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  1. Trip to Vancouver via Panama Canal: Day 4 – Newport, RI to Cape May, NJ

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    Took on 615 USG of fuel this morning….I didn’t ask Neil what it cost! I am still trying to calculate the range of the boat at 10 knots….we are supposed to carry 990 gallons but you never really know until you fill it all at once.

    Trip Map

     
    Day 4 – June 6th

    Took on 615 USG of fuel this morning….I didn’t ask Neil what it cost!

    I am still trying to calculate the range of the boat at 10 knots….we are supposed to carry 990 gallons but you never really know until you fill it all at once.

    Trip log now showing 472 nautical miles from home….

    Robert and I checked the gyro again…we cleaned all of the input strainers and checked the flow. When we built the boat we installed a pump that had a capacity of 8.5 GMP where the installation manual only required 4GPM. I’m finding it difficult to believe that we don’t have enough flow!
    Either way, the gyro is working again. I spoke to Seakeeper and they don’t know why it keeps stopping. So, this morning before we left we cycled it 3 times and had good flow.

    We left the harbour at 9:45 after a hair raising exit back out through the skinny entrance. The boat handles very well having twin engines and a bow thruster, but being within 3 feet of a 10 million dollar sailboat always makes me nervous.

    We exited the harbour into calm seas with 1-2 meter swell and headed towards Block Island.

    Leaving Newport, RI: VIDEO

    Leaving Newport, RI 2: VIDEO

    Cruising Long Island Sound: VIDEO

    I got pretty breezy and we were taking a lot of spray over the bow as we crossed the entrance to Long Island Sound as you can see in the video. This blow kept up most of the day but lessened a bit as we got into the lee of Long Island.

    I have brought several boats south from Nova Scotia and normal go up the Long Island Sound into New York City. This is a bit of a hair raising trip and takes a bit longer to do, but the views are absolutely amazing. If you haven’t done this part of the trip I would highly recommend doing it at least once.

    On this trip however we decided to stay offshore and go outside Long Island and head straight to Cape May. This involved an overnight at sea so I decided to take a video…

    Atlantic City at night: VIDEO

    A lot of people ask me what it is like at sea at night….I think some people are afraid of being at sea at night but they really shouldn’t be. At night the winds usually drop down and the seas calm a bit. The night sky is absolutely amazing because you have no light pollution to deal with. but, it is dark.
    My training in the Canadian Navy and especially on submarines has taught me to keep the instruments turned down to minimum light and cover them most of the time so that your night vision is better.
    This is a safer way to operate because you can see smaller boats in the dark that sometimes the radar doesn’t paint well. This is especially important on the east coast of the US because of the large number of boats as well as tugs and barges transiting up and down the coast at night.
    We started watching for phosphorescence in the water at this point as it was warming up, but we didn’t see anything yet…

    Day 5 – June 4th 7:38am

    We are 7nm north east of the entrance to Cape May…beautiful morning!

    Entering Cape May, New Jersey: VIDEO

    Coming into Cape May the first thing you see is a very long breakwater jutting out into the ocean. It seems very narrow as you approach it because you are used to the expanse of the sea, but it is actually fairly wide. It is common to see many people fishing out on the breakwater and in little boats inside the channel. In fact you need to be careful here because they don’t move for you! Add to that the sport fishermen exiting the entrance at 30 knots and it can get pretty exciting in there!

    Cape May itself is a very nice little community. You can get just about anything you need here and there is ever a West Marine store on the north side of the bridge. We did not stop her on this trip and continued thru the canal into the Delaware River.

    One thing to be aware of in Cape May is that it gets very shallow very fast. Stay in the channel! Even if sometimes that means guessing where the channel is!
    Leaving Cape May, New Jersey: VIDEO

    We saw 2.5 feet on out depth sounder going thru here……

  2. Trip to Vancouver via Panama Canal: Day 3 – Cape Cod Canal and arriving in Newport

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    As we approached US waters we decided to alter course to tuck inside Cape Cod due to an approaching weather system. Our new course took us within a mile of the northern tip of the cape where we were treated by a huge pod of 10-15 humpback whales feeding on herring.

