“It’s colder then a tin toilet seat on the shady side of an iceberg out here this morning ” Coast Guard Sheldon says to me as I stare into my cup of coffee. That was one way of putting it. The winter winds had just started to pick up the last few days. Touque and pants were becoming all day garments and the evening sun set brought on freezing puddles.
Today was our departure day and I was racking my brain to make sure I had everything taken care of from my list. I had checked the weather and it wasn’t the best of a forcast but one can’t be picky this time of year. Joana’s crew consisted of my mother Nancy, my dad Harold, and friends Dustin Phil and Jenny. Jenny was a friend who flew in from Germany to help with the leg and enjoy the good old North Atlantic. We were definitely not lacking on skills or people.
Our friends and family were gathering on the peer. All those folks who had come to stare at the crazy girls when we first dropped into town had now become good friends and had helped many times. I was happy to get underway but still had my heart on shore.
I looked at Sheldon gave him a smile. He said “I will be seeing ya kid. Best of luck out there.
We will be watching.” I didn’t know how true those words were till later.
I made the leap on to Joana and asked her if she was ready. The urge to go was my answer.
We got our lines tossed and we were on our way. We had to make it though the Canso Pass first, which is a small lock between Cape Breton and Nova Scotia, but we wouldn’t hit that till about 1 am.
The boys from the coast guard station took their fast boat out to escort us and have some fun doing loops around us. We waved our final good byes and then settled into watches.
So far so good. Everything was running smoothly. As we approached the lock the winds had dropped to nothing. It was a cold still night, not a breath of wind.
Phil had to be down below shifting the transmit in (we had an old crash box transmission and had to shift it by hand) while I yelled what engine commands we needed. If that wasn’t a pain, the hydrolic stearing was in need of some work. I had gotten use to the 22 turns from lock to lock but it took a bit of concentration to find mid ships at times.
We made it through without a hitch. The lock master said the boys from Siri coast guard send their hellos and are still watching. Now I understood they had called ahead to track our progress, keeping themselves in the loop.
Well, this was it. Just on the other side, around the bend was the deep blue Atlantic. We took some time to lash a few more things down and move the dingy from aft to mid ships deck. It was bogging the stern down too much and at times filling with water.
Joana’s nose started to lift and come down with a bit more force now as we came around the rocky point. There still was not much wind, which was a bit strange for these shores. But we all stood and watched the light house fade away. We made our course a little farther from shore so as not to get to much return chop.
Some crew were already feeling the effects of the sea. Phill came up to take his watch. I left him with clear skies and about 3 meter seas.
I made a ship check and all seamed well.
I was tired but couldn’t do much more then stare at the overhead, listening to every little sound, getting use to things that are suppose to be there and ones I didn’t really know what they were yet.
I felt a small course change Joana as was rolling a bit more. I wasn’t concern as I had told the crew to do small changes to avoid lobster traps. As the next watch came on, we started to get some of that Atlantic winter weather. The seas had grown and were foaming with anger now. With more tossing and turning, the tanks had become stirred up and we were having to change the Racor filters quite a bit. Once or twice we weren’t able to swap them in time and went dead in the water with 4-5 meter seas tossing us at will. The winds were way too much to set the large mainsail and it was right on the nose if we even wanted to. We did had the cutter set to help with some of the rolling.
I could tell our bow was feeling pretty heavy as she wasn’t coming out of the waves as fast as before. Throughout the night we were slowly finding the leeks in her decks and for some, in their bunks. I opened the galley bilge to find water flowing over the ballast plates and the pump trying to keep up. I noticed the water seemed to be coming from the forward cabin and found water pouring in from behind some wood frames through the forward coalition bulkhead.
We got extra pumps going and I started prepping what I needed to fix whatever needed fixing. In the meantime, my mom had already gathered the six cold weather survival suits we had on board. The glimpses of those only made me move faster.