We're still in Halifax waiting for Hurricane Noel to pass or dissipate. Winds are from the South so it's senseless to go against them. We might have to wait a while. The way it looks now it will be at least Monday before we can leave.
During our absence Dad had befriended somebody walking his dogs, who invited him to this meeting of the oldest officer's club in Canada, the Royal Artillery Park Officers Mess. A lot of old Navy officers there as well, who were fascinated by Dad's stories and invited him back along with us for Friday lunch. There will be somebody picking us up at 11.30 to drive us there. Gunter and I are thrilled.
Rod Morrison picked us up and took us to the officer's mess. We drank copious amounts of beer and talked to many of the old salts. Mayo, Ivor, Bill, Tom etc. all gave us a piece of their minds and Dad was the absolute celebrity.
Frank took us to the "Sackville", a museumship corvette left over from WW2 that is being restored at the dockyard of the Department of National Defence, flashed his card and gave us the tour with more drinking at the ship's mess. Dad corrected Bill, a historian but not a veteran, on the gyro compass bit. Bill said that at that time they only had magnetic compasses. Dad told him that on the minesweeper in 1942, "H.M.S.Hound", he had to maintain the gyros. Another proof on how easily history is distorted.
Storm "Noel" is starting to blow and we secured the boat as well as we could. Hans Himmelmann who owns the 51 foot Swan next to us lent us his car to do some shopping, so we took advantage of that and replenished the supplies. I woke up a couple of times during the night as it was blowing quite a bit but the dock and the lines held.
By noon we had blue skies and sunshine. Power in a lot of places, including the Yacht Club building are down, therefore also our Internet connection but our shore power feeding the boat is still on. We hear stories of containers being blown around the harbor. I cook lentils and rice in preparation for tomorrow's planned departure. Gunter rents a car and we drive to Peggy's Cove where we arrive just in time for sunset and big surf. Back in Halifax we have a nice dinner at McKelvie's on Lower Water Street.
Still no wireless Internet, but the club house lets me plug in. Downloading weather info, we're probably leaving.
Bermuda, Sunday, Nov.11th
We arrived at 7.00 in St.George Harbour and cleared customs, then tied up at some make shift marina with the stern towards the dock and a gang plank to shore. It has been an eventful voyage. I wasn't able to write aboard because everything moves too much but I will take the next days to update. Stay tuned.............!
Here are the events that unfolded during our journey:
After leaving Halifax around noon we ran into some big swells that were leftover from the 50 foot waves that had come to Halifax Bay during Hurricane Noel. When I’m below eating or doing something I get queasy and can’t really eat very much. I still haven't quite gotten my sea legs back. Len let me take the 8-12 watch so I can get some uninterrupted sleep later. On deck I’m fine. Dad also does all of the cooking. He doesn’t get queasy like Gunter and I would.
Friday , Nov.9th
We're happy to be on Terra Firma again and settle in. St. Georges is pretty quiet on a Sunday, the high season is over, most places are closed but I find an internet cafe. We take a walk around and find out a bit about the history and sites, have a drink and snack on a terrace by the sea, chat with the locals and tourists and fellow boaters. Around 20.00 Gunter takes us to the Carriage House Restaurant where we have another impressive culinary experience. Wahoo is the catch of the day. After a night cap back on board we settle into our bunks with a gentle cooling breeze blowing that clean sea air through the port holes and I fall into the best 9 hours of sleep that I've had in a while.
Remembrance Day holiday and again most stores are closed. We clean the ship and talk to technicians on the phone trying to get our Nobeltec software to recognize the GPS. I don snorkel gear and check out the propeller. It looks ok but I seem to detect a little extra play in one of the blades. It seems negligible but at 3000 rpm it can make a big difference.
We take the bus to Hamilton and enjoy the tour guide bus driver who points out the sites. Old US Navy base with one of the biggest runways in the world at 10000 feet. Airport closed at night but the lights can be switched on via New York computers for emergencies, and of course residences of various celebrities hidden in the lush vegetation off the narrow winding roads. We walk around Hamilton a bit and have dinner on Front Street, then take a cab back to the boat and watch one of my "Blue Planet" episodes before hitting the sack around 2200.
We have some shopping to do and are probably leaving today.
Tuesday, Nov.13th and Wednesday
Monday, November 19
In the next day or so I shall sum up the trip, get into a little character development, edit some photos and post again...........
Nassau, Tuesday, Nov.20th
Since so far this was mainly a log I want to sum up this journey and tell you a little more about these different characters that make up this motley crew.
During the Bismarck battle they were not sufficiently trained, had been drafted and only quickly trained in Northern Scotland's Orkney Islands to go out and fight. The admiral whose orders they were following was on the doomed "Hood" battle cruiser, which was sunk by the Bismarck. A shell from the Bismarck hit the bridge of the "Prince of Wales" and killed all 11 people except the 12th, the Captain.
As they were closing the respective decks to keep the ship from sinking, Dad was the last one to wriggle out before it was closed. All the others were trapped below and went down with the ship. It was the first battle where ships were sunk by torpedoes that came from airplanes, as was the case with the Bismarck and the Repulse etc.
Gunter is full of energy and has a passion for boating the like I've never seen. He's had some health issues to deal with and he's barely off the operating table when he's back on the boat going through all kinds of contortions to reach that elusive valve or wipe that hard to reach spill. One cannot help but be touched by that spirit. He constantly worries about everybody's comfort and organizes every last detail, a trait that has served him well in building up the successful business that he has. Just getting to know a boat of such complexity and to maintain it is a full time job and Gunter knows every nook and cranny, valve, switch and circuit.
Flirtation is a fine boat. She’s extremely seaworthy and sails well in all kinds of seas and wind. Her hull is Twaron ( stronger than steel) reinforced which gives her almost an overkill of structural stability, if that were possible. The anchor set up is a bit awkward and I’m glad we didn’t have to use the anchor. There is a plow anchor as the main and a Danforth as second anchor. The chain is not marked so one has to calculate the length.
The 75 hp Yanmar engine was giving us some worries because of the strong vibrations that start at 2600 rpm. We think it's due to the propeller. This can compromise the ship when you have to go against strong currents and have to rev it up.
The Raymarine Electronic Navigation System is a pleasure to behold. All the sensors as wind speed and direction, boat and over ground speed, water and air temperature etc. merge in a central box called SeaTalk and can be displayed on all different displays. GPS, electronic charting and the autopilot interact so well that you can set the tracking function to keep you on the straight line to your waypoint, eliminating any need to compensate for drift. If you get the wind right from astern or in front you can set the wind function on the autopilot to keep the wind at a certain angle and thus ensure a good sleep without fluttering sails and set an alarm if the wind changes beyond a certain degree. The electronic charting shows you where you are in different zoom levels and if you have purchased the respective charts you can get great detail. The furling sails are easy and convenient to handle. As with all sophisticated technology there is more that can go wrong than with the basic set up but the convenience is great.
Personally,I believe this trip gave me a chance to shake all that landlubber dust out of my brain and bones and get closer to Mother Nature than I’ve been in a long time. The ocean has a profound cleansing effect, whether it's the clean air or the shake, rattle and roll that vibrates throughout one's body while going watch at night and not seeing anything but total darkness, not knowing where the water stops and the air starts as they are churning together. Of course you also have the dreamy nights, swaying gently under a starry sky. It also made me feel the joy again that I felt when I graduated Seaman’s School in Travemunde, Germany in 1978 with the conviction (at that time) of having chosen the most beautiful profession in the world. It was a wonderful trip and the company was great. There are not many people one can spend 24/7 with for extended periods and we never had any arguments. Any difference of opinion was handled civilly and I think that we all have a deeper friendship and appreciation of each other than we had before. Thank you Gunter and Leonard for the experience, the camaraderie and the fun that we had. May all your voyages be safe ones!
Leonard and I ended up staying on board in the Paradise Island Yacht Club for another 2 weeks, enjoying the beauty of the island and getting some rest and relaxation. We finally flew back to Montreal on December 5th.