Passing It On

Ahoy from the Big Apple! Welcome back virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

The crew departed NYC back on May 23 to launch their Down East Circle Loop. With their arrival back in NYC on Friday the 13th they bring the adventure to a close. Thanks to all who joined along the way to make this trip special. For those who are thinking of making this trip, the crew encourages you to throw off the lines and experience the fun for yourself. You will not regret the decision, in fact, the trip will probably exceed all your expectations. It did for our crew. If you have any questions about the trip, please contact the crew, they would love to pass on what they have learned.

Summary of the Week

The crew spent the week making way down the Long Island Sound from Portsmouth to New York City. Along the way, they made stops at Groton, Port Jefferson, and Port Washington.

Click on the Still Waters II Travel Map to see detailed Voyage Logs.

The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:

  1. What is the smallest state in the Union?
  2. Which State was first to renounce alliance to England?
  3. Where was ground zero for America’s first spy ring?
  4. What was the name of the spy ring?
  5. What famous speech was given on September 12, 1962?
  6. What was the last minute change to the speech?
  7. Where did the crew cross their wake?
  8. What was New York City’s original name?
  9. When was the City initially founded?
  10. What are three historic events associated with St Paul Chapel?

At the Box Office

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library contains videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Monday, September 9

The crew shoved off from their hurricane hole at Pirate Cove Marina and started their final run towards New York City to complete the Down East Circle Loop. The weather was great and the waves were calm as the crew returned to the big open water made up by the Rhode Island Sound.

Some of the 400 miles of Rhode Island coastline

The waters might be big, but Rhode Island holds the claim to the smallest state. The colony got its start from Roger Williams when he was banished from the Massachusetts Colony in 1636 for pushing his views on religious freedoms.

A Few Fun Facts:

  1. First colony to renounce allegiance to King George III of England on May 4, 1776
  2. Preferred the Articles of Confederation, so refused to participate in creating the US Constitution
  3. Was the last state of the original 13 to ratify the Constitution

State Motto

The crew stopped and took a mooring ball at the end of the day with this view.

Not much later, the crew was rewarded with this beautiful sunset

Tuesday, September 10

The run from Groton, Connecticut to Port Jefferson, New York was smooth and relaxing as the crew crossed the Long Island Sound. The crew dropped anchor across from Setauket Harbor. This Harbor was anything but calm between the years 1778-1783 though.

Setauket Harbor where the Culper Spy Ring operated from

The Harbor was ground zero for the Patriot’s first spy ring. George Washington had to evacuate New York City and moved his army to New Jersey. He desperately needed to know what the British were up to, so he had the Culper Spy Ring created. The spies had an elaborate method to pass on information to George Washington as depicted below.

Anna Strong’s laundry signal was ingenious. She would hang a black petticoat on her laundry line to send a message to Caleb Brewster that there was information to be picked up. Then she would hang white handkerchiefs beside the black petticoat to indicate which slew that Woodhull would meet the whale boat and pass on the message. They had six potential coves that they could rendezvous in, so the number of white handkerchiefs determined the particular cove for the exchange.

The spy ring has been credited for discovering that Benedict Arnold was switching sides in the war to become America’s first traitor. They also identified John Andre as Benedict’s handler, which led to his hanging when the Patriot’s caught him in Tarrytown.

Wednesday, September 11

The crew continued their treck down the Long Island Sound and pulled into Port Washington where they took a mooring ball for a few days. With the New York skyline on the horizon, it was a grim reminder of the events that took place here 18 years ago.

The skipper was at work at a Nuclear Power Plant that day. He was in the Emergency Preparedness Department, at the time. Turned out to be a crazy day at work to say the least. You may not know it, but there is a ten mile No Fly Zone around the plants. Shortly after the first tower was hit, the Feds put out an increased heightened awareness bulletin to the 56 nuclear sites, as well as grounding all air craft.

Just as things began to settle down a bit in the afternoon, a pilot took off in a private plane from a local airport just outside the plants 10 mile No Fly Zone. Fearing the worst and a direct attack on the plant, the Department of Defense scrambled a few jets into the air from Carswell Air Force Base and forced the private plane to the ground. That was a few exciting moments in life wondering what was about to happen. Turns out the private pilot claimed he was unaware of the grounding of all aircraft.

So the private pilot probably can easily recall where he was on 9/11. How about you, where were you on that day?

Jersey City 9/11 Memorial

Thursday, September 12

One of the best presidential speeches ever delivered took place on this date in Houston, Texas in 1962. Kennedy outlined his plan to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade and officially launched the space race.

Most people from that era are very familiar with the speech. But there was a last minute addition to the speech that is not in the recorded original. Kennedy called an audible and made a one line blue pen and ink change just before he delivered the speech that day in Houston. From the speech….

“But why, some say, the moon? Why choose as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic?

Why does Rice play Texas?

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

That audible has turned out to be a bit prophetic. Since the speech, Texas is 30-1 against the Rice Owls. Begging the question, Why does Rice play Texas?

Hopefully Texas extends the record to 31-1 on Saturday and recovers from that gut wrenching loss to LSU last weekend. Go Horns!

Friday, September 13

Today was the day that the crew brought the Down East Circle Loop to a close. They left Port Washington and made way to New York City. The skies were clear and the crew could easily see the skyline some 6 miles away.

After rounding Rickers Island, they turned south and saw some of the iconic buildings in Manhattan.

Just south of the UN Building, the crew watched as a plane came under the Williamsburg Bridge and landed in the water. That was pretty exciting to watch.

After rounding the tip of Manhattan, the crew could see two more iconic New York landmarks. Lady Liberty and the orange Staten Island Ferry.

After crossing the Hudson River towards Lady Liberty, the crew officially crossed their wake and completed the Down East Circle Loop. They travelled 2,752 miles on this adventure and had the time of their lives.

Saturday, September 14

The crew took the Liberty Landing Ferry from Jersey City to Manhattan. While waiting for the ferry, the crew started a conversation with a man named Steve. He is a commercial diver and plans to retire in two years and buy a boat. It was a pleasure to get to spend some time talking with him. Hope to see you on the water in the future Steve.

After the crew landed in Manhattan, they spent the day roaming around a lower Manhattan park and taking in the sights.

The crew then took the subway to Uptown to find the Halal guys for a late lunch.

With their stomachs full, the crew then took the subway back to lower Manhattan to visit St Paul Chapel. The Church has a long and distinguished history. For starters, it was built from 1764 and 1766. At the time, the Church was the tallest building in the city.

Following George Washington’s inauguration on April 30, 1789, the new president and congress held a special service at the Church and prayed for the future of the new country. The Church was picked because it was the largest public building that survived the Great New York Fire of 1776, and was also where the President attended worship services while in New York.

The Church happens to also be the home of the first monument commissioned by congress. The monument honors Richard Montgomery, a patriot from the revolutionary war. The monument was commissioned January 25, 1776.

Most recently, the church survived the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11 even though the church was just two blocks from the tragedy.

May you and yours be like this church. Facing a little adversity from time to time, but always surviving the close calls and rising to new heights.

Boat Name of the Week

This week the boat name is in tribute to the skipper’s ole fishing buddy Bill Nix. This was one of his favorite words.

Next Week –

The crew will start their south bound journey towards the warm waters of Florida. They hope to find fair winds and following seas which will allow them to make it down the New Jersey Coast and then up the Delaware Bay by the end of the week.

However, with the crew completing the Down East Loop, and re-cruising grounds they have been through several times, they will suspend the weekly blog updates.

If you would like to continue to follow them south though, then add the following link to your home screen and check the progress of their Voyage south.

Still Waters II Travel Map

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

The Gilded Age

Ahoy from Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Welcome back virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

Entrance hall at The Elms

Summary of the Week

The crew set off from the Isle of Shoals on Monday, but could find no place to stay in Gloucester. Consequently, they moved on and dropped anchor in Boston. Tuesday, they moved down to the Cape Cod Canal and found a mooring ball for Tuesday night. Then it was on to Newport where they spent Wednesday and Thursday nights on a mooring ball. With Hurricane Dorian looming on the horizon, the crew went about 15 miles further north to Portsmouth for the weekend, and to allow Dorian to pass.

Click on the Still Waters II Travel Map to see detailed Voyage Logs.

The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:

  1. Where were the Pilgrims originally supposed to land and start their colony?
  2. How many Fullers sailed across on the Mayflower in 1620?
  3. Who is credited as the first Pilgrim born in the new colony?
  4. How did the owners of The Elms make their fortune?
  5. How much did Rosecliff sell for at auction?

At the Box Office

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library contains videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Sunday, September 1st

The crew had a crazy cruise today. Their destination was Gloucester; however, the Labor Day weekend coincided with a large Schooner Festival in town so there was no room in the inn. The marinas were full, the mooring balls were full, and the anchorages were full. The crew decided to push on to Boston.

They did decide to cruise through the canal north of Gloucester and check out all of the activity though. That might have been a mistake with the number of people out on the water. The canal was full of boats moored and anchored in the channel with boat traffic moving both north and south.

Once they had navigated their way through the maze of boats, they arrived at an open narrow only wide enough for one boat to pass at a time Railroad Bridge. There was a steady stream of north bound boaters coming through the bridge. The problem was that the skipper was the first of many south bound boats wanting to go through the bridge. But there was a 90 degree turn to make and he could not see if the way was clear. He finally made a Securitee message call over the radio announcing he was headed through the bridge when there seemed to be a gap in the north bound boats. The northbound boater’s called back and said to wait, there were four more of them coming and then it would be safe for the south bounders. When the fourth boat came out from the bridge it signaled all clear and all was good to go. The skipper then made the right turn and passed through the bridge.

Almost immediately the crew came up on a TowBoat who was towing a broke down boat. The TowBoat was trying to maneuver over to a nearby dock, but there were so many recreational vessels in the way, the TowBoat could not move. After a few minutes of waiting, the traffic jam cleared and the crew found themselves waiting in another line of boaters at a highway bridge.

The current was running about 3 knots under the narrow bridge towards the waiting line of boats. Once the bridge opened it was total chaos as the boats all speed up to make the bridge. The wave action was horrendous, and a crowd of folks had gathered on the other side of the bridge to watch the action. I think they were hoping to see and hear some fiberglass crunching.

The crew was glad to get in the harbor, but found it full of boats as well. They looked for a place to drop the anchor, but eventually decided to just keep going to Boston. As they headed out of the harbor, they came across over a hundred sailboats and schooners out enjoying a sail.

It took nearly an hour for the skipper to work his way through all the sailboats and make a heading towards Boston. As they were entering the channel to Boston they saw a fully loaded container ship slipping up behind them. The skipper moved to the edge of the channel to make sure the container ship would be able to keep visual contact with Still Waters II. As the crew continued to keep an eye on the container ship, they witnessed three different boats cross the channel directly in front of the big ship. One sailboat was so close that the container ship started blowing his horn five times, which is the DANGER signal.

The crew eventually got into a good spot out of the wind and dropped the anchor. There were seven or eight small boats up near shore with their crews on land enjoying the day. Well all except one guy that is. The other boaters all left before the tide started to go out. But one boat was still there, with nobody in sight. In less than an hour, the boat was high and dry.

When the owner finally showed back up, he had a rude awakening. He began to dump water around the lower unit of the motor and dug it out. He then began to collect drift wood and started a fire to keep himself warm. The skipper checked the tide tables and learned the guy was going nowhere until a little after midnight when the tide would finally float the boat.

And this my friends is why some boaters say to stay off the water on three day weekends so you avoid the madness and weekend warriors. What a crazy day on the water.

Monday, September 2nd

The crew was hoping they would not have a repeat of the nonsense they encountered yesterday. They weighed anchor and headed south towards the Cape Cod Canal. The wind was a bit blustery out of the west, so the skipper stayed as close to shore as safely possible.

The wind must have kept the weekend warriors at bay because there were not as many boaters out on the water today. There was also not much excitement, which was a good thing. The crew did pass the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant, just south of Plymouth.

Obviously, the Plant was named for the Pilgrims who landed in Plymouth Bay in November 1620. Their land grant was for the New England territory; however, their initial landing and colony was supposed to be at the mouth of the Hudson River. They sighted land (the hook of Cape Cod) and tried to sail around the Cape. But because of the shoaling between Cape Cod and the island of Nantucket they could not find safe passage. Because cold weather was starting to set in, they decided to abandon the plan for the Hudson, turned around, and landed in the Bay and made a rock famous.

Two of the 102 passengers were brothers Edward and Samual Fuller. Edward also had his wife (possibly named Ann) and son, Samual with him as well, for a total of four Fullers on the Mayflower. Both Edward and his wife both died in early 1621, joining the half of the folks who did not make the one year anniversary of landing at Plymouth Rock. There was a birth of an Alice Fuller on January 11, 1621 which would make her the first Fuller born in the New World. Ann Fuller’s death is listed as, after January 11, 1621, with no cause of death. Makes you wonder if it was complications due to delivery.

You might think that Alice just might be the first baby born in America to the Pilgrims. However that honor actually goes to Peregrine White. His mother gave birth to him on the Mayflower while anchored off the shore at Plymouth, which makes him a passenger. Later that same day, the passengers made their landing and went ashore. Peregrine, which means traveler, lived a long life before passing away in July 1704 at the age of 83. Which also makes him the last surviving passenger of the Mayflower.

Uncle Samual Fuller took in nephew Samual Fuller (12 years old) and niece Alice (new born) and raised them. Junior would later marry and have nine children, three sons who reached adulthood and also married. Junior’s older brother, Mathew, eventually came to Plymouth and raised his family here also. So the Fuller’s can trace their lineage back to Edward Fuller, a signer of the Mayflower compact.

