22 May 2011 (from GSC): Motor sailing along SW coast of Nfld. Light wind, sunny, cold & beautiful. Position: 47 38N, 058 05W
22 May 2011: Anchor down in 30 ft, Doctors Harbor. Remote! East of Burgeo.
23 May 2011: From GSC 100: Arrived Francois. 47 34N, 056 44W. Cold, blue sky, dramatic setting.
Francois is a beautiful little outport, nestled at the head of a fjord. We tied Running Free to the dock and hiked up paths to a magnificent overlook. On the way back we purchased lobsters for dinner.
We were advised that the dock is not good in the predicted SW winds. We may have to tie to the ferry after it arrives.
We motored to Francois from a beautiful little anchorage, Doctors Harbor. Bright clear sunshine all the way – but little wind.
23 May: Tuesday from good internet connection, Fortune. New photos added to album.
Woke up at anchor in Doctor’s Harbor, a beautiful wilderness anchorage not unlike Woodbine along the Canadian North Shore of Lake Superior. We had breakfast and departed eastward past the continuing stark rocky shoreline of the Newfoundland south coast; everchanging but neverchanging.
We eventually approached the headland, with its lighthouse and helipad, marking the entrance to Francois. We have heard this pronounced in the French way (Fran-swah) but many of the locals pronounce it Franz-way.
The guide book calls for a floating transient dock to the left as we come in. The only floating dock there was fully occupied by local fishing boats. We circled closer to the wharf and asked.
They pointed to an open floating dock across the harbor. We moved over there and tied up. As we admired the beauty, Judy pointed out a bald eagle soaring along the face of the mountain on the east side of the fjord.
We tidied up and secured the boat then took off through the village. We could see a board walk heading up the mountain on the west of the village. Nothing is level in the town and the paved paths meander in all directions. We passed the school which was in the midst of play time on the playground which was a platform built as level as possible which concrete posts supporting it.
The walk up the mountain was in two stages. The first ended near a meadow with a pond that fed the waterfall. This was also the site of the village cemetery.
The walk up was quite steep – a daunting climb for the pall bearers. The view of the village from this level was spectacular, but there was more. The next board walk continued on steeper and much higher to an overlook that commanded a view through the entry, down to the village and back to the cemetery with the pond and meadow behind it. There is another waterfall from the saddle feeding the pond.
Judy wanted a photo to show how well she was doing with her new heart valve. I think this one does the trick!
On the way back down, we stopped by the government wharf and inquired about lobster.
Most of the catch had been weighed and processed for shipping but we were directed to one man that had some still available. Carl selected three. We were directed to the village general store to pay.
While in the store, a man that was buying a few pieces of hardware for his boat asked if we were from the boat tied to the floating dock. We were. He told us that the predicted winds would make staying there risky. The dock had been condemned and replacement docks had not arrived yet. There were no open places to tie up on the other side of the harbor. He suggested we wait for the ferry to arrive around 6:00 and ask to tie to the ferry.
We boiled up a couple of pots of water for the lobsters, Judy prepared some garlic potatoes and a salad, and we had a wonderful meal.
The ferry had arrived so we walked over and knocked for the captain. He said no problem tying to the ferry and that the next day was a layover day and we could stay all the next day if we would like.
We walked back, fired up the diesel, cast off lines and motored over. The captain helped take lines and we were secure. We chatted with the captain for a while and discussed the weather forecast. There was some heavy weather on the way, picking up tomorrow afternoon. If we waited for it to pick up and blow over, we could be staying in Francois for several days. What to do?
We discussed the situation among ourselves and Judy suggested leaving tonight for Fortune. That had appeal, and after more discussion and listening to the forecasts again, we decided to head out that night.
24 May 2011: From GSC 100: Strong wind forecast for Tues PM & few days. Decided to cross overnight to Fortune. Departed 9:47, Arrived 6:30 & tied up.
25 May 2011: From GSC 100: Winds howling above 30. Tied to wall. May leave this PM overnight.
26 May 2011: From GSC 100: Motoring along Burin Pen. Fog comes & goes. Dest St Lawrence. Pos 46 56N, 055 59W
26 May 2011: From GSC 100: Tied to wharf. Rain, but we are snug.
27 May 2011: From GSC 100: Fog bound. Larry went lobstering this morning, dinner tonight! Awaiting weather window.
27 May, Friday: We departed Fortune yesterday 0730. There was fog in the harbor but as we were leaving, it lifted and we had a clear view of the passing shoreline for the first several hours of the trip. We motored continuously as the wind was on the nose and followed us around as we went through 180 deg around the south end of the Burin Peninsula. As we continued toward St. Lawrence, fog again set in, typically varying between thick and thinner fog. We were frequently able to make out the shoreline and always had collision avoidance visibility.
Finally, we rounded the last headland and turned northward into Great St. Lawrence. There was a fog horn on the point separating Great St. L and Little St. Lawrence which we had been hearing for the last half hour or more but never saw.
The main pier on the west side of the harbor was quite crowded with fishing boats. There is a major crab fishery here with a processing plant running 24 hours. We motored across the harbor to a public wharf and handed our lines to a man who later introduced himself as Bill Molloy. We were assured that no one would bother us here and that we could plug our electric line into the public stage.
A few more locals drifted down to the wharf and chatted, including some kids that wanted to see the sailboat. One got a tour! The people of St. Lawrence are very friendly.
Bill invited me to go lobstering with him in the morning. I said “What time?”, he replied “5:30”. Agreed.
Judy cooked up a wonderful pot roast for dinner and we turned in. My alarm went off at 0510 and I made a pot of coffee and got my boots and foul weather gear on, grabbed my cameras and waited on the wharf for Bill.
He arrived and we hopped into his lobster boat and headed for his pots. My job was to pull the pots up with the hauler powered by a Honda engine with a hydraulic pump. Click here for a video of the lobster fishing trip.
We pulled up 30 or 40 pots, collected the legal sized lobsters, rebaited the pot and tossed it back. We ended up with 7 nice lobsters, and three are for this evening’s meal.
We headed back to Running Free to show our catch to Judy and Carl. We are now checking the weather trying to find the best conditions to cross Placentia Bay and on to Trepassey. Conditions are for lots of fog and SW winds. There is lots of traffic up and down Placentia Bay so we want to have good visibility. Right now, it is looking like a very early departure tomorrow (Saturday) would work. It is about 15-18 hours to Trepassey.
28 May 2011: From GSC 100: Tied to dock after hard 94 mile slog: St L to Trepassey. Saw dolphins.