We departed the Magdalen Islands last week and sailed overnight to Ingonish on the eastern shores of Cape Breton. We had steady winds in the 15 knot range and we were reaching most of the way which made for a pleasant cruise. As the sun set, the air cooled off and we were wearing our toques until passed Meat Cove on the north shore. From that point onwards, we felt a very warm breeze coming off the land as Cape Breton was in the middle of their a summer heatwave. Our reach turned into a bit of beat after we rounded the top of Cape Breton, but we were anchored around noon. Neither of us sleep well the first night at sea so Magnus didn’t quite comprehend why we might want a little extra rest after arriving as he had evidently caught enough rest himself.
We were treated to a fantastic sunset anchored in the middle of Ingonish Harbour which is bordered on both sides part of the Cabot Trail.
We ventured into town on our second day hoping to find something for lunch. The main restaurant was closed despite suggesting it should be open, but we found pizza and ice cream a little further along. We then ventured to the edge of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park and then along the small fresh water lake that is separated from the ocean by a beach. Magnus had been getting a little salty and as he isn’t one to voluntarily have a bath we encouraged him for a swim in the fresh water by tossing a few sticks. It did the trick and his fur wasn’t clammy or salty for a few days afterwards.
Our second night we had a great sunset with the moon rising in the distance.
Instead of heading directly for the Bras D’or Lakes, we decided that with a weekend approaching, a trip to Sydney to visit family and friends would be a good detour. So we motored out past Cape Smokey to find out if the winds were south as forecast only to discover that they were actually south-east. Right on the nose. Meanwhile, our booking agent was busy filling tours with family for the weekend.
As we progressed along the way, the sky cleared. The shorelines really are magnificent to view.
We pulled into Sydney late on a Friday afternoon and took a slip downtown. We visited with friends that evening over pizza and beer. The next morning we finished tidying up the boat for the 20 relatives that were all lined up to come for a sail, courtesy of our agent (Chrissy’s Mom). We did 3 tours of the harbour on Saturday and two brief ones on Sunday as the weather didn’t want to co-operate. It was busy, but great to see everyone and we are thankful so many were able to come on relatively short notice. Unfortunately, none of them signed up to crew for the trip to the British Virgin Islands, so it looks like it just the two of us and the dog for another 12 days at sea.
We departed Sydney with rain and fog on a Monday morning with the winds now from the North so we beat our way out of the harbour and then were able to close reach our way over the Great Bras d’or channel. We were met with the flood tide, so at times we had a boost of 3 knots and we poled out the genoa to run wing on wing.
Magnus always loves when land approaches on both sides of the boat, so he took a tour on deck to stretch in anticipation of shore leave.
While I am glad to be getting my money’s worth out of my heavy foul weather gear, it is one piece of gear I wouldn’t be disappointed to have bought and never found the need to use.
The winds had been lighter than forecast, so instead of pushing all the way to Baddeck, we tucked into a cove for the evening. The rugged landscape shared some similarities with parts of Georgian Bay that we loved.
The next day we had a leisurely morning while we waited for the tide to again be with us to complete the final 8 miles down to Baddeck. We opted to stay on the dock for a combination of provisioning, showers and trash disposal but unfortunately they have a boil water advisory on so we will have to stretch our water supply a few more days. On the bright side, we were in town for the local farmers market so we were able to take care of the need for some fresh vegetables. We had a nice wander around town, but decided to save the Alexander Graham Bell museum for another time.