The crew timed their arrival at the Cap Cod Canal just about perfect and got a couple knot current push as they transited the Canal. The skipper had noticed that Confetti had left an Active Captain review about some mooring balls on the west end of the Canal. The balls do not have any line attached so you have to attach your own line to the ball. Confetti explained how they were successful, so our crew replicated the method. It took three tries to grab the ball because of the wind, but once the crew had the ball they were able to thread the needle and get the ball secured to the bow of the boat.

Once secured, the crew had a good view to observe other boats transit the Canal. After dark, a large cruise ship went by lit up like a Christmas tree.

Tuesday, September 3rd

The crew dropped the mooring ball and made the cruise to Newport. The mooring field at Newport is first come first serve. With the three day weekend over, the skipper was hoping that boaters would have left and the crew would find a mooring ball. What the skipper did not know was that the Newport International Boat Show was scheduled for next week and the harbor was a buzz getting ready for the event.

When the crew arrived in the harbor, they hailed the harbor master on the radio and asked for a mooring. It took a few minutes, but the harbor master found a mooring the crew could take. Because of the Boat Show preps, the mooring was good for one night only. The harbor master would let the crew know tomorrow if they could have the ball for another night before noon tomorrow. The boat brokers use the mooring balls during the boat show as offices and have dibs on the balls. The harbor master does not know when the brokers will actually show up, so they keep a few balls open everyday for the arriving boat brokers.

Looking around the harbor from mooring ball #13

Wednesday, September 4th

The crew learned they could stay another night around 1000, so they hailed the launch service to get a ride to shore. They then took the trolley to one of the Gilded Age Mansions, The Elms.

The Elms was the summer cottage for coal magnate Edward Berwind and his wife, Herminie. She was the daughter of the US Consul to Italy, so she was raised overseas and had a taste for Venetian art which shows through in The Elms.

Edward Berwind made his fortune in the coal business, but before he launched his civilian career he was a Naval Academy graduate. Back in those days the Academy just happened to be in Newport. After resigning his commission at the age of 27, he started his coal business by acquiring mines in Pennsylvania. He managed to get a contract supplying coal to the Navy. He went on to land contracts with Cornelius Vanderbilt supplying coal to both the growing shipping industry and railroads.

The Berwind’s opened their summer cottage in 1901.

One interesting backstory about the cottage was the duties of the head house maid. She was tasked with making sure none of the linens/satin napkins did not disappear. This was no easy task when you realize that at one ball they would serve at least 200 guests in a 16 course French dinner. She had to count the linens when they came out of the closet, when they went to the washing area, when they went to be dried, and lastly when put back in the linen closet. Why all the security over a napkin you ask? One of those gold lined satin napkins was worth more than the servants made in the two month season in Newport.

After exploring The Elms, the crew walked down to Rosecliff to tour the ‘Party House.’

Rosecliff opened in 1902 as a summer retreat and the stage for Theresa Oelrichs to throw some of the greatest parties of the Gilded Age. Theresa’s fortune was made as the heiress of Silver Mines in Nevada. It was common for her to throw a party at the cottage with a $500,000 budget. The Ball Room was the largest room in any of the Newport Cottages and was specifically designed to hold large number of guests for Theresa’s outrageous parties. These days, the house is a favorite for weddings and other functions.

The most interesting backstory at Rosecliff was the sell price in the 1940’s. The original cost of the ‘Party House’ was 2.5 million. The house was passed down to the original owners son. By the 1940’s, the house became too expensive to maintain so the son auctioned the mansion and contents for $21,000.

Thursday, September 5th

The task for today was to figure out the best strategy to weather the winds that will arrive in the area on Saturday due to Hurricane Dorian.

Based on the current predictions of the storm track, it appears that the crew would see winds in the low 20’s with gusts near 40 at Newport. With that info, the crew decided to move north about 15 miles to a marina in Portsmouth. The winds are only expected to be 15-20 in Portsmouth, with gusts to 30. After arrival, the skipper spent a little extra time to secure Still Waters II to the dock. The winds are supposed to arrive Friday late afternoon and peak early Saturday morning. Time will tell what actually happens.

Tucked inside hurricane hole at Pirate’s Cove Marina

Friday, September 6th

So far so good for the crew. The winds have only been up to 15 mph here in Pirate Cove Marina, and very little rain during the day. Winds are predicted to get to 25 overnight so looks like all will be well here in Rhode Island.

Saturday, September 7th

Overnight the winds stayed below 25 mph, and the well protected marina was surprisingly calm. Dorian has moved off from Cape Cod and has tracked towards Nova Scotia. It will be interesting to see how much damage the ICW has encountered once the crew heads south from Norfolk in a few weeks. But it does appear that the initial storm damage reports from Florida to New England are better than expected with little loss of life.

One interesting story about post hurricane damage assessment comes from Cumberland Island in Georgia. It seems a woman had some of her ashes put in a bottle with a note and thrown in the Atlantic Ocean off the Island. Some folks found the bottle on Cumberland Island. The note request that if you find the bottle, take a picture, write and send pic to the email, and throw the bottle back in the water. The woman wants to travel the world. Well, she is off to a slow start.

To end the week on a brighter note though with someone who actually has cruised the world, the crew met a couple on the docks who have a connection back to McKinney, Texas. The Admiral has a niece who still lives near McKinney. But more interesting, the couple spent 7 years cruising the Mediterranean. Their stories were definitely more interesting than cruising Cumberland Island in a bottle.

Boat Name of the Week

Next Week –

With Dorian in the rear view mirror, the crew will focus on cruising the Long Island Sound and arriving in New York City on Saturday, to cross their wake and complete the Down East Loop.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

Lost Colony?

Ahoy from Isle of Shoals, New Hampshire. Welcome back crew members and fellow adventurers!

The crew has seen many lighthouses this past week, but their favorite one is the Portland Head Lighthouse.

Summary of the Week

The crew left Rockland on Monday and headed west, dropping anchor in the Bay of Linekin (1) for the evening. On Tuesday, they took the back way to Bath (2) and took a mooring ball next to the Maine Maritime Museum. They cruised down the Kennebec River on Wednesday, and took another mooring ball at Cliff Island (3). On Thursday, they made way to Portland (4) where they also took a weather delay day on Friday. Saturday was a tolerable cruising day so the crew made way to the Isle of Shoals (5), about three miles offshore from Portsmouth, NH to end the week.

Click on the Still Waters II Travel Map to see detailed Voyage Logs.


The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:

  1. How old is the National Park Service?
  2. What was the purpose of the tower on Little Mark Island?
  3. Who is credited as the first person to the North Pole with dogs?
  4. What is the skipper’s favorite burger joint?
  5. What is the name of the first ship built in the New World by the British?
  6. Who discovered the Lost Colony of Popham?
  7. Who was the Colony named after?

At the Box Office

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library contains videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Sunday, August 25th

The U.S. National Parks celebrated their 103 birthday on Sunday.

Back in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson and Congress created the agency under the National Park Service Organic Act. Today, there are over 400 national parks and monuments under the agency’s care. From Acadia- to – Zion, there is a Park for everyone.

To celebrate the big event, August 25 was a fee-free day, when all national parks opened to visitors free of charge. In addition to the birthday celebration, there are two other upcoming national park fee-free days in 2019: September 28, 2019 (National Public Lands Day) and November 11, 2019 (Veterans Day).

Head to the parks and enjoy America’s best idea for free. Oh by the way, What is your favorite National Park?

Monday, August 26th

Prior to shoving off the dock, the skipper met a group of twenty teenagers who were about to board a boat for Hurricane Island. While waiting to board, the skipper noticed not a one had their nose buried in their cell phone like this kid back at Acadia National Park. What a shame, a beautiful Park to explore and he was tethered to the electric outlet.

But I digress, these twenty are going cell phone free, no internet, no social media, no contact with outside world for three days. The skipper wished them well.

However, our crew will continue to use these advances in technology to make their way to Boothbay Harbor. On the way they passed another sunfish basking on the surface. This time when the skipper tried to approach for a good photo, the sunfish disappeared down under the water.

The crew did manage to get a few more lighthouse photos though.

The crew dropped anchor off a small island with a wind blown tree. Pretty obvious which way the prevailing winds blow here.

Tuesday, August 27th

Today was a leisurely cruise day. The crew waited till about lunch time to weigh anchor and head to Burnt Island. As they approached the Island they got a good view of the Lighthouse from the water.

They then rounded the Island and took one of the two mooring balls. As the skipper launched the dinghy, the Admiral prepared a picnic lunch.

The crew landed on the dinghy dock and walked up to the Lighthouse. The crew picked a picnic table in the shade of a tree and enjoyed lunch. They then explored the Island some more and eventually headed back to he mother ship to continue the Voyage.

After getting back onboard Still Waters II, the crew timed their arrival at the Southport Bridge a mile up river to make the 1330 opening.

After clearing the Bridge, the crew took the back way winding around Islands and narrow passages to arrive at Bath. In one of those narrow passages named Upper Hell Gate, the head current was so strong that the boat was only making 1.5 mph speed over ground. Good thing the passage was not very long through the Gate.

After a couple of hours, the crew arrived in Bath and took a mooring ball off the shore of the Maine Maritime Museum. The museum was very good when the crew visited back in 2017, but the crew has decided to just chill on the boat for the evening and forego the museum this trip.

Can you make out the stern of a ship, six masts, and the bow of a ship on land?

Wednesday, August 28th

The crew timed their departure so they could take advantage of the outgoing tide and ride the current downriver back to the Gulf of Maine. Along the way down river, they passed several more lighthouses.

After making way back to the Gulf, the crew made a course to go to Eagle Island where the home of Admiral Peary sits overlooking Casco Bay. However, as they approached the Bay the skipper could see a large tower atop an Island. He navigated towards Little Mark Island to investigate the tower. The tower was built from rocks quarried on the Island. Back in the day, the tower had a cache of supplies inside to aid any ship wreck victims in the area. The tower was built in 1827, and was a functional replica of a similar structure built in 1811 at Cape Elizabeth, and in 1823 off Biddeford.

Just past Little Mark Island was Eagle Island so the skipper swung over and got a few pics of the Admiral Peary home. In 2017, the crew went ashore and toured the house, but it was closed today when they arrived.

The Guinness Book of World Records might surprise you as to the claim of who was first to the North Pole. The question has raged for years. Frederick Cook, claimed he had made the pole on 21 April 1908. He spent the next year trying to get back to civilization and finally encountered Robert Peary returning from his quest of the pole on 6 April, 1909.

Peary agreed to give Cook a ride back to America on his ship, but refused to take any records confirming Cook’s claim of achieving the pole the year before. Cook cached his records, but they have never been found and are lost to history, making his claim unverifiable. In 1989, an investigation into Peary’s claim proved he was still 5 miles from the pole, nullifying his claim to be first. So, the first person to reach the North Pole – on foot, with dogs- was Sir Wally Herbert (UK), on 6 April 1969. 

After the photo op was complete, the crew completed the day’s cruise by taking a mooring ball at Cliff Island, just west of Eagle Island.

Thursday, August 29th

The crew was less than 10 miles from the marina at Portland where they planned to stop and re-provision. Consequently, they dropped the mooring ball late morning and headed towards the Portland Head Lighthouse. After getting a few pictures, the crew headed for the marina.

After getting settled at the marina, the crew used the courtesy car to go make a Walmart run. But before that important task, the crew finally had a ‘Welcome Back to the US’ celebratory lunch at the skipper’s favorite burger joint. The last time the skipper had one of these burgers was at Burlington, Vermont. He had a near miss in Halifax. The grand opening was two days after the crew left Halifax. But today, well today was the day.

Friday, August 30th

The wind and waves have combined today to take the pleasure out of pleasure boating. Consequently, the crew decided to stay in Portland one more day to allow the weather to pass. Tomorrow is predicted to be a much better day.

The delay in departure allowed the skipper to do a little research on Fort Popham that sits on Hunnewell Point at the mouth of the Kennebec River from Bath that they cruised by the other day.

The skipper was wondering who the Fort was named after, as well as the Beach carrying the Popham name also. The Fort was used during both the Civil War and WWI, but has never seen any action. However, during the research, the skipper found an interesting story about the Lost Colony of Popham.

Crescent shape of Fort Popham

Way back in 1606, King James I granted the Virginia Company a land grant to establish two settlements in the New World. The Virginia Company created two competing entities, the Plymouth Company and the London Company.

The London Company got the southern area, while the Plymouth Company got the northern area. Part of the competition was for the land in the middle. Whichever company was most successful would be given the middle ground. The London Company landed in the New World in May 1607 and formed Jamestown. The Plymouth Company landed on Popham Beach and constructed a star shaped fortified village they named Fort Saint George.

Once the cabins, chapel, and store house were completed, the 120 colonists began work on the Virginia of Sagadahoc, the first ship built by the British in the New World. The colonists were apparently good builders, but lacked negotiating skills to trade with the native population. Consequently, food shortages were already wearing the new colonists down. So when a supply ship arrived in December, half the colonists returned to England, while the other half suffered through the harsh winter.

In February 1608, the leader, George Popham died. The new leader was Popham’s second in command, Raleigh Gilbert. In May, the storehouse accidentally was burned down. But a supply ship also arrived in May to bring much needed food, so the colonists soldiered on. In September, another supply ship arrived at about the same time as cooler weather was setting in. The supply ship also brought some interesting news from home.

Turns out their leader was now sole heir to the family riches. He decided to return to England and claim his nobility title and inheritance. The remaining colonists joined him and all returned to England and abandoned Fort Saint George.

The Fort fell into ruins and would probably have been lost to history except for the discovery of a drawing of the Fort that was discovered in 1888 in the Spanish National archives. The story of how it got there was very interesting also, bit that is a story for another day. The drawing was made by one of the original colonists named John Hunt on October 8, 1607

Hunt’s drawing

In 1994, Jeffery Brain had ‘found’ the drawing and was able to match it with the land along the Kennebec River. By 1997, excavations confirmed he had found the Lost Colony of Popham. A rock now sits on the site commemorating the Colony and their historic building of the first ship.

