Anchoring up the North West Arm

The Dingle Tower, North West Arm, Photo by M. Mair

The Dingle Tower, North West Arm, Halifax, Photo by M. Mair

The North West Arm. This is where we arrived when we first came to Halifax, needing to do work on the boat and replenish our cruising funds, and it’s also the place we left from.

That’s because there are not many places to anchor around Halifax. Though there are lots of moorings and a selection of clubs and marinas – wonderful when you want to use them and can afford to.  But when anchoring is what you prefer, then this would be our choice.

It’s the only place we found in the city that has all the things you want in an anchorage – good holding, shelter from waves, good access to the shore, and stores and other necessities close by. You just need to find a good spot off the small park near the top and across from the Armdale Yacht Club.

Dock in the Park, Photo by M. Mair

Dock in the Park, Photo by M. Mair

There is is docking for dinghies at a small dock in the park (other, larger boats sometimes come in there too, so be aware of that if using it).  Armdale Yacht Club has gas and diesel and water (and is closer to the marine store, Binnacle).

Turn left from the dock in the park and walk along the path and up the road to the roundabout (or rotary), turn right there and walk up the road past the the Chinese grocery, cross at the crosswalk, keep walking up the cross street past the parking garage, and you’ll find yourself in a plaza.  Drugstore and groceries, and other stores if you’ve money to spend and a mind to spend it there.

Or turn right out of the park and keep walking, and you’ll find yourself on the way to downtown.  Walk far enough and you’ll find banks and a hardware store and another supermarket – and restaurants and small stores galore.

Or you can take the bus downtown, if you prefer. It stops just outside the park. Exact change cash fare, or buy tickets at the drugstore.

If you’re looking for free wi-fi, most Tim Horton’s outlets have it, and so do many other coffee shops.  If you find your way to a library (there’s none very close to there), you can get a card that allows you to use theirs.

Armdale YC, Photo by M. Mair

Looking at Armdale Yacht Club, Photo by M. Mair

The anchorage is relatively quiet, though in summer you’ll get to watch the sailing lessons out of Armdale.  Early in the morning the rowers practice, but you won’t know unless you’re up and looking.  Kayakers come past too, some in tours and others just out and about.

Kayaks on the North West Arm, Photo by M. Mair

Kayaks on the North West Arm, Photo by M. Mair

There are disadvantages (aren’t there always?).  The water, despite the well-trumpeted efforts to clean up the harbour, is dirty.  And all kinds of organisms grow very happily in it.  So it’s best to clean up your anchor chain when leaving (it will smell very ‘organic’ otherwise), and move your boat around from time to time so that said organisms do not accumulate on your prop.  You will see people and pets swimming and playing in the water – you will also see stuff drifting past that will make you wonder why they are.  We were never tempted to join them.

There are also, here as elsewhere, people who don’t know how to behave around moored and anchored boats.  Be prepared to be rocked from time to time.  Boats will circle past, some with people who are curious and others with people simply running around.  Occasionally they will be going much too fast.   If asked nicely, some will slow down.

Do anchor out of the way of the racers – those striped cans in the water are race markers.

And enjoy the friendly attitudes of most of the people you will meet.

About Margaret Mair

In love with the sensuousness of paint, intoxicated by the rhythm of words, entranced by the world of water, ever an observer and explorer.
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