Thursday, July 12, 2012

summer cruise

I'll be away on my boat for a few weeks so posting books will be a bit problematic ( I'll be home from time to time), but there is always a supply at the Shelburne Harbour Yacht Club, and I always have a few on board my boat, a blue 30ft sloop with tanbark sails named Radical Jack

Monday, June 25, 2012

Lyme Disease

Nova Scotia has an increasing prevalence of Lyme disease. Areas confirmed to have  infected ticks include Yarmouth County, around Shelburne Harbour, around Lunenburg, Bedford, and New Glasgow. However, the public health service does not have the resources to collect ticks for examination from remote areas of the province, like offshore islands. I would regard any tick bite suffered West of Halifax as having a potential to carry Lyme disease, and the department did consider this, but have so far refrained from saying so. The chances of getting Lyme from any one tick bite is low, but the consequences of unrecognised infection are serious. The usual tick you find on yourself is locally called the "American Dog Tick" and is not recognised as a vector for Lyme. They have been present in western Nova Scotia since the earliest decades of the twentieth century.The black legged ticks, locally called "deer ticks", that do carry the disease are much smaller and are often missed. It is said that attachment for more than 24 hours is required to transmit the disease, though as 40% of confirmed cases of Lyme have no definite history of a tick attachment I am a bit circumspect about this. In my experience, all embedded ticks can cause a pretty fierce allergic reaction and local cellulitis requiring antibiotics. Our public health people don't recommend prophylactic treatment, but this is not the practice in places like Cape Cod or rural Connecticut where they have been dealing with this for decades. There, giving 200mg of the antibiotic doxycycline as a single dose for embedded tick attachment is a common practice. Given that access to medical care when you are on a boat in rural Nova Scotia is problematic, you might give this consideration. Should you develop the medical conditions of Bell's Palsy, or inflammatory arthritis, particularly of the knee, within a year of a visit to any undeveloped coastal area west of Halifax ( going for a picnic on an island,for example) you should be tested for Lyme disease. This will not be new stuff for anyone who cruises around Cape Cod or the Elizabeth Islands

canada border services agency

This is the new name for what used to be the customs. The procedure is much the same, but these days you are more likely to be inspected. You still call 1-888-CANPASS when you get in range. If you clear in Shelburne, there is a direct line to the CBSA in the clubhouse. You will be asked to tie up to either the facedock, or the fuel dock. This summer and last, virtually all visiting boats have been inspected. The CBSA say on their website they are not interested in normal supplies of food and drink, but I would advise to declare all your drink. Declare ALL firearms. Don't bring in even minuscule amounts of recreational drugs. I've known guys tape a packet under the engine sump, but the dog will find it. Don't bring in more than $10000 in cash ( fat chance, no?} as this will put you in the high risk category and your boat might be taken apart. You can get cash out of a machine in almost every community in the province now, so there is no need for large amounts of cash. Everyone on board needs photo ID, preferably a passport and there should be documentation for the boat. There have been patrol boats based in Shelburne for the last couple of years, and it is possible you be boarded at sea, though this is unlikely. Further information at

Friday, March 23, 2012

praise where it is due

The early spring has rekindled thoughts of summer cruising ( though I work on my little tub, outside, all winter, western Nova Scotia being a lot warmer in winter than most places in New England). I don't accept advertisements in my book and I don't ask for any sort of discount, in fact I try to avoid saying who I am when I get boat related services. I fell sometimes however, I would like to thank people and organisations that have given me exceptional sevice, and today I'd like to thank the Brewer Marina in South Freeport Maine. We arrived there in July 2009 in parlous condition. We had a huge leak from the sterntube, close to 15 gallons a minute, and had been pumping like madmen to keep the old girl afloat for the best part of 5 hours. We were immediately hauled out of the water, propped up and we got fixed up. The bill was very, very, reasonable, the manager, John, and the staff treated us like royalty. Bob, the chief engineer explained to me that most small  Hurth gearboxes were installed with the wrong handedness propellor ( it should be RH, not the LH that came with the engine) and that was why they were so unreliable. I was very grateful to them as when we got there it had been quite an ordeal, and I'd like to recommend the place

cruising to Nova Scotia this season

we appear to be having an early spring, so I'd like to point out some of the advantages we have which make the trip worthwhile. Some of these things are what we don't have. Three years ago I made a trip in my little tub from Nova Scotia, down the US east coast, to the Bahamas and back. We were away for a few days short of a year, and I got some valuable insight into cruising in America. We can't do much about our high coasts and taxation ( those of a conservartive bent, like myself, don't like it either) but here are som of the things you might be pleasantly surprised about
Lobster pots
      There will be none in the water after May 31 west of Halifax, and after June 30 east of Halifax. The infamous toggle buoys are never used here, most pots are set in multiples ( up to 20) with a single buoy at the end of each string. Everyone uses sinking rope. You won't have to carefully pick your way into a harbour and its easy travelling at night.There is also very little acrimony between commercial fishermen and pleasure boaters, which certainly isn't the case everywhere in the US.
       There are no "poop police" in Nova Scotia/ There are a couple of "no discharge " areas but this is never enforced. We all know municipal discharges, even in no discharge zones, are orders of magnitude greater than anything from boats. In addition, there is only one agency responsible for security, the RCMP. Local police forces' jurisdiction end at the high water mark. The customs, and our version of homeland security all delegate enforcement duties to the RCMP. Once you have registered with the customs, you don't have to bother calling anyone to say where you are. You are more likely to be boarded than decades ago, but  the officers are invariably polite. The coastguard are strictly a search and rescue organisation and do not conduct random boardings
Derelict boats
    You will not find any anchorages cluttered up with derelict hulks
Crowded anchorages
    There are very few. You will always be able to find room somewhere, you will never be charged for  anchoring to your own gear, and no-one will tell you to move on, there being no restrictions on youy length of stay at anchor. Municipalities have no jurisdiction on any tidal waterway and cannot restrict anchoring.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Carter's Beach, Queen's County


