trap. Luckily, when we turned around, it fell off and we were able to continue.
The second lobster season began on August 9th so you really have to be careful and make sure you dodge the little floating buoys. We were pretty lucky, generally speaking, and only caught the one. If a line caught in the propellor, it would require Dennis to dive down with his knife and cut the line.
Of course, during the little episode we had, he mentioned that it was my turn to dive but I could do it in Port Borden – the place that has the mussel factory and dumps the overflow into the harbour (very smelly and the water is full of lovely beige specks as well as foam).
Anyway, I didn’t have to dive as we lost the trap under the bridge!

Today, we are at Wood Islands and had a long day of motoring in the zero knot winds – it was actually stifling hot – the first time this summer. We arrived on the dock and went over to their museum. In the museum, there was a display of sea glass – glass that had washed up on shore. Here are a couple of pictures of it:



I also took a picture of the information about the ice boats. I can’t imagine going across the Northumberland Strait in one of those boats!


We climbed to the top of the lighthouse (of course!) and I got these shots:



We also walked over to the osprey nest and it appears that one osprey is missing. As well, they are foolishly building another nest right on top of an active telephone pole, so PEI Hydro is not going to like that!



We had the lobster rolls for supper from Crabby’s Seafood. They were excellent!

Here is one last picture of some lobster traps on the wharf. Off to Montague tomorrow for a couple of days.


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Posted by on August 12, 2013 in Sailing in the Northumberland Strait


Auust 10th – Summerside

It looks like we are staying today. The sun has come out but the winds are pretty fierce and we wouldn’t even be able to get off the dock without causing all sorts of havoc, so we will stay today. Our weather is not as bad as Jim and Sharon’s – our friends who are in Gaspé. Here is their marine forecast – yikes!
Gaspé Weather - August 10

Summerside is a good place to get stuck as there is a lot to do. For example, Dennis discovered the Saturday Farmers’ Market and bought some really good molasses cookies (we really need them too!) 🙂

There were many different vendors and you can get all sorts of fresh produce, eggs, bread, etc. as well as having a good variety of craft people too. The market is open every Saturday for the entire year. Here is a video of one of the vendors – she made socks from a machine that was built for the ladies to makes socks for the First World War soldiers.

Here is a picture of some of the socks that the lady made:

Well, not much else is new – I am somewhat hopeful that tomorrow’s post will be from Wood Islands and I’ll be able to get an update on the ospreys – last week, the parents were teaching the little ones how to hunt, so maybe they’ll be onto a new skill!

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Posted by on August 10, 2013 in Sailing in the Northumberland Strait


August 8th – Summerside

Today was a bit of an exciting day – no disasters for us, but for these people who were coming in on their sailboat. They were entering the marina with their outboard motor running when somehow it fell into the water. They weren’t able to control their boat and Dennis could hear some lady yelling for help. He jumped off of our boat and somehow got the boat safely to the dock! When I arrived on the scene, he was busy pulling the motor out of the water and explaining to the people that the exact thing happened to his dad many years ago.


Summerside has excellent cycling – you can go for nice long rides on quiet paved roads or go on the Confederation Trail. I would totally recommend this area for cycling – lots to see and the hills are not very big. (They do have hills, just not the Rockies!)

We checked out the local art gallery and a beautiful display of hooked rugs was on. I can’t imagine how many hundreds of hours it must take to make one of these rugs. Here are a few pictures:




We wandered around town today – the waterfront is quite nice. Didn’t buy anything though. We are still not sure if we are leaving tomorrow or not as the weather is not looking that great. Here are a couple of pictures of the waterfront.



We went up the lighthouse and I got a good shot of the boat in the marina. If you look closely, you’ll see Dennis talking ;).



Posted by on August 8, 2013 in Sailing in the Northumberland Strait



August 7th, 8th

We were happy to leave Borden and sail under the Confederation Bridge yesterday. Here are a couple of more pictures of it.



It only took a couple of hours to get to Summerside – I would totally recommend this place as the marina is very clean and has all the services (such as electricity and water hookups). Also, the grocery store and propane filling station is within walking distance.

Summerside is very pretty – there is a long boardwalk along the water’s edge that goes for about five kilometres. There is also a bike path and of course, there is the Confederation Trail – the old railway bed that has been turned into a cycling route. It is gravel but very nice. I went for a big bike ride on it yesterday in one direction and then came back on a paved farm road.

We went out for supper last night as it was our 27th anniversary and we each had the lobster dinner. Seafood is definitely agreeing with me although it was a lot of work cracking the shell open.

We are staying here today and possibly heading out tomorrow back towards Wood Islands ferry dock. It will be a long day but we are skipping anchoring at Borden – too smelly there! Plus at the Wood Islands ferry dock, we can go to Crabby’s again and also see how the ospreys are doing.

Anyway, all is good – it is a beautiful day so I better get on the bike again!

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Posted by on August 8, 2013 in Sailing in the Northumberland Strait



August 6th – Borden, PEI

I forgot to mention that Pugwash is bilingual – all their street signs are in two languages – English and Gaelic!


We thought we might have been stuck in Pugwash for an extra day because the marine weather was showing all sorts of wind last night, but when we got up this morning, the forecast had changed and we sailed off for Borden, PEI. Borden is right near Confederation Bridge so I was able to get some good pictures of it.



