Heading out of St. Lunaire we were greeted with a whale display straight out of National Geographic. At least two, perhaps more, large humpback whales were leaping into the air not more than 500 metres from us. They’d lunge straight up, then come crashing back with a great splash. Then they would seem to swim along on their sides or back, waving their massive fins in the air, as if to say hi.
There are no words to adequately describe it all…
We carried on south, pushed along by the will of Boreas and the power of Perkins. The scenery along this coast continues to amaze. I’m sure a geologist would have a tale to tell of the differing rock structures, going from granite to some form of reddish, gnarly metamorphic sedimentary. Too cool.
We motor-sailed through the whole day and surfed our way into Canada Bay by late afternoon. There is the community of Englee here, but as usual, we sought the solitude of our own anchor in nearby Wild Cove, which was the perfect tuck in to protect us from the coming high winds.
The following day while making lunch Melvin motored over from his nearby cabin. We had anchored not far off his moored motorboat. He came over to have a yarn, and to say what a lovely sight our boat was to him. We chatted and he then told us his place was wide open and that we were welcome to go stay there, take a shower and replenish our water if needed.
There are no people kinder and more generous than Newfoundlanders .
Unfortunately the weather that was shaping up to turned into a true Newfoundland Gale! Winds were now predicted to be 35 knots from the wrong direction, with seas building to 4 metres (which is an average, meaning 8 metres is not uncommon). Way too much for us chicken sailors 😳 . But it also meant we had to move anchorage as Wild Cove was going to be open to the coming worst.
We woke to thick fog, which luckily lifted enough to see our way out. We then made our way north a short distance to another small bay which appeared to offer better protection from the coming blow. Along the way we saw a seal and at least one minke whale.
Tucked into yet another stunningly beautiful anchorage, we waited for the next weather window to open up so we could either sail further south, or go more directly on our route across White Bay. As it turned out, we had to wait a few days, but the holding was good and the scenery was spectacular.
After three days we hauled anchor and headed out of Canada Bay and back into the blue yonder. The scenery continued to be stunning, and we even caught sight of Wade’s Coast Guard cutter, the Pennant Bay. It was a good sailing day, but as is so often the case, the wind and seas dictated that we travel more south, rather than directly on our route.
We arrived outside of Orange Bay. Winds were still pretty high, but crew-Annnneeeeee got the sails down like the old salty seahorse that she is. Then we motored deep into the bay towards what looked like a promising spot.
The bay was a long way in, and was a bit tricky to navigate to given the shallow waters and our poor charts, but it was beautiful and calm once inside. It had no name on the charts, so we just called it “Our Shangri-La.”
There were tons of gulls and terns around, along with bald eagles, dragon flies and loons!
We stayed nestled in our little Shangri-La for a few days. We relaxed and read , we cooked yummy meals , and enjoyed our fine boxed wine . We were waiting for the next weather window so we could travel across White Bay and make some headway along the final large peninsula that would take us around Cape St. John and into Notre Dame Bay. We got the right forecast, hauled up anchor and headed out.
… but as is so often the case, the forecast and reality seemed to disagree. And as we all know, reality always wins .
We left our Shangri-La and sailed into unforecasted thick fog and high winds and seas. This turned our easy sail into a hard-fought slog. We managed to work our way across the 15 nautical miles of open water, and eventually made the headland which only came into sight when we were within a 1/4 mile.
We’d already planned to bypass the first bay because out charts lacked any detail, but given the growing sea state, we chose to risk entering uncharted waters rather than carry on. It was the right choice.
Fleur de Lys turned out to be a lovely safe anchorage. We dropped the hook just out of the fairway not far from the village wharf. And then we proceeded to recover and dry off from our rather challenging and wet crossing. Ann’s shoes had got soaked, and soon became rather aromatic.
We stayed in Fleur de Lys harbour for a couple more days to once more wait for a decent weather window to move us along. Shortly after we arrived another sailboat came in. This was the first time we’d shared an anchorage since leaving Corner Brook. Heck, this was the first pleasure boat we’d seen (outside of Wade’s in St. Lunaire).
Oceanus was carrying a couple, and their small dog. They’d sailed all the way from Toronto and seemed to have had a much harder time than us. Their main engine died almost before they left. They fitted an outboard on the back, which got ripped off their stern in the Strait of Belle Isle. Their boat is smaller than ours. They had come a lot further, and were planning to go beyond our destination of Lewisporte. I hope they made out OK…
Just as we were getting ready to leave Fleur de Lys a dory came over with two guys in it. They pulled up and asked if we wanted some cod which they had just caught. “Do we ever!” So we set sail knowing that evening’s dinner would include fresh cod!!
We headed out of the harbour and made our way to Harbour Round, which is not to be confused with Round Harbour — a different harbour not far away. The sail there turned out to be one of the nicest ones we’d had in a while.
True to its name, Harbour Round is a small roundish harbour surrounded by a fishing village. We dropped anchor out of everyone’s way, and settled in for a good feed of cod and cabbage-caesar salad. Yum! This was our final anchorage before rounding Cape St. John and entering Notre Dame Bay.
This cape, like most others, is not to be taken lightly. Winds and seas love capes. So we studied the forecasts and relied on our expert weather router Donna salty-paws Phillips to plan our next move.