Back in the US of A!
Ocean Planet has sailed about 30,000 miles since she was last in the USA. Our voyage from the Azores started with several days of nice weather, complete with our porpoise friends:
Then we had to beat our brains out for another couple days (including crossing the Gulf Stream):
Then of course the wind quit. So yesterday we motored past Cape Sable, the southern tip of Nova Scotia, in complete pea-soup fog….making our passage through Canadian waters far from uneventful….
There were lobster pots and lobster boats EVERYWHERE, totally invisible in the fog. At one point I had over 40 radar targets (boats) on our Nobeltec charting/Insight radar overlay, within a mere 4 mile radius. We had the bad luck to get snagged on one of the line & the floats, which immediately jammed the prop. Merde!!
So I had to dive over with the mask & snorkel and a knife to cut the rope….buck naked in 46F water….and discovered that what had locked the prop was not the line, but the plastic float itself. The darn thing was wedged between the saildrive prop and the hull. So after I cut the rope that was run around the front of the keel to the float, I grabbed the now short piece attached to the float and put my foot up on the saildrive for leverage. Thankfully it pulled right out. This was a relief since I was worried that a prop blade might have gotten stuck into it! I was in a bit of a hurry, so this was all done in one dive.
Then I sped to the back of the boat and hopped up as fast as I could (thanks to our low, open transom, the ONLY way to go!). We had started our diesel heater before I dove in, so I warmed up quickly but was rather pink for a couple of minutes. Darn cold water in Nova Scotia, I must say.
Perhaps I earned some good karma, as about an hour later a rather spiffy looking lobster boat named “Major Expense” pulled up behind us out of the fog. They came alongside and asked us where we were coming from and where we going to. I let them know we were going home to Maine from France which seemed to give them a laugh. They asked if we were hungry (we were just starting to heat water for freeze-dried meals) and before we could even answer they yelled “here, catch!” and tossed over six nice sized lobsters that were HOT and COOKED.
We turned the kettle for the water off, and the lobsters didn’t last long. I must say that they went well with the crackers and wine that we still have…. much better than our stockpile of freeze dried!
As soon as we can clear customs, we will head to one of my favorite harbors (secret for now) that is closer to Portland. There will only be a day to clean up before heading to Portland for Ocean Planet’s Official Homecoming Celebration!
Recent news about the happenings this Friday: http://pressherald.mainetoday.com/sports/outdoors/stories/050529bruce.shtml
See you there. Now it is REALLY time to party!
Bruce Schwab, Skipper
USA 05/Ocean Planet