It's a sunny cool morning here and energy and morale is good. The wind is from the NW and will be shifting to SW over the next day or so, which will be ideal. I will attempt to get everything ready for an early morning departure.
While I am resting my arm (pulled muscle or worn tendon), I have been getting used my new floating home. I still have stuff all over the place, but now I have a better idea how to pack the boat a little better. Every day I try to visualize what it will be like in the North Atlantic. Being this close to departure is pretty exciting, but I am reminded every morning that winter is getting one step closer.
It is also an interesting place to be, to be this close to realizing a long-held dream. It has been a dream for so long that the reality of it all has been pretty foggy. Now that I can see the starting line (figuratively), it's hard to think that I am actually here, nearly ready to go. There is a certain fear, I'm sure to keep me safe, that reminds me that this is no game and that there aren't any do-overs if one gets into trouble once at sea.
The past year has been pretty intense, and it has been nice to get some rest before seriously heading down the river. I feel my personal batteries have been recharged and am anxious to get going. While the wind isn't in the right direction today, it is forecasted to swing to the SW by tomorrow morning, which will be perfect for the next leg. While tomorrow is a Friday, and sailors never start a big voyage on Friday's, if the wind is right, then it's time to go. But there is no hurry, other than the cooler weather sneaking in. If I can get to Halifax before it gets much colder, then a late October departure is still possible, and even early November wouldn't be terrible, except for the depressions that start to come through a little more often and with more vigor. Once at sea, things will start to warm up with every mile I make towards the South, so I should be back in shorts by December if all goes to plan. At the moment I am wearing pants. Hopefully soon I will be back to shorts :)
Today's objectives are to wire up the wind generator, repack the boat (I have stuff everywhere at the moment), run my reefing lines, do a good clean to the boat, and then wait for the wind! Sounds so simple, eh?
Arm is still sore, so I will take it really easy, but it's time to get going. The fun will start very soon...
Don't want anyone to worry that I'm not currently making progress down the St Lawrence. There are a lot of things going on, one of which is to let my arm heal. It has been a month almost since I've irritated a tendon or two. I'm sure it would have healed faster had I stopped and rested and not used it for a few days, but even walking around the boat requires both arms, and then you forget and try to pull or lift something a little too heavy, you set back the healing process. So, I'm taking my time and going to let the arm heal before heading down the river.
Just past Trois Rivieres, the tides start to make themselves felt, sometimes moving from 2 knots to up to 9 knots at Quebec City. So I need to make sure we are both ready for sea. Once past Quebec City the river starts to opens up and at that point you really are in the open ocean. There aren't very many anchorages and some ports can not be accessed at low tide, so given enough sea-room, I may do a few overnight sails in the gulf, but we'll see how things are when we get there.
While I am anxious to get going, this is a really important time for me to make sure the boat is in good shape and is packed properly. To pack gear properly, everything really needs a place. But since I haven't packed a boat this size for a trip around the world before, it really is trial and error. Which doesn't sound very hard, does it? One has to remember that things need to be packed with some order so you can find it in a hurry and with the lights out. The thing is that there is so much gear to find homes for. So when you change your mind for whatever reason, you have a lot of gear to move around. And that's where a second arm would be really handy. So, I have to stop doing work to let the body heal.
Another reason why I'm not in any hurry to get to the East Coast is the hurricane season. The closer I get, the more exposed I will be if something big comes up the East Coast. And September and October are the two months with the highest frequency of major storms. So for this reason alone I'm in no hurry. However, I am starting to feel like a goose when the nights start really cooling down...time to get south.
little sark is in pretty good shape. Only have a few things left to secure and tidy before heading out to sea. The wind generator is nearly operational I only need to hook up the wiring, but that means taking it down off its post, which needs two good arms and little wind. Also have the running lights to hook up. Seems like a little thing, but I will need to move a lot of gear to get them wired and installed, and that also needs two good arms. So really the bottleneck is my arm....but that's not a bad thing. The extra time is allowing me to become accustomed to living the boat life, giving me time to start actually thinking about the actual trip. Up to now has been planning and installation. In the very near future, things will change over to operations. It is at this point that things need to be ready for sea because you never know what the St Lawrence and the sea will send your way and the last thing you want to worry about is where everything is and if heavy cans will start to take flight when things get rough. So that's why I am not in any hurry.
I was in a hurry earlier in the summer as I wanted to get to the East Coast for August as that would have allowed me to pass Cape Horn in the southern summer, the most settled time to be in the South Pacific. Being a little behind, I started to worry that I might not get to the Horn until things got really rough. So I asked a friend, Laila, who has sailed around the Horn a few times, once as late as May. So I checked to routing charts (wind and current planning) for that area and even if I get there as late as March/April I should still be good. One also has to keep in mind that nasty stuff can occur in any ocean at any time.
I just listened to the weather report for the next few days...winds from the North (not ideal) and rain for the next week or so. Not too concerned about the rain, but the wind direction would be much better is it had some West and some South in there somewhere.
Hurricane season ends at the end of November, but I hope top leave from Halifax before the winter gales start in the North Atlantic. Brr. Don't want snow or ice on deck, thank you very much!
I know a lot of you have questions, and I will answer them soon. I hope to make some recordings along the way to Halifax to share with you all.
Until next time,
Currently anchored off of Candiac, resting and organizing. It's amazing how stuff can get everywhere if they don't really have a place, especially after a day's run in a torrential downpour after stuffing whatever was left at the dock into the cabin. A big thank you to Josyane for your help and support during the move from the dock at the Royal St Lawrence YC to this anchorage. I also wanted to say thank you to all the staff and members at RSLYC. My stay at the club was warm and welcoming.
The days leading up to departure were pretty fuzzy. Not a lot of sleep, no appetite, and a ton to do. Previous weekend I had a little freakout about the self-steering. I didn't think I was going to be able to have the time or the energy to install it before leaving Montreal. I sent the makers of the gear a note to see if they knew anyone that could help me, even if it was only to drill the hole in the transom. Eric from Cap Horn was able to come down last Monday and do the complete install. I was so relieved! Professional install by the makers. Can't get better than that!
With Josyane helping, both at loading and helping me with navigation (when tired I don't always make the best decisions), we managed to get going around 9:30 am. We had a nice little sail to the channel, but after that it was all in our faces, and then the rain started. We also had to wait over 5 hours at the first lock before we would be let in.
Once through the locks, the wind had picked up, again on our nose and found the little electric motor was running out of juice...don't get me going about the motor just yet - good motor, just an issue with the installer, me. Light was failing and an anchorage was necessary as I had run out of any energy, and I had to get my helper home. So we found a small little place to drop the hook, and here I sit.
The first night I didn't really get much sleep. The wind picked up and it seemed like the boat was trying to tell me to do something. With a new boat (to me), all the noises are new, so you have to chase each one down to know for sure. The highlight of the night was a biggie though. There was this noise that sounded like a bolt sliding though a hole, not much, but enough to get the imagination running. And then it hit me...! I remember when we were putting the mast up, I didn't have all the right wrenches with me, so I was going to tighten the forestay once it was up and all the other stays were connected. Well, guess what? I forgot to go back and tighten them up back then...! I ran to the foredeck and found there was only a thread and a half between having a mast standing up, to a mast lying down. This happened because I was tired and exhausted. And that is why I have taken a few days off, that and my arms just could not lift one more can, one more sail, even a glass of water was tough.
The plan at the moment, things change all the time, is to organize the stores in a better way and to rest up for the next leg of this adventure. Hopefully will go through the St Lambert lock early next week, and then head downriver, stopping in a few places overnight as anchoring isn't really a good idea between Montreal and Quebec City.
Will try and catch up with questions over the weekend.
Thank you all for your support!
Music: Broken Social SceneShow more