The green patch of grass was where Ft Saint George was built. The rock is circled in red.
The rock with Fort Popham in background

Saturday, August 31st

The crew left Portland and made way towards the Isle of Shoals, 55 miles south. The wind was relatively calm, 5-10 mph, but the waves were still churned up from the blow all day Friday. The ride was a bit rocky, but tolerable.

The last look at the Portland Head Lighthouse.

When the crew arrived at the Islands, they got a quick reminder that it was Labor Day weekend. The mooring field was full of boats, with many of the mooring balls with three or four boats attached. The skipper looked around and there was no room in the cove to anchor. He decided to go around to the other side of the Island and anchor on the south side out of the wind. Turned out they were the only ones here for the night which was nice.

The view from the crew’s anchor spot

Boat Name of the Week

Seen on a Catamaran: A Cool Cat

Next Week –

The crew hopes to make it to Newport, RI early next week and spend a few days. After that, they are not sure what their next move will be. They will be keeping one eye on the weather and the other eye on Hurricane Dorian.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

A National Treasure – Acadia National Park

Ahoy from Rockland, Maine! Welcome back virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

Jordan’s Pond with Bubble Mountains in the background

Summary of the Week

The crew left Yarmouth in the fog and crossed the Gulf of Maine to Mistake Island on Monday where they anchored in the fog. They weighed anchor Tuesday, and made way to Mount Desert Island where they stayed at Northeast Harbor Marina and explored Acadia National Park. Friday, the crew headed to Kent Cove where they anchored for the night. Then ended the week at the Journey’s End Marina in Rockland.

Click on the Still Waters II Travel Map to see detailed Voyage Logs.

The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:

  1. What is the heaviest boney fish in the world?
  2. Why does this fish bask?
  3. Who named Mount Desert Island?
  4. Where is the first place to view a sunrise in the US between March and October?
  5. Who is Cadillac Mountain named after?
  6. What is the oldest National Park east of the Mississippi River?
  7. What did John D. Rockefeller, JR donate to the Park?
  8. Who is considered the ‘Father of the Park?’

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II take in the sights of the Park Loop Road. Enjoy!

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library contains videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Sunday, August 18

The skipper has mapped out two different courses to cross the Gulf of Maine and return to the U.S.A. One course takes four small jumps of 40 miles each to reach Mount Desert Island. While the second course takes a long day of 90 miles to go straight across to the shortest distance to Maine, and then a shorter 40 mile day to arrive at the Northeast Harbor Marina on Mount Desert Island.

The weather forecast will be the driving factor behind the decision. The weather for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday looks favorable. However, the Thursday weather is questionable, so the crew will decide tomorrow morning which way to go.

Monday, August 19

Well look out the window and what do you see? Absolutely nothing but fog. A check of the weather still shows Thursday to be a bad day to travel with winds 20-25 mph, and that would not be much fun to hang on the hook either, so the crew opted for the two day route.

If you cannot see, at least it was calm

The weather was cooperative until about noon, halfway across the Gulf of Maine. Then the skipper noticed a wind shift out of the south with increased intensity at 15-20 mph. The resulting 3 foot waves crashing on the beam of the boat made it impossible to maintain course, so the skipper altered course about 30 degrees to 340 on the compass. Maybe the crew will head to Grand Manan Island after all.

This bird followed the crew across the Gulf of Maine
The bird would fly circles around the boat
Then he would land beside the boat
Once the boat passed, he would go airborne again and fly more circles

After 2 hours, the wind fell back down to around 10 mph. As the waves grew smaller, the skipper was able to slowly adjust course until he was finally pointed back towards Mistake Island. The crew continued on and arrived at Mistake Island around 1830, still enveloped by the fog.

At Mistake Island

They found three sailboats already anchored in the cove, but their was plenty of room for Still Waters II to drop the anchor and call it a day.

Tuesday, August 20

Well look out the window and what do you see? Blue skies, sunrise, and that rugged rocky coast of Maine. That was a welcome sight. And that sailboat the crew anchored by last night, looks a whole lot better in the light.

A few pics of the Mistake Island anchorage

The crew weighed anchor and followed that blue sailboat out of the cove.

Once back out in open waters, the skipper set a course for Green Island. The Puffins use the Island to raise their young, but they have completed that for the season and headed back out into the Atlantic Ocean where they will bob around in the water till next spring.

Green Island Lighthouse

Just before arrival at Green Island, the skipper noticed a strange fin in the water. At first he thought it was a large dead fish just drifting on the surface. When the crew went by the fish, they could tell it was still alive. They turned around to see if they could get a picture.

Turns out that the big fish was a sunfish. The basking behavior the crew witnessed, where the sunfish lays on its side near the surface, is thought to warm the fish back up after deep diving for food.

A few sunfish fun facts:

  1. heaviest known bony fish in the world
  2. will weigh 545-2,205 lbs as an adult
  3. looks like a fish head and tail with no body
  4. female can produce 300 million eggs at a time
  5. new sunfish are only 0.1 inch at birth and only a fraction of a gram
  6. they grow to 60 million times their birth size at adulthood

The rugged rocky coastline of Maine

The lobster fisherman were out in force today. They were busy pulling up their traps and harvesting their lobster catch.

About 1400, the lobster boats started showing up on the commercial dock at Northeast Harbor. They pulled up to the dock, used an overheard crane to unload the containers full of lobster, then got new containers from the pier. The lobsters were loaded directly into a truck ready for market.

Wednesday, August 21

The crew booked the Oli’s Trolley Tour so they could explore Acadia National Park. The trolley ride was 2.5 hours along the Park Loop Road, with stops at Cadillac Mountain, Thunder Hole, and Jordan’s Pond.

To catch the Trolley, the crew took the free shuttle service that runs around the Island. The ride from Northeast Harbor to Bar Harbor was about 45 minutes. Then a 15 minute walk to the ticket office to get their boarding passes.

The Tour started with a trip up to the summit of Cadillac Mountain where the views of Frenchman Bay and the Porcupine Island’s were outstanding. The Bay gets its name from the Frenchman, Samuel de Champlain, who is credited as the first European to explore the area and claim the land as New France. His expedition landed on the Island September 5, 1604. He is also credited for the name of the Island based on a journal entry: the mountain summits are all bare and rocky……..I name it Isles des Monts Deserts. A few fun facts about Cadillac Mountain:

  1. elevation is 1,530 feet
  2. highest peak along north Atlantic seaboard
  3. first place to view sunrise in the US between October 7 and March 6
  4. named after French explorer Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, Sieur de Cadillac in 1918
  5. prior to 1918, it was called Green Mountain

The mountain’s namesake was quite the character. He was born in France on March 5, 1658 with the given name of Antoine Laumet. His family was from modest means, but his father did manage to study law and became a lawyer.

It is reported that Antoine Laumet departed for the New World at age 25, in 1683. However, no documentation has ever been found on how he crossed because his name never appears on any passenger list. He reappears in Quebec in 1687 where his new identity has been found on a marriage certificate as Antoine de la Mothe, ecuyer, sieur de Cadillac. This new name/title suggests noble origin. Ecuyer means squire, and was the title for the rank of the second son. He also created his own titles of nobility along with a new family Coat of Arms.

The King of France gave him some of the land on Mount Desert Island, hence the mountain carrying his name. He also went on to found the city of Detroit after his stay at Mount Desert Island. And that Coat of Arms he created, you have probably seen this ‘Family Crest’ as the symbol of the Cadillac Automobile. He was a questionable historic figure at best, with many a shady deal. But in the words of writer-historian, Annick Hivert-Carthew:

Enveloped in a cloak of assumed identity and past… Cadillac emerges victorious. He has accomplished what many of his distractions have not: a lasting masterpiece — the city of Detroit. He has achieved immortality.

From the heights of Cadillac Mountain, the tour descended along the coast of Frenchman Bay where the tour stopped at Thunder Hole. This is a rock formation where the waves come up and crash into the rock making a loud noise. The seas were calm and at high tide so the rock formation was barely above water level and the wave action was not making any sounds. That did not stop hundreds of people from working their way down to the rocks though.

The third leg of the journey was through the interior of the Island with views of forest and fresh water lakes. The stop on this leg was at Jordan’s Pond. The water quality is so good that you can see objects 45 feet below the surface of the water.

In the background of the pic above are the Bubble Mountains. In the pic below can you find Bubble Rock?

Thursday, August 22

The crew took the free shuttle bus to the Hull Visitor Center near the north end of the Park. From there, they launched a 12 mile bike ride on the Carriage Roads that run through the Park. The 51 miles of Carriage Roads were the concept of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. He started the project in 1913 and worked for another 27 years to build the roads and 17 bridges. He eventually donated the Carriage Road System and the land to the National Park System. Interesting though, George B. Dorr is known as the ‘Father of Acadia’ and founder of the first National Park east of the Mississippi River in 1916.

Friday, August 23

After spending three nights on Mount Desert Island, it was time for the crew to move on. They made a short run west and anchored in Kent Cove for the night. Good thing it was a short run because the skipper was tired of playing dodge-a-float with all the lobster trap floats in the water. Seems to be more floats in the water than back in 2017, the last time they were here.

Many boats on the move today. Looks like the snowbird migration south has started

Also passed several Lighthouses today

Saturday, August 24

The crew made a two hour run to Rockland after they weighed anchor. The marina carries the name Journeys End Marina. In 2017, this was where the crew ended their Maine journey, and turned around looking for warmer weather at the end of September. This year, the temperatures have already begun to drop and the locals are talking about the end of boating season.

That has been filtered by the skipper to mean that the crew needs to keep moving towards New York City and complete the Down East Loop.

Boat Name of the Week

Double Trouble

Doreen, friend and virtual crew member, had posted this pic on social media. The skipper thought it might be paying homage to Stevie Ray Vaughn and his band, Double Trouble. Doreen wrote back and explained it was named for the owners twin daughters.

Next Week –

The crew will spend a few more days cruising Maine, and then make way to Gloucester, MA where they will spend the Labor Day weekend.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

Treasure Trove of Teeth

Ahoy from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia! Welcome back virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

Blue Shark jaw from Yarmouth Shark Scramble

Summary of the Week

The weather was finally favorable to leave Halifax on Wednesday. The crew shoved off the dock and cruised to the small village of Lunenburg. They left the next morning and found sea conditions to be about perfect. Rather than stop at the anchorage they had planned, they put another 40 miles under the keel and anchored at Cape Negro Island. On Friday, they motored to Yarmouth.

Click on the Still Waters II Travel Map to see detailed Voyage Logs.


The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:

  1. What are the Red Arrows?
  2. How many American’s are buried on Deadman’s Island?
  3. How did the American’s come to be on Melville Island?
  4. Who is rumored to have buried treasure on Oak Island?
  5. Who is rumored to have buried treasure on Star Island?
  6. Who launched the first vessel in Yarmouth? What year?
  7. How many ships have been lost at sea from Yarmouth?
  8. How many names are on the Lost to Sea memorial?
  9. What kind of sharks were caught for the Yarmouth Shark Scramble?
  10. What was the largest shark weighed in?
  11. How old was the youngest contestant who landed a shark?
  12. What was your favorite Blue Shark fun fact?

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II watching a boat load of dudes landing sharks off the coast of Nova Scotia. Enjoy!

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library contains videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Sunday – Tuesday, August 11 – 13

The dock that the crew had been moored to since arrival in Halifax was exposed to the ocean swells and boat wakes, which made for an uncomfortable stay on the boat. The skipper talked with the marina and got permission to move over behind a wall that would block the wave action. Once they got settled, they climbed up on top of the radar arch to take their seats behind the V.I.P. Tent for the air show.

A large crowd began to form, both on the water and along the waterfront for the show.

The air show started with fly overs by various types of helicopters and planes. Because the crew was directly behind the V.I.P. Tent, they could here the MC talk about each craft as it flew by.

After the fly overs, it was time to watch the Red Arrows perform.

The crew has continued to explore Halifax while they waited for favorable weather conditions to continue the voyage south along the south shore of Nova Scotia. To expand their exploration away from the waterfront, they took a Hop on Hop off tour bus. The double decker bus made the round trip past thirteen historic sights and museums.

While headed out to the Fairview Lawn Cemetery (Titanic Cemetery), the Tour Guide also talked about a memorial/cemetery on Deadman’s Island where 195 American POW’s are buried. During the War of 1812, the British had a prisoner of war camp on Melville Island which sits adjacent to Deadman’s Island. The British held as many as 8,000 US soldiers and sailors at Melville during the war. As prisoners died they were put in unmarked graves on Deadman’s Island and forgotten to history.

Over the years, due to rain and wave erosion, some skeletal remains would become unearthed. So in the 1990’s, when a developer tried to get permits to develop the Island, local residents protested and claimed the area was an ancient burial ground. The authorities performed a review and found that the Island contained 400 remains from French, Spanish, and American soldiers and sailors. Rather than develop the Island, the Canadian’s turned it into a Park.

An interpretive plaque in the park contains the following anonymous poem: 

Go view the graves which prisoners fill 
Go count them on the rising hill 
No monumental marble shows 
Whose silent dust does there repose. 

In a strange twist of fate, two sister ships (USS Chesapeake and the USS Constitution) share a bond at the Deadman’s Cemetery.

USS Chesapeake

The USS Chesapeake was defeated in battle by the HMS Shannon in 1813. The British brought the Chesapeake to Halifax, repaired the vessel in the Halifax shipyards, and recommissioned her as the HMS Chesapeake. The American sailors were detained at the Melville POW camp.

On May 30, 2005, the USS Constitution was present when the US government dedicated a memorial tablet with the names of the 195 Americans buried at Deadman’s Island. Several of which were from her sister ship, the USS Chesapeake.

