alert and healthy natures remember that the sun rose clear

Personal Log: Marina Days

Personal log of s/v Rincewind’s shwabbie.

July 22-23, Bay of Islands Yacht Club

[We were supposed to be sailing up to Gros Morne National Park to meet up with Mom, but this is where we started to have engine troubles. Some excerpts from two days putzing around the marina…]

Best pancakes yet.


Bill discussing engine starting problem with shirtless Roger of Irish Loop. Difficult to find a professional to look it over.

Lion’s mane jellyfish as big as my foot!

Read a good chunk and finished Theatre of Fish. Excellent book [about Newfoundland history].


Boat neighbors on Barabara Ann invited us for a gam. […] They might rename her Aurora for their baby, which works because you need a virgin to pee in the bilge before you rename a boat? [So they told us!]

Mt Moriah T’railways walk – steep! Found a large geocache that had been neglected since 2013.


Personal Log: T’Railways to Corner Brook

Personal log of s/v Rincewind’s shwabbie.

July 21, Bay of Islands Yacht Club to Corner Brook, Newfoundland

9am sleep in! Troubled dreams of the “where am I” variety but feeling toasty warm with my new sleeping bag. Bill’s awesome pancakes for breakfast, then some tidying up before our day’s activity: the T’railways walk to Corner Brook. (Like my affection for Melville’s t’fog!) [The Newfoundland railway from Port aux Basques to St. John’s was decommissioned in the late 80s. The old rail bed is being turned into a hiking trail.]


Bill finds his neon tribe.

Leaving the marina we met a chap who started to explain how to get to the start of the path, thought better of it, and drove us to the official start. [The first of many, many acts of kindness in Newfoundland!] Lovely path through the pines, parallel the bay. Some geocaches along the way: hanging in a tree, on a nail behind a fence, and on the way back in a tree stump and fake rock. Bill found 3/4!


Close to town: impressive paper mill, stopped at Tim Hortons for coffee and internet catch-up. Then buffet lunch at Aroma’s – chowder and salad! Need to get more greens in Gros Morne. [Lots of canned veg on the boat.]


Good walk back, found old cemetery. Lots of clasped hands and poetry. Local or mass-produced? [Still researching this.] Oh, one super anatomical heart. Made a graveyard friend who grew up in the village. We talked local and Newfoundland politics – interesting!



Memorable happy hour! Cheesy popcorn, rum & coke, watched boats go by, + Carousel tears. Good thing no boat neighbors…


Personal Log: First Contact

Personal log of s/v Rincewind’s shwabbie.

July 19-20, sailing from the Gulf of St Lawrence to the Bay of Islands Yacht Club

From the official Rincewind blog:

We finally saw Cape St. George (from about 6 miles off the coast) at 2pm on Tuesday, July 19. Getting to Newfoundland was the goal of the voyage, so this was a big moment. We set all of our clocks to Newfoundland Time, +30 minutes ahead of Atlantic Time. Lots of houses are visible on the coast, from the rocky sides of Cape Cormorant to the low, green fields of Lourdes and Winterhouse. We are sailing at about 4 miles off the coast for awhile, but then have to jibe farther out to sea to be able to make for Bay of Islands.

3am “emergency” change of autopilot as Vern’s heart (and electronic guts) gave out. Of all the autopilots I have know, he was the most…human.

7:30am Sunrise started to stretch out behind us, with some definition of cliffs and a waterfall in the hills. Then a wildly orange-red that that lit the water and hills.



Back to sleep, partly because I went back the shwabbie nook to get warm! Wind feeling a mite arctic.


Hand-steered the last hour in, lots of houses tucked into the hills. Marina rather hidden but easy to enter. We were assisted by five friendly Newfoundlanders – first contact! Accents everything I’d hoped, joking with each other and chatting with us. Later overheard an ongoing argument about local genealogy.


Surprising amount of bustle here – marina folk, tour boat, families walking around the marina and to the nearby park – where Bill helped me find my 200th geocache and first in Canada!


Dinner was from the local convenience store, a short steep walk up the hill. To my eyes, odd tins, many snacks, cheap beer, and the takeaway counter with burgers, fish and chips, poutine. First Newfoundland women,  weather talk. Couldn’t love the accent more and it’s pleasant to be able to  chat after the French Maggies.


Which brings us to the now. Ensconced in a sleeping bag and blanket in my nook, looking forward to reading – haven’t been able to at all with lumpy seas.

Personal Log: North to Newfoundland

July 18, Magdalen Islands sailing north to Newfoundland

Monday morning: back to work!

5:30am Nice job getting away from the dock – foggy! Maggies Brigadoon?


6:30 Out of channel. Sleep?

I slept a lot this day, coincides with seasickness. Bill woke me up to see a small whale, probably a minke, who came alongside and huffed at us.


Entertained ourselves by tossing bread to a dim-witted gull but neither he nor his friends were interested. Saw a low-flying V of gannets. Also spotted guillemots, like chunky arial penguins. Greenlanders eat them.

“Then too was driven Oslac beloved, an exile from his native land, over the rolling waves, over the gannet-bath.” Beowulf


Nearly full moon rising as sun set.

Rolling around all night…

From Rincewind’s official blog:

The weather prediction was correct – 2 days of SW winds, 15-20 knots. This is a great forecast for Rincewind to head north to Newfoundland, but also ensures that the sailing will include a lot of motion on the boat. The 6 foot seas that are created with this wind mean that the boat is pushed sideways at the top of a wave and then rolls back when it reaches the bottom. Rincewind rolls about 15 degrees with each big wave (every 8 to 10 seconds) – and everything in the boat crashes around if it is not secured. We used towels, clothing, and cushions to silence the worst of the noises created as everything moves around. (The waves are not as big as the 10 footers created by the 30 knot winds getting to the Isles de la Madeleine.) We finally sailed under double-reefed main alone.

Personal Log: Havre Aubert Sunday

July 17, Havre Aubert, Magdalen Islands

Sunday in Havre Aubert: not quiet! Breakfast: “banax” [beignets] w/ caramel sauce recommended by blue-haired shop lady. Wowzers. Wish we could have had this with every meal!


Lunch: gyros at the marina. Then a short walk in search of a beach. No luck but did find our “marche” with ice, baguettes, and local fromage.


Fiddle and guitar at the marina when we got back, absolutely incredible musicians. Old man traditional dancing. Then nap for me, drifting off listening to the music. Now up with blogging Bill, watching some country line dancers – inspired! The marina party continues.


Dinner at the hip Cafe au Grave. Clam chowder in bread bowl on point, but the storyteller and violinist were way too cool for me. Also only understood about 15% of what she said.

Early departure tomorrow morning.




Personal Log: Hotel Maggie Islands

July 16, Havre Aubert, Magdalen Islands

“Welcome to the Hotel Maggie Islands!” Will we be able to leave? Perfect weather. First thing in the morning we walked up to the local museum – cool art exhibit & modern while still enjoyable. Great view of Entry Island from there too. Then croissant & coffee at Le Four à Pain. [We didn’t yet know about their beignets!]



After breakfast we walked to the sand art gift shop, post office, and the beautiful hills just up the road. Why no geocaches? Oh well. Upon our return Bill made clam chowder and did some boat work while I napped. [A theme!] Some ritzy folks came by on their dinghy from a 57ft yacht – he’s an investment banker in Maryland. Says we are “very brave” sailing to Newfoundland in our humble 32ft Rincewind. And so we are!


Dinner at Vent du Large [Large Wind] spot with a guitarist and violinist. The latter [who turned out to be the owner] also plays cello with a view toward the islands near sunset. Incroyable! Also memorable: their Hotel California cover and the many people singing along to French folk songs. Quite the musical place!


We shared island tapas: seal sausage, cod fritters, smoked scallops, and lobster on a baguette with local cheese. For me a local brown ale too. Happiness!



Quick stop by the marina bar, drawn in by the old timey piano and guitar tunes. And then to sleep.


Personal Log: Magdalen Islands

July 15: Gulf of St Lawrence to Magdalen Islands (ou les Îles de la Madeleine)

Screenshot 2016-08-18 18.11.24

We’re here! Early a.m. rain squalls and big waves. Some 10ft monsters! Felt sturdy with Rincewind and Vern (the autopilot) working together. Vern might be close to achieving sentience…


We saw our first northern gannet yesterday and an enormous gannetry today coming into the Isles. Spectacularly white diving bird. [Which became a favorite of the trip.]


First sight of Maggies: Isle d’Entree half-hidden in its own cloud. Even as other clouds lifted theirs stayed put. Windy but uneventful jaunt down to Havre Aubert. Wild docking though, with help of very tan  French-speaking sailors. [Redacted] should visit here!

It’s a lively social dock with showers, laundry, toilets, and a bar. Today we explored the most local shops including a comic book artist. On the whole rather touristy but what a unique place! The islands are part of Quebec and everyone around us speaks French. There are a couple English-speaking islands further north.


Mac’n’cheese ‘n’ Kam! – Canadian SPAM for dinner with Bill’s awesome cheesy popcorn for dessert.



Personal Log: Through the Canal

July 14, Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia to Gulf of St Lawrence

Leaving for the Magdalen Islands, or “Maggies” as the Nova Scotia locals say. Baked beans and toast for lunch and then off!


11:30 underway

12:30 through the Canso Causeway Canal with heroic fending efforts by the shwabbie [me].



12:50 sails up – 2nd reef [reefing the sail means making it smaller] + staysail [for more stability] for overnight crossing – though waves were often more powerful than wind.

First, hopefully last, yakking – skittles-flavored.

CBC Radio – awesome bluegrass. Look up East Pointers from PEI. Also French country music, jazz. Falling asleep to jazz.

Moon’s path on inky water, cluster of close planets and stars.

Lots of sleep for me.

Personal Log: Rincewind Arrives!

On July 11 2016 I flew from London to Halifax, then caught a bus to Port Hawkesbury to meet up with my stepfather, Cap’n Bill, for 5 weeks of sailing around Newfoundland. Follow our adventures, one month later, as I recap from my personal log. You can also follow Rincewind’s progress on Bill’s sailing blog.


July 13, Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia

No sleep – awake for Bill’s 6:30am arrival – great to see Rincewind coming in!



We had breakfast at my B&B, walked around Port Hawkesbury, purchased food (and rum!), and made a second attempt on the Sailors’ Rest cemetery geocache. No luck. Yesterday spider bites and today chomping ants + suspicious hornet. Haunted? Consolation fries. Some boat work then first boat nap! Dinner at the bistro: seafood chowder w/ lobster claw. Perfection. Sunset pier jaunt and now to sleep in my “shwabbie suite.” 9:15, chilly.


Summer Sailing in Newfoundland

On Monday morning I’m flying to Nova Scotia to meet up with my step-dad, aka the Captain of the good sailing vessel Rincewind. We’ll be sailing to Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec and then up the west coast and down the east coast of Newfoundland. With perhaps a little stop in Labrador. No promises, but there could be whales, iceburgs, mountains, and other lovely things.


A cold shwabbie in Nova Scotia, 2007.

If you’d like to follow along with our adventures, do subscribe to our blog Adventures of s/v Rincewind. I’ll be back here in mid-August!

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