24 July 2010

Louisbourg I: Sat 24 Jul - Louisbourg Town

We departed Canso at 2030 Friday 23 July and had an uneventful overnight sail in light and fair winds to Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island, some 60 NM to the NE. Upon arrival at Louisbourg I was treated to views of Louisbourg Light (left), the oldest lighthouse in Nova Scotia and second oldest in North America after Boston Light.

On the way over I had a gear failure when the mainsheet block parted from the traveler slide. At first I though this repair would be difficult but that was not the case thanks to Hank (below center), a Newfoundland fisherman who greeted me on the wharf.
Hank works on the Amanda J, a Cape Island crab boat (right) based in Louisbourg during crabbing season. In short order we fashioned a few of Kerry Deare's spares into a serviceable fitting that is stronger than the original. Yet the real story here is Hank himself, whose generosity came across immediately. If this is Newfoundland (and I believe it is), then what are we waiting for? It wasn't long before Kerry Deare was "iced down" with 150 pounds of "chip ice" from the fish plant. This is a good thing.

Speaking of boats and wharves, I noticed a slight disconnect between the rules as written, and the rules as practiced. At left is the wharf where I found a place to tie in. You can see Kerry Deare's mast on the left side of the wharf. It is otherwise filled with commercial fishing vessels and there does not appear to be space for another boat. If you look closely at the left photo you can just make out a small sign at left. In the right photo this sign is enlarged and specifies that the wharf is for recreational boats only. Hmmmm.

Hank stopped by later Saturday evening and I was able to offer a cold drink and learn more about him and Newfoundland. His father and grandfather were fishermen and Hank himself has been fishing over 40 years. In preparing for this cruise I'd acquired a Newfoundland "Native" flag (left) mentioned in a cruising guide, and I asked Hank about it. He had no idea what I was talking about but was interested to read about it in the guide. Warning: Don't believe everything you read in the cruising guides.

Louisbourg Town epitomizes the Cape Breton experience. About 1000 Nova Scotians live here in down-to-earth fashion, and after only 2 days I'd met half of them personally, and been greeted heartily by the other half. The main street features small businesses aimed at the tourist trade generated by Fortress Louisbourg (a separate blog entry), and is lined with quaint and interesting homes and buildings. In contrast the waterfront is all business, with fishing boats coming and going at all hours (left above) and the local avian population standing by to help when necessary (below).
The remainder of Saturday was spent at the "Command Center" (photo at left) overlooking the wharves and the Louisbourg Motorhome RV Park located right on the waterfront. I was preparing for an Olympic Class Tourist Day on Sunday, and in Louisbourg this can mean only 2 things: Fortress Louisbourg, and the amazing J.P.

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