    Trip Map

     
    Day 3 – June 5th

    As we approached US waters we decided to alter course to tuck inside Cape Cod due to an approaching weather system. Our new course took us within a mile of the northern tip of the cape where we were treated by a huge pod of 10-15 humpback whales feeding on herring.

    We stopped the boat and Neil and Ruby took several picture of these magnificent animals feeding.
    Humpbacks feed by swimming in circles down deep below the herring schools while blowing bubbles. This forces the herring into a tighter area. One of the whales then dives deep and lunges up through the herring with its mouth wide open and broaches. If you looks intently at the surface of the water you will see a lighter area where the bubbles are coming to the surface just before the whale broaches. We saw this happen several times that morning….very beautiful to see. I am trying to get some of their pictures to post later….I was driving the boat…:(

    Once we rounded the cape we headed straight for the Cape Cod Canal. The winds inside the cape were blowing a steady 20 knots but the waves were only about 1 meter.

    For those of you that have never been through the Cape Cod Canal, it is very easy to transit and the views are stunning. the history of the canal can be found here:

    http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/CapeCodCanal/History.aspx

    and here:

    http://www.history.com/topics/us-states/massachusetts/videos/a-challenging-story-the-cape-cod-canal

    Sometimes there is a current in the canal but we did not notice it on this transit. We spent most of our time trying to figure out where to get a berth and refuel because we were told we could not clear customs in Falmouth as it was not a “Designated Port of Entry”. So, we decided to carry on to Newport, RI. We later found out that this wasn’t true and that we could have cleared in Falmouth…

    Here are some pictures and video of the canal transit:

    Cape Cod Canal east: VIDEO

    IMG_0017

    Cape Cod Canal west: VIDEO

    The west end of the canal opens into Buzzards Bay and there is a very long transit thru channel markers. It seems to take forever to get back out into deeper water.

    Entering Buzzards Bay: VIDEO

    Once you finally make it out of the bay you are essentially in open water and as luck would have it, the gyro quit working again! We had beam seas of 1 meter and a 20 knot wind, so we were taking rolls of +- 15 degrees. We did a bit of zig zagging to try and minimize the rolling as we headed into Newport.

    Once in Harbour we radioed the yacht club and were directed into our berth. We requested a berth that was easy to get into as I was fairly new at driving this boat and not all that comfortable with the 20 knot winds.

    Well, the entry to the berth was a 20 foot wide path between million dollar sail boats!! And to make it worse, we were the closest boat in, meaning we had to thread the needle thru the boats and then move sideways into the dock with about a foot of room from the bow.
    I always say that I wouldn’t mind if it were my boat I was driving, but I really don’t want to scratch someone else new boat?

    Long story short, we made it in with some help from the marina guys….All I could think about was having to get back out!

    Neil went ashore to pay for the dockage and nearly fainted when he was told the bill for the night was $300 UDS!

    Customs came aboard a bit later and cleared us into the USA. Total time 33:15, logs showing 472 Nm from home.

    At yacht club in Newport.

  3. Trip to Vancouver via Panama Canal: Day 2 – Crossing Bay of Fundy

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    “Woke up this morning to guess what? More fog!

    It was too bad that we were so socked in by the fog because it would have been nice for Neil and Ruby to see more of the coastline but it is the time of year for fog in Nova Scotia.”

    Trip Map

     
    Day 2 – June 4th

    Woke up this morning to guess what? More fog!

    It was too bad that we were so socked in by the fog because it would have been nice for Neil and Ruby to see more of the coastline but it is the time of year for fog in Nova Scotia.

    We hoisted the anchor…for the first time at 07:15, and headed out to sea. We had to transit a fairly narrow channel on the way to so we got a chance to take some pictures and shoot a bit of video.

