Log #50k Fjords of Newfoundland – 3

September 22, 2010 in Log Series 50-59, Logs by Series, Series 50, The Logs

Royal Cape Breton Yacht Club

Sydney, NS

Sept. 22, 2010

Hi Folks,

We’re still here, having weathered a glancing blow from hurricane Igor yesterday with rain and winds of 35 knots gusting to 40. We have had gale force winds blow through every three days or so for the past three weeks since leaving Newfoundland. We don’t like the weather in this part of the world.

This log gets us to the Grey River fjord, the most fantastic, spectacular, enchanting fjord we have visited. I have attached several pictures and hope I can remember how to put additional pictures on a Picassa website that you can access. I think I have to do so on line. We’ll see.

We have installed the new Dinghy Tow, and I have arranged to have a new 10 horsepower Mercury 4 stroke outboard delivered today. We hope to shove off tomorrow for Baddeck. I suspect the insurance will nickel and dime us down, giving only the used value for the outboard rather than the price of a new one. However, we need a new one, not another old one as we need a reliable dinghy and outboard motor. I do not know yet what the final settlement will be with the insurance company, and probably won’t know until we get to Halifax and have an assessment done on painting the stern, or possibly the whole boat if the paint cannot be matched up. If we get a settlement acceptable to us, we will wait for the actual painting to be done later so we can get on with our plans to head down to Florida and Guatemala for the winter, and possibly have Veleda painted down there when we come back to Toronto in April.

All the best,
Aubrey

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Log #50k Fjords of Newfoundland – 3

Royal Cape Breton Yacht Club

Sydney, Nova Scotia

Sept. 19, 2010

The last log on Newfoundland fjords had us in the recently abandoned outport of Grand Bruit, which we left after a pleasant lunch alongside the town dock, with a delicious dish of blueberries and raspberries picked on the hillsides and in some abandoned gardens. The echoes of this abandoned community were all around us, and we did not want to intrude upon the suspended peace of the century plus of this inhabitation any longer.

We left at 1418 for another 8 mile passage to Culotte Cove in Cinq Cerf (Five Deer) Bay, arriving at a civilized hour, before 1600 (actually 1551) in time for a comfortable sundowner. The next morning we dinghied for several miles into the adjacent bays surrounded by gently sloping hills, treeless but clad in verdant green tundra. Across one range we saw a moose ambling along the crest of a hill, and a couple of bald eagles wafting lazily above the shoreline. Bird life was abundant in the shallows and bends of the river, including a black guillemot, a couple of loons, and sandpipers busily running along the shallows, their matchstick legs a blur as they scanned the shoreline for delicacies. We could have gone further up the river, but we turned back as we had a 25 mile passage to Burgeo yet to do that day. It was a pleasant tranquil trip up this wide open river estuary. Lovely isolated country!

We had to check our navigation carefully to get back to Culotte Cove where we had left Veleda at anchor, as there were many convoluted bays, peninsulas and islands to dinghy around en route. I am also concerned when we go on long dinghy trips through isolated areas such as this delta; if something happened to the engine, or we lost a prop on a shallow rock, we would be a long way from any help, and the dinghy does not row easily. We have all the required gear: life jackets, bailer, anchor, line and oars; but we might be wise to also carry a handheld VHF radio and perhaps even a small GPS.

We returned to Veleda, and set off for Burgeo, another 25 nautical miles eastwards (47 37.33N, 057 36.89W). The town itself did not look very inviting and so we went into the Long Reach, a well sheltered bay just off the town. We dinghied in to town and did some basic grocery shopping, continued up the cove to see the abandoned fish plant, and returned to Veleda, happy that we were at anchor in the reach rather than the town.

Next morning we motored the 13 miles over to Ramea, an offshore island community. En route we saw a shark, lounging on the surface, our first sighting of a shark in open waters. It was a lazy sea creature, about 12 to 15 feet long judging from the distance from its dorsal fin to its distinctive notched tail fin, slowly drifting along the surface, and it leisurely dove as we watched it some 30 feet off to starboard. (We think it was a porbeagle shark) This was not the menacing tiger shark of “Jaws”.

