August 7th, 2018: We crossed the bay to New Brunswick on a quiet, and foggy day. We were kept company by a few seals and lots of sea birds, but mostly our crossing was in shades of white and grey and without event.
New Brunswick seems to be famous for it’s shallow waters and extreme tide differentials. There aren’t a lot of marinas that can accommodate us, even though we only have a five foot draft. John chose to bring us instead into another fishing wharf in Shippagan and we were surprised to see how empty it was upon our arrival. Still in off-season, we had our pick of places and chose one of the walls that seemed easy to pull up to. Unfortunately the tires bolted to the wharf wall that they use for the fishing boats as fenders, were in an alternating pattern which caused some distress to us as we lowered and raised with the tides. We kept having to adjust our lines so the tires wouldn’t catch on our life-lines and stanchions. After a night of continuously fiddling with the lines, we moved the boat to another wall where the tires lined up. The things you never thought you would need to learn…
Shippagan is a large, commercial fishing port with several large wharfs. We had trouble at first finding the harbour master and wandered into the coast guard station to see if they could point us in the right direction. Apparently there isn’t a lot of demand for the coast guard in off-season, and I wandered through the office calling out a hello. Finally one lone person heard me and got up off the couch, mid-movie, from the back lounge, and told me, with a smile, and in very broken English, that the harbour master had gone on vacation.
The next morning, John climbed the very rusty, twisted ladder from our new spot on the wharf wall to the top and went into town to go get another supply of spare fuel filters, refill our propane canister, and camp out at the nearby Tim Hortons to make use of their wifi. Upon his return, he found the harbour master who hadn’t quite left on vacation yet, so I carefully clambered up the wall and registered us. The harbour master was kind enough to allow us to stay for free since it was in between fishing seasons.
The view from inside of the harbour was admittedly not the prettiest photographically, but I did wander a bit to find some more pleasing views of the surrounding area. The top of the wharf wall is much nicer than down inside of it.
Our boat once again became a curiosity for the locals, with our masts showing our position on the wall to all who passed. Some wonderful cruisers from Montreal came by to say hello, but mostly we had the place to ourselves other than for the few kids who used the huge parking lot to race around and screech their tires in the middle of the night. Small towns… bored teenagers.
We hung out for a few days waiting for our parts to arrive and for the rain and strong winds to pass so we could make the trek back out the channel. My wonderful friend Laura who is from New Brunswick, told us to make sure to visit the Pizza Delight while we were there as it was a NB staple. We neglected however to get the donair sauce for the pizza which was apparently a mistake. Sorry, Laura.
It would have been amazing to leave Shippagan and continue on directly to the east side of of the channel, but because the bridge between Shippagan and Savoy Landing is just a bit too short for our masts, we needed to go all the way up and around the peninsula just to get to the other side: which translated to about a twelve hour jaunt to end up 500 feet from where we were tied up. Ah well, time vs distance definitely has new meaning for us since we’ve been on the boat.
After five days tied to the wall, we got our weather window and departed for our jaunt up and around the peninsula. We finally had great weather for travel and even though the wind was blowing 15 knots from the nose, the waves were fairly gentle.
Just shy of the twelve hour point, we made it around the peninsula, parallel to our starting position, and were visited by a few nuthatches who stopped by for a ride and a bite to eat. They weren’t shy at all – one hopped on my camera and then on my shoulder while I was trying to take a photo of it. They were diligently attempting to find every dead bug that had clung to the boat on our travels so far. It was wonderful to have our very own feathered cleaning crew. Now if they could just clean the rest of the boat as well…