August 29th, 2018 – After eleven days of being spoiled in Summerside, we found ourselves dodging lobster traps once again through the Northumberland Strait on our leg out of Prince Edward Island and towards Nova Scotia.
Passing under the Confederation Bridge that connects PEI to the mainland gave us a unique perspective not many people see… It truly is an impressive piece of concrete.
The speed at which we travel is still mind boggling to me. I don’t realize how incredibly slow we go anymore until we have a direct comparison. We’ve become used to walking and boating everywhere now… both of which basically compete with each other for similar time to distance ratios. Walking to the local grocery store usually takes anywhere from 30-60 minutes unless we are given a ride by a friendly local (and in the maritimes, there are lots of them that offer – still, we often walk just to get the exercise). When my dear friend Steve picked me up the previous Sunday from the marina in Summerside and whisked me off to Canoe Cove, it took us all of thirty minutes to get there. Yet here we were seeing Canoe Cove parallel to us from the middle of the strait at sunset: eight whole hours after leaving Summerside.
Our plan was to anchor for the night just across the bridge in Cape Tormentine, New Brunswick. Before the bridge was built, the town served as a main transportation hub for crossing over to PEI by ferry, but since the construction of the Confederation bridge had been completed, the town was basically ignored and the wharf fell into disrepair. We pulled into what the guide book informed us was the designated anchorage but John got a distinctively uncomfortable feeling from the area. So we agreed to overnight it instead to Pictou Nova Scotia since the weather was in our favour. I managed to grab a few quick shots of the neglected lighthouse though as we made a u-turn through the harbour. Admittedly, it did feel a bit spooky.
After doing a fuel filter change in the middle of a field of lobster traps – which we thankfully drifted past as John did the work but never into – we finally enjoyed an uneventful overnight passage. Arriving at our turnoff for Pictou before dawn, John took us an hour past our point and then I brought us back as he grabbed a quick nap since we absolutely didn’t want to repeat our Escuminac escapade. We arrived at the entrance to the inlet as the sun came up.
Our plan was to tie up at Pier B but there were no spaces available – in fact the dock was tiny and seemed to have been altered from what our guide book showed. We attempted to dock at Pier C instead, another fisherman’s wharf, and we didn’t really have a way to properly tie up or fend ourselves from being battered against the wall as the wind had turned out of favour and was only getting stronger. The huge steel spikes that stuck out from the wharf wall also weren’t helping matters.
We did the best we could to secure ourselves and keep out of harms way, and managed to grab a couple hours of sleep. With more weather on the horizon and a wind direction change, we opted for plan C and headed for Hector Quay Marina. The rain had just started to manifest after securing the boat to the dock, so we spent the rest of the day cocooning, napping and recovering. Though overcast and rainy, the view from the boat was exactly what I expected from Nova Scotia.
The light rain that had arrived quit late in the afternoon but more weather was expected to blow in the following day. We got a bit of a break in the clouds and were treated to yet another stunning sunset. If anything will get me through the more challenging parts of this journey, it will be this: the play of light and colour and the absolute magic of the ever-changing sky.
With brightly coloured businesses and homes, and a picturesque waterfront, I took some time to wander through the “birthplace of New Scotland” with camera in hand. Pictou is small but seems to be a fairly popular tourist destination. I met some lovely locals and travellers, stopped to listen to a perfectly stereotypical local musical duo at the beer garden, and scored some excellent chocolate cupcakes from the market/curling club as I strolled the eight or so blocks that made up the town.
The rain passed. We had unfortunately pinned ourselves in at the dock without enough room to turn, so the boat that had arrived after us and parked directly behind were gracious enough to help us walk our boat beside them to get us clear of the tight spot were in.
August was officially over. We had survived sixty-eight consecutive days of living on the boat so far and were very conscious of the fact that fall was just around the corner. It was time to leave Pictou behind and get ourselves to Halifax.