I have recently written about our plans to visit the Bay of Fundy and the St John river next summer. It will be our first trip there on our own boat but not our first trip there, “aboard” a boat.
As I have mentioned, I have been digging through some old photos lately and have come up with some wonderful images that conjure up many great memories.
And speaking of old photos and visiting Canada, our last trip there was a REALLY long time ago, way back in 1979. We had only been married for about two years and hadn’t even thought about buying a boat.
While our trip this coming summer won’t take us across the Bay of Fundy to Yarmouth, I expect that many of the spots we’ll visit will have the similar, otherworldly feel that makes the coastline so beautiful.
Our trip, so many years ago, was by car and began in Portland ME where we caught the overnight ferry to Yarmouth. We splurged on a sleeping cabin. No, this isn’t a view of our cabin and I’ll admit that I can’t recall much except that Brenda didn’t eat dinner as she felt queasy. The bow of the ferry. And speaking of queasy, the muscular build of this Canadian cost guard boat gives a pretty good feel for how rough it can get out on the water there. We brought along our car on the ferry, then a tiny diesel VW Rabbit. Remember them? That car got AMAZING mileage, about 50 mpg, on average. And, I remember that diesel was $.47 a gallon. And, during the oil embargo I sometimes bought fuel oil from a place in Bridgeport CT. I’d pull up to the heating oil place and they’d snake a hose out from the shop and fill me up. Totally illegal. Ah, those were the days. I won’t talk about my income in those years. About as low, or perhaps lower than the price of fuel. I was selling advertising for a local free newspaper. We have always loved lighthouses and to this day go out of my way to visit them when we travel. This one, in Yarmouth is on Cape Forchu is well known and often photographed. We climbed up to the top to take in the view. The light went round and round and as it passed, you could feel the heat of the bulb as it passed, like a rotisserie. Brenda thought it was great too until the foghorn went off. It was so loud that it made us weak in the knees. To this day it still takes some coaxing to get her up in an active lighthouse. We have only camped in a tent twice together, the first time was while we were in college, near Niagara Falls. It rained the whole time and we quickly learned that the tent was not waterproof and that didn’t even include the fact that there was no bottom to the tent, waterproof or not. Water coming in from above and below.
On this trip we split our time camping and visiting Bed and Breakfast inns. I still vividly recall our camping near Peggy’s Cove on a bluff overlooking the North Atlantic, with the fog rolling in. Not a luxury tent, to be sure.Not a great shot but I include this as it features our wok, perched over an open fire. We filled it with seaweed and added two lobsters. That wok has served us faithfully for all these years. We still use it nearly every day. After that trip it was really well seasoned. One evening, or was it the only evening we camped there?, we heard someone playing bagpipes in the waning twilight. It was a remarkable moment with the forlorn music and fog wafting over the campsite.
We really enjoyed the time up there. We were so young. Mere kids. To this day I still get a thrill when I see a schooner. On this trip we went out for a day sail on the schooner Bluenose II, a reproduction of a classic Grand Banks fisherman laucnhed in the 1920s. The original Bluenose was the fastest fishing schooner in the fleet and is still regarded as perhaps the fastest ever launched. The “new” Bluenose is a roving ambassador for Nova Scotia and travels widely. Brenda is a prolific fiber artist, graduating from her early focus on knitting. I believe that this may have been her first sweater knitted with “real” yarn. This particular photo is one of my all time favorites. When she was younger, but not a lot younger than she is in this photo, she didn’t have access to good yarn, or any, for that matter, and had to knit a single ball of red yarn, probably (gasp) acrylic, rip it out and knit it up again. She still has to rip things out but not because of a lack of good yarn. Quite the contrary, her “stash” is prodigious.
I have no idea how many sweaters she has knitted over the last 40 years but it’s probably hundreds. It’s pretty safe to say that she has been knitting nearly every day as long as I have known her. Right now she is knitting booties for our nearly new twin grand-babies. As Brenda would say, in a high squeeky baby voice, “they are soooo cuuute!”
Ok, back to boats:
The Pride of Baltimore was visitinng. She was a reproduction of a Baltimore Clipper launched in 1977, the year Brenda and I were married. She a sailed over 150,000 miles as an ambassador to Baltimore MD. However, while her design was fairly faithful to the original type, that proved to be a problem as she lacked some of the modern safety features now common which proved to be her undoing. Unfortunately, she sank in the Caribbean in 1986 with the loss of captain and three crew. Her successor the “Pride” II has watertight bulkheads and was built to more modern safety standards. Pride II has sailed over 300,000 miles, visited over 200 ports in 40 countries over her now 30 year career.Pride was quite authentic down to her beautiful gig. The tides in the Bay of Fundy are known as being among the highest in the world, as high as 40′. That’s a lot of water moving in and out of the huge Bay of Fundy, twice a day. As the tide floods the water surges in, moving a small wave ahead of it. This is referred to as a “bore” and is pretty impressive to see as the ridge of white water rolling inland across any inlet or bay. Perhaps the most photographed harbor in Nova Scotia is Peggy’s Cove. It’s an impossibly quaint fishing village on the eastern shore. Charming fishing boats at every turn. Where there is “quaint”, there are artists capturing the view. Peggy’s Cove is no different. With big tides, all you have to do to haul a boat is to pull it up at high tide and let the receding tide do the rest. Just about all of the boats we saw were still built of wood and the cottages surrounding the harbor, oh so quaint. I expect that many of these have been sold, over the years, to summer residents, known in Maine as “from away”. We visited, of course, the local lighthouse. Looks like Brenda’s waiting for the wind to blow up her skirt. Me too…And, speaking of breezy, the coastline here is quite rugged and windswept. I can only imagine what it is like in the dead of winter. With the constant wind not a lot grows higher than knee high.
We went out on a day fishing boat, jigging for squid and even caught some cod.
Ready to head out to sea. We even caught a flounder, sole, fluke, something like that. It’s flat anyway. Not sure she’d “soil” her hands on an icky fish these days. It was on this very trip that we talked about buying a boat for the first time. There was a small boat show in Yarmouth, If I recall. I expect that this photo was taken when I said “Hey, let’s buy a boat”. “Very funny Bob, perhaps not.” The coastline is so spectacular. Maine is very similar so we’ll see this sort of view next summer which will mark our 15th time to visit Maine aboard our own boat. I went to Maine briefly a few years ago but Brenda hasn’t been there since I retired over six years ago. Lovely views. I wonder if it looks the same nearly 40 years later. Ok, how about a photo of me for balance? Funny, seems that I had more hair then. Well, it’s getting late and I need to pack for our trip to MD tomorrow to celebrate our grandaughter Tori’s birthday. She’s a real cutie.
Perhaps I’ll close for now with a photo of my own cutie. Well, it’s been a long time since this photo was taken way back when.
A lot of water has gone under our keel since this photo was taken but it’s nice to know that we will soon be making memories again in Canada this coming summer.
Did I mention that we’re heading back? This time on our own boat. Who’d have guessed?
It’ll be fun. Totally, for sure.