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Robin & Jim


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Posted By Robin & Jim

We made a one-day stop in picturesque Lunenburg - we love coming back to visit this historical town. 


We didn't realize that a big traditional boat festival was going on, and we arrived smack in the middle of a small sailboat race.  The little boats ignored us completely and we had our hands full trying to anchor as they zipped close by.

lunenburg race

Canada's famous sailing schooner the Bluenose II is homeported here, but she's currently undergoing a major refit - really they're building a new 252' hull and only some of the old house structures will be re-used.  She travels many miles as Canada's ambassador each year though, and it takes its toll on a wooden boat.

bluenose refit

The town has an excellent Fisheries Museum, the lovely St. John's Anglican Church up on the hill, Lunenburg Academy, and art galleries.  It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a number of Americans have summer homes here. Lunenburg also has an active commercial fishing fleet of scallop draggers.  Adams & Knickle's operation is marked by their distinctive red buildings on the wharf and in town, and you can stop in their offices and buy fresh scallops if you like.

ak dinks

Tall ships come to visit here as well as the Picton Castle - based here when she's in port.

tall ships

We never get tired of sitting on our boat out in the harbor looking back at the town, and we love to stroll the streets - this is a great place.

Posted By Robin & Jim

It's interesting to mention that while cruising up the coast we've seen some weird optical illusions when the water is calm and the skies are clear.  This has been reported as common in the area because of the frigid water.  Sometimes a distant object appears upside down or it's vertically elongated and appears to be 2-3 times taller than it really is.

We anchored just inside the mouth of Shelburne Harbor for a night and continued on to Port Mouton (pronounced "mah-tune") the next day - a quiet place to relax and explore.  There isn't much of a town nearby, but the attraction is a sugar-sand beach and the nearby Spectacle Islands.

carter beach

This beach reminded us of the Bahamas with gin-clear water, except that wading in the beautiful water would leave our feet numb with cold.  Some of the locals swim here though - I guess it's all what you get used to!  I just love the huge granite boulders and rocks strewn about (left by glaciers) and the tall evergreen trees.

carter beach rocks

We got both kayaks down and I managed to get Jim to paddle with me and take a picnic lunch ashore.  Later we met up with Chuck and Pat and had cocktails on the beach.

picnic lunch

I always wanted to explore around the Spectacle Islands, so I paddled out at low tide one morning and I ended up going all the way around the big island.  Underwater, the rocks are covered with a garden of different kinds of seaweed, including Irish Moss which is collected by local fishermen to sell for it's commercial emulsifying qualities - used in perfumes, ice cream, etc.  I just loved to see all the different shapes and colors through the clear water, and the rocks along the shoreline.  It's very quiet, unspoiled, and pretty.

spectacle island kayak

I didn't see too many underwater critters, though the dense seaweed is great camouflage and provides plenty of hiding places.  This time of the year the Lion's Mane Jellyfish are common inshore, and we saw some small ones around the beach and the island.  Out in the open ocean in the cold latitudes they can grow up to 8' in diameter!  This one looks double, but it's just a reflection on the surface of the water.

lion's mane jellyfish

From the kayak I had a great view of the lighthouse on the end of the island - the classic Nova Scotia style four-sided white clapboard with a crisp red top.

spectacle island lighthouse

We stopped here on our last trip and loved it, and after this stop we want to keep coming back!

Posted By Robin & Jim

We are "stuck" in Yarmouth waiting for weather so we can travel up the coast, so we're making the most of the time to explore the town and enjoy. 
In Nova Scotia the lobster fishing season is off in July and August, but they store a lot of lobsters so they can continue to supply their customers with fresh lobster.  We got to tour the lobster pound - a large warehouse type building with 13' deep pools circulated with 36 degree sea water to keep the lobsters dormant until they go to market.

lobster pound

Currently, the pound was storing several hundred thousand lobsters - quite an impressive sight!


