With boat school over for the year, I dropped Cricket off at the airport *sigh* and headed down the coast to Machais to visit my friend Ned. Mainers call going northeast along the coast going down east. Just cuz. I guess it’s down current. When Ned was visiting us in Flagstaff a few years ago he was quite taken with our little Swampscott dory Bernie. He went home and made a couple to row around when the tide is high. Lovely boats!
The old Machais high school is where the great boat preserver John Gardner was the captain of the 1937 football team. A very seriously boat geeky thing to care about.
We climbed in Ned’s ancient Jeep and joined the 4th of July parade. The shriners there have little lobster boats instead of tiny cars.
Next morning I hopped on the Cat Ferry to Nova Scotia. The boat is a high speed vessel, meaning it goes way faster than it ought to, making the normal ten-hour crossing in 3-1/2 hours. This requires 44,000 horsepower. That’s a lot of horses.
It’s a pretty fancy boat.
I got to go up on the bridge with Captain Stu.
Each one of those levers controls 22,000 horses.
I debarked in Yarmouth and headed over to Shelburne. I set up camp across the harbor from the dory shop–the dark building below the steeple.
The dory I helped build a few years ago is on display out front. Ain’t she sweet?
My old pal Milford is upstairs contemplating his new build of a Paul Gartside Picnic Dory.
It’s a pretty complex hull compared to the standard Banks Dory. The side curve reverses in the last few ribs of the boat.
Crazy, huh? But really pretty, and she’s a very fast dory.
Milford’s fancy steam box.
Hey! I can see my house from here! My camp is across the way in the rain and fog.
When building dories in Shelburne, you gotta drink the local brew.
From Shelburne I wandered up to Lunenburg to see what was up in the Dory Shop up there. Not much these days.
But I did get to meet Lisa Zygowski, the Supervisor of Vessel Restoration and Boatbuilding at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic. She gave me a wonderful tour of the facility and their fishing schooner Theresa E. Connor.
From Lunenburg I headed on up to Cape Breton Island. Here is Meat Cove–a wonderfully remote place.
I found a campground near Cheticamp and wandered into the local pub for dinner. I felt right at home.
The next morning I went over to North Sydney and boarded the ferry for Newfoundland. I am told the proper way to pronounce it is with the same emphasis and intonation as “understand.”
Here’s the beach at Cheeseman Park. I camped many nights at the Provincial Parks both in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Super nice places and quite affordable.
I drove to the north central part of the island to Twillingate.
Ann, a lady I met down in Shelburne, told me I must go to the museum here and meet the boatbuilder.
So I did. Here is Calvin Pardy, who comes from a long line of boatbuilders. He speaks the northern dialect, which I found a bit challenging to understand.
He is building the local boat, called a Rodney.
Here is the one he built last year. I bought the winning raffle ticket for it, I am quite sure.
They are rowed with a single thole pin with a hoop of spliced rope–called a wiff–slid over the pin and around the oar. They pull against the wiff rather than against the pin. The thole pin itself used to be called a dildo–a name which has affixed itself to several localities around here.
The design of this Rodney was revised by Alf Manuel, who stopped in while I was there. It was originally designed by Alf’s grandfather.
Calvin still uses the old bent tree knees for the curved ribs. He digs and cuts them himself and has quite a supply of them.
Tizzard’s Harbour, not far from Twillingate
Home for the night.
Much of this northern land is some sort of spongy tundra with granite outcroppings. Really pretty, and I think there may be werewolves as well.
The carnivorous Pitcher Plant in bloom.
A pretty pond.
One of the campgrounds was giving away color packs to toss into the campfire.
A bit farther east brings me to beautiful Dildo. Quite a lovely town, really, right on the water with some nice eating and drinking establishments.
That’s one stout dildo.
Most of these coastal towns have brightly colored fishing sheds.
Here’s the main boat museum of the province. It’s a really nice set-up with a lot of educational programs, research and publishing projects, and a busy boatshop.
This is Jerome Canning, the boatbuilder. Boy did we have a lot to talk about. I think I need to come up here again and take one of his classes. He builds quite a few different styles of boats, and his dories take after the Grandy tradition common in these parts.
I spent much of one afternoon and evening trying to set up a trip to the French island of St. Pierre. Technology was fighting back hard, so I finally gave up and stomped off down to the beach to mutter and grumble. A pink moon came up and a loon called. I guess everything is just fine after all.
I did eventually get my trip to St. Pierre in order but it was such an amazing place that I’m going to save it for its own blog post and skip ahead to my return. I had one more day to wander before my ferry back to the mainland, so checked out the Avalon Peninsula. Breakfast.
Things that make you go huh. I never expected that the first caribou I would ever see would be on the island of Newfoundland. But here’s mama with several young ones trotting up the road like they own the place.
Welcome. Enjoy your stay. Stay away.
It’s an overnight sixteen hour ferry ride back to Nova Scotia. What a crazy sunset.
The clock was starting to tick pretty fast for my plane flight back to Arizona so I hurried across Nova Scotia to spend a bit of time with my friends Harry and Martha Bryan. I got in just in time for a sail with Harry and his granddaughter Louise.
Next morning Harry and I wandered out to the point and had a good long sit on his favorite plank.
Harry is drawing up his next boat, reminiscent of his old Handy Billy, but electric. The last visitor told him to flatten out the sheer. I told him to put it back on. But I’m a dory guy. More sheer is better.
Then it was back down to WoodenBoat School to repack and restow my gear. Time for one last sunset at Naskeag Point.
And then climb aboard the magic flying culvert, to be transported back through time and space to Flagstaff, Arizona.