The Confederation Bridge is the longest bridge in the world that has ice covered water. It is 12.9 kilometres long and took more than 10 years to build. If you are interested in crossing, it costs $44.50 for a normal car (two axle) and each additional axle is $17.75. This is for a round trip – they only charge to get off the island! Cyclists and pedestrians most take a shuttle to cross over.

So, we wandered around Borden this afternoon and I got a good walk in. We are anchored in the harbour where the ferries used to dock, so it is very protected. Now, it is a bit smelly as the mussel plant is dumping its waste into the harbour, but it is safe and we are leaving tomorrow!

I had a good laugh though, after we discussed the condition of the harbour and said that if Dennis fell in, he would not be allowed back on the boat unless he were sanitized. Then, we saw a man swimming in it! I kept thinking that he must have fallen off of his boat as he was only swimming from one side of the wharf to the other, but still! I hope he takes a good long shower!

Now, the funniest part of today was that when we were walking around Borden, there is a big touristy spot with lots of shops and information. Well! You can get dressed up as Anne of Green Gables and get your picture taken, so of course we did! Since I am in charge of photography, I cropped out myself (you never know where these pictures will end up!). Here is Anne after a rough day at sea!
Please give your best comments for this picture!


We are headed to Summerside tomorrow – hopefully the good weather will hold!


Posted by on August 6, 2013 in Sailing in the Northumberland Strait


August 5th – Pugwash, NS



These photos were taken this morning at around 8:00 a.m.. We had a great time motoring over to Pugwash from Charlottotown and arrived under sunny skies at the Pugwash Yacht Club. We tied up and went for a walk because the sky was turning dark. Luckily, we got our walk in when we did because it was a torrential downpour for about two hours!

Here is a shot of the graveyard across from the yacht club – I tried to get the black clouds in and almost was struck by lightning in the process! (Dennis thinks I exaggerated).


Pugwash has a huge salt mine and makes the Parry Sound salt pile look like a pipsqueak in comparison.


We ended up talking (actually more like listening) to a guy from Truro who mentioned that he wouldn’t bring his old horse to the new Truro hospital :).

Pugwash is very laid back after the exciting times in PEI! We have sunshine out now and there is a seal in the harbour swimming around, so it is is nice. The streets are paved with red stone and look pretty cool.


Off the Borden tomorrow – we will finally see the Confederation Bridge!

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Posted by on August 5, 2013 in Sailing in the Northumberland Strait


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August 3rd – Charlottetown

We had quite a rainstorm last night apparently. Dennis woke up from the pounding of the rain but I didn’t so I can only take his word for it. 🙂
We left the ferry dock this morning at around 7:30 and made our way to Charlottetown. The wind was up quite a bit for a couple of hours so it was a bit rough until we pulled out the sails and then the wind died out (of course!).
We arrived at the Charlottetown Yacht Club but didn’t really like our accommodations. The dock was made of cement and there were very few cleats to tie to, plus the giant yacht (Magic Days) had monopolized most of the available power. So we walked over to the next marina and asked if they had some room. They did and we moved the boat over to it.

Charlottetown is quite pretty. Lots of old historical buildings – it is the birthplace of Confederation, after all, it should be interesting to explore.

Dennis met up with Sir John A.


We made it back to the boat just in time for a sudden rainstorm to come through – winds were up to 37 knots so I am glad we are at the marina.


There was an interesting boat sailing by before the storm.


That is all the news for now. The storm has passed so I think it is time for supper.
We are off to Pugwash next – probably on Monday or Tuesday.



August 1st and 2nd – Souris, Wood Islands Ferry Dock

Yesterday was probably the hottest day we’ve had so far this trip. It was 27 degrees and we did a lot of active things such as biking, walking, grocery shopping and going to the beach. We were very tired last night!
The biking is very nice here – paved shoulder for the main road and the side roads are not busy, so I would recommend the cycling on PEI. We biked to the beach (which took forever!) but it was felt great to cool off. The ride back to the boat was very hilly and I had a good laugh watching Dennis pedal like a madman on his little bike! I think he thought he was in the Tour du France!

We’ve decided to leave the boat here for the winter as it is considerably cheaper than Pictou and quite convenient to Charlottetown. Plus, everyone is very nice – Souris calls themselves the friendliest town on their billboard, so it must be true!

We had a tour of the Bruce Roberts 53 and had it been closer to being finished, I think we would have been negotiating a deal today! It even had a bathtub (not installed yet, but still).

Today, we are at the Wood Island Ferry dock ($10 to tie up). We are going over to Crabby’s Seafood for supper later.


I bought a new camera in the Magdalen Islands and it is really good. I got some excellent shots of the osprey nest and birds with it.



We are headed to Charlottetown tomorrow for the long weekend. We will stay there for three nights and then go over to Summerside and go under the Confederation Bridge. After that, we will start heading back to Souris. I have a plane ticket for Toronto on August 21st. Dennis will stay for an extra week to get the boat ready for winter.

Here’s one more shot of the Maritimes!



Posted by on August 2, 2013 in Sailing in the Northumberland Strait