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ON LIBERTY: Baddeck to Maskells Harbour, Gillis Point, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

June 25, 2024

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June 17 - 19, 2024: Baddeck to Maskells Harbour, Gillis Point, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

Summertime is in full swing in Baddeck with kids in swimsuits with wet heads at the ice cream store, folks fishing off the pier, tourist families walking in slow convoys, and teenagers daring each other to jump from the docks into the cold water of the swimming area of the lake.

…We left Baddeck for a quiet night at anchor in Maskells Harbour, on Gillis Point. Tom and I took a dinghy cruise to explore the shore and found wild oysters, baby ducks, and an armada of Canada geese. The sunset made the red rocks around us glow with fire, while the shadows of the hillsides gradually crept across the water, spotlighting individual trees here and there in bright shining green against the dark shadows. Everything was birdsong and the moon reflected on the still water.

We’ve also had a change of plans. We’d planned to make the crossing from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland on the weekend, but there is a bit of a nasty weather system on the way so we’re moving our plans forward. We’re cutting out the last couple of days we’d planned in the lake and we’ve headed to Sydney today to pick up things that have been waiting for us (including two 500 gallon / 1,900 liter fuel bladders), and prepping to go to Newfoundland tomorrow.

We’d hoped to have crewmember Mark join us, but we have to go sooner than originally and he’s not able to join. We hope to have him back onboard for the crossing from Greenland to Iceland. Our plan is to cross to Newfoundland tomorrow and work our way east around the southern shore and up to St Johns before the wind arrives and the swell gets bigger and shifts direction. The journey up through the lake was quick, and it was fun to look around the horizon and see places we’ve explored over the last week. The northern route out of the lake is a natural channel that runs pretty straight northeast-southwest. Towering hills of the Cape Breton Highlands rose beside up, and the water started to swirl and rush as we neared the connection with the Atlantic. Tom timed it well and we scooted along with the ebbing tide, past rippling shoals and standing lakes,and feeling the boat pushed by the current. Soon we could smell the salty brine of the ocean again after a week of the lakes, and we emptied out into a chaos of lobster pots. Nearly 30 lobster boats were zipping around the coast, checking their luck, and leaving a confetti trail of buoys behind. Tom did an epic job finding a way through, with the aquamarine bubbles of our wake leaving a zigzagging trail behind us.

It’s been absolutely wonderful to explore Bras d’Or Lake, which I admit I didn’t really know a whole lot about before we arrived. I’m also slightly sad to be saying goodbye to the flat calm of the lake as we head back out to the Atlantic! But the weather dictates everything, and we’re fortunate that we can be flexible to change plans and chase the best conditions we can.

We’re off to prep for the crossing to Newfoundland tomorrow. Onwards, ON LIBERTY!

- Owner of ON LIBERTY, Outer Reef 820 Cockpit Classic Motoryacht

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