for those of us who live in Western Nova Scotia, the accuracy of the official weather forecasts has been a source of irritation for decades. A common saying is " ..... they'll starve you, scare you, or drown you" Though it is one of the worlds busiest fishing grounds, there is no weather radar   coverage of any sort on areas Lurcher, Browns Bank, or Georges Bank. There are two sites that help, , and They both gave forecasts for a week or more, while the Environment Canada one gives three days max, which is not a lot for a slow sailboat

Port Latour- this is an extract from the book, try as I might the formatting is not the same

Both wharves have been upgraded in the last few years and there is plenty of water if your draft is six feet or less. The bottom of this bay is fine, white sand, and the water is beautifully clear ( though usually only 12 degrees Celsius). There are some small sand beaches.

Port LaTour was one of the earliest sites of European occupation, being settled by Claude De LaTour in 1610 or thereabouts. Claude was quite a character, wheeling and dealing between the French and the English in the interminable wars of the seventeenth century. He was French, but Protestant and not politically correct. Claude's wife, Marie, came to a sticky end after a particularly nasty siege ( in a place near Saint John, New Brunswick) between her companions and another dastardly Frenchman, seignior d'Aulnay. There is a monument to his settlement about half a mile to the south of the lower wharf. This is a peaceful little glade, but there is now no trace of the original buildings, though the site has never been excavated, and the basements may be under the turf.

Cape Negro

Chart 4241

There is also to the north, a passage between John's Island to the west, and Blanche to the east, to the village of Cape Negro ( which is nowhere near the Cape). It looks quite intimidating on the chart, but I'm told by the owner of the fish plant that it is very pretty. The latest chart would seem to imply this is buoyed, but I wouldn't overly rely on their presence


The Salvages

Chart 4241

To the east of Port LaTour lies Blanche Island and The Salvages, as nasty a mess of rocks as you are likely to see anywhere.

They are steep to on the southern end, but as the surf can be heard easily, at the anchorage at Cape Negro island, three miles away, and the spray flies this distance also, I don't recommend too close an approach. Negro Harbour can be entered from the west, through the western entrance on the chart, but it is full of unmarked rocks, and the look of them from outside will deter all but the most foolhardy. I don't recall a lot of the local fishermen using it much, for that matter. There is a lighthouse on the biggest rock, now unmanned, which must be like a submarine in the winter. It has a loud fog signal, three blasts every minute, which can be easily heard for miles.

20 years ago, one of my medical colleagues, a bird watching pediatrician, came across a large, seemingly uninhabited motor boat with a Quebec port of call on its stern tied up on the old wharf on the east side of Blanche Island in March. She innocently thought it was probably on its way south. I thought it was probably up to other things. Eventually the RCMP banged on the hull, woke up the dreamy crew, and seized one of the biggest drug hauls ever found in western Nova Scotia. No-one here had ever heard of the Hell's Angels then, but they soon learnt. There seems these days to be about one big drug bust of this type a year in the province, but the RCMP say they only intercept 10% of the traffic. It is possible you may come across such activity. In such a case, I suggest a discrete retreat, as these fellows are not renowned for genteel conversation over afternoon tea. If you want to contact the RCMP afterwards, don't do it on the VHF or any sort of wireless phone.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

bleeding diesels

our friend Laura describes the difficulty of getting air out of the fuel lines, especially if its rough. She doesn't mention crawling over a hot engine, but this is also a consideration on any of the size boats I sail. I have found something that helps. I read it somewhere, so its not my idea. Coming back from the bahamas, 1000 miles from home, my fuel tank sprang a leak, and I had to improvise with a plastic outboard tank. This came with the bulb and the line, and when I got home and installed a real tank, I kept it. Now, if  I need to bleed the system, I just crank open the top bleed thing on the fuel filter, and squeeze the bulb until clean fuel comes out. The little lift pump on the engine isn't up to much,and using it takes forever. I can reach the bulb from the engine, so now bleeding the lines is 2 minutes max and I don't need help. Not sure how the gasoline designed bulb and fuel line will last using diesel, but it put there in spring 2009 and still looks all right. things only cost $15 or so, so wouldn't be a major expense to replace it

Saturday, February 11, 2012

how to get book

The CD of the book is now available. Unfortunately, the sites I had distributing it , with the exception of the Shelburne Harbour Yacht Club, did not work out so it is now available only at the club ( in person) and by mail.
To order a book, send me an E-mail at You can also use snail mail to Peter Loveridge RR#1 Glenwood, Nova Scotia, B0W 1W0 Canada
Cost is now $65 which includes all the mailing and packaging, please send to the above address, assuming our currencies are within 10% of each other, Us and Canadian are at par
As it is produced in small quantities, I try to update it regularly, though my day job sometimes gets in the way.
If you have any information which I have missed, please send me an E-mail. Any contributions will be gratefully acknowledged.