Idle Days on the Bras d'Or Lakes
Wayfarer Cruise by Jim Fraser W8328
June 8-17, 2002
part 3

Saturday, June 15. I slept in today and awoke to the rustle of deer grazing on the shore just a few feet from Naomi's stern. With a brisk northeasterly breeze, Naomi cruised up West Bay for Crammond Islands. Along the way, I sailed close to some of the islands off Marble Mountain, looking for sheltered anchorages. Between the Crammond Islands, there is a channel where I have anchored before.  It would be a good spot to wait out Sunday's weather.  Although the weather was sunny now by evening the weather would deteriorate to rain and fog with 15-20 knot easterly winds.  On Sunday the weather would remain the same throughout the day with winds raising to 20-25 knot easterlies. 

Saturday afternoon, I walked around the perimeter of the larger island before the rain began.  The islands are uninhabited now but old stone fences, stone basements and overgrown fields are reminders the island was once farmed.  Just before the rain began I returned to Naomi and set up the boom-tent.  During the evening I read or listened to CBC radio.

Sunday, June 16.  I stayed onboard Naomi. There was a steady rain and drizzle all day long.  I hadn't secured the tent's gasket around the mast well. Overnight, a steady drip of water had worked down the mast and onto the floor of Naomi. A problem with the Mark 3 Wayfarers is they don't have floorboards so rainwater can drain into the bilges.  The water streams along the floor and dampens everything on the surface before pooling by the stern bulkhead.  Through boredom, I made a number of forays under the foredeck searching for "must have" items during the day.  While crawling over the thwart on these trips, I rubbed the low canvas tent with my back.  Before long, I had a half-dozen leaks through the tent in this area as well.

In spite of the dampness, I settled into a day of reading and dozing.  I threw together a large meal of fried potatoes, onions, ham, and vegetables.  The pot was often boiling water for coffee and tea.  Unfortunately, my local Propeller beer and Irish Guinness beer had to be rationed now.  I was happy to be here by myself.  I had no obligations and the anchorage was pleasantly quiet without the noise and confusion of city living.

Monday, June 17.  Shrugging off a damp chill, I rolled up the damp boom-tent and packed away my gear.  As I sailed from the anchorage in Crammond Cove, I stood up to stretch cramped muscles from this time under the tent.  Naomi beat into a gentle north-west breeze. 

For the next few hours I explored Ross Pond to its head and then along the coast towards the village of West Bay.  This used to be a large town in the last century before being bypassed by the road and railway to Sydney.  Now there are only a few older homes and a gas station with a convenience store.  I tied Naomi to a private dock then stocked up with supplies at the store before drifting out of the bay. 

The wind left and I rowed to near the resort and marina at Dundee. At the base of an eroding drumlin, I anchored Naomi and tied a line to shore.  The beach shelved steeply and I could step ashore from the dinghy's stern and she would still sit in enough water to not grind on the gravel bottom.  What a clever feat of anchorage I had performed!

I then strolled to the marina.  There were few boats at the marina yet and I regretted not sailing here and getting a berth for the night.  The marina had finger wharves to tie up to as well as showers and a laundry.  Instead, I had fish and chips and a few beer at their restaurant before hiking back to Naomi.


Tuesday, June 18.
With no weather changes expected, I decided to stay overnight where I was.  However, during the night I awoke to Naomi bouncing to small waves which began to break on the shore only a few feet astern.  Reluctantly, I removed the boom-tent and rowed a hundred yards further out and anchored again before replacing the tent.  Awhile later I woke again with Naomi rolling enough that I couldn't sleep.  Although the easterly breeze was not strong it had a fetch of 40 miles blowing down East Bay and West Bay.  If this was some local weather system that decided to intensify, I was in an poor position on a lee-shore.  The lights at Dundee indicated the nearest shelter   but I chose to sail into the darkness on a compass course for Crammond Islands.  If the wind didn't shift, I could reach the islands on a single starboard tack.  I grumbled at myself for anchoring in such an exposed spot and for failing to buy a flashlight with a head strap as I packed up my tent and gear and prepared to sail off my anchorage.  Normally I reef the main when I anchor for the night in an open location but I hadn't done that either.
Behind Crammond Islands, I anchored once more and set up the boom-tent again.  The wind died away early in the morning.

At first the sailing was tedious but in the early afternoon a fresh easterly breeze swept down West Bay. Naomi came alive and we beat around Cape George and then  anchored behind the sheltered sandbar in Cape George Harbour again.  Soon the boom-tent was erected and the coffee pot percolating. I anticipated a night with fewer interruptions than the previous one.

Wednesday, June 19.  The morning was calm so I began a leisurely row up St. Peters Inlet spending much of the time looking at the birds along the shore or gazing at the sea-bottom.  A breeze arrived and I then had to pay attention to sail handling on the short tacks towards St. Peters.  Sue's parents picked me up in St. Peters and I returned to their house where my van and trailer were.  On Thursday I returned home to Dartmouth.  My cruise will appear tame in the view of most dinghy cruisers and so it was.  The cruise went just as I hoped it would - with not much excitement and lots of idle hours .

Idle Days on the Bras d'Or Lakes