So, you may have been wondering what has happened to us in the last few days. We stayed at Anse-a-Beaufils for three nights and were going to go down to the Bay of Chaleur but according to the local people, the ports that we wanted to visit are very shallow and silted. For example, Chandler, is the second biggest port after Gaspé and our draft (five feet) is too deep. We did not want to get stuck on the bottom. Also, we had a good opportunity to go east and I am glad we did because the wind is supposed to blow the wrong way for the next three days.
Anyway, we have made it to the Îles-de-la-Madeleine! It took 31 hours to get here but it was totally worth it as it is beautiful here. The scenery is nice – lots of sand dunes, beaches, grassy fields and very colourful old style houses. I will post more about the island once we go exploring but I want to tell everyone about our voyage across the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
You can see our route from the map. We left at 8:30 on Thursday morning and sailed all day. The winds were kind of going in the right direction but the sea was a bit rough – not horrible but we couldn’t move around too much on the boat. Good thing I have my satellite radio so that we could listen to the CBC!
We motored for a while too and then sailed some more throughout the night. We didn’t exactly have “watches” but we did take turns catnapping in the cockpit. Time was very strange – I thought that it would drag on and on – like you’ve been in an airplane forever, but it wasn’t like that at all. Time kept jumping ahead a lot – suddenly it was 2:00 in the morning, then 4:00. Once it started getting light, time seemed to turn back to normal.
We spotted Corps Mort (Dead Body Island) at about 6:00 am. You can see why it was named!
We also spotted Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine and thought that we would be there right on time. No such luck! In order to get to the marina, it was another 20 miles. We followed a sand dune forever, then went down an extremely long channel. We didn’t dare take any shortcuts because of the sandbars. Somewhere along the channel, Dennis noticed that the engine was vibrating in an odd way. This could not be good. So, we fretted over this for a couple of hours and he checked things out but couldn’t really tell. He knew though, that there was something wrong with the engine – maybe the prop had caught a fishing net? He realized that we needed reverse to work if we wanted to get safely to the marina and thought that he had better try it out in the open. He was thinking that he would have to dive down on the prop and cut the tangled debris. So, we went in reverse and a long piece of seaweed suddenly appeared on the stern of the boat. He then put the boat in forward and the vibration disappeared! Whew! Of course, he is going to dive down today and double-check but at least he won’t have to dive in 20 knot winds!
We finally, finally made it to the marina (this was the longest part of the entire passage!) at 1:00 and tied up. Our friends, George and Alice (who crossed over with us) are rafted to our boat. They are very nice and had hoped to cross the Atlantic but had engine trouble in Cornwall and got stuck there for three weeks so their window of opportunity closed. We have met up with them a few times now and have played Euchre – the score it tied (Ladies vs. ex Navy). We are looking forward to a rematch. Here is a link to their website: http://alisonandgeorge.blogspot.ca/.
I took a picture of their boat, Wyvern lll while we were in the channel.
Anyway, we have reached Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine safely and are ready to go exploring now that we’ve caught up on our sleep! This was the longest passage either of us have done on the Split Crow – 31 hours in total. The boat handled well the whole way and Captain Dennis was very competent. We are now in the Atlantic time zone and are officially in the Gulf of St. Lawrence! Our next stop will most likely be Souris, PEI if whether permits or perhaps Cape Breton. We will be staying here for a few days though – it is a very interesting place!
If you are looking for an interesting way to spend an hour, listen to the CBC Ideas podcast – Sailing Alone Around The World.