We found out that lobsters could be bought there for $6/lb so the boys took a cooler down there the following afternoon and the gang had a lobster party on the dock (chicken for me).

lobster party

We enjoyed a walking tour of the town and saw some interesting homes and architectural features.

house 1


house 2

As we remembered from last time the people couldn't be more friendly and kind, but we're anxious to get moving up the coast and see more of the Province.

We finally got a good weather window and we left early on a beautiful, clear morning.  This is the lighthouse on Cape Forchu at the entrance to Yarmouth harbor.

cape forchu

On our previous trip up here, every time we came in and out of the harbor we were in pea-soup fog and never saw the lighthouse.  This time we got to see it arriving and departing - the weather has been just amazing this time - very little fog and generally nice warm temperatures (70's by day and around 60 at night).

Now we're on our way to explore some of the southeast coast...


Posted By Robin & Jim

Yarmouth's Lighted Boat Parade was just getting started and we literally had a front-row seat. We sat up on the boat deck and watched the parade of fishing boats decorated with birthday cakes and other themes pass by - our favorite was this Viking ship - and we later learned that he won the contest.

viking ship

birthday boat

After the lighted boats paraded up and down the harbor, they made a second pass and each one shot off fireworks! It was exciting to see, though some of the fireworks were shot a little close to our boats and we were watching in case anything fell on us.  The next day we had bits of cardboard debris from the fireworks, but nothing was harmed. It was a great show!!

boat fireworks 1

boat fireworks 2

The next day SeaFest had a race around the little basin near our dock. They had huge clear plastic bubbles that a person climbs into. They fill the bubble with air, and roll the bubble into the water.

It was a riot watching people try to stand upright and then to "walk" the bubble around. The winning strategy seemed to be to stay on all fours - it looked exhausting, but fun!

Next on the SeaFest agenda was the mackerel throwing contest. Teams of two took turns throwing (dead) mackerel and catching them in a bucket, while wearing a goofy array of foul weather gear and sea boots, standing in a deep fish box. The whole town turned out for all these activities and the participants ranged from fierce competitors to giggling teenage girls from the Tuna Queen Pageant (you can't make this stuff up). 

mackerel throw


mackerel catching

A few gulls tried to catch the mackerel in mid-air, and a huge flock came in when they dumped the fish afterwards. Reminds me of the scene in "Finding Nemo" with all the gulls saying "Mine!"


I liked the boat building for little children, and the Ghost Walk attended by the entire town.

boat building

Posted By Robin & Jim

We left Northeast Harbor, Maine at 0430 to cross to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.  The sun wasn't up at 0430, but there was enough light to see lobster pots and the pre-dawn light behind the softly rounded mountains of Acadia made the early hour worth it.

acadia sunrise

After about three hours we finally stopped seeing lobster pots, and we could concentrate on looking for whales.  The best way to spot them is to look for the whale's blow.

thar she blows


We had a number of sightings, some even close to the boats.  All that I could identify were humpbacks, though most were smaller - maybe teenagers?

humpback 2

Often we could watch them for a few minutes as they swam along the surface, but when they arch their back and flip their tails up they are diving and they'll be gone for a while.

humpback tail

We had a wonderful crossing - flat calm and uneventful until we were about a half hour from making the turn into Yarmouth approach.  A storm brewed up over the land and was sliding slowly southwards.  It was ominous to look behind and see the edge of the storm heading towards our three boats - it makes us feel very small.

storm and defevers

Fortunately we just had a little rain and the storm passed us without any problems.

yarmouth storm

By the time we arrived in the harbor we had a beautiful sunset and the skies were clear.

yarmouth fleet
We had no idea that we were arriving in the midst of Yarmouth's SeaFest and part of their 250th Birthday celebration!  There was a huge crowd of people along the wharf and a seafood festival going on, though we had to stay aboard and wait for Customs to come down. 

yarmouth festival crowd

Customs formalities were taken care of quickly, and the folks couldn't have been nicer.  Just as the officers were leaving our boat the Festival's Lighted Boat Parade was just getting started and we had (literally) a front-row seat... (to be continued).

