Plotting a course

Last week I had to be in Halifax for business and took the opportunty to return along what is called the Sunrise Trail running along the northern coast of Nova scotia and into New Brunswick.  I visited the part of the Trail from Brule shore, near River John and followed it to Port Elgin in New Brunswick. It was a sort of scouting operation for this summers cruising.

Northern Nova Scotia Coast

The area has no shortage of harbours for a boat as shallow draft as Ebony.  Generally the rivers have sand or mud bottoms and so hold reduced perils even if one does touch here and there. When I drove through it was a very low tide and I got a much better appreciation of the area than I would have from charts or Google maps (although using both together is a good plan).

Almost due south and about 35 kt from Charlottetown is Barrachois where a basin  has been dug and holds about 70 boats, some of considerable size.  This is remarkable as the low tide creates a bit of a sill which prevents coming and going except at high tide. Very common in European harbours but rare in Canada.  When I was there the Barrachois Harbour Yacht Club members were gathered in the warm afternoon sun . I thought it was a club picnic or other social activity but was told, no, they were just waiting for the water levels to come up so they could go for an afternoon sail.   I was assured however that there would be little difficulty getting into the basin with my 2’8″ Halman draft.

A few miles further along was Tatamagouche. It is at the head of a river that looks to have enough water for Ebony but with a winding channel.   There is no wharf just at the village but a landing space has been made about 1/2 mile down river.  This is a very touristy town and has obviously had a lot of ACOA development money pumped in to increase the visitor infrastructure.  I spotted several B&Bs which could be an alternative to sleeping on board.

I didn’t explore out as far as Malagash where a wharf is shown which I suppose at one time must have taken some larger ships as it is close to the Malagash Salt Mine.  Rounding Malagash Point it is westerly run to Wallace which is another town which still maintains a small fishing fleet with a well-protected basin with wharves on three sides. Wallace was formerly a popular cruising destination for Charlottetown Yacht Club members but is now rarely visited.

Salt is also the reason d’être for the large wharf and loading facility at Pugwash which is about 17 kt west of Amet Sound .  There is lots of water but a winding channel . The Pugwash Yacht Club    is a small operation on the south side of the river but there are private floats as well. While I was in Pugwash I got a very warm welcome from a number of club members who were getting a boat rigged. They urged me to return and stay at the club wharf.

It is another 20 kt along the coast to the Tidnish River but there are a couple of inlets, River Philip and Northport which had, or still have, fishing wharves and buoyed channels but it is not clear just how much water there is over the bar at these spots. Tidnish River which is right on the Nova Scotia / New Brunswick border is marked by withes and there appears to be a large powerboat population but the water can well accommodate a Halman even if there is no public wharf.

At the head of the bay Port Elgin has a good-sized river and a public wharf. The village was formerly much busier and there are traces of former prosperity which are long gone.

This then, is one of the potential cruising routes for the summer’s voyages. About 160 kt round trip to Charlottetown. Across the Strait and then against the prevailing wind creeping up the coast, but then a down wind ride along the PEI shore to home port.

I can hardly wait.


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