Captains Log – July 23 2016 – Charlottetown to Ballantynes Cove

Stardