Week 26, 25 June – 1 July 2018 Isle Aux Morts – St Lawrence, Newfoundland, via France 183 nm.
25 June Monday Isle Aux Morts
Cold morning with only fifteen degrees in the boat when we woke up. Lit the furnace and stayed in bed until the air had become a little more welcoming. We were happy that we already yesterday moved Moon into the corner of the wharf to be prepared for the coming north easterly gale, because Moon gets even more chilly with the wind in from behind. Breakfast in a slow pace, but almost before it was finished the guys from yesterday who promised to drive us to the supermarket in the next village, Port Aux Basques, came and picked us up.
Berit and Annika went along and Björn stayed in Moon to keep her safe, warm and dry. The forecast show a north easterly gale from midnight, but you never know if it comes earlier. The sky was grey and the rain was off and on the whole morning. The shopping party came back just after noon and we had a simple lunch. Annika and Berit went up to the pub, which was closed. But the router for the WiFi was on and Annika managed to get access to internet outside the door. Found out that the ordered new windlass was in transit and that was a relief.
When moving in to the corner we had to lift up four big tires on the wharf to get a clean wharf for our fenders and fender boards. The harbourmaster was impressed and wondered how we had managed. We told him about the spinnaker halyard and the winches we have and told him we will put them back. “No No don’t do that, we have tried to get them off the wharf for some time”. Obviously someone have put them there without allowance, and then just left them there. Tiers are hopeless for a pleasure boat when you have tide of more than a meter. We were happy with a nice clean wooden wharf which only needed a fender board where the ladder was.
Shut down the furnace before getting to bed. Strong gusting wind will sometimes blow out the flame.
26 June Tuesday Isle Aux Morts
The predicted gale begun shortly after midnight. Around two we had strong gale, but with our position in the lee of the wharf and the wind almost over our bow, it was only the rain and the noise from the wind that made us aware of the weather. When we woke up we had eleven degrees C in the boat. Outside it was four degrees and only a few kilometers inland the rain came as snow. We used the Webasto hydro heater to warm up the boat before we dared to go up.
During the early morning hours the wind increased again and we had more than 30 knots when the wind turned north west and we got the wind somewhat onto the wharf. We put a long line across to the other wharf and eased the pressure on our fenders, in fact we managed to release the pressure completely. At noon the rain stopped but the wind kept on the whole afternoon. Late afternoon, when the wind had eased a bit, we took a long walk. Along the walkway we could read about the heroic rescuing of shipwrecked sailors during the 19 and 20-hundreds. To the west we could now see clear sky under the gray clouds.
Back in Moon we had Gluwein, hot red wine, together with ginger cookies and blue cheese to heat up our cold bodies. After dinner we went up to the now open pub to do some internet.
Back at the boat the wind had turned west and we moved Moon back to our first position to have the wind over the bow and make tomorrow’s departure easy.
27 June Wednesday Isla Aux Morts — Ramea Island 66 nm
We left as soon as we woke up to get going before the rain started. The engine had to be in use the first hours with a reefed main to stabilize Moon. Run the WM until eleven when the wind came and we shut down the engine. Nice sailing for several hours until the engine had to come to use again. Motor sailing for half a day and the rest of the day only sailing is a result above average. We managed to avoid the rain and from ten o’clock we had sunshine rest of the day but very cold.
We used the centerboard during morning hours to check the waterproofing. Not a drop! We are happy!
Shortly after half past four we arrived at Ramea, a little pleasant island 3-4 miles off shore. After a traditional anchor dram, a beer at the local pub, we took a long walk out to the lighthouse we just past, arriving Ramea. On the way back we found a nice piece of wild salmon and a Newfoundland curtseys flag in the little convenience store. Early night as we are going to start early tomorrow. We have to compensate for our three days in Isle Aux Morts.
28 June Thursday Ramea Island, Newfoundland – Grand Miquelon, France 55 nm
No it’s not a printing error, two islands on the south coast belongs to France!
Left Ramea at six to take advantage of the south west wind. But we had to motor for three hours before we could start to motor sail and later shut down the engine.
We sailed close hauled for several hours, and then the wind allowed us to ease the sheets and sail much more comfortable on a close reach and of course a bit faster, having the wind now 50-60 degrees over the boat. We actually had a great sail with sometimes nine knots over ground with only marginal current with us.
Closer to Miquelon we expected williwaws but couldn’t see any on the sea surface and for that reason we didn’t reef sail area. That was a mistake. Now we had to follow the strong wind and furl the Yankee before we could resume our course, having lost some headway to Miquelon harbor. Had to tack and closer to the harbor we lowered the sail and motored into the harbor.
Almost no space at all. Found a place under the loading crane and for the moment that was ok. The Custom came to the boat and all of us had to go to the office.
Took a walk after having cleared customs and when we came back the fishing boat behind us was gone. We had earlier agreed to move Moon to his spot so he could use the crane when he comes back early morning. Very good because the wharf had no tires where we now tied up.
The wild salmon from Ramea tasted very good!
29 June Friday Grand Miquelon
We heard our fisherman when he came back shortly after two o’clock. The harbor is very small and every movement sounds like they are in our cockpit!
Björn went to the Boulangere and bought bread to our breakfast. If you are in France you have to adapt to some important behaviors!
Back in Moon the ferry just came, and it was big. The ramp we had taken in account when we tied up was obviously from an old smaller ferry. But everything went smoothly and the captain did thumbs up when he was secured.
We had breakfast right in the morning rush, but it’s odd with these French guys , they seem not to see what’s around them. None paid any attention what so ever, even if they almost stumbled over our boat!
This day became a day in the harbor because of strong southerly wind and fog in the afternoon. St Pierre, our next goal, is due south.
We have a well protected spot in the harbor during most wind conditions except easterly, when the harbor becomes untenable or almost dangerous with heavy surge into the harbor. The fisherman in front of us got the rub rail demolished during Tuesday’s northeasterly blow.
At low tide Moon is close to the wharf, but at high tide we are almost one meter off the wharf thanks to the wind keeping us off the wharf. All our fenders and two fender boards took care of any contact with the vertical rubber fenders on the wharf. We are very secure.
We took a long walk before noon all the way to the light house on the west coast in the windy but warm and almost sunny weather. At the light house we could read about several ships that had run aground in the shallow water west of Grand Miquelon. In those days there was water between Grand and Petit Miquelon, where it today is a causeway made by nature sanding up.
Very nice wind for sailing, but unfortunately straight from where we are going!
We were back in Moon after little more than an hour and had a salad lunch. Annika and Berit then went to the information building to get internet. Having been spoiled with internet via cell phone directly in Moon, we are not used to have to walk away to have service. But better that than no service! We will probably have to get used to only use the HF radio for e-mail the coming months.
In the afternoon the wind increased and it started to rain. We lowered our big French flag. The noise from the flag up in the rig was not good and we will later use a “storm” size flag instead.
When the ladies came back the furnace was on and a warming dram was served. Nice and cozy especially as the rain was more intense now and we even had got dense fog.
Some friends ask us why we sail in these areas!
30 June Saturday Grad Miquelon – Saint Pierre, France 25 nm
Late night the rain and wind stopped and in the morning even the fog was lighter. We had breakfast and left Miquelon around nine, not to compete with the ferry coming in shortly after ten. We met the ferry half an hour later in the fog.
The little wind came right on our nose but because we were in the leeward of the islands we had almost no swell. But dense fog made Annika sit down in the boat watching the radar to find buoys and other boats without AIS. We saw all buoys except for the lobster floats. The crew in the cockpit had to keep watch and we had to change our course for five floats to avoid snagging them in the prop.
After four hours St Pierre arose from the fog and even closer the town was almost without fog thanks to high island west of the town. Found a spot outside one of the racing boats from the race Halifax – St Pierre.
Tried to find somebody at the yacht club twice with no success. Even the Customs were closed. The latter didn’t matter as we already had cleared Custom in Miquelon.
Took a walk in the town and had coffee and a quiche in a nice café, not cheap!
We discovered that lots of money comes from France (EU money??) to subsidies living on the islands. A good thing was that we are back to the decent way of telling people the price on the menu as tax and tip is included!
The walk was not that long, but very steep up and down before we came back to the yacht club where the race had its final dinner and party. We felt obliged to participate in the prize ceremony, but after that we let them have their party for themselves. Seemed like half the town participated and the music was going on until after midnight.
The weather forecast promised light easterly winds for the next two days, and to not be caught out here, we decided to give it a try tomorrow. But that had to be a very early start to be able to reach the mainland before the easterly got too strong and become a problem, heading east.
1 July Sunday St Pierre, France – St Lawrence, Newfoundland 37 nm
We didn’t sleep much before one o’clock. Even so we made an early morning and left quietly as the sun rose, not to wake the sailors who probably needed their morning sleep.
In spite we were forecasted to have fog, we saw Newfoundland ten miles to north east after half an hour.
Our goal was St Lawrence thirty miles due east to be in good position for the jump across to the Avalon peninsula when the wind changed to southwest on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Saw more birds then further east and two whales. Used the engine the whole way and entered the harbor of St Lawrence shortly after noon. Found a good spot on the wharf with the bow to east where most of the wind was supposed to come. Took a walk just as the fog “closed” the bay and the easterly started to blow. We were just in time and are now prepared to wait one or two days for the wind to blow from another direction than east! Perfect place to wait out the weather. Protected, Wifi in the boat, showers ashore and electricity on the wharf. Water? yes but very brownish and the people in the village don’t drink it.
Our two water tanks are full and we use the showers ashore making our need for water neglect able.
No office open on Sunday and because we have no working phone we couldn’t make contact with the customs.
As we had lunch a guy came on the wharf giving us a cod just to welcome us to St Andrews. Shortly after another car came by and that was the harbor master who opened the showers for us. Annika went to the office where a lady helped her to contact the Customs and soon we were cleared in. The guy representing the customs somewhere in central Canada seemed not to know where St Lawrence was! It’s somewhat difficult to see the importance when you notice something like that, but beware if you try to cheat! Now we are officially back in Canada after our three days in France.
In the office we found the password for the WiFi and can communicate with the rest of the world while waiting for better wind.
Björn fund 30 amps 120 volt on the wharf and we can now test our 230 volt heating system. We use 2000w electrical water heater for our radiators (or a hydronic heater, or the engine ). One 24 volt charger 25 amp and one 12 volt charger. Those three are designed to run fine on less than 30 amps 120 volt or 16 amps 230 volt. This will be the first test. The rest of the boats 230 equipment (oven, toaster, stow and so on) runs on the 6 kW inverter fed by the batteries.
During the afternoon we had a shower and laundry done in the service building.
Had pasta bolognaise for dinner, the cod we have to wait for until tomorrow.
Annika & Björn