Posted By Robin & Jim

We returned from our unexpected trip to Florida and headed to Mt. Desert Island to meet up with our buddy boats - GOT THE FEVER and AURORA. We stopped in Southwest Harbor to top off our fuel tanks (since diesel is much more expensive in Canada), then headed to Northeast Harbor where our friends had a mooring ball waiting for us.

ne harbor

We've been having magnificent weather - almost no fog, and warm sunny days - perfect for exploring Acadia.  L.L. Bean sponsors a free (natural gas) bus service with about 7 different routes around the island's villages and park features.  The first day all three couples headed to the North Ridge trailhead for the hike up to the summit of Cadillac Mountain. 

dfc gang on cadillac

It's a long climb but the reward are stunning views of Bar Harbor, Schoodic Point to the east, and back towards the mainland to the north. 

cadillac view

At the summit the views are even better, and the panorama to the south and west is breathtaking.  The view from water level is pretty too - I kayaked every day (sometimes twice a day) at every different tide stage.  I saw lots of guillemots (a small seabird - cousin to the puffin), and even a fisher - a relative of the weasel.  The air smells so good - salty and clean with the aroma of balsam.
The thing about New England is that the farther north you go, the more gorgeous the boats are.  It's a shame since the boating season is so short - but the locals certainly make the most of it with their jaw-dropping boats. I think the Friendship sloops are my favorite, but there are so many classic wooden boats here.

sw harbor
We explored the wild gardens of Acadia, and hiked through the marsh and birch forest...

...and I visited the formal Thuya Gardens with my macro lens to photograph flowers, and enjoyed the grand views of Northeast Harbor along the way.
This area is still very much a working fishing community with plenty of lobster boats and pots even in the mooring field.
Of course, no trip to Maine would be complete without a lobster dinner (except for me - I don't care for seafood) - so lobsters were arranged, already steamed and hot, and we had a picnic dinner overlooking the harbor.
Acadia has so many different kinds of scenery - quiet ponds, mountains, lush forests, pretty harbors, and lots of pink granite.  The rugged seacoast is still my favorite view though.

acadia postcard

Posted By Robin & Jim

On the cruise from Cape Cod to Gloucester, MA and then up to Casco Bay, ME we spotted a pilot whale, blow from a larger whale, seals, tiny wilson's storm petrels,

wilson's storm petrel

and shearwaters (this one is a yearling).

young northern fulmar

We were trying to make some miles so we decided to just stop in Gloucester for a quick overnight - we'll tour it on the way south in the fall.  It's such a pretty spot, even just viewed from the water.


Now we're starting to see eider ducks - they are funny looking with a ramp-like beak.

eider ducks

We ran a long day from Gloucester all the way to Casco Bay, Maine.  We were thinking of going into Freeport to visit the famous L.L. Bean flagship store, but the weather was going to change and we wanted to get to Rockland where there were more services and places to see.  We anchored in Potts Harbor for the night - mostly a fishing village with lots of lobster pots (we always laugh at the ironic name), but it had been a long day's run and we had more miles to go the next day.

potts harbor sunset

The next day we made it to the mouth of Penobscot Bay - the town of Rockland (which we privately refer to as "rockin' Rockland" because there is no speed limit and the lobstermen come roaring in and out of the harbor with big ugly wakes). 

rockland, maine

It was a beautiful day when we arrived, but the weather was changing and we were glad to be tucked into a good harbor with some interesting things to do while we waited for the weather to improve.  The next day was predicted to be rainy and ugly so we rented a car with Chuck and Pat and drove over to Freeport - home of L.L. Bean.  We had a ball investigating the outlet store, then the main store and other shops in the area.  It was a good way to spend an ugly weather day, and it was neat to watch the fog roll in and out.

In Rockland we saw lots of guillemots (a sea bird who is a cousin to the puffin)...  and an osprey who hunted regularly in the boat basin behind the Coast Guard Station. 

Posted By Robin & Jim

Provincetown is a great place to stop - it's the very tip of Cape Cod and is home to a National Seashore as well as an active fishing fleet, artist colony, and lively gay community.

ptown wharf

It's a wonderful little town and we really enjoyed it.  Of course the highlight for us was getting to spend time with our friend Heidi, who grew up on the Cape!

jim and heidi

Heidi came out on the launch with some fresh local Portuguese bread and we used the sweet soft bread to make french toast.  Along with some bacon and fruit salad it was perfect for a damp, chilly New England morning. There is a big Portuguese population and history in this fishing town and around the region.
There are some incredibly talented people in this town - we were very impressed.  Heidi showed us all around town, and we poked around galleries, shops, and the neighborhoods to see the pretty New England homes and cottages, and to see some of the places that were special to her when she was growing up.  We met Chuck and Pat's artist friend with a gallery here and we fell in love with her paintings!  We enjoyed the people-watching and some of outrageous outfits people wore. I wish we could have seen this guy's show "Lipschtick" - he was very talented.


We were lucky enough to be here for the annual Portuguese Festival, celebrating the long history of people from Portugal and the Azores who came here in the 1800s to fish.  The Festival parade was terrific, with dancers and bands from various Portuguese clubs around Massachusetts and New England.

ptown parade

Heidi took us to the see part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, with whales blowing and beautiful natural dunes and shore birds and lovely beaches and beech and evergreen forests. 

beach artist

You have to admire the New Englanders - they were swimming off the beach in this cold water!  The Cape is a wild and gorgeous place and I can easily see why people love it so.  We managed to pack a ton of wonderful sightseeing in two days and we had tons of laughs.  We will definitely be back to explore the Cape much more!

This is the view of the harbor from the top of the 252' monument to the Pilgrims.

ptown harbor view

And the monument... a long climb but worth it for the views!

pilgrim monument

Posted By Robin & Jim

Here's a map to show you where we are at this point, with the eastern end of Long Island in the lower left corner and Cape Cod on the upper right. 

sag hbr to CCC map

We made a short overnight stop at Block Island - the last time I was there by boat was in my Sea Scout (Ship 97) days 34 years ago. I remembered how thrilled I was to be there back then - a good reminder that dreams do come true since it was my wildest dream to someday go back there on my own boat.

We happened to arrive during Block Island Race Week which was pretty neat. We entered the Great Salt Pond just as hordes of racing sailboats were heading out.

Block is a little more built-up since my last visit but there are plenty of wild places and fresh water ponds and hills and beach to enjoy. We saw our friends Jay and Susan who are there for the summer...

jay and susan

...and I got to go back to The Oar restaurant where I remember eating 34 years ago. The Oar has hundreds of oars that people have painted or decorated or engraved, hanging on the walls and covering the ceiling.  Somewhere is the one the Sea Scouts put up, but we couldn't find it.  We'll have to go back and look some more another time.  We had some swans visit us while we had lunch out on our mooring, and we thought it was neat to see one of the little cygnets getting a piggyback ride.

swan piggyback

Our visit was too short but the weather was changing so we had to move on. We had decent weather to head into Buzzard's Bay and we cruised into New Bedford, MA on a cool, drizzly afternoon. New Bedford claims to be the largest commercial fishing port on the eastern US coast and I can believe it! 

new bedford fishing fleet

There is a massive hurricane barrier across the outer harbor with big gates that can be closed in extreme storm conditions.

new bedford hurricane barrier

I can't even estimate the number of large (100' or bigger) commercial fishing boats in the harbor. GOT THE FEVER (our buddy boat) and ADVENTURES stopped at a commercial fuel dock to fill up, tucked way back behind barges, tugs, and packs of rafted commercial scallop draggers. The guys on the fuel dock couldn't have been nicer to us and they really made us feel welcome. After a long day cruising from Block and getting fuel, we were all too tired to go ashore. It's a big city and although there are dinghy docks in various spots that are convenient to things that cruisers might want or need (stores, restaurants, and the whaling museum), it's a bit intimidating to be in such a commercial, bustling place.

new bedford fishing boat