    Off the coast of Nova Scotia

    Leaving Port Mouton, Nova Scotia: VIDEO

    Working on the Bow: VIDEO

    We were anticipating going into Falmouth, Mass, by going outside of Cape Cod. A good friend who is currently cruising Ireland and the UK told me that the fuel there was very reasonably priced. Our expected transit time was 32 hours at 10 knots average.

    We had a decent crossing of the Bay of Fundy. At 17:30 we noticed that the gyro had stopped working due to a overtemp warning from the control box. Robert and I went down to investigate and determined that the cooling water had stopped flowing. We removed the seawater inlet hose and traced the problem to what we thought was a blocked water pump. After several hours of flushing and sweating we finally got everything working again at 20:00.

    At this point we were approaching the halfway point and the seas were fairly calm with 2 meter swells. It was nice to have the gyro back up and running as it kept our rolls down to 10-15 degrees.

  4. Trip to Vancouver via Panama Canal: Day 1

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    First of all, let me apologize for not getting around to this sooner.

    It was initially my intention to post to this blog while we were underway. However this did not happen for several reasons, the first of which was that I severely injured my left knee three days before we left Halifax. I fell out of the back of the company truck and tore my ACL and injured a few other things in there. This made getting around a bit difficult at sea, and quite frankly I didn’t have the energy or desire to blog for a while.

    Secondly, as this was the maiden voyage of the boat, my full attention was required to monitor and maintain the boat.

    So, now it is the 5th of November and I’m sitting beside a warm fire at our place in Prince Edward Island….time to write!

    I have promised my web developer that I will write something every week to keep the postings fresh….so please keep checking back for updates.

    Trip Map

     
    Day 1 – June 3rd

    As most of you know, our delivery journey started out on the Third of June 2014. That morning we christened the boat by the traditional dripping of some rum on the bow, and of course swigging back the rest!

    Boat Christening: VIDEO

    Our trusty crew consisted of myself, my trusted mate Robert, the owners representative Neil, and our cook Ruby.

    Boat at slip in Halifax

    Boat at slip in Halifax

    There were definitely mixed feelings for me leaving the harbour because I was leaving my good friend and client Thomas behind to finish his boat (Schooner Tesha) and get it ready for sea by himself. Thomas was a client of ours for many years and over that time we built a friendship. The plan was always for me to help him take his boat across the Bay of Fundy to Boston at least and maybe beyond. Now, with the delivery of RowDay-O and the state of my leg, this was not possible. I did leave him in the very capable hands of my friend Richard who eventually helped him sail to Boston, but I will always feel that I missed something…

     

    We got underway at 10am. It was a nice sunny day in Halifax but as is the norm for that time of year, the fog bank was ever present about 3 miles off shore. We were soon in the thick fog, steaming along in our own world. the wind was fairly constant at 10-15 knots and the waves were building slightly to a 1-2 meter swell.

    Boat out on the waves: VIDEO

    Our destination at that time was not determined….my thoughts at the time were that I wanted to see how the boat would perform at sea, given that this was the first time we left the safety of Halifax Harbour, and that when crossing the Bay of Fundy, it is important to anticipate your arrival time so that you can clear into customs and immigration during the day on the other side.

    We were averaging 10 knots, and the boat was running well. We decided to tuck into Port Mouton about 2/3rds of the way down the Nova Scotia coast for the night. Assuming an early morning departure from here would ensure a daylight arrival in the USA. I had anchored in Port Mouton years ago on another delivery and was confident that there was good holding ground there. It is also a very beautiful beach in the summer with 20 foot high sand dunes! If you didn’t know better you would think you were in the outer banks off the Carolinas!

    We anchored off of Carters Beach in about 15 feet of water, in a 20 knot blow. We were quite nervous that we might drag the anchor as this was the first time the boat had anchored for the night and we were unsure of the effect of the wind and current on the boat and ground tackle. So, we set an anchor watch on the depth sounder/chart, and organized a watch schedule.

    I was to be on watch with Ruby and Neil and Robert were the second watch.
    This was a watch schedule that maintained all the way to Panama City.

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