In another interesting twist, the skipper found a relative, James Fuller, among the names on the memorial tablet. James was a member of the US Army 23rd regiment, and died of dysentery while in prisoned at Melville.

Wednesday, August 14th

Back at the Halifax Maritime Museum, they had a display about the pirates of Nova Scotia. With place names such as Murder Island, Spook Island, and Jolly Roger’s Bay, this should be of no surprise. This region of the south shore was sparsely populated and had many good coves to hide out, making it perfect for would be pirates. But the problem with being a pirate back in the day of sailing ships was that once you started your pirating ways, your life expectancy dropped to just a few years.

And as everybody knows, those pirates hid their booty on these remote islands, or so the folklore says. One of the more popular pirates was Captain Kidd. He was known to sail these waters and it has been rumored that he hid his treasure on Oak Island. And after the Captain’s demise at the gallows in London on May 23, 1701, people have been searching Oak Island for the mysterious treasure, mostly at a place called the ‘Money Pit.’ There is even a TV series about folks trying to recover the treasure, titled The Curse of Oak Island.

The crew bypassed Mahone Bay and did not take time to search for the treasure on Oak Island. They did make way to Lunenburg though and dropped anchor just north of the mooring field.

Lunenburg as the crew approached the mooring field

Island Office was in the mooring field and captured this shot of Still Waters II in the moonlight.

Thursday, August 15th

The crew left in the fog at daybreak. The fog hovered over the waters until 1130. This gave the skipper plenty of time to daydream about another buried treasure. This trove of $200,000 in gold has been rumored to be under a cleft in the rock at Star Island. Edward Baker supposedly buried the cache in a cave marked by the cleft.

Island Office on mooring ball in Lunenburg

The fog seemed to come and go most of the day. The skipper was able to snap a few pics along the way though. These houses were on a point as the fog lightened long enough to get a view.

The crew decided to keep motoring at noon because the sea conditions were just about as good as you could get. They decided to make another forty miles as long as the conditions remained favorable.

About 1630, the crew pulled into a Cove off Cape Negro Island that was well protected from the wind and waves. Just on the other side of a narrow piece of land, the crew could here the waves crashing the shore. Then the skipper heard what sounded like sheep. He grabbed his binoculars and began to eye the Island, and yes there they were, one ewe and a lamb. He kept looking and found three more sheep. Makes you wonder who takes care of them way out here, especially in winter.

The view from the sun deck while at anchor.

Friday, August 16th

This would mark the third day in a row that the crew left in the fog early in the morning. Consequently they did not see much until late morning. The skipper did manage to get a few pics as they left the anchorage. He was surprised that there were a few houses on Negro Island.

With all this fog and treasure talk, the skipper decided to turn his attention back to Forest Fenn and his hidden treasure. For those who do not know, Forest hid about 2 million worth of gold and artifacts somewhere in the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe back around 2010.

The treasure trove before Forrest hid it in the mountains

Forrest then wrote a poem, that if you can solve the mystery of said poem will lead you to the treasure trove.

The skipper spent two years studying the poem starting in 2016, and believes he solved the mystery of where the treasure trove has been hidden in the Rocky Mountains. So today, he was reviewing his solve looking for any cracks in his logic that might shed some new light on the mystery. With the Admiral wanting to do some land time, 2020 might just be the year that the skipper takes some time to do a ‘Boots on the Ground’ adventure and goes and gets the treasure. But enough of this real life treasure hunt, it looks like the fog is lifting.

When the crew rounded Cape Sable Island, the most southern point of Nova Scotia, the fog was so thick that they could not see the land or the lighthouse. The fog lifted before they arrived at the Tusket Islands though, so the skipper weaved thru the islands to check them out.

After another 20 miles, the crew arrived at the Yarmouth Sound and made way up the river to dock at Killam Brother’s Marina where they docked for the weekend.

Yarmouth has a long Maritime history starting back with John Sollow who launched the first vessel in 1764. Because of the abundant forrests and well protected harbor, the area was excellent for ship building. The marina where the crew is moored was named for a family of sea merchants in the day of sail. The brothers ran an empire of 160 ships that traded around the world from their hometown of Yarmouth.

However, with all the success of the shipping industry, there was also a stark reminder of the hazards of the seas. Over 600 ships from Yarmouth have been lost at sea over the years. 1879 seemed to be an exceedingly harsh year for the residents of Yarmouth, 31 ships were lost that year alone resulting in 106 deaths. These losses produced 26 widows and 99 fatherless children.

The citizens of Yarmouth have created a memorial for all the sailors and family members who have been lost at sea. Currently there are over 2,400 names on the memorial.

Saturday, August 17th

Two big events were in town today. First was the Farmer’s Market where there was a band singing Elvis Presley songs. The skipper scored some brownies for the Admiral and chocolate chip cookies for himself.

At noon it was time to drift over to the next wharf and watch the weigh in for the Yarmouth Shark Scramble. This was the 21st Blue Shark Tournament. There were 15 boats registered who had 5-7 people onboard who were fishing for shark. Each boat could weigh in three sharks.

There were three sharks over three hundred pounds, 303, 315, and 321. Most of the sharks were in the 240-280 range. One 13 year old girl landed a 280 pounder, all by her self.

There were many volunteers making the shark weigh in a success. There were the folks actually weighing and measuring the sharks. Science organizations who were taking samples of the sharks for future studies. People carving the sharks up, others putting the cut pieces in big vats, and others shoveling ice to keep the meat cool.

Most of the Blue Sharks that were brought in were male. The skipper only recalls one female that was weighed in. Other interesting things about Blue Sharks:

  • They eat what ever they can find, they found a lion fish, rags, and even aluminum foil in their stomachs
  • They have started to shift their eating habits from surface fish to bottom dwellers as evidence of the large number of rocks found in their digestive tracts
  • Females have thicker skin than the males to protect them during courtship. Seems the males bite the females during sex
  • They roam the world. Sharks that do not meet the 8 foot minimum are tagged. Some of these tagged sharks have been caught as far away as Australia

Boat Name of the Week

Next Week –

The crew will end there time in Canada and head back to the good ole USA. They will enter into Maine. The only question will be when and where. The first window may be Monday, but it is too early to tell if the weather window will stay open. Once in Maine, the crew will make way to Arcadia National Park.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

Collision Course

Ahoy from Halifax! Welcome back virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

Theodore Too welcomes the crew to Halifax

Summary of the Week

This week the crew left St Peter’s and made way to Halifax. On the way, they had some interesting experiences. Starting with getting fuel delivered by a fuel truck at the St Peter’s Lock. Later that night they moved from Dover Cove to Raspberry Cove because the anchor would not set. On the way to Liscomb on Tuesday, they assisted a fellow boater by towing them to Liscomb Lodge. Wednesday they arrived at Jeddore River where they again had problems anchoring. Then made Halifax on Thursday to find power and water available after they were told there was none.

Click on the Still Waters II Travel Map to see detailed Voyage Logs.

The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:

  1. How many swimmers participated in the Swim the Canal event?
  2. What was Monday’s first time event for the crew?
  3. Who did the crew provide assistance to on the water?
  4. What world record did the Halifax Explosion hold until WWII?
  5. Who is credited for being the first solo around the world sailor?
  6. What is the nickname of Sable Island?
  7. Where and when was Canada’s first life saving station established?

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II as she dreams of cruising and exploring Sable Island. Notice she only dreamed of going, that is just too far to go in the open ocean for her and the crew. Enjoy!

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library contains videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Sunday, August 4th

The Grand Finale of the week long Deny’s Festival was the 6th Annual Swim The Canal event. The crew walked down to the canal to watch the show. Some 350 swimmers paid to swim the icy 72 degree waters, for the length of the canal.

The swimmers start on the lake side of the canal where the water was reported to be a bit warmer and swim towards the Atlantic Ocean side of the Canal where the water is much cooler.

There was no obvious advantage to being fast because once you reach the lock, you have to wait for the last swimmer to arrive so the lockmaster can shut the gate. Therefore you may be treading water for about 45 minutes waiting on the casual swimmers.

Once all swimmers are in the Lock, the gates on the lake side are closed and the water level adjusted in the lock to match the Atlantic Ocean side. While draining, a chant developed: “Open that Gate, Open that Gate!”

Once the gates cracked open, it was a sprint for the finish line for some, and a leisurely crawl for others. Hey, they only get to swim the canal once a year and some try to stretch it out as long as possible.

Monday, August 5th

The skipper’s plan to take on fuel and pump out the holding tanks came to an abrupt halt this morning. A 132 foot yacht landed on the fuel dock, overhanging both the bow and stern from the dock. Because the yacht was so large, she effectively blocked any other boats access to the fuel dock for their two night stay.

The dockmaster was not happy, but not much he could do. He did arrange for a fuel truck to meet Still Waters II on the Atlantic Ocean side of the St Peter’s Lock. So the crew shoved off and passed back through the lock. Once on the Ocean side, they tied off along the wall and waited for the truck to arrive. This would be the first fuel truck delivery for the crew.

Once the fuel transfer was complete, the dockmaster arranged for the payments and the crew was finally off on their first day cruising the Atlantic Ocean this season.

The run went well until it was time to anchor. The cruising guide said that Dover Island was a good Anchorage. But the crew could not find an adequate hole to drop the hook. After three unsuccessful tries to set the anchor, they decided to move five miles further west and try in the next Cove.

Upon arrival in Raspberry Cove, the crew found a good spot to anchor and finally called it a day.

Tuesday, August 6th

Well if yesterday was a strange day with fueling and anchoring, this day would prove to be a strange one also. The crew set off for the Liscomb River.

Late last week, the docks at the Liscomb Lodge broke and they can only accept two boats until the docks are repaired. The dock was already reserved so the crew was just going to anchor in the river and skip the Lodge.

When the crew approached the Liscomb Island at the mouth of the River, the Coast Guard announced a boat in distress not far from Still Waters II. The crew decided to try and see if there was anything they could do to help. The skipper talked with the Coast Guard and got the vessels name (Red Tail), GPS position, and asked the Coast Guard to pass on their telephone number.

Lighthouse on Liscomb Island

Captain Kevin called a few minutes later, and the skipper was able to figure out that Red Tail was anchored on the north side of Liscomb Island. The two agreed that Still Waters II would approach the starboard side of Red Tail and raft up together.

Red Tail and Still Waters II rafted together

Once the two boats were secured together, they decided that Still Waters II would try and pull Red Tail the five miles up River to the Liscomb Lodge. Once both boats were satisfied that the lines were secure enough to tow, Red Tail raised anchor and Still Waters II was able to safely maneuver the two boats tied together.

The last challenge would be landing on the dock. The skipper approached the dock slowly, and the Red Tail crew were able to get a few lines across to the dock help. Kevin, the Captain of Red Tail, then began giving the skipper instructions on how to move to bring the boat along side the dock. Between Red Tail’s bow thruster, and Still Water II’s twin engines, they were able to get Red Tail secure with no drama and no damage to the dock or boat.

After docking, the crew walked up to the water fall along the river and sat down to watch the water go by and relax.

They then joined Kevin and Caroline for some great conversation and dinner. The crew quizzed them on their purchase of Red Tail on the west coast of California, bringing her south down the west coast and through the Panama Canal. Sounds like something our crew would like to do someday.

Wednesday, August 7th

Well, after the last two days of excitement, today was just the normal run of the mill day. The crew left early to try to get in some extra miles today so tomorrow would be a shorter run.

The wind was less than ten mph on the stern for a nice push, but the ocean swells were 3-4 feet at normally 12 seconds apart. This made for an ok ride except when the time between waves would shorten which would cause the boat to to roll heavy to starboard. Then rock back and forth a few times before settling back down.

The skipper tried to weave inside the islands as much as possible, but getting out in the ocean and being rolled by the swells seemed to be the norm for the day. The crew had put in 70 miles by 1500, so they found a place in Jerrode Harbor to drop the hook for the night.

Thursday, August 8th

An afternoon storm was predicted to roll into Halifax around 1500. Armed with that info the crew left at first light and headed towards Halifax. When the crew got to the open Atlantic Ocean they found 3-5 foot swells at 8-10 seconds apart.

The rule of thumb for a smooth ride on the Ocean swells is a wave period double the wave heights. So if you have 5 foot swells, you want at least 10 seconds between each crest so that the boat just gently glides up and down the face of the swell. Today, it seemed as though the time between swells was closer to 8 seconds than 10 so it made for a more roly ride than hoped for. The good news was that it was less than two hours out on the open water which minimized the frolicking good time.

Upon arrival in Halifax, the first order of business was to find a facility with an operational pump out system to drain the holding tanks. The fourth marina the crew contacted had a working system, so the crew cruised up to Dartmouth and drained their tanks.

On the way to Dartmouth, they passed the location of a large explosion that took place back in 1917. A French War ship carrying ordinance for WWI collided with another ship in the most narrow point of the harbor. People heard the collision and saw the fire burning out of control on the French vessel. People rushed to the waterfront to observe the two vessels. Twenty minutes later the French ship exploded sending shrapnel over a two mile radius from the ship. The pressure wave flattened the town of Richmond as well as the structures within a half mile of the ships. All those people who rushed to the scene became part of the 2,000 deaths and 9,000 injured. The Halifax Explosion held the record for the largest man made explosion until the end of WWII when America dropped a couple of atomic bombs on Japan.

Friday, August 9th

The crew visited the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. The museum told the story of Halifax and its contribution to maritime interest from sailing vessels, to steam ships, to modern vessels.

The customary parrot and pirates in the sailing section of museum.

Captain Joshua Slocum, born in Nova Scotia, was featured as the first man to sail solo around the world. The Captain left Boston in April 1895 in a sloop named Spray, and returned to Newport, Rhode Island On June 27, 1898.

