The Incredibly Memorable Road Trip Weekend with Ben & John

Canada Travelling
on
December 29, 2018

September 28: Day 96

When Ben and John contacted me a few weeks back to let me know that they would be coming to Halifax, we thought we would miss each other.  John and I originally had plans to be gone by the end of September but we should have known by now that intentions get quickly derailed and plans really don’t mean much in the boating world.  When we realized that we would still be in Halifax waiting for an order to arrive when Ben and John arrived, I was thrilled.  Because John and Ben are easily two of my favourite people and though we hadn’t had a lot of opportunity to hang out a lot in the past, I knew that our meet up would be nothing short of epic.

I was right.

Friday night “on the town” in Downtown Halifax.  John and Ben picked us up from the marina and we headed to the waterfront to wander, dine, laugh a lot, and catch up.  We were spoiled rotten by these two who insisted on treating us.  I was definitely not going to complain given that life on the boat was often centred around managing our very tight budget.

Our evening began at The Lower Deck for a drink and an appetizer of French fries (definitely doing it right), moving on to Salty’s for dinner, finding our sugar high at the pre-grand-opening of Cacao 70, and heading to the Baton Rouge for an after-dinner drink where I insisted on buying a round.  A girl can only be spoiled so much…

In our relationship, I am the extrovert and gregarious one. John tends to be more introverted, calm, and controlled. Though we balance out and work well, we are truly polar opposites in many ways.

When I watch Ben and John together I see a similar though admittedly, less polar relationship dynamic.  Ben always seems to be the strong, relaxed, laid back partner and John, the outgoing, funny, high energy counterpart. I’m not sure if this is the way they are behind closed doors, but it’s how I see their relationship portrayed in public. I love them both dearly and equally, but do have to say that John is my kindred spirit as he (often to my John’s head-shaking sighs) gives me an outlet to be larger than life and unreserved. It also helps tremendously that he is a complete ham for the camera.

We ended the night with hugs and plans to get back together early Sunday morning on the boat for a home-made breakfast on board.

On Saturday, John and I spent the day on errands and socializing with the lovely people at Armdale Yacht Club after their “chicken race”. Apparently the Chicken Race is a tradition that marked the end of the boating season; it was a race for all boats (sail and power) of any size.  The trick was that you had to cook a chicken on board while racing.  Over the years, after chickens were flying from barbecues and being lost at sea, they changed it to simply carrying a rubber chicken on board during the race and then joining up for a pot luck afterward.  Now the rubber chicken has been done away with as well, but the pot luck tradition still continues.  Though we missed the race itself while we were out grocery shopping, we were graciously invited to join for the camaraderie afterward.  It was a fun day of good music, good drink, good people, and good weather.

When Sunday morning arrived, Ben and John were on the first tender run from the dock to join us for an official boat breakfast. They had originally planned to road trip the day before around the area but instead (thankfully) had put it off.  The new plan was to use that afternoon to explore and I was overjoyed that they invited us to join them.  We finished up our Monte Christo sandwiches and coffee and took off for a full day’s adventure to Lunenburg for a wander, lunch, and to visit the Bluenose II; Mahone’s Bay where we wandered through their unique scarecrow festival and enjoyed a coffee break; and Peggy’s Cove for a stunning sunset and Ben’s delicious sandwiches… all the while being serenaded in the car by John (of Ben & John, not me and John, obviously).  The theme song for this epic road trip will forever be Colours in the Wind.  Yes.  From Disney’s Pocahontas.  John does a great rendition.

Lunenburg

We explored Lunenburg by foot and it’s completely understandable why people kept recommending for me to go… other than being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s beautiful, funky, friendly, and akin to wandering through a town drawn solely with Crayola crayons.  So basically, it was paradise for my camera.  Also the Bluenose II had followed us from Halifax so we were able to board her again and get some more shots.  A perfect place to be both a photographer and a tourist.

Mahone’s Bay

When we approached the town limits of Mahone’s Bay, traffic was lined up for blocks.  We couldn’t quite figure out what was going on at first until we saw a stuffed witch on a lawn and shortly after, a sign for the 22nd annual Mahone Bay Scarecrow Festival.

It looks like we had picked the perfect weekend to be a tourist.

We remarkably found parking and set out on foot on a Sunday afternoon with hundreds of other people, wandering the streets and admiring the scarecrows that portrayed everything from simple kids creations to literary characters.  Some were obviously novice attempts, but others, true crafted art.  Anne of Green Gables was my favourite by far but there were so many incredible creations on display that it was fun just to wander the streets and admire them.

The four of us stopped for coffee once we had strolled the main drag, and then met Ben back at the car after he detoured to the grocery store.

Peggy’s Cove

The one place that was on my list to visit when we were planning on going to Nova Scotia was Peggy’s Cove.  Touristy, yes, but also strikingly beautiful. It was out of our way to go by boat however, and I honestly didn’t believe that I would be able to see it on this trip.  But Ben and John changed that, and not only did we get to visit one of the most photographed and iconic places in Canada, but we arrived just as the most stunning sunset was taking place.  We couldn’t have timed it better.

John (of John and I), wandered with Ben through the village that seemed more of a movie set than an actual place where people lived, while John (of Ben and John) j0ined me in a photo taking frenzy.  I was in awe.  It was an exceptional view (though I truly believe the entire area was staged just to have incredible photographs) with a breathtaking display of colour and light.

As the last light was leaving the sky, we all trudged back to the car and Ben made delicious sandwiches for our dinner from his grocery store score.  We drove back to Halifax amidst more singing and conversation.

We had it timed perfectly, pulling in at exactly ten minutes to 8pm: ten minutes to still catch the last tender back to the boat.  But when we got to the fuel dock, the office was once again dark and locked.  We had completely forgotten that on Sundays, the office closes an hour before official closing.  We were once again stranded on land.  We were about to commandeer the rowboat once again when we spotted Estelle, our new friend from France who was at the clubhouse for a hot shower and attempted use of the wifi.  She very graciously and generously offered to give us a lift back to our boat in her dinghy.

We said our goodbyes and gave our gratitude and love to Ben and John, and boarded Estelle’s dinghy.

It was a wonderful weekend with two incredible friends. Fingers crossed this will not be their only visit!

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December 28, 2018

December 29, 2018

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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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