Saturday, September 3, 2022

Pinned down in paradise

We are under way southbound off the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia, finally back under way after being pinned down for four days in Canso. We'll be under way tomorrow, too, and I had figured to be posting this tomorrow as well, but this afternoon's moon shot, which I had been planning to watch under way, has already been scrubbed.

After last I posted here, we splashed the tender and headed ashore for dinner. Rather than landing at the small pleasure craft marina, we opted to find a spot at the public wharf, which is much closer to town. We were relieved to find part of the port hosting a small floating dock, which alleviated the need for climbing a straight ladder at the main wharf.

Our peaceful anchorage with its rocky shores, just outside Canso.

Canso is a diminutive town, and sports just a single eating establishment, AJ's Dining Room and Lounge, which, despite the name, is really a pizza joint. So we hoofed it up the hill to the main road for dinner, whereupon we learned that "lounge" is perhaps a bit of hyperbole; they had a few different beers in cans and a shelf of spirits off to one side of the kitchen, and a divided-off section of the room with some video slots. We had the place to ourselves.

The pizza was decent and the beer was cold, so it was all good. A couple of guys came in just as we were finishing up and headed for the video machines, where one of them promptly hit a $645 payoff. He was so happy he had to share the news with everyone he saw. Afterward we strolled the town a bit on our way back to the dock, noting the location of the Co-Op grocery store. I also noted a motor oil recycling station at the wharf, which also had a receptacle for used filters, only the second such receptacle I've seen in a decade of cruising (the other one is at the city facility in Key West).

I used this public oil disposal to rid the boat of 6 gallons we've been carrying since South Carolina.

In hindsight, I should have returned ashore that evening with my used oil and my grocery sack, but I put it off to the morning, thinking we'd be stuck for a few days. So of course we had a very small morning window where we might have made some progress, but by the time I made a round trip to offload six gallons of used oil and pick up a handful of groceries, the window had mostly closed.

We nevertheless weighed anchor and made the short trek around the corner, cutting inside of Andrew Island, and poking our nose out into the sea off Madeline Point. We were hoping we could make the 20 miles to Tor Bay, a large protected anchorage, to wait out the rest of the weather. We only got as far as the sea buoy before deciding we did not want to bash over steep four footers for three hours, whereupon we turned around and headed back to sheltered water.

Tied up to the lone floating dock in the port.

We had figured on a certain amount of gunkholing the Nova Scotia coast, and here was our first chance. Rather than go another three miles back to Canso harbor, we turned left around Pea Island and tucked all the way to the southwest corner of Portage Cove to drop the hook (map). That got us out of the swell, and afforded good holding and protection for the winds we knew were coming. It is also stunningly beautiful.

Other than the wildlife, we had the cove to ourselves. A lone boat-in off-grid cabin was a short distance from us, but the proprietor was not in residence, and other than a couple of solar garden lights, it was unlit at night. Yesterday a speedboat with two men came zipping into the cove and docked at the cabin, but they spent less than an hour before again racing away, and we concluded it was a check-in visit. Other than that we saw no humans for our three days in the cove.

We saw several of these signs protesting a proposed spaceport in this sleepy little town (really). We thought it odd, but apparently the spaceport plan is moving forward.

We did have the company of a lone bald eagle throughout our stay, who perched on various tall trees around the cove at different times, and would occasionally swoop down for a meal, which we never saw him catch. We also had our personal harbor seal who would make the occasional appearance. Numerous shore birds filled out the roster, and if the depth alarm sounding while sitting in 40' of water was any indicator, numerous schools of fish as well.

We had gorgeous weather the first two evenings and enjoyed dinner on the aft deck, surrounded by the spectacular scenery. Not a bad place to be pinned down at all. During the days I chipped away at the project list, and Louise did a bit of quilting, when she was not poring over the various weather forecasts to see just when we might escape.

Best my phone could do to capture our aquiline friend, who is perched center frame.

Today was the day, and, in fact, if the forecast holds, we'll have decent weather tomorrow and maybe Monday as well. That will get us all the way to Halifax, and not a moment too soon, since we need provisions and to take on water. I've booked a dock right downtown at the Maritime Museum, walking distance from everything, and a short bike ride to better provisioning options. We'd like to spend 2-3 nights, but, as usual, the passage weather will dictate our actual departure. My next update here will be southbound out of Halifax Harbor.

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