Captain Slocum aboard Spray

Also of interest was the ‘Graveyard of the Atlantic,’ or Sable Island. The Island is located 190 miles southeast of Halifax. In the era of navigation by sextant rather than modern radar and GPS, the Island was responsible for an estimated 500 sunken ships. A few other fun facts about Sable Island:

  • The Island is 26 miles long
  • There are over 500 horses on the Island
  • The Island has the world’s largest breeding colony of grey seals
  • Canada’s first Life Saving Station was established here in 1801

After a fun filled day at the museum, the crew met a pod of other boater’s for Happy Hour and dinner.

Saturday, August 10th

The skipper bought a book about the Halifax Explosion at the Maritime Museum yesterday. He completed the book and confirmed his suspicions that the authorities deflected blame from the event to the Pilot who was on the French vessel and tried to make him the scapegoat.

Anytime there is a disaster of the magnitude of the Halifax Explosion there are at least 3-5 precursor events which have aligned which then allow for the disaster to strike. Some call it the Swiss Cheese Model, where a hole in 5 pieces of cheese all align to allow a straight though hole and no barrier for prevention. And so it was for this senseless loss of life also.

The area called Richmond that was flattened by the explosion

For instance, here are but a few of the precursor events, that if had not of happened, could have prevented the accident:

  • The Imo was supposed to have left the Bedford Basin the day before the collision, but the coal barge was late so they had to wait to refuel
  • The Port Authority did not communicate with the Chief Examining Office of the departure delay of the Imo
  • The Examining Officer told the Pilot of Mont Blonc that they had clear passage to the Bedford Basin because the Officer was not aware of the Imo, and was also unaware that she would be departing the Basin shortly
  • The Port Authority knew that Mont Blonc was carrying a dangerous load of munitions but allowed them to proceed to the Basin without any additional security measures.
  • The Imo was traveling faster than she was supposed to because she was a day late leaving
  • Imo was traveling on the wrong side of the channel while exiting the Basin, she should have been on the Halifax side of the Narrows
  • When the two ships were within 300 yards of each other, they were parallel with enough room between them for a safe pass. The Imo then realized because she was traveling so fast, she would run aground before getting past Mont Blanc. She put the engines in reverse to slow down, which then caused the bow to swing around and caused the collision.

By all accounts, the Imo was clearly at fault. When the Admiral Board of Inquiry met though, they had a problem. Neither the Captain nor the Pilot of the Imo survived. By a quirk in British Law called British Fair Play, because the men were dead and could not defend themselves, no blame could be attached to them. Well, that just left the Pilot of the Mont Blonc to pin the blame on and that is just what they did. Kinda hard to see ‘fair play’ in that but charge him with manslaughter was what they did.

The Imo blown ashore at Dartmouth from the explosion

Along with the Imo, the government also should share the blame in the disaster. Supervision, training, and procedures are all good barriers to accident prevention. By all accounts the Pilot’s were well trained and experienced. However, the supervision (government Port Authority) and procedures were lacking. As the port authority, they should have been making sure communications were making it to all the key stake holders and the Pilot’s knew what ships were moving in the harbor. Also, the procedures should have never let a war ship carrying that much munitions that close to civilian populations. The Port Authority should have kept Mont Blonc at anchor southeast of town. But as the skipper is fond of saying, “To err is human, to blame the other guy is more human.” In this case, the government failed the people by allowing munitions to be brought through the Narrows, and then deflected blame to the Pilot.

Interesting enough, when you do not actually identify the actual causes of an accident, but focus on blame, you do not fix the problems, and are doomed to repeat the folley. So it should not surprise anyone that during WWII the Port Authority once again allowed munitions past Halifax and into the Bedford Basin. And once again their was a huge explosion in July 1945.

Boat Name of the Week

Next Week –

The crew hopes to make Yarmouth on the west coast of Nova Scotia by next weekend. The weather will probably cause delays leaving Halifax until Wednesday, then the crew will need 4 travel days to make it to Yarmouth. We will see if they make it or not.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

One Ringy Dingy, Two Ringy Dingy

Ahoy from the Isle of Cape Breton and the Acadian Village of St Peter’s.

Welcome back to our virtual crew members and fellow adventurers

Summary of the Week

Cape Breton Island

On Monday, the crew left St Peter’s and crossed over the lake to anchor in Little Harbor (1). Tuesday, they weighed anchor went further north up the lake and anchored near Baddeck (2). On Wednesday, they took a taxi to Englishtown (3) to catch the Donelda Puffin Tour to Bird Island (4). Thursday, they took the Cabot Trail Discovery Tour (5) and returned to Baddeck. Friday brought an end to the fun in Baddeck (6) as the crew returned to St Peter’s for the weekend.

Click on the Still Waters II Travel Map to see detailed Voyage Logs.


The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:

  1. What is an isthmus?
  2. How did Mabel Bell come by her shares of The Bell Telephone Company?
  3. Bell invented the metal detector to find a bullet in which President?
  4. What is the name of the plane that was the first powered craft in Canada?
  5. Where is the Birthplace of Aviation in Canada?
  6. What craft set a marine speed record in 1919?
  7. Where do Puffins live?
  8. Who was Giant MacAskill?
  9. Who was the Cabot Trail named after?
  10. What is the Cabot Trail?

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II ride around the Cabot Trail. Enjoy!

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library contains videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Sunday, July 28

The crew hung out at the St Peter’s Marina most of the day which allowed the skipper to explore the history of the Village that sits on this thin slice of land called an isthmus. Wondering what an isthmus is, are you?

Isthmus is Ancient Greek for the word neck. Today we use the term to describe a narrow piece of land that connects two larger pieces of land, that are separated by water. One of the more famous isthmuses in the world would be Panama, connecting North and South America, and separating the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

In the case of the isthmus at St Peter’s, the land mass is the Island of Cape Breton, and the waters are the Atlantic Ocean to the south, and Bras d’Or Lake to the north. This isthmus was originally used by the Mi’kmaq Indians as their canoe portage into the Lake.

In 1650, Nicolas Denys arrived on the scene and built a trading post on the eastern side of the isthmus. The entrepreneur then figured out a way to haul his ships over the isthmus on skids pulled by ox. This both shortened the distance to ports to the north and made it safer than sailing out in the Atlantic Ocean.

The area changed hands several times between the French and British, with the British eventually winning out for control in 1763. A little over a hundred years later, after 15 years of construction, a Canal was opened in 1869 to replace the haulover road. This year marks the 150th year of Canal operations. The crew were the 424th boat to transit the canal this year and received a Certificate of Appreciation to commemorate the transit.

Monday, July 29

The crew plans to make several small runs this week to explore the Bras d’Or Lake. Their first run would be 20 miles to anchor in a well protected cove, on the north shore, of the main body of the Lake. On the way across the main body of water, the crew could hear thunder every few minutes. This was strange because the skies were blue with very few puffy clouds.

When they were halfway across the lake, the sky began to turn dark as the thunderstorm began to build. Then they witnessed three lightening strikes. The skipper decided to turn off all the electronics and lower the VHF antenna. Within minutes the rain fell on them and visibility dropped to about a mile. Thankfully, the crew was just on the edge of the storm. Within ten minutes, the storm had blown by and the crew were back in blue skies.

Storm Building

The skipper fired up all the electronics and headed for the narrow opening into the Cove. The crew found three sailboats already anchored, so they poked around to find a spot near the south shore in the Cove.

At anchor in Little Harbor

Tuesday, July 30

The crew weighed anchor and headed to Baddeck. There is an Alexander Graham Bell Museum in town that the skipper wanted to visit. The short run was excellent as the wind and waves combined for following seas. On the way to Baddeck they met Confetti on the water and followed her through a set of bridges.

Upon arrival near the Baddeck marinas, the crew dropped anchor, and then took the dinghy to go visit the museum.

Alexander Graham Bell Museum

You may recall when the crew visited the Helen Keller Birthplace Museum, that Helen Keller’s father travelled to Boston to meet with Mr Bell, and Mr Bell’s advice changed the course and trajectory of Helen Keller’s life. This museum told the backstory of how Mr Bell came to be in Boston in the first place.

Alexander Graham Bell was the son of Alexander Melville Bell. You probably had never heard of Melville Bell before, but he is famous as the creator of visible speech. The young Bell continued the work of his father and became a teacher of his father’s methods in Boston. His work with the deaf was heavily influenced by his mother and wife who were both deaf.

His study of the ear, basic understanding of both electricity and sound waves all came together to help him invent the first telephone. He then went on to start Bell Telephone System which eventually became American Telephone and Telegraph. And as they say, the rest is history. But did you know that Alex gave all but 10 shares of his new company to Mabel as a wedding present.

What do you think of when you see a Switchboard, such as the one below?

Well our crew thinks of the Lily Tomlin character, Ernestine, the switchboard operator who made the lines “one ringy dingy… two ringy dingy”, and, “is this the party to whom I am speaking?” famous.

The first patent for the telephone eventually made Bell independently wealthy, and allowed him to tinker and invent a plethora of other items. The museum spent some time on these other items, but mainly focused on two projects in his later years, aeronautics and hydrofoils.

The skipper found one of those other items to be most interesting though. Bell invented an early model of the metal detector in 1881 for the sole purpose of locating a bullet after the 20th President of the United States was shot in the summer of 1881. The metal detector was used to help locate the bullet lodged in Garfield’s body. Depending on what you read, the metal detector worked flawlessly or not well at all. Bell said that the metal springs in the bed where the test was conducted altered the results, as well as the depth of the bullet, to make the results inconclusive.

Following the Wright Brothers success at Kitty Hawk, Alexander Graham Bell decided to get into the aeronautics business. His wife, Mabel, created the Aerial Experimental Association (AEA) in 1907, with the purpose of constructing a practical flying machine. The group included two young engineers, an American motorcycle engine designer (Curtis), and an American aviator (Thomas Selfridge).

The AEA first used Bell’s work conducted with tetrahedral kites to fly unmanned and manned kites. The group then applied their learnings to gliders. Their first success was with a plane named Red Wing in March 1908. The White Wing and then the June Bug were built and successfully flown. Their fourth flying machine, Silver Dart, made the first controlled powered flight in Canada on February 23, 1909. The Silver Dart took off from the ice just off the Baddeck shoreline allowing Baddeck to lay claim to the Birthplace of Aviation in Canada.

Replica Silver Dart

The AEA Charter had a sunset clause, so the group was disbanded in March 1909. Bell had began experiments though on hydrofoils as a means to assist a plane from taking off in the water. By 1911, these experiments resulted in the development of the first hydrodrome, HD-1. They were able to make 50 mph in HD-1 before she broke apart on a test run.

Thru the long winter, Bell built HD-2, but once again she broke up during testing. Then the HD-3 was built and failed. With WWI in progress, Bell received money to build a submarine chaser. His design (HD-4) was a long cigar looking machine with hydrofoils. HD-4 set a world record for marine speed of 70.86 mph on September 9, 1919. After successful testing though, the hydrofoils were never put into any practical commercial applications.

The original HD-4 hull

Full scale replica of HD-4

Sitting on the lawn, contemplating the lives of Mabel and Alex Graham.

Wednesday, July 31

Back in 2017 while cruising along the coast of Maine, the Admiral learned about a little bird called a Puffin. Every since, she has wanted to see a Puffin. Problem with Puffin viewing though is that they live their life floating in the Atlantic Ocean far away from shore, a place our Admiral has no desire to visit.

However, there is a Bird Island just north of Cape Brenton that has Puffins nesting during July and August. And there are two companies which offer Puffin Tours. So today is the day for the Admiral to satisfy her goal to see a Puffin. The skipper liked the company quarantee, your money back from the tour if you do not see a Puffin.

The crew learned some interesting things about the tour operators. In addition to the tour, they also have a Lobster Permit to fish 265 traps. Lobster season here is mid May thru mid July, so they check those 265 traps six days a week. Once Lobster Season ends, they turn their attention to the tour business.

The Captain is the Grand Nephew of Giant MacAskill, a local legend in these parts. He is in the Guinness Book of World Records (1981) for being the tallest non-pathological giant in recorded history. He stood 7 feet 9 inches, weighed 425 lbs, and had a chest measurement of 80 inches. He was buried just down from the gift shop in 1863.

However, on the other end of the scale, Donelda explaining the small size of Puffins, the stuffed Puffin is actual size

The Puffin Tour was a great success. The tour lasted a little over three hours and the crew saw Puffins, so they would not be getting their money back. But it was amazing just how small those Puffins happen to be. Most of the ones sited were floating in the water, and they would dive under the water as soon as the boat approached.

Edited pic for a closeup, they are still small

However, the highlight of the trip might just have been the Bald Eagles. On the way out to Bird Island, on two different occasions, a Bald Eagle approached the boat. Donelda, the tour guide, would toss out a large dead fish and the Eagle would swoop down to grab the fish. It was an amazing spectacle to see so close to the boat. While traveling around the Bird Island, the tour saw over 60 Bald Eagles.

The other highlight of the trip were the seals. The Grey Seals were out sunbathing on the rocks as the tour glided by. The seals numbered in the hundreds.

Thursday, August 1

One of the best known things to do on Cape Breton Island is to drive the scenic Cabot Trail. A 185 mile breathtaking road trip that takes visitors on a loop trip around the northern areas of the Island.

The Cabot Trail is named after John Cabot, an Italian explorer who reached the Island back in 1497. He is credited as the European discoverer of North America for the English. He has been lost to history though because it would be another 100 years before this area was settled. Kinda the same fate of my son, Leif Eriksson, who sailed these waters 500 years before Cabot, and gets little to no credit either.

The first surprise of the day was when the crew learned that they were the only ones on the tour today. That actually worked out great as they got to swap many stories with the Tour Guide.

Skipper and Misty, the Tour Guide extraordinar

Misty told a few stories about her 13 year old son. She referred to him as ‘The Little Capitalist.’ The stories reminded the skipper of himself when he was a youngster trying to earn a little money.

