All I can say is what a trip! We left Massachusetts around the middle of June and headed north to Nova Scotia. We discovered the brilliant Bras d’Or Lakes and circumnavigated Newfoundland in 2.5 months and with 3 kids under 5. Suffering from some form of dementia? Probably so.
So what was it like cruising with our now family of 5? I won’t lie it was tough. I thought we had it bad being on a boat with two kids but you toss in a baby and your life just went down the head. Our little man is a fantastic baby as far as babies go but you must remember that he’s still a baby. He always wants to be entertained and would prefer to be attached to my breast 24/7. I tried getting back into a little bit of homeschooling with the girls, they’re still quite young so it consists of reading books, worksheets and practicing letters, but eventually decided to take the summer off because every time I got set up to do an activity of course the baby needed my attention. He’s getting more into a routine now so I’m hoping to pick back up on the school work in a couple of weeks.
Other issues we found were that the kids didn’t really understand colder climates, they still wanted to run around with their panties on and refused to wear jackets. So for majority of the trip the girls didn’t want to be out on deck so were cabin bound until we went to shore. But when we went to shore oh boy did we have fun. Newfoundland has so many beautiful hiking trails that are so well kept that I swear they have little machete fairies lurking about. Oh and the whole island smells like Christmas. Everyday I would inhale and feel like I’m home – the smell of Christmas trees always makes you reminisce of your childhood Christmas’. Now I’m just rambling.
Even with all the beautiful hiking trails we noticed a lot of the locals in the smaller villages were quite unhealthy, fresh produce up there is not so much on the fresh side and the meat is quite expensive. Leaving NL I was happy to eat my last slice of stale bread in a while. I know I could just make my own bread but with 3 kids under 5 my mornings are a little full. If you’re planning on heading up to NL make sure you provision your boat with dry goods and clothes, things are pretty scarce on “the rock”
We didn’t stop much on the west coast, we were tracking icebergs and wanted to get all the way to the tip in order to catch them before it got too late. Sailing up the west coast was great, a little gusty but good. Everyday the weather report called for 15-20 knot winds and we got 25-30 everyday, but that’s ok our tank needs some wind to get her going. Up the west coast is where I decided that we needed a new boom, I bent that baby up real good. What can I say I’m a shitty sailor.
Icebergs! ICEBERGS! They were magnificent!!! Made the rush north all worth while. And it wasn’t all that cold up near them. We definitely do need to get better protection in our cockpit. We don’t have the typical sunken in cockpit, our deck is all one level so when those icy winds come howling there is no escaping them. We spent majority of our watch time sitting on a 2” ledge of our companion way. We put up our mosquito screen to try and help block some of the wind. It did pretty good but it was still bloody cold at times. I have now replaced the netting with clear plastic we picked up at a hardware store.
After the excitement of the bergs we didn’t really have a plan. Do we beat into the wind and retrace our steps back down the west coast or do we continue around and circumnavigate NL? the guide book mentioned that only real adventurous sailors circumnavigate and we thought that’s definitely not us but screw it we could catch the Labrador current down the east coast and make good time. Maybe we should have done our homework better. We motored majority of the way due to poor wind, from all that money we saved in free dockage we made it up in diesel. We wouldn’t change a thing, from the west to the north to the east to the south coast, Newfoundland has so much diversity. The west coast had the small towns that rarely saw visitors, the north had the icebergs, the east had the larger towns and beautiful buildings and the south had the outposts and waterfalls. Whales on the west, puffins on the east, caribou and moose in between.
So what have we learnt from the trip??
* I want a washing machine, and we WILL be getting one in Massachusetts
* You can never wear too many layers
* It is possible to mistake a high of 60 degrees for a heat wave of 95
* Always ALWAYS put a preventer on when sailing downwind
* Not all rocks are charted
* When it takes longer to pump out your poop then it takes to actually poop it’s time to rebuild the head
* Breastfeeding while trying not to puke on your baby is never fun
* Babies and kids may slow you down but they make you life more the richer
We didn’t find many blogs with information about cruising in Newfoundland so I hope if there are any cruisers looking for info on NL or NS that my blog helps out.
For now we are planning on coming north again next summer and maybe even further north. But plans are just plans, they could change once, twice, 10 zillion times – like our kids changing outfits in a day.