18 May 2011: We’re off (9:18am EST)! Appoaching Barra Straits Baddeck tonight.
We passed through the draw bridge in the straits and tucked into a beautiful little cove and dropped the anchor. Judy made a great pot of soup to warm us up. After lunch, we continued on to Baddeck and tied up at the marina.
As we entered the Baddeck area, we passed the Alexander Graham Bell estate standing proud on a prominent point on the mainland. Judy and I will take a tour of the Bell museum today.
We are doing a bit of laundry this morning and will depart this afternoon to get part way up the channel to exit Bras d’Or. The currents at the exit are quite unpredictable and can be very strong. We are hoping to be able to find a favorable time to exit the channel.
19 May 2011 (from GSC):
Left Baddeck, exited Great Bras d’Or. Current > 6 kts, SOG >11 kts. Heading for LaPoile Bay, NFLD. Sunny, wind 15, Running Free is Running Free!
20 May 2011: Arrived LaPoile. Approx 24 hrs, about 140 miles. Cold, bouncy, fog as expected. No rain. Tied up & comfortable.
The above was sent from the GSC 100. This is an addition after arrival.
We started out shooting through the exit from Great Bras d’Or with an extremely fast current – in our favor. We motored north onto the Gulf of St. Lawrence with flat seas. At nightfall we started our watch keeping. Overnight, the winds built, came around on the nose and produced waves to make the ride uncomfortable. Fog appeared as we got closer to Newfoundland and it was cold on watch. We continued on course to the entrance of LaPoile Bay. We were quite close to land before we sighted the rocky coastline. Click here for a video of LaPoile.
We tried to raise the mainsail after sunrise but had some trauma which resulted in an 18 inch tear in the sail and the mast twisted 90 degrees! Carl and I, after some head scratching, were able to use a dock line and the windlass to twist it back to its normal orientation. The lost mast bolts were replaced and wired in place.
Forecasts are for some heavy winds for the next day or two. We may end up staying here a bit longer.
LaPoile is a tiny village on the south coast of Newfoundland. It has only 105 people and 6 or 7 kids in the school. It is only accessible by water – there are no roads to LaPoile. There are no streets in the town, just trails. Some are paved to accommodate ATVs that are used to cart things to and from the government dock. I was amazed when I fired up my computer to upload photos from my camera card. There was an unsecured WiFi signal that I was able to connect to and was able to update this blog.
We don’t expect to find internet in villages – and certainly not on the passages between villages. I try to get out a short message on the GSC 100 each day. My son, Banio, is one of the recipients and posts the message to this blog. If and when I get access, I will add to the post and, if possible, add some photos.
22 May 2011: Yesterday, Judy, Carl and I walked around the village, visited the only store in town and then walked a ways out of town along the crest then back on the rocky shore. It is starkly beautiful; sunny and cold. I took a few more photos and was able to upload more to the album linked in the above post.
The ferry arrives here daily about 5:30 and overnights at the wharf. It departs again daily at about 8:00. The arrival is one of the big activities of the day. It is met by many on their 4 wheel ATVs, some expecting delivery of items previously ordered. Water heaters, TV sets, groceries and more arrive. The store gets its big delivery on the Wednesday ferry and will restock the shelves from that. The store has a wonderfully diverse inventory. Bug spray, cheese, canned goods, boots, fishing gear, boat parts, and more. The lady that runs the store is also the only emergency medical person in the village.
I chatted with a local about the roads in town. About six years ago, the paths were paved with concrete. They seem to last better than other paving.
The ferry runs year round and the harbor is ice free all winter. The school goes through 9th grade. Beyond that, kids must go to a larger town for high school. Port aux Basques is one possibility and with the ferry running all year, kids can get home for the weekend.
LaPoile may be a candidate for resettling. The closest town, Grand Bruit, was resettled only a couple of years ago and now lies abandoned.