Saturday, January 5, 2013

are cruising guides obsolete?

     well, that's what some of the guys into electronic media say ( I'm thinking of Active Captain, amongst other ones), and while I wouldn't want to diss anyone, I don't think we quite ready for the boneyard yet. Those of us who write guides are always out-of date. Very true, it's impossible to keep up, but are the alternatives better? You want to enter a harbour late at night in thick fog with the only thing you've got a three year old one line comment about the anchorage written by a guy who may have only been there once? Maybe not so simple. After all, the rocks don't move around all that much, up here, anyway, so being outdated doesn't result in loss of your boat. Conflicts of interest? well, I've never accepted a penny from anyone. I'm pretty sure the Tafts, Curtis Rindlaub, Duncan and Ware don't either.
       In a less travelled place like this, the number of reports are few, the reports about local weather conditions and difficult harbour approaches are non-existant ( one one Active Captain report, I'm pretty sure the whole approach instructions to a certain anchorage just lifted straight out of my book, which raises  my blood pressure a bit,  but other guideshave done this too, so I won't get excited about it)
      To my mind, the biggest failure of these types of guide is that you just don't get the ambiance of the place, however imperfect ours is, its definitely better than unverified,one line, reports from multiple sources. And of course, if you can't get an internet signal, you are toast.
       But, they're free, doesn't cost you a cent to register, and you may get some useful information once in a while. but you surely can't sit comfortably in front of the fire and have a decent read with them

developments in Cape Breton

       A new marina is being built in East Bay (Bras d'Or lake). Breakwaters and docks have been completed.This is part of a resort complex at Ben Eoin, on route 4 between St. Peter's and Sydney. Some of these projects die at birth, but this one seems to have more going for it. I can't find it on Google Earth but the approximate position of the entrance is 45º58.40'N   60º26.15'W.

      If you have transportation , this is a short ride to Sydney or Louisburg. There is a ski resort ,supposedly becoming a year round destination on the other side of the main road. The scope of the marina facilities is not yet apparent, but it will be a welcome addition to a fairly remote part of the lakes.

      The Royal Cape Breton Yacht Club has been in operation for more than 120 years. Unfortunately the economic problems endemic to Nova Scotia outside of Halifax has hit here too. In 1975 the population of industrial Cape Breton was 130,000. It is now 90,000, with many of the young people moved to Alberta to find work. The 68 remaining members of the club can no longer maintain their 120-year old clubhouse which needs 2 million dollars in repairs. They have sold it to the waterfront development corporation and they are moving their headquarters to the new marina above. I think this may make to marina viable , and without this I would have serious doubts about this. The RCBYC docks and boathouse will remain at their present location in Sydney.
     I wish them well, the last three decades have been difficult for anyone living outside the Halifax Regional Municipality, which gets an enormous amount of government largesse, while the rest of us, though we provide the vast majority of the province's exports, struggle with crumbling infrastructure  and ever declining levels of service from the provincial government