30 May 2011: From GSC 100: Waiting for conditions to round Cape Race & up east coast.
30 May, Monday: Yesterday was a layover day – perhaps not the only one in Trepassey. We explored the town, found the library (closed) and the grocery store (open).
We decided to take a walk to the Powles Head lighthouse and fog signal. It is at least 3.5 miles each way which was a good stretch of the legs. We climbed to an overlook where a small battery of guns had been set up in case of an American invasion during the revolutionary war (there wasn’t). And as foggy as it was, I am not sure a ship could be seen anyway.
The lighthouse was near the edge of a rocky cliff with jagged rock outcrops down among the waves. It would be a rather nasty place to beach a boat in the fog. As we walked to the lighthouse, we could hear its fog signal as well as a fog horn north of the town of Trepassey and there is an entrance buoy with a wave action generated whistle that could also be heard. We walked back to the dock which now was the center of activity. Several crab boats were in and were unloading their catches. One of the larger boats had fished its quota for the season, had unloaded the catch, and was now unloading all of the fishing gear – crab pots, lines, floats, etc. – to be put away until next year’s season. One of the smaller boats was in the process of unloading its catch, about 20,000 lbs. It still has at least one more trip before reaching its quota.
We were able to get a nice mess of crab which we feasted on last night. This morning we woke up to very thick fog and a weather report that looks like we will be in Trepassey for at least another day and perhaps a few more days. Carl reported a problem in the night that we did not hear. The power cord either blew a breaker or came unplugged. He woke to see the red light flashing on the battery monitor (dead batteries). He had to reposition the boat to get the power cord back to a working outlet, then had a hard time getting the boat close enough to the dock to be able to climb down the ladder and onto the deck at low tide.
Judy and I were blissfully unaware of the drama. Later, after breakfast (oatmeal) I walked to the library only to find it does not open until 3:00 today. So I sent the above message via the GSC 100. We will get some reading done today – and listen to the wind howl and rain patter on the deck with batteries fully charged. Carl just announced that the fog was clearing up (undoubtedly replaced by rain).
31 May 2011: This morning we saw a fleeting moment of blue sky and sun with winds down to acceptable levels. Didn’t last long. The wind did shift and was now pushing us into the dock. We decided to move around to the other side. The fishing boats on our side were doing the same. It took some real effort and coaching from hands on the dock to get away. Wind and tide were working against us. Then again on the other side, wind and tide were working to keep us off the dock. It was nice to have extra hands available to get Running Free tied and secure on the lee of the dock.
Last night we had a wonderful meal at one of the local restaurants: au gratin cod. Very tasty.
Looks like we may get a chance to move on tomorrow, 20 miles to Cape Race then another 25 or so to a harbor on the east coast of the Avalon Peninsula. That would make the final run to St. John’s about another 45 miles.
I will keep you posted as I have access to internet.
1 June 2011: From GSC 100: Left Trapassey:
Blue sky, sun, moderate & decreasing wind, cold. Motor sailing >7 kts.
What a difference a day makes! Yesterday was awful, today was bright and sunny.
1 June 2011: From GSC 100: Rounded Cape Race:
46 402N, 053 029W Beating north. Winds became confused as we finally rounded the last major cape. They turned north for a while forcing us to beat for a while, then settled into the predicted south winds. Weather next day was predicted to turn MUCH worse so we passed up our intended stop, Fermeuse, and carried on to St. John’s.
1 June 2011: From GSC 100: Arrived St. John’s:
Tied to wharf 6 at 10:45pm
We made our way into St. John’s at night, following the big green range lights, then went to the very end of the harbor and worked our way into a tight space in front of a somewhat larger boat.
In the morning, we looked for an electrical hookup to be able to run the heater (diesel heater was out of order, temporarily). Not available, so we were sent back to the floating transient dock. Where, surprisingly, power is now available.
We are now making plans for our return. We may be able to deliver a car to Maine! Details to follow.