We liked Ramea. It is an island community with daily ferry service to Burgeo, and tourist friendly. A gale went through the next day and we were glad we were alongside the floating dock. It gave us a chance to get caught up on some maintenance. After the oil change, when I enquired as to where I could dispose of used engine oil, I was directed to the town incinerator over by the wind turbines. Many of these towns and outports have incinerators to burn their garbage, and town dumps to dispose of their solid wastes such as old refrigerators, stoves, tires, etc. Again we found the people very friendly and helpful. I wandered through the closed fish plant which is partially used for whelk processing, not as economically beneficial as the fishing industry was, but providing some work for the town. Fish caught there are shipped to the one or two fish plants still operational on Newfoundland south coast shores on the daily ferry.

Eastern Outdoors Kayak Centre was a very helpful outfit. We could, for a small fee, have showers and do E-mail on the internet, and use their book exchange. It is a nice comfortable community. Incidentally, the cost for alongside was only $10.00 a day, including electricity and good reverse osmosis water. The diesel was brought down in a truck which delivered home heating oil, and we filled a couple of jerry cans at only $0.85 a litre, the cheapest diesel yet.

Three days later, Aug. 27, we left for the 20 mile passage up to Grey River. Now we were getting into some serious fjord country, high mountains plunging down to the shore, gray ominous clouds brooding on their crests, and cleaved by major fjords every few miles along this phenomenal coastline. We saw from a misty distance several tall narrow waterfalls (see attached photos), the rushing water from the previous day’s storm cascading hundreds of feet down the sheer granite walls into the sea.

The seas were still a bit lumpy, and I had to be careful as we altered into the relatively narrow opening of Grey River, pushed along by ten foot swells that broke in pounding spumes of phosphorous white spray on the rocks each side of the 100 foot wide entrance cut. Once inside this fantastic fjord, the sea settled down to a glorious calm channel between the mountains. Sheer cliffs towering 1000 feet high on each side of this long narrow fjord sheltered the outport of Jerts Cove (see attached photo of Jerts Cove with the waterfall in the background) about a half mile inside. We motored on, breathless in awe of the majesty of this enclosed waterway. After another two miles the fjord opened out with spectacular vistas down the Southeast Arm, a cliff sided extension to port, and the even longer main stream of the Grey River opening up into the shorter Northwest Arm and the longest stretch another three miles up of the Northeast Arm (see attached photos).

The weather cleared up as we progressed into the fjord, and the clouds hanging off the mountain tops yielded to a clear sunny sky within the first three miles of our inward passage. These arms extended so far we did not want to spend the time just motoring up them, and so we dropped the anchor just inside the entrance to the shorter Northwest Arm (47 38.77N, 057 04.15W). Idyllic! We were in 30 feet of water just off a sparkling watercourse rushing down the rocks ashore (see attached photo), craggy mountain cliffs the opposite side and across the base of the Northeast Arm that have been dominating these branches of the fjord for eons.

It was fascinating to watch the mists and clouds as they caressed the mountain crests and wafted down the arm, sometimes shrouding the cliffs and at other times drifting below the towering rocks and silently drifting down the bay, bright blue sky highlighting the grey/white moistures. When out in the dinghy, I could see Veleda shrouded with a misty halo as she sat placidly at her anchor (see attached photo). In the morning the water was glassy still, ripples from the occasional zephyr sometimes distorting the reflections of the tree clad rocks. Even the harbour seal leisurely gliding down its domain did not disturb the placid shining surface of the water. The elegant quiet, the awesome beauty, the towering majesty of the cliffs leading the eye down the perspective to the end of the arm, the intense blue of the sky, the sparkling white mists, the brooding rock cliffs, the creeping shadows and golden illumination as the sun rose above or descended below the towering precipices; all contributed to a Brigadoon of unimaginable tranquility.