Escuminac, Again

Canada Travelling
October 5, 2018

August 15, 2018 – Blue skies in front of us, weather behind.  We left Bay du Vin for our return to Escuminac with a bit of trepidation, as if we were returning to the scene of the crime.

If you don’t succeed at first…

We arrived as the sun was setting, cleared the right-hand side of the channel successfully (unlike last time, thank the gods, Poseidon, and Ogopogo) and tied up for the night on pretty much the only wharf wall that allows for our draft depth.  As we were trying to secure the boat to the wall we were greeted by security and management, neither of whom recognized us from our mishap a few nights prior, but to welcome us to the wharf.  And to tell us that we might not be in the best spot as the winds were expected to substantially kick up the next day which would mean that we would likely be pushed, repeatedly, into the wall.  John asked if there was a better spot and received a shrug.  So much for that.  We continued to finish tying up… after the drama we had been through over the last few days, the wind coming from the wrong direction was the least of our worries.  As long as we weren’t in the way and had enough water under our draft, we were staying put.

We went to bed with morning plans of refilling fuel and our empty water tanks, locating ice and provisions, and finding a shower.  By this point it had been an extraordinarily long time since we had been clean… other than attempting to wash my hair in the ocean at Bay du Vin (which was only somewhat successful), it had been eleven days since we had seen hot water.

The wind and the rain definitely hit the next day but we found a break in the weather to explore the area.  We had been informed by the lovely woman on the wharf’s night security shift that there was a campsite down the beach with a small cantina and showers.  My kingdom for French Fries.

Two kilometres down the road and we found a sign on the cantina door saying they would be back soon… but after waiting a while without anyone appearing, our hopes for French Fries were dashed. The only showers we saw were outdoor beach-rinse-off-showers which didn’t seem that appealing. The beach, however, boasted thousands of indigo blue muscle shells which made getting consistently hit with the cold ocean mist more tolerable – at least for me. I doubt it had the same effect for John.  Chilled and getting hungry, we wandered back to the wharf.

We hoped to depart that evening for PEI but the waves didn’t seem to be cooperating with our wishes. We decided to seek out fuel and provisions and check the weather again after a few hours to make the decision to stay or go. After breaking a few rules (and paying the price for it) in the last few days, we were absolutely sticking to rule #1: the weather was in charge of our itinerary, no matter how desperately we wanted a hot shower, clean clothes, drinking water, or to have a modicum of the convenience of civilization within walking distance. It turns out that the only thing we did have within walking distance was a seafood outlet store where I picked up the most delectable jumbo shrimp for dinner. French fries be damned.

Though we weren’t really expecting much, Escuminac Wharf was definitely lacking in facilities.  The washrooms that they listed on their website were, in fact, portable outhouses.  Running water?  Available at the docks but it wasn’t drinkable.  Turns out that salt had gotten into the water supply and it was fine for cooking or washing but was not recommended to quench our thirst.  The day manager was incredibly nice however – when I asked about ice for our broken fridge, (also noted on their website as available), she told me they had none – but then directed me to the “young men” down the wharf who might be able to help.  They definitely helped… with incredibly amused expressions.  The ice was in the form of snow: used for the giant coolers on the fishing boats.  They shovelled what felt like fifty pounds of snow into two small garbage bags which I fit into my large tote and lugged back to the boat.  It would do.  And it was free.

They had diesel but the fuel pumps were located in the shallow end of the wharf… unless we went in and out at high tide, there would be no way for us to access it by boat.  We would need to trek over and fill up by making several trips with Jerry cans.  We were thankful for one of the local fishermen who was incredibly helpful by ferrying John back and forth with his pickup truck since it was definitely a hike from the pumps to our boat, and the woman running the fuel office was a bit anxious to go home early.

We had a moment’s worry when the boat took far less diesel than expected…  John hoped we weren’t in the midst of another fuel line problem but after attempting to do the math, and then do it again, and then do it a third time, we were satisfied that we had more fuel than we originally thought when we arrived.  Small blessings.

Another fisherman offered us his truck if we were planning to hang around for the next day so we could go into town and pick up groceries.  Even the kind women at the seafood outlet volunteered to help us by filling up one of our water jugs at their drinking-water cooler, though we still had enough to get by until we reached our next port.  Escuminac wharf might not have much to offer as far as provisions and services, but the people there were absolute gold.

We went back and forth with our decision to stay or go.  We could take a chance with the swell or possibly be stuck for at least a few more days.  We hadn’t had too much experience with ocean swell other than our Rimouski adventure, so our confidence wasn’t high.  What we did know was that the swells would be a little better spaced than the night of our attempted trek to Gaspesie, and that the weather didn’t look that much better in the forecast for the foreseeable future: we would be taking a chance one way or the other: either deal with the swells, or face more wind on the horizon.

We picked the swells and made the call.  We would head out that night.

In order to time our trip properly with the tides and reach our destination in daylight hours, we left Escuminac at sunset, fingers crossed, for our 19 hour trip to Prince Edward Island.





Michelle Kauntz
Wild Blue Yonder

Seems you've found us. I'm one half of the charming and somewhat frustrating duo that is John & Michelle. (I'm Michelle) We once had this one-day idea that we wanted to sail around the world. We made a five year plan. After ten years of talking and two years of prepping and postponing, we are finally underway. Feel free to follow us and live vicariously though our pratfalls and adventures as we take our almost-as-old-as-John Bayfield 40 Cutter Ketch out of the safety of Lake Ontario and out into the world. On a shoestring budget. With two fiercely independent people. In basically 300-ish square feet of living space and with not a heck of a lot of sailing experience (yet) ...This is going to be fun...

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