The final part of the journey home…
So at time of writing, Tuesday June 10th, we are about 8 hours from Bermuda,and we will review our plans when we arrive.
We spent two nights in St Georges harbour, but it was with mixed feelings. We were so grateful to be safe in such a beautiful friendly welcoming place, but we also knew that we still had more than 800 miles ahead of us. After clearing customs, we decided to remain tied up at the dock instead of anchoring out. The dinghy had been deflated and stored, and it would be nice to be able to come and go as you pleased without having to use the dinghy.
We were kept very busy doing various chores and preparation for the last leg of the journey.We had lots more laundry to do – we had a couple of very leaky portholes than soaked the sheets and blankets and the bath towels that we had stuffed under the portholes in an attempt to keep mattresses dry. We made a large spaghetti sauce – enough for two meals while under way, and provisioned the boat with enough food again for the upcoming passage. John fixed the portholes, changed oil and the filters, refuelled ( again – this is becoming expensive!), filled the water tanks and stored items away, and secured the interior of the boat, making sure that books and boxes etc we not going to be falling in the event of more rocking and heeling as we are sailing. I spent another couple of hours online, cancelling the reservations we had booked for the upcoming week, our season would be well underway if we were at home – however, we are not home. Yet.
We managed to get out and enjoy Bermuda too. The girls donned pretty dresses and make up, and went into Hamilton to do some shopping, we joined them later in the evening at a lovely Egyptian restaurant called Cafe Cairo. We had frequented this place on our last visit five years ago, loving the decor, the great food and service and we were delighted to see it was still thriving, although it has recently undergone renovations. We enjoyed some cocktails and some great appetisers and were thrilled when the manager delivered a large blue glass Hooka pipe to our table.
It was Wednesday night, Harbour Night in Hamiltion. This is a weekly event in Bermuda, the main waterfront street is closed to traffic and for a few hours it is transformed into a street festival. Live bands play loud lively music, throngs of local girls in brightly coloured costumes dance, vendors display their arts and crafts – a great selection of jewellery, pottery, clothing, paintings, jellies, soaps and perfumes etc. The streets are filled with tourists from the visiting cruise ships and hotels as well as lots of local families. The shops that are normally closed at 5PM remain open to cash in on the potential sales. We had a really nice evening, then caught the last bus back to St Georges.
The following morning we went to the little park and had a coffee and pastry. The park is small and filled with an amazing array of flowers and tropical plants and trees. Its very peaceful and calming. It is a great spot to sit and contemplate.So back to the boat, lunch was prepared and supper ready to be heated up. We did some last minute emailing, rechecked the weather forecast and made a final round of making sure portholes and hatches and everything was secured and ready to go.
It was approximately 1PM on Thursday when we motored out of the harbour – all of us praying that this trip would be uneventful.
And, so far it certainly has been uneventful! Its Monday 13th June and we have made great strides, We are averaging 130 + miles each day and at time of writing we are about 150 miles away from Halifax.
The seas have been generous to us – at night it can get a little rolly, but so far we have had favourable winds – in the right direction – and we have motored non-stop. Flora, the engine has lived up to her namesake – keeps plugging along without any complaints. The nights are definitely getting cooler as we get closer to home, we now need a thick sweater and socks when we do out night time watches.. a sign of what lies ahead!!!
This is likely to be our last night at sea – in total over the past month we have spent 22 days at sea – 22 days of seeing just sea and sky, 22 days of constant motion. I know I am more than ready for a change of scenery! It will be good to be home.
Wednesday June 15th
Well – what a final night that was!
All was going quite smoothly until the early hours of Tuesday morning, around 3AM the wind switched and started to blow very strongly from the north and the seas started to get really big!
It was a rough very tense night and we were glad when daylight came so that we could see what we were dealing with. The breaking of dawn did nothing to ease the storm and it continued to blow throughout the day, winds were gusting up to 25knots and the seas were at least 4 meters high. The boat was taking a pounding as the storm continues. Although we were only about 50 miles from Halifax, at the rate we were moving it would have taken more than 24 hours to get there. Although we were in no immediate danger, it was becoming increasingly harder as the boat pounded through the waves, there was a lot of stress and tension on the rigging even though we had a minimum of sail up. It was really miserable, the water was continually washing over the entire boat, and we discovered leaks that we never knew existed! The boat was thoroughly wet inside and out, this combined with the cold made for very uncomfortable conditions – and a stressed out crew!!
The great thing about all this is that our motor Flora, was running beautifully, it remained strong and sturdy and kept plugging along. ( Just like its namesake)
As soon as we were able to we radioed Halifax Harbour basically to let them know we were out there! as the day wore on and the storm showed no sign of abating – so we called them back requesting help. The response was immediate; the search and rescue crew from Sambro was being dispatched to help. Within an hour or so they were within view and we kept in touch via radio making the decision to just follow them into Sambro for the time being.
It was such a relief to have them close by, but we were still battling the storm and the boat was still being beaten so we accepted their offer to be towed into the harbour. They came alongside the Amoeba and threw us a line, John hooked us up and before long we were being pulled along, almost immediately we could feel a difference, there was no pounding or rolling – just an effortless ( or almost effortless) glide.
We arrived in Sanbro around 5PM, we tied to the wharf and met our knights in shining armour. They were four very friendly and very hospitable gentlemen who welcomed us and invited us to their “office” a 3 storey building complete with a luxury lounge, leather furniture, large flat screen TV, unlimited internet use and the use of a washer & dryer. We have spent most of the day with them using these fine facilities compliments of the Canadian government. The weather looks promising for Thursday morning, so we shall fuel up again and leave in the morning. All being well we will be back in our beloved Baddeck by Friday afternoon.
This last day in Sanbro has been like a mini oasis for us, its been a great way to spend our last day relaxing after our ordeal, especially as we are able to watch the Stanly Cup Final game!
Thankfully we were all safe, that last day at sea was an experience that I do not wish to repeat. Once again I am reminded of the awesome power of the ocean and we have renewed respect for Mother Nature.
So our trip is almost at a close – it has been 6 months of incredible experiences, we have met many wonderful people ( Rob and Lauren – you were sent from God to help us through – thank you), we have all many treasured memories and thousands of pictures to help us remember our trip. But it will be good to be home….
Posted by Amoeba Sailing Tours on Wed, June 15, 2011 at 09:29 PM