The first thing you need after doing a lot of work on your boat is a shake-down sail. You hope that this will not apply literally – and it usually doesn’t – but it’s important to make sure that most things are working as you thought they would. Or at least close enough for comfort.
We decided to do our shake-down in two parts. A short sail on Halifax Harbour with a friend, and a longer cruise to Mahone Bay and Lunenberg.
When we picked up anchor and left our spot up the North West Arm to pick up our friend at the public dock by Alderney Marina we didn’t realize that this would prove to be the most stressful part of our first trip. The dock area was much smaller than we remembered – too small for our boat. We ended up having to get help to maneuver our boat into a position where we could leave without further stress to ourselves or anyone else – and for that help we thank you, Robert. We shall recover from the embarrassment some day.
The rest of the sail went much better – a nice day with good winds and enough heel to test storage arrangements. A few things had to be changed and were before we set off for Mahone Bay – it’s not a good idea to hang anything from the inside handrails, especially when you have someone on board (me, Margaret) who needs to hold them to move around. We dropped our friend Tim off with far less drama at the end of a dock on the Halifax side of the harbour, and went back to drop anchor off the park up the North West Arm again.
The next day we set out on our trip to Mahone Bay, a place we have been wanting to visit by boat ever since we arrived in Nova Scotia. There was not enough time to explore, but at least we could taste a small part of the experience, and visit with friends at the same time. Our first stop was back on the Halifax side of the harbour, though – to get water at the dock by Murphy’s. Then it was off for an overnight trip to Mahone Bay.
The weather, as often seems to happen, was not quite as forecast. There was not much of it, except for the fog and the showers we set off in. Our electric motor and generator provided most of the propulsion. At least it was a good opportunity to test what it would be like to use the motor for a longish period of time. We seemed to be alone on the water – the radio was strangely silent.
The first boat we saw was after the sun had risen on high cloud and low waves, still unruffled by wind, a fishing boat working on the shoals off Mahone Bay. The first creatures we saw were seabirds waking to glide low over the water, searching for food. The wind did come up a little before we turned into the Bay, and we sailed slowly along the Princess Inlet, past the Lunenburg Yacht Club and the dinghies filled with young sailors learning then past Herman’s Island to drop anchor in a sheltered spot behind it.
The island presented it’s wooded side to us. On the other side of the anchorage houses dotted the shoreline, with docks below them. There were powerboats at docks, and sailboats on moorings. The occasional vehicle traveled along the shoreside road. We enjoyed the quiet until the mosquitoes came out – and we went in. A couple of the pesky things managed to slip inside with us, of course…
The next day we were lucky enough to visit with cruising friends, now living on shore, do a little catching up and share a cup of tea. Then another sleep and it was time to move next door to Lunenburg – another place we had been wanting to visit by sea for as long as we’ve been in Nova Scotia. From country quiet to bustling port town –
And a real shake-down.
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