Again, from the skipper’s sister’s blog:

Did you ever want a pony? Unlike many of my friends, I can honestly say it never dawned on me to ask for a pony for Christmas. However, the Fuller kids were the only kids at C.C. Duff Elementary who had a real live Shetland Pony who lived in their backyard. He was a Christmas present who arrived on Thanksgiving night. His name was Buck and, when he got it in his mind to be tacky, which was often, boy could he buck. Already the family financial guy at age 8, David came up with a plan to charge our friends 25 cents a ride and we would split the profit 3 ways. He would get the extra penny since it was his idea. Did I mention he was in 2nd grade at the time? After one too many squabbles about that extra penny Mama gave us the option of handing over our money to her to be redistributed after every third paying customer or shutting down the pony rides. David lost his extra penny per ride since the vote didn’t go his way (majority rules, doncha know?) and we all got a nice shiny quarter each time we convinced 3 friends they wanted a ride. Which as I recall was about 1 time. We didn’t have many kids in our neighborhood and weren’t old enough to have friends who could walk or ride bikes over to our house  from outside the neighborhood. It was an idea ahead of it’s time and probably why Mama was so easily persuaded to agree to let us do it. She knew we wouldn’t have many customers.

Skipper’s Dad and Buck the Pony

I was probably 13 the November my brothers got busted for an unauthorized zoo. Daddy had taken David and Danny to the deer lease for the weekend and Mama and I were “batching it” at home. That meant tuna casserole (Daddy hated it), Reese’s peanut butter cups and lots of reading and not much else. Our revelry was interrupted by a knock on the back door. I answered the knock to find a boy about the age of my brothers who was looking for them. He was very disappointed to hear they were not at home. I assured him they would be home the next day and he would see them at school on Monday but my words didn’t seem to help. He eventually explained the source of his disappointment was not in missing my brothers but in missing his tour of their zoo. He said he had saved up the dollar required to pay admission to see their zoo and he didn’t know if he would be able to come back until the following weekend. A whole week was just So Long when he’d already been waiting for a couple of weeks while he saved up the entrance fee.

The second he said zoo, Mama’s Mom-antennae were up and into listening mode. He turned to leave but she told me to ask him inside. She quizzed him about the zoo and he spilled the beans on their sweet little set up. He explained that The Boys had been showing off what they called the Fuller Zoo for several weeks. And charging a dollar a person for admission. And here we thought they were just popular and had lots of friends coming around to play. Mama was somewhere between ticked off and amused. I don’t think she was so much upset about charging people to see our pets as irritated that they had kept it a secret. She had me show the boy our zoo – even turning down his dollar when it was offered. I spent a full 30 minutes introducing him to Frisky and her pups, my cat and Mama’s cat, Mama’s poodle, the fish and turtles, Snowball’s children and grandchildren, Wiley and Pepper and ever other little creature I could think of to make his trip to the zoo a memorable occasion. He was the Fuller Boys’ Zoo’s last official visitor. Much to the frustration of my brothers, Mama shut down the operation over the lack of permit for the Fuller Family Ordinance which stated one much get permission before making a profit on the backs of one’s friends.

The crew left from Baddeck and went thru the Margaree River area which is famous for Salmon and Rainbow Trout fishing. The trail then proceeded north thru the Cheticamp area, one of two Acadian towns on the route.

From Cheticamp, the trail continues north to Pleasant Bay where the crew managed to view a pod of whales and took lunch at the Rusty Anchor Restaurant. After lunch the route weaved into and out of the Cape Breton National Park along the northern border of the Park.

The Trail was then south thru the Village of Ingonish and St Ann’s Bay to return the crew back to Baddeck. The crew had great weather through the day to make their tour adventure a true success.

Words do not adequately express the rugged beauty of the areas visited, and the pictures also seem to come up short of capturing the wonder of it all, but here are some of the crew’s favorite sights around the Island.

Friday, August 2

The crew spent an exhausting three days in Baddeck, so they headed back over to St Peter’s to regroup and prepare for the trip along the south shore of Nova Scotia. The run back was made in calm seas, but once docked the wind picked up to make for a windy afternoon.

Leaving Baddeck

Boat Name of the Week

Son of a Preacher Man

Next Week –

The crew will leave St Peter’s on Monday and try to make Halifax for the weekend. They should make 4-5 runs to arrive in Halifax depending on the weather.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

Hik’n, Driv’n, and Cruis’n

Ahoy from Bras d’Or Lakes. Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

Looking down the most eastern point of PEI

Summary of the Week

The crew managed four travel days on the water this week. They also rented a car and took a day to explore Prince Edward Island, PEI. Tuesday, the crew travelled to the Provincial capital of PEI, Charlottetown (1). Wednesday the crew explored the Island by car. Thursday, the crew set out for Pictou (2). Friday, found the crew anchored in Havre Boucher (3). Then they ended their travels for the week in St Peters (4) on Saturday.

Click on the Still Waters II Travel Map to see detailed Voyage Logs.

The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:

  1. What was the second boom economy on PEI based upon?
  2. How often is a black fox breed in the wild?
  3. Why were Acadians deported from the maritime islands?
  4. Why is the dirt and sandstone red on PEI?
  5. What was the name of the boat that brought the first Scottish settlers to Nova Scotia?
  6. Where did these first folks establish their first settlement?

At the Box Office

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library contains videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Sunday, July 21st

Today was National Ice Cream Day. Hope you celebrated this wonderful day with your favorite ice cream. The skipper’s favorite ice cream is a family recipe perfected by his dad. In honor of his father, here is the recipe: per half gallon to be made, mix the following ingredients:

3 eggs, beat/whip them up good before adding sugar

1 cup sugar, slowly add the sugar to egg mixture while stirring the eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla, again add slowly while stirring into mixture

1 can fat free evaporated milk, continue to stir up mixture

1 can sweetened condensed milk, continue to stir into mixture. If the ice cream is too sweet for your taste, cut back on this milk for your taste.

Pour the mixture into the ice cream bucket. Now fill the bucket to the fill line with whole milk. (You can substitute 2% milk if you are counting calories.) If the bucket has no fill line, fill the bucket 3/4 full.

Assemble your ice cream maker per manufacture instructions, add ice and rock salt. Turn till the ice cream hardens in the bucket.

Variation for fruit ice cream. Add 1 cup puréed fruit per half gallon. Add to the mixture before you top off with milk to the fill line.

The skipper about to test a batch of freshly churned peach ice cream

Monday, July 22nd

The crew had planned to rent a car in Summerside and expand their exploration of PEI. Unfortunately, while trying to book a car, the skipper discovered there were no cars available. He expanded his search for a car over to Charlottetown and again no cars available from three different vendors. Then he got a tip from Confetti, and was able to score a car for Wednesday.

In the mean time, the skipper went to visit a few museums while the Admiral went shopping.

The first museum that caught the attention of the skipper was the International Fox Museum and Hall of Fame. You may be wondering why a fox museum might interest the skipper. The answer is captured here from the skipper’s sister’s blog.

When I was 12 my dad got a call on a Saturday afternoon from a friend. Two hours later we were foster parents to 3 baby foxes whose mama had been killed and whose den had been found by Daddy’s friend. The babies were so young their eyes weren’t yet open. We fed them with eye droppers filled with a combination of evaporated milk and water. We hadn’t had Wiley E. Fox, Pepper and Mary Elisabeth very long when they were stolen while we were at school one day. The next day, after a call to the junior high principal and his impassioned appeal over the morning announcements, Wiley and Pepper were returned. I got to leave school in the middle of the day to take them home. We had them for several years. They were as “tame” as a wild animal could be. They loved to be brushed, walked on their leashes and they reveled in the attention they got from us and our friends.

The skipper (left) and brother Danny with their pet foxes

Wiley left home one day (ran out the open front door) and never looked back. We saw him from time to time in the wooded area behind our school. After his departure The Boys shared Pepper until he, too, decided it was time to go “home” to the woods. My brothers entered Wiley and Pepper into the annual Pet Show at Woodland West Recreation Center. They always won first place for Most Unusual Pet.

Pepper winning first place ribbon

The Fox Museum told the story of Prince Edward Island’s second economic boom period from the late 1880’s to WWII. A resident of the Island had trapped a couple of black fox and with the help of a friend, learned how to bred them in captivity in the 1870’s. The French Fur Trade was already big business, shipping pelts from North America to Europe. These new black pelts were a fashion hit with the upper crust of society in Europe.

In the early days of the Fox Trade, three different breeders cornered the market on these exclusive black pelts that sold around $1,000 a pelt at auction houses in Europe. The three breeders signed a pact not to sell breeding pairs of Fox to any other people wanting in the lucrative business.

Eventually, one of the three sold a breeding pair of Fox to a nephew under the promise that he would not breed and sell pelts. The nephew kept his word. For three years he bred his fox to grow a sizable inventory. Then he sold live fox breeding pairs rather than pelts. His pairs were sold for $5,000, more than double what a pair of pelts sold for.

Silver Fox pelts as a variation to the solid black pelts

With that kind of money to be made, the other three fox farms also began to sell breeding pair. It did not take long for the market to saturate and the free market economy based on supply and demand busted the ‘Boom Day’s.’ By the end of WWII, with women’s fashion no longer seeking fox coats, a pelt sold for only $7.

This was all interesting, but the skipper wanted to know if a black fox was unique to the Island. The museum did not answer this mystery so he asked a worker. She informed him that these were actually just ‘run of the mill’ red fox. However, in nature, one out of 1,000 liters will contain a black colored fox. Because these fox were on a remote island, more black fox were present and able to bred in the wild.

With that mystery solved, it was time to ride six miles out to the Acadian Museum, to learn about their story. As mentioned last week, the Acadians originally migrated to the region from France. Initially, the Acadian population was mostly along the Bay of Fundy coastline of modern day Nova Scotia.

As the British won lands during the French and Indian War, they began deporting the French from the lands. Following the Treaty of 1763 that transferred New France to Britain, the British wanted their new colonist to take an oath of faith supporting the new Protestant Rulers. When these Acadians refused based on their French Catholic views, the British deported them back to France.

Expulsion of Acadians by Lewis Parker

Ships Take Acadians into Exile by Claude T. Picard

In the 1780s and 1790s, these deported Acadians began to migrate back to their former settlements. However, they found these areas now settled by American settlers and Loyalists from the Revolutionary War. Therefore, the Acadians searched out new areas and settled in western Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and the eastern shore of New Brunswick.

Settlements are Burned by Claude T. Picard

With a better understanding of these Acadians, the skipper headed back to the boat to prepare for departure to Charlottetown tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 23rd

The run to Charlottetown proved to be uneventful, well except for the potential boarding opportunity provided by Canadian Border Patrol as the crew approached the inlet to town. The Border Patrol boat came speeding out of the harbor and closely cruised by Still Waters II. The Border Patrol Boat then passed behind Still Waters II and circled around on the starboard side. By now, they had gained the skipper’s full attention. The Boarder Patrol Boat then passed behind Still Waters II a second time and pulled up close the port side.

The skipper observed the agents on board give him hand signals to slow down, so the skipper put the engines in neutral and just drifted. He came down out of the helm and called down to the Admiral, who was in the salon, that Customs was stopping them. She came up to see what was going on.

The three agents pulled along side Still Waters II and began to ask a boat load of questions. But the majority of the questions centered around the agents trying to understand how the skipper and Admiral had gotten that big boat all the way to Charlottetown. It truly intrigued them. Once their curiosity was satisfied, they asked to see the cruising permit that the crew received when they checked into customs just north of Lake Champlain. Luckily, the Admiral knew right where the piece of paper was and went to retrieve the permit.

After the agents copied information from the permit down, they asked if the crew had seen any suspicious activity while they were out cruising. The skipper replied that the only thing suspicious that they had seen were three people dressed in black running around in a black boat. Once the agents realized he was talking about them, they laughed and wished the crew safe travels.

Once the crew got settled in their slip, they walked to the rental car company, PEI Rental Cars, to see if their car was ready for pickup. Upon arrival, the owner apologized and said the people who had the car had extended till 1800 and were in the process of driving back to the office.

The crew decided to try some fish and chips while they waited for the car to return. They ordered a 2 piece cod dinner that they planned to split. When the food came out they each had a large helping of fries and 2 large pieces of cod. When the bill arrived, they were only charged for 1 plate. The skipper brought the error to the servers attention and said that they would pay for two since they had eaten all the food. The server said no, that she served them the 2 piece dinner and had split the plate. The skipper is still not sure how they count to 2 in Prince Edward Island but he will gladly eat 4 large pieces of cod and pay for 2 anytime.

Water Street Fish & Chips

The crew finished dinner, procured the car, and went on a provisioning run at the local Walmart a few miles away. When the Admiral went to pay, she learned two things rather quickly. For starters they do not bag your products at this Walmart, it is ‘bag your own’ country. Secondly, they do not provide any bags.

Luckily, the Admiral always carries her own bags so the latter was not an issue. The crew learned that PEI has passed a law outlawing plastic bags, and the law just went into effect. Most of the stores on the Island claim they have not had time to come up with a bag solution. Seemed apparent to the skipper that they all had found the same solution, require the customer to provide their own bags. Our crew can remember when those plastic bags were the environmentally friendly answer to tree killing paper bags. So, how long will it be before this answer is also found to be wrong?

Upon return to the boat, the challenge was to find a place to park. After circling around a bit, the crew found a parking lot that was empty and within view of the boat.

Wednesday, July 24th

A cruise ship pulled up to the dock this morning and docked just outside the marina. About 0830, the skipper looked out and noticed the empty parking lot was filling up with tour buses and shore excursions. He also looked over at the rental car and all appeared to be fine.

At 0845 the crew departed the boat and walked over to the rental car. When the skipper reached in his pocket to pull out the keys, he glanced over towards the car, and failed to see the vehicle. He asked the Admiral if she could see the car, she pointed and said it WAS right there.

