Friday, October 03, 2008

Halifax - From Hurricane Hole to Shore Leave!!!

The big weather event of the week was the passing of hurricane Kyle. At first it seemed that Nova Scotia might get a miss, but as hurricanes are totally unpredictable, Kyle took a last minute turn and slammed into Shelburne. We are told that the docks at the Shelburne Yacht Club sustained serious damage, but remain serviceable. Hopefully they will still be available to us when we pass through next week. In Halifax, at RNSYS, the event was reminiscent of riding out Hurricane Ernesto which passed over PCYC on the Labour Day weekend in 2006. Even though we were securely tied to a dock, Pat had to free the gimbal on the stove to cook dinner because during the height of the storm we were heeled about 15 degrees? In the end most boats were unscathed, although our boarding steps are now at the bottom of the bay, a victim of the wind.

We broke our rule about meeting people at a specific place on a specific date this week. I had promised my mom that we would meet in Saint John, NB on our way south, and since I left the planning up to her, she suggested the weekend of October 4/5 as the ideal time to meet. I had used the visit back to our old haunts as a carrot to ease her fears about us sailing off over the horizon, so I could hardly back out of the bargain now. Since taking Threepenny Opera to Saint John in time was not possible and also because the ports further along our route were not conducive to leaving a boat unattended for several days, we decided to bite the bullet and stay put in the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron. By staying put, and flying back to Saint John instead of sailing, we knew the first rate dock staff would look after the boat in our absence. In the end everything will work out, but when I get my Visa bill, the additional costs incurred will be a good reminder of why I had the rule in the first place.

So instead of Halifax being only a hurricane hole, it became a shore leave of 9 days. And yes as Gene J and probably Rhonda would attest to, sailors who have been at sea for several weeks can find themselves in all kinds of interesting predicaments, when they finally get a few days off duty! Since children might read these words, I cannot even begin to reveal the details, but if you ask Gene or Rhonda, I’m sure they could help you speculate! What I can tell you is that I rented a car and we were able to explore. Our conclusion is that Halifax and its environs are a great place to visit and we could easily have spent another week if the opportunity presented itself. All you have to do is look at the pictures of Peggy’s Cove and you will appreciate why we feel that we have only scratched the surface.

One of the highlights of our week was meeting Win H. in person, a man who has been very much a part of our cruising experience from the outset. One of the constants on our trip thus far is the group of volunteer ham radio operators that make up the Mississauga Maritime Net. Every morning between 8:30 and 9 AM EDT, the net of amateur radio operators from Lake Ontario to Jamaica, call for and record the position of any vessel that cares to check in. They also provide message relaying if needed, as well as providing any other type of information that might be required. When Win heard we would be in Halifax for a few days, he made a point of coming down to make sure we had everything we needed.

It is not uncommon on the route that Pat and I have followed to date, to be in places were there is no cell coverage, so the call to Win (VE1WIN) and gang was the only contact we had with other people. It’s a great and valuable service and we are grateful for their dedication. For anybody contemplating more remote cruising, I would highly recommend the effort to obtain an amateur radio license and to install an HF radio on their boat.

As luck would have it, our alternator started making very funny rattling noises on our last leg into Halifax. Since stopping short of Halifax was not really an option, we pressed forward, weird rattling noises and all. The culprit was the nut that held the alternator to the engine block had vibrated loose, so the alternator began to vibrate. The vibration had elongated the mounting holes in the foot of the alternator, making them oval instead of round. As the vibration continued the size of the holes grew, the more play there was, and the louder the rattling became. It was a vicious cycle. Lady luck was with us once again, because if one is to break a major part like an alternator, (even though I had a spare)it is better to do it in a civilized place like Halifax, than in some fishing out port in the middle of nowhere. The fine folks at Rob’s machine shop in Dartmouth fixed things up exactly to spec, so now the mounting foot on the alternator is as good as new. Trust me, checking the tightness of the alternator will be added to my morning pre-start checklist.

Next week we are off to Lunenberg and Shelburne and points South. With fair winds we should be in the US by the time we post our next update. The weather windows are getting shorter but the urgency to get away from the cold is increasing, so it will be a tight rope walk between expediency and comfort.

Have a great week, and for those who are going on the PCYC Thanksgiving weekend cruise, have a piece of turkey for us.


P.S. Let us know you are out there by subscribing to the blog. Click on the “follow this blog” link, just below our profile photo.

Double click on the picture for the captions, run the slideshow to view the pics full screen. if you do not see any pictures below, make sure you have Adobe flash player installed. To install flash copy this link into your browser

1 comment:

Richard said...

HELLO! We're still alive and busy! Michèle is loving her new job and I'm still running around Montreal. We hope you guys are enjoying the visit to your old haunts. Love you, xox

Richard and Michèle