116 Rouges Roost, Nova Scotia to Frenchboro, Maine


Rouges Roost made for superb kayaking. Narrow channels between the many islands were made for exploring. A thin trail works its way through the tangle of bushes to the bare granite top of one of the hills protecting the anchorage. The view out over water, rocks and islands is outstanding. Slowly more boats arrived and by evening we were sharing the anchorage with many boats making it evident that we were getting closer to more populated cruising areas.

The founders of Mahone Bay built their homes and shops tight against the shore. The only road through town touches some of the shops’ front stoops. More homes and shops line the opposite side of the narrow road. Walking the charming town, we couldn’t help but feel that cars should be banned from its narrow main street. Cars moved slowly and town was fun to explore. Shortly after sunrise we enjoyed the postcard view of the three churches the town is now famous for because of all the postcards

Dinner at an interesting diner followed by a tour of Lunenberg and then a ride out to Blue Rocks to see Bob and Nellie’s home made for a wonderful reunion. It was just dusk as we traveled along the rugged picture perfect coast out to the home Bob and Nellie had found while vacationing and decided to fix up. We missed Nellie. She was traveling. They were sailing aboard Sparrow our first year when we met at Vero Beach. Now in Nova Scotia we caught up with what had happened over the past four years.

Lunenburg Harbour

Lunenburg Harbour

A harbor filled with boats at anchor gave way to a shore lined with homes and buildings from the 1800’s. Only the modern fishing boats tied up against the wharf break the illusion of looking back into the 1800’s. Evidence of the towns long prosperity shows up in uniquely styled homes built with the Lunenberg bump–a projection on the front of many homes which provides a functional outer storm door and enclosed porch. The ‘bump’ might have had functional reasons, but it sure did add style to the houses. We spent many hours walking town enjoying the profusion of well-maintained antique homes overflowing with bright gardens.

The Marine Museum’s coverage of Lunenberg’s rum running days was fun. The enterprising locals never broke the law. They’d make their runs down to the States and stay legal just outside the 12-mile limit while they offloaded to boats from shore that then ran the risk of shore patrols.

Something wasn’t right. The port engine sounded fine, but would only reach cruising rpm with the throttle pushed to the wall. Arriving in Shelburne we changed fuel filters and did a blower wash, the normal things that bring the rpm’s back. Sea trials showed no improvement. I even dove and made sure the prop wasn’t fouled. A call to Yanmar was encouraging. A mechanic would show up the next day a Friday. We were a bit concerned when Jim, a Scotsman with over 30 years of experience as a mechanic commented ours was the first Yanmar engine he’s worked on and that normally he serviced lift trucks. A few hours later, after additional sea trials and some experimenting he removed the injector pump and said he’d be back Tuesday to reinstall it. We went into the weekend concerned about whether the problem had been found.

Old Shelburne is a “new” old town. A few years earlier the movie company making “A Scarlet Letter” selected Shelburne as the on location site to represent 1870 Boston. As a result, all wiring along the waterfront was buried, and a number of new old buildings were built adding to the town’s initial charm. We settled in to enjoy the sights and tastes as we found a few excellent restaurants.

We struck up a conversation with Harry on 3 Ladies that lead to a number of enjoyable meetings. He’s single handing south, a trip he’d made a number of years ago. We spent a fun afternoon reviewing charts to see which of his might be obsolete, and talking about the ICW. It made us very itchy to be heading south along the now very familiar ICW.

Tuesday came and Jim arrived smiling late in the afternoon. He handed me two broken injector pump springs. They were the cause of our poor engine performance. A few hours later sea trials proved we were back to normal.

Cape Sable with its strong currents, shoals and fog has a nasty reputation. It was on good behavior when we rounded with flat seas, clear skies and no fog making our last coastal passage in Nova Scotia a pleasant one.

We pulled into Yarmouth late in the afternoon at dead low tide and set to work to have fuel delivered by tanker truck—a first for us. The wharf towered above us as Dave lowered the fuel hose 20 feet down to Odyssey and then climbed down the very slimy ladder. Normally it’s the boat owner’s responsibility to pump fuel, but Dave insisted on coming aboard and handling the huge commercial nozzle that just fit our deck plate. Needless-to-say it didn’t take long to fill the tank and a cell phone call after allowed us to pay by credit card.

A restaurant with a floating dock charged a huge docking fee. We asked about the moorings just off the dock and learned they were city moorings and were free. We opted for the mooring. We left Yarmouth in the dark, wanting an early start to make our crossing in the early morning before the winds came up. Local time was 4 AM; however, with the time zone change we were leaving at 3 AM. It paid off. A beautiful full moon faded away at dawn and we had a flat crossing of the Bay of Fundy.

Minefields of lobster traps greeted us as we approached Maine. VHF radio traffic, almost nonexistent the past three months, became annoying with cruiser chatter. We followed the harbormaster’s boat in past hundreds of boats moored in Northeast harbor. The harbormaster pointed out our mooring and once we were secure came back to collect the mooring fee. Ashore the tiny town was crowded with tourists and high-end art and designer clothes for sale. Culture shock hit us hard. We’d been out in the boonies too long and felt very out of place in a jammed tourist town at the height of tourist season. We left the next morning.

Frenchboro, a tiny Maine island community eased our reentry adjustment. There are maybe a hundred homes and a tiny museum on the island. Trails to various points of the island provided access to classic Maine rugged, rock-bound shores. Lunt’s, the island lobster wholesaler, opens a tiny restaurant for a few hours for lunch and then dinner. It’s the island’s only restaurant. We sat on their porch watching watermen pull up and offload their catch as we munched on delicious lobster rolls and blueberry pie.

Bump in the nigh

Shortly after watching a classic sunset there was a very gentle bump in the night. We both laughed, guessing what had happened. Flashlight in hand I went out to confirm our guess. It was dead low tide on a windless night. With no wind and slack tide boats were drifting in random directions. Snuggling up to Odyssey’s stern was our mooring neighbor’s hard dinghy. As I watched, a gentle breeze began to neaten up the harbor.


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