Seems the crew had parked in the taxi cab waiting line for the cruise ship, and the cab drivers had the car towed. Ouch. Then they had to pay a cab driver to take them to the tow company to fetch the rental car. Double ouch. This day certainly got off to a crummy start.

Once the car was rescued from the impound yard, the crew set out to explore the eastern and northern shores of Prince Edward Island (PEI).

They made stops at the Sorous Lighthouse, East Point Lighthouse, and the Greenwich Sand Dunes.

When they arrived at the Sorous Lighthouse, a crew was busy setting up a tent for the annual Sea Glass Festival. There was a young boy following one of the workers around as he hammered in tent stakes.

The young boy was busy hammering the worker with questions. In fact, the boy could ask questions faster than a Gatling Gun can fire rounds. At one point the worker paused from hammering tent stakes and answering questions to make a comment about the boy’s T-shirt. He said, your mom sure dressed you right today.

The skipper was not sure what to make of the comment, but continued to observe the strange dance before him while he waited for the Admiral to finish shopping down the gift shop. At some point the boy tired of his endless questions and turned to find his mom. When the skipper saw the T-shirt he could only laugh at the worker’s earlier comment.

But Why? brings us to the question of why is all this dirt on PEI red? The dirt on the Island is rich in iron ore. When the iron ore is exposed to the air and water it rusts staining the dirt and giving it the red rust coloration.

After exploring the eastern portion of PEI, the crew drove over to Cavendish to try and see the Anne of Green Gables House. Upon arrival they found where the two cruise ships full of tourist were spending the day. The parking lot was full of cars and tour busses. The grounds were covered like ants at a picnic with people. The crew did not have time to fight the crowds and return the rental car on time, so the skipper turned out of the parking lot to head back to Charlottetown.

After returning the rental car the crew went over to Confetti and Island Office where they joined the two other crews for dock tails before finding a restaurant for dinner.

Thursday, July 25th

The crew left PEI in the morning to cross the Northumberlad Strait to Nova Scotia. The run across the Strait was much less dramatic than the loss of the rental car the day before. Most of the day was wide open big water with not much to see.

They ended the day by anchoring across the marina in Pictou. There was an interesting looking, rather large, old wooden boat beside the marina. The vessel is a replica of the Hector.

The original Hector left Scotland in 1773 and brought the initial 189 Scottish settlers to New Scotland, modern day Nova Scotia. These first colonists established the Village of Pictou as their new home and hence it’s nickname, “The Birthplace of New Scotland.”

Friday, July 26th

The crew had another successful run in the big open water today in fabulous cruising conditions. The first forty miles were dedicated to reaching Cap George, where they altered course into St George Bay. Within just the first few miles they began seeing whales and harbour porpoises. By the end of the run they had spotted three whales and at least 10 porpoises.

The final destination today was an anchorage in a well protected cove. Once anchored the crew sat back to relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. Unfortunately the peaceful day was interrupted by bad news from a fellow boater on the Down East Loop.

Seems Laughter joined the ranks of shipwrecks along the St Lawrence River. Yesterday while trying to enter the marina at Rivière de Madeleine, the crew were abruptly hit by strong winds that shoved them into the rocks.

Two weeks ago when our crew was there they encountered strong winds in the late afternoons. The cruising guide called this phenomena, Katabatic Winds. The winds turn a calm, peaceful sea breeze around abruptly. The winds starts to blow from shore and rapidly builds to 30-35 knots.

The only good news with this story was that the crew managed to get to shore safely. The whole ordeal was a not so subtle reminder just how quickly conditions can change from a great day, to your worst day, in just a matter of moments.

Saturday, July 27th

The crew weighed anchor and got under way towards Bras d’Or Lakes. Their goal was St Peter’s Marina. After just a few miles they entered the Strait of Casno and headed to the Casno Lock.

The lock and causeway were opened in 1955 to to help ships traverse the Strait. Prior to the causeway, the current would rip through the Strait at 6-7 knots. The engineering challenge was how to fill the 155 foot deep Strait to stop the current. The solution was determined to be right before their eyes. They quarried 10 million tons of rock off of Porcupine Mountain to backfill the Strait and create the roadbed.

After clearing the lock, the crew made way to the Bridge over the Lenox Passage. The Bridge was under repair which might cause the crew some problems and cause a 10 mile detour. When they arrived at the bridge they found scaffold built out into the waterway making the tight squeeze just a bit smaller. The crew worked together to pilot Still Waters II under and past the hazards.

Next challenge was the St Peter’s Lock. When the crew arrived at the lock, the gates were swinging open to allow passage. The lock and Canal were first put into operation back in 1869. To celebrate the 150th year of operation, the lock was passing out Certificates of Commemoration. Still Waters II was the 424th vessel to transit the St Peter’s Canal in 2019.

After the Canal, the crew turned towards the St Peter’s Marina to bring the run to a close. They found Island Office already tied to the pier. They had arrived yesterday making the run from Charlottetown in just one day. The two crews walked into town and had an enjoyable dinner together.

All in all, it has been a great week for the crew.

Boat Name of the Week

Followed Reel’n & Deal’n thru the St Peters Lock

Next Week –

The crew will spend the week exploring the Bras d’Or Lakes region and this island paradise before returning to the mainland of Nova Scotia.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

Cruising the Maritimes

Ahoy from Prince Edward Island, and a hearty hello to our virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

In Shippagan, New Brunswick

We had more people join the ranks as virtual crew members this week by following the blog. Welcome aboard to Map195. And a special welcome aboard to Alex and Marilyn, thanks for the tour of your one of a kind boat, it is beautiful.

Summary of the Week

The crew managed to make 5 runs during the week and actually arrived in Summerside (5) on Saturday. This was truly amazing based on the amount of open water the crew crossed this past week. Thank you Lord for calm winds and still waters. Along the way to Prince Edward Island, they also made the following stops: anchored in the fishing village of Renard (1) on Monday, made a long run to Shippagan (2) on Tuesday, after taking a weather delay day on Wednesday, they anchored off Portage Island (3) Thursday, then on Friday they made Bouctouche (4), and completed the week by pulling into Summerside (5).

Click on the Still Waters II Travel Map to see detailed Voyage Logs.


The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:

  1. What Ocean liner holds the record for most casualties during a peacetime accident?
  2. Where did the accident occur?
  3. What was the final fate of the U20 sub that sank the Lusitania?
  4. What does the yellow star on the Acadian flag represent?
  5. What causes different color lobsters?

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II watching Gannets on their morning feeding frenzy. Enjoy!

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library contains videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Sunday, July 14th

In the early morning hours of May 29, 1914, the RMS Empress of Ireland dropped the pilot off at Pointe-au-Pere lighthouse and continued towards the open waters of the Gulf of St Lawrence. Unbeknownst to them, the Storstad, which carried 11,000 tons of coal, was on a collision course with them. The heavy fog that night prevented any attempt by the navigators to alter course and avoid a collision.

Pointe-au-Père, second tallest lighthouse in Canada

The Storstad collided into the side of the Empress of Ireland. The bow rammed 20 feet into the ocean liner opening a huge hole in her side. The skipper of the Empress directed the captain of Storstad to maintain a full bell to keep the hole plugged.

The strategy failed, the ships separated, and in less than 14 minutes from the collision the Empress of Ireland lay on the bottom of the St Lawrence River. The loss of life was large due to the fact that most passengers and crew were asleep at the time of the crash. The Empress holds the record for the most number of passengers lost on a liner in peace time. The 840 deaths beats the more famous Titanic by a mere 11. The sinking is also Canada’s worst peacetime marine disaster.

However, there has been an interesting story circulating for years about a man named Frank Tower who is linked to both the Empress and the Titanic. As the story goes, he was a crew member aboard the Titanic. He was one of the 215 crew members who survived the sinking.

He then took a job on the Empress of Ireland, and somehow managed to be one of the 201 crew members who survived that collision.

But wait, there was one more famous ship sinking, the Lusitania which was sunk by a German U- boat (U20) off the Irish Coast and drug the US into WWI. And yes, Frank happened to survive that sinking also.

U20 ran aground, blew up torpedoes in bow compartment to destroy vessel

The skipper ran a probability assessment that one person could have survived all three disasters. The probability that Tower could have survived the three wrecks, 0.125. That got the skipper digging for more information.

Turns out Frank Tower was not listed as a crew member on any of the three ships. He was not listed as a passenger either. The skipper began to wonder if this story could be true, or not. In his search for the truth, the skipper tracked the Urban Legend down to a Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Encyclopedia of the Bizarre: Amazing, Strange, Inexplicable, Weird and All True! publication.

Now this brings us to an interesting quagmire, in today’s Information Age, which one is true? The internet or Ripley’s? Inquiring minds want to know?

Yes, this is exactly what the skipper does with his time when waiting out weather delays. Trying to unravel the mysteries of life.

Monday, July 15th

The crew woke to fog, rain, and wind this morning. Strange combination. After studying the weather apps for an hour, the skipper determined it would probably be a decent enough day to travel. Now to convince the Admiral of the same.

He started the discussion with, “if we go out there and it is worse than expected, we can always come back to the dock.” He followed that up with, “I also have a plan B stop 20 miles down river where we can pull into if conditions deteriorate.” Then concluded with, “but I believe conditions will improve as the day goes on.” The Admiral mulled it all over and agreed to give it a shot.

From shore, looking out to sea, across the marina

The crew headed up to the marina restaurant for breakfast, and to allow for some time to pass with hopes the fog would lift just a little. After hearty cheese omelets the crew rigged the boat for heavy seas and shoved off.

After they got out of the marina, conditions were tolerable so they nixed returning to the dock, hugged the shore to try to minimize the effect of the 15-20 mph southwest winds, and made way towards the Plan B spot downriver.

Watching waves crash into the rocks

Passed interesting lighthouse up on shore

Crew surprised by number of houses along the shore

As well as many small villages strung out along the shore

After two hours of cruising, they arrived at Plan B. As hoped, the conditions had improved enough to convince the crew to push on toward Rivière Renard. As they continued, the fog began to lift and the sun finally decided to make a showing and shine through the clouds. By the time they reached the basin at Renard, the winds had died off enough that the Admiral suggested they anchor rather than take a marina. So anchor they did.

View from anchorage

By night fall, the winds had completely dissipated. A last weather check showed favorable conditions for an early morning departure. Hope it holds.

Tuesday, July 16th

Ever experienced a time that was so good that you did not want it to end? Well, that was the reality for today’s run. The wind and waves combined for a pleasant cruise on the water, while the scenery along the shore line was spectacular.

The Gaspé Peninsula lived up to its reputation of rugged scenery. The high rock cliffs were truly amazing to see and watch as the crew cruised around the Peninsula.

Scattered along these cliffs were what seemed to be a never ending supply of lighthouses. The crew was thankful that it was a clear blue sky day so they could see them all.

A local back in Madeleine told the crew that he had sailed all the way to the Bahamas and back home. He went on to say his worst experience on the water was rounding the Gaspé Peninsula and crossing the Bay of Chaleur. He warned the skipper to pick his weather window carefully. So far the wind and waves have provided a wonderful calm relaxing run.

After the crew rounded the Cap Gaspé, they set their sights on Perce Rock and the Isle of Bonaventure. Both are Bird Sanctuaries protected by Parks Canada.

The skipper had planned to drop anchor by Isle of Bonaventure and hike over the island to the birds nesting along the shore. But all these birds reminded the skipper of some words of wisdom, ‘A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.’

With the favorable conditions out on the water and the warning from the local, the crew decided to skip both Bonaventure and the Beaufils Marina and go ahead and cross the Bay of Chaleur while the window was open. A final check of the weather showed the crossing window would close overnight with no good window in the foreseeable future.

The skipper altered course to cross the Bay and got comfortable for the additional 45 miles tacked onto today’s run, making it 98 miles long. The crossing went well with a few seal sightings, one whale sighting, and meeting a couple of dolphins swimming north. The end of the long day found the crew safely docked in Shippagan, New Brunswick.

Turns out the crew made an excellent decision. Confetti posted on a Down East Loop page about the Beaufils Marina and suggested people bypass the stop because the docks are not in the water this season. In addition to this info, the crew of Confetti also posted some pictures of their time spent on Bonaventure. Thanks to Vicki and Mack for sharing their adventure on Bonaventure, the following pics are from their hike around the island.

Wednesday, July 17th

The weather was tolerable for a run to Miramichi Bay, but the conditions were forecast to be even better tomorrow. Based on that info, the crew decided to stay put today and explore Shippagan.

The first thing the skipper noticed was a French Flag flying, but with a yellow star in the blue field. That was odd looking.

There must be some significance to the flag because it shows up everywhere one looks.

The flag honors the heritage of the Acadian’s who first settled here in the 1700’s from France. The yellow color represents the Papacy while the star symbolizes the patron saint for mariners, Mary. The star is placed on the blue field because blue represents Mary.

The skipper also went to the Aquarium to learn about the sea life that lives in the water surrounding this area. He found an explanation of why lobsters are different colors but turn red when boiled. Short answer was they have red pigment in their shells, but red is made up of shades of yellow and blue. So lobsters display different colors depending on the makeup of the blended shades. However, when put in hot water the pigments all merge to give the characteristic red lobster.

The skipper also got to see about six different species of cod, but the most interesting fish were the sturgeon that they had in several tanks depending on their size.

They also had three seals in a pool so the skipper was able to get a few Harbor Seal pics.

Thursday, July 18th

The skipper was interviewed for an AGLCA POD Cast in the morning. After the interview, he made a dash over to Tim Horton’s for another round of donut holes. And yes, he remembered to order only 20 this time. The delay in departure allowed the crew to see Alex and Marilyn one last time. Our crew got a tour of the one of a kind boat owned by Alex and Marilyn. Thanks for asking the crew aboard. Oh, and you have a really neat boat!

Once the crew got underway they passed under a lift bridge and worked their way out of the winding channel to open water. They passed a light marking the channel entrance. This light was the last thing the crew saw for about 50 miles besides the open water.

After those long boring miles, the skipper sighted a buoy that marked the entrance to the Miramichi River. Kinda sad when a floating navigational aide brightens up your day.

The skipper tried for 30 minutes to find enough water on the north side of Portage Island to enter the anchorage. After plowing mud a few times he decided to try the south side of the Island. Once anchored, they began to see seals with their heads up admiring Still Waters II. At one point, there were nine seal heads above water looking around. Can you spot the one below?

The sun decided to go hide behind the shore and close the curtain on the seal show.

Friday, July 19th

The crew weighed anchor and headed out of the Miramichi River. They found themselves surrounded by several hundred Gannets flying about in a wild feeding frenzy. Once a bird spots a victim swimming in the waters below, the bird banks and plunges toward the water below. Just before hitting the water, they tuck their wings and assume the looks of a javelin to spear the prey.

After watching the sorties fly their morning breakfast missions, the crew rounded Point Escuminac, and entered Northumberland Strait.

This light marks the reef as boats make their way around the Point.

The run in the Northumberland Strait would be another 40 mile long boring run in open water. A couple of lobster boats were about the only thing the crew saw for most of the day.

Hauling in the catch.

Eventually the lighthouse marking the entrance channel came into view. The crew rounded their way into the narrow winding channel. After an hour they arrived at the marina. The best thing about this marina was a working pumpout. It had been 19 days since the crew last pumped out their holding tanks because none of the small fishing villages along the Gaspé Peninsula had a working pump out system.

The marina office and captains lounge was housed in this building.

The building was once office space for a saw mill that once occupied this space. Hence the name, Saw Mill Marina. The crew walked around town and learned that a Farmers Market is scheduled for the morning. Sounds like an event to explore.

Saturday, July 20th

The crew walked to the Farmers Market and were exceptionally surprised with the quality of the market. Cars were parked both sides of the road as far as the eye could see.

The skipper had a good visit with a local bee keeper selling his honey. The bee keeper had a show hive on a table and you could watch the busy bees going about their business taking care of the Queen.

Band setting up to play at the Market

The crew enjoyed the Market until around 10. They then headed back to the boat and shoved off the dock to make way to Prince Edward Island. The crew had another wonderful calm cruising day across the Northumberland Strait. After the 30 mile crossing, they arrived at Summerside where they will stay for the weekend and launch their exploration of PEI.

Lighthouse announcing arrival at Summerside

The crew went walking around town and found a street concert underway. Actually, it was the first annual Mike’s Family Reunion. Mike being a Restaurant sponsoring the concert. They had bands playing from 1300 to 2300. Each band played a 45 minute set. The crew listened to three of the bands, but Looper midnight showed up so they called it a night and headed back to the he boat.

Whale Pic of the Week

Next Week –

The crew will spend the first part of the week exploring Prince Edward Island. They will then start towards Bras d’Or Lakes.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

Whales, Waterfalls, and Waves

Ahoy from the Gaspé Peninsula and hello to our virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

The end of the dock leads to the waterfall in the Baie de Pancrace.

I would like to welcome the crew of Island Office aboard as virtual crew members. They are also currently in progress on the Down East Loop, and a week or so behind our intrepid crew. Bienvenue a bord!

A hearty Welcome Aboard also goes out to a blogger named KINDNESS, I kindly thank you for following the crew’s blog and coming aboard as a virtual crew member. And remember a couple of benefits of virtual crew members, you never have to wear life vests or get sea sick while enjoying the cruise.

Summary of the Week

After waiting Sunday and Monday for the winds to calm down, the crew were able to leave Tadoussac on Tuesday and find a beautiful anchorage in Cap Colombier (1). Wednesday, they moored on a dock at Baie de Pancrace (2) to view a waterfall that did not disappoint. Thursday, they crossed from the north shore to the south shore and got their first good look at the Gaspé Peninsula. They took a mooring at Ste Anne des Monts (3). Weather kept them put on Friday, but they made Rivière- la- Madeleine (4) on Saturday to end the week.

Click on the Still Waters II Travel Map to see detailed Voyage Logs.

The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:

  1. How many Canadians does it take to change a lightbulb?
  2. What is a Fjard?
  3. The southern end of the Appalachian Mountains are in Georgia, but where does the range terminate on the northern end?

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II as she watches a pod of Beluga Whales swim with a Narwhal. Enjoy!

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library contains videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Sunday, July 7th

The crew spent a relaxing day getting beat to death by the wind. The sustained winds have blown over 20 mph for the better part of the night and day. The forecast does not look good for a Monday departure, but the rest of the week should see some good cruising days.

The Tadoussac Hotel dominates the landscape of the waterfront on Baie de Tadoussac.

While waiting for the winds to become favorable, less than 10 mph according to the Admiral, the crew went out walking around Indian Point again to spot whales from the shore line. They successfully viewed several pods of Beluga Whales. But they did not get as close as these folks will, all bundled up in their foul weather gear.

And yes, the beach will practically disappear when the tide comes back in raising the level of the dock about 12 feet.

The skipper did go walk around for awhile and the cemetery caught his eye. Most of the tombstones were of modest means, some nothing more than wood with a name carved into the material. However, the mausoleum seemed a bit out of place. Maybe the person was the Rockefeller of Tadoussac. Reminded the skipper of the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery they visited back in the fall of 2017. Rockefeller was by far the largest over the top fixture in the cemetery. Guess that was what being the richest man in the world will buy you. But then again, Andrew Carnegie was also the richest man in the world for awhile and has only a simple Celtic Cross marking his remains.

Monday, July 8th

As expected and forecasted, the winds are still blowing. They were 22 mph when the skipper first got out of bed, but had dropped to 15 mph by noon. The crew has a go-no-go policy, one no vote by any crew member and the boat stays moored to the pier. With the winds predicted to remain at 15 mph for the rest of the day it was almost a certainty that the Admiral would vote thumbs down on a departure today.

The skipper showed a little wisdom and just went and paid for another night at the marina. Tomorrow promises to be a good day with winds less than 7 mph. Now where has that ‘Honey Do Boat Project List’ disappeared to?

Oh by the way, did you know that there are at least 13 species of whales that call this area their summer home? The most commonly seen whales here are the :

St Lawrence River Whale Fun Facts:

Blue Whale – largest mammal, 80-100 feet long, so big he needs 4 tons of food per day, only 60-100 are in this area, only 1,000 in the Atlantic Ocean

Finback Whale – fastest swimming whale, 80 feet long, eats 2 tons per day, can dive over 700 feet deep

Minke Whale – most abundant baleen whale, 25-30 feet long, has a white strip on the flipper, will blow 5-8 times on surface then dive up to 20 minutes

Beluga Whale – only whale that can turn its head, 10-16 feet long, can be heard whistling like a canary, born grey at birth, then turn bluish grey, then after 4-9 years they turn white

Humpback Whale – most acrobatic whale, 40-50 feet long, eat 1.5 tons of food per day, pectoral fins are about a 1/3 it’s body length, displays its tail when diving

Tuesday, July 9th

The winds have died back down and conditions are favorable to cruise so the crew headed out of Tadoussac this morning. The skipper made a last minute change to the cruising itinerary though. Rather than cross the St Lawrence River to the south shore, he has decided to remain on the north shore for a few more days.

The crew started seeing Beluga Whales almost immediately. By the time they got back out to the lighthouse they had lost count of the sightings, but saw at least 5 separate pods. And, they did spot one Humpback Whale as they turned towards red marker 54.

The skipper had a conversation with the Captain of Confetti the other day about the purpose of the large wooden structure that appears along side the lights marking the coastline. Neither of them knew the purpose of the structure so Mack went out to solve the mystery. The answer reminds the skipper of an ole joke, “How many Canadians does it take to change a lightbulb?” Well turns out the answer is at least two if your job is changing out Lighthouse bulbs in these remote parts. Because there are no roads to these lights, the wood structures were built as helicopter landing pads.

With that perplexing mystery solved, the crew continued along the north shore to their anchor spot for the night. Turns out that this spot was popular with the locals, as there were 5 sailboats at anchor when the crew arrived. Since this is a large bay though, there was plenty of room for everyone.

Wednesday, July 10th

The crew weighed anchor early and headed out along the north shore again. Today the crew has the Baie de Comeau in their sites. More specifically, the crew is headed to a Fjard that is in the bay. The crew had never heard of a Fjard before, and apparently neither had the auto spell correct function either. But basically a Fjard is a baby Fjord. The draw to this Fjard though is the waterfall feature at the headwaters.

The skipper decided to put his mountain goat skills into play and climb the ropes course to the top of the waterfall. After making it to the top, he noticed a trail marked with blue blazes. He decided to follow the trail to see where it led. Well let’s just say it was very anticlimactic after seeing the waterfall.

Thursday, June 11th

The crew would cross the St Lawrence River today and arrived on the south shore at Saint Anne des Monts. If it was only just that easy. The voyage would be a little over 70 miles and the winds were predicted to pickup in the afternoon to over 15 mph, which can cause greater then 3 foot waves. If you are a new virtual crew member, that means a very uncomfortable ride.

To mitigate getting caught out in high winds, the skipper shoved off the dock at 0400 to begin the 8 hour tour. All went well for the first three hours as the water remained fairly flat with waves less than a foot. But then things began to change. The waves started building to two feet as the crew no longer had the blocking effect of the north shore.

Commercial fishing boat

The long unobstructed fetch allowed the waves to build to 3-4 feet as the crew found themselves out in the middle of the river with no protection. Worse, the waves were pounding the port beam of the boat which was rolling the boat side to side. The skipper finally abandoned his course and turned towards the south bank. This caused the waves to hit the stern, following seas, and Still Waters II began surfing the waves.

This made for a much more comfortable ride, but now the skipper had some decisions to make, for instance where to go to get off the water. He consulted his smarts books and quickly realized there were no good options once he reached the shore. Either direction, east or west, would be 30 miles to the nearest marina or cove to duck in out of the wind.

The Appalachian Mountains come to an end at the south shore of the St Lawrence River, and the crew was more than ready for the day’s cruise to end on the south shore as well.

Strangely though, as the crew got closer to land the winds began to lie down. The land should have had no effect on the wind since it was blowing from the northeast. The skipper picked up his phone to look at the weather radar and discovered that out in the middle of the river, two fronts were running into each other causing the large confused waves. The wind on the south shore was around 10 mph while the wind on the north shore was around 20 mph. Armed with that info, the skipper decided to continue on to Sainte-Anne des Monts.

Once the waves were consistently 1-2 feet again, the skipper turned back to the east and made way for the marina. He also kicked the throttles up a bit to minimize the amount of time the crew were out on the water. They were sure glad when they made the turn into the marina basin inside the breakwater wall.

First view of Sainte Anne des Monts

Not sure what happened here, but it looks like Still Waters II was put in the time out corner of the marina.

Friday, July 12th

Well this wind delay is brought to you by the 15-20 mph winds out of the east. The forecast does look favorable for a travel day on Saturday with winds under 10.

In the mean time, the crew walked around town to take in the sights. One of the first things they noticed was the amount of driftwood in the bay that washes up on the rocks. One of the crews grandsons would be in stick heaven here.

Aiden’s driftwood heaven

The local art scene uses this driftwood as there medium to show case their talents. The crew learned from a local that they have an ordinance where businesses must donate some public park or art funds to get a building permit. Hence the large number of art projects seen around town.

Some of the driftwood art in town

Saturday, July 13th

The day got off to a humorous start. The crew had decided that the skipper would make an early morning donut run before departure. When the skipper arrived at the local coffee shop, he found the glazed donuts and donut holes the crew wanted. When the French speaking donut gatherer came to the counter, the skipper ordered Trois (3) beignets glacés (glazed donuts). The donut gatherer sacked the three donuts and handed the bag over to the skipper. So far, so good. Then things quickly turned on a dime.

The skipper then ordered two dozen trout de beignets vitres (24 donut holes). The look on the donut gatherer’s face made it apparent that all communication had ceased. In fact, the skipper was getting the proverbial deer in the head light look. So the skipper held up two fingers while saying deuce, then four fingers while saying quarte.

The donut gatherer turned his back on the skipper, reached for two small boxes, and then presented the boxes to the skipper. At this point the light bulb came on when the skipper remembered these folks are on the metric system. One box was labeled 10, the other 20. The skipper smiled and humbly pointed to the box labeled 20. Mission accomplished!

The crew headed out towards Rivière-la-Madeleine this morning. The marina and town are nothing more than a petite fishing village. The key word here was petite.

The crew did have a good cruise though. They ran 1.5 miles offshore and witnessed 50 miles of rugged country. They also cruised past two lighthouses. Then when within five miles of the marina they saw a Finback Whale. They idled in the area for 20 minutes but the whale never came back up for a breath of fresh air.

The skipper gave up on the whale and headed to the marina.

Whale Pic of the Week

Since the crew has marginal French speaking skills and finding a good French boat name has been more challenging than expected, this is temporarily the whale pic of the week. The pic will come from Baleines en direct, a nonprofit organization connected to the museum in Tadoussac. You can follow them at http://baleinesendirect.org

Humpback Whale Tail

Next Week –

The crew will spend the week timing their travel days with good weather windows as they round the Gaspé Peninsula. Locals have warned them to pick their weather windows carefully. Because of the venturi effect between the Peninsula and the islands to the east, even light winds can accelerate thru the gap and make for some rough cruising. With that in mind, the crew hopes to make Prince Edward Island, but will allow the weather to dictate just how far they get next week.

Tune in next week and see if the crew makes it to Prince Edward Island or not. For those virtual crew members susceptible to sea sickness, this is the time to put on your ear patch or take your medication. Batten down the hatches cause here they go.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

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