JUNE, 2000
Jim Fraser's Ted Davis Trophy winning log.
Monday, June 19
A light rain pattered on the boom tent as I lay dozing and reading in my sleeping bag. Since I wanted to sail into Welsh Cove. I had to get up soon. With high tide at 1020, I’d sail up on the last of the flood tide, look around the cove, and sail out as the tide began to ebb. A force 2 southeast breeze carried Naomi up the channel past an extensive mussel farm off Knife Island and into Welsh Cove. Although the uninhabited cove with its gravel beaches and thick border of spruce trees was attractive, the main highway cut across the north shore. The noise of vehicles on the road was too distracting to make this a pleasant anchorage. Naomi beat out the channel and we returned to Lennox Passage.

Naomi beat slowly across the passage, and after Bernard Island, the village of D’Escousse lay ahead. There is an unpretentious and friendly boat club by the wharf. I tied Naomi at one of their finger wharves and walked into the village. After indulging in fish and chips at the restaurant, I stopped at a convenience store for chocolate milk and two chocolate bars. 

D'Escousse Wharf
While I sat on the wharf devouring my latest purchases, an American couple approached me. They had sailed here from the Great Lakes in the cat boat moored at the wharf. The Americans were intrigued by Naomi and the cruise I was on. From D’Escousse, the couple would head up the Eastern Shore themselves. I was invited for tea on their vessel and offered the key to the club house showers. Although I regretted it later, they caught me in an antisocial mood when I wanted to spend time by myself and I declined.

Shortly afterwards, Naomi coasted from the wharf and we sailed for St. Peters Bay. We had a quick passage to the prominent red clay sea cliff of Sutherland Head. There were many lobster floats in the shallows but the floating mooring lines had a shorter scope than the ones on the Eastern Shore, so they didn’t lie along the surface as far. Rounding Brick Point, I headed into the mouth of River Tillard before turning into a quiet basin and anchoring behind a gravel bar. Here I’d stay the night before sailing to St. Peters tomorrow. In the evening I walked along the gravel foreshore and out onto the rocks of Brick Point. I sat on a piece of driftwood and savoured the sounds, views, and smells of the seashore.

Sailing for St. Peters Bay - Sutherland Head on left
River Tillard
Tuesday, June 20
St. Peters was only a 30 minute sail from my anchorage at River Tillard. With clear skies, a sparkling sea, and an eager breeze, I couldn’t bear to head for the canal. Instead, I pointed Naomi’s bow seaward and we played around in St. Peters Bay. First we sailed back almost to D’Escousse, then across to Pointe Brûlée, and then sailed a leg further out into the approaches. Occasionally I backed the jib, lashed the tiller, and hove to. Then I’d just rest on the floor or side decks and gaze at the seascape surrounding Naomi. I wished my cruise wasn’t going to end but the forecast of stormy weather approaching helped to overcome my desire to stay out longer.

Finally I sailed into St. Peters and moored Naomi to the canal wall behind some fishing boats. The lock keepers save me permission to leave her there for a couple of days. I walked into town to find out the bus schedule to Dartmouth and have lunch. While climbing back down the ladder to Naomi, my camera slipped from my hand and went to the bottom of the locks. I did a couple of dives but all I could see below was more dark green water. The water was 20 feet deep and my trusty little Pentax was gone. 

St. Peters Canal
Naomi at the end of the cruise
Squid were running and during the evening, a good-natured crowd of locals jigged for them. Roars of laughter followed any unfortunate person if they were squirted with black ink as they unhooked their catch. Even better was having the squid spray an unwary bystander as they stood talking to their neighbours. Most of the fishermen were Acadians and the conversations were a mixture of French and English often changing language in mid-sentence. Later in the evening, a doe came crashing through the bushes and jumped into the locks between the gates. The doe frantically swam around the lock trying to scramble out. A lock keeper had to be called at home to return and open one of the lock doors so the deer could escape.

Wednesday morning I caught the Acadian Line bus to Dartmouth. On Thursday I returned with my van and trailer to retrieve Naomi. My youngest daughter, Emily, came along and we camped overnight at the provincial camping park beside the locks. We lowered the mast and rowed Naomi through the locks to the lake entrance. Here we hauled Naomi out at the boat launch. All day it rained and fog hindered visibility, but Emily was fascinated with the people fishing at the locks, and we stayed there most of the evening. On Friday we returned home.

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