August 31, 2014, d’Escousse, Nova Scotia, Kenny
We sailed out of Rose Blanche, Newfoundland, on August 21, with overcast skies but a good, strong wind at our back. Although the breeze became stronger throughout the day, it stayed favorable and gave us quite a wild ride towards our destination, Dingwall, on Cape Breton Island. The waves in the Cabot Strait built to 7 feet, but Mary T handled them pretty well. As we neared our intended port, the visibility decreased dramatically as a heavy fog and squally looking skies hung over Dingwall’s very narrow entrance. One squall hit us and then the white wall of fog hanging in front of the entrance to Dingwall turned black. Amy did not like the look of things at all. We also saw via AIS (Automatic Identification System), that another yacht was already anchored in the small outer harbor. So, as daylight was quickly disappearing, we diverted to North Ingonish, several more hours south of Dingwall. We’d never been to this particular anchorage, but it fit our needs perfectly. It was well marked, very easy to enter, and offered very snug protection from northerly winds and waves.
From North Ingonish we made our way to Baddeck via Otter Harbour. Although we love Newfoundland, it was great to be back in Nova Scotia. The scenery is not as dramatic but there’s something about all the lush rolling hills that’s rather comforting. The flat waters of the Bras d’Or Lakes were a nice change of pace from the ocean waves offshore. We visited Whycocomagh southwest of Baddeck and hiked up Salt Mountain for some spectacular views of the Lakes. From there we sailed back towards Baddeck then down to Cassell’s Creek and Little Harbour.
We had read about the Cape Breton Smokehouse Restaurant located on the shore of Little Harbour and wanted to give it a try. It was not obvious from our anchoring location, where to row our dinghy from the water but we found a spot and walked the short distance to the large log cabin. There were no signs of life outside and despite the large water-facing deck, there were no tables set up like one would expect at a restaurant. On the front door was an “Open” sign but there was also an “Hours” sign that stated it was closed all but Friday through Monday. (We were there on Tuesday). Oh well. We’d could at least go for a walk. As we headed towards the road, we saw another sign out front. The hours posted there were somewhat different from what was on the door. A look up and down the road convinced us there was nowhere to walk to for miles so we turned around and headed back to our dinghy. Along the way we could see a person from inside watching us. Amy waved vigorously but got no response. Instead, the figure backed away from the window so as not to be seen. It gave us a spooky feeling. A few days later in St. Peter’s we read a TripAdvisor review that confirmed for us that we were lucky they had been closed. The description of the cuisine was appalling.
Our sail from Little Harbour to St. Peter’s was upwind and through narrow, island-studded waters. It was quite a workout tacking as much as we did. We finally started the motor when it became too narrow and a ridiculous endeavor to continue sailing.
We’re currently in d’Ecousse on Isle Madame–a stone’s throw from St. Peter’s, hoping to continue heading south on Labor (or as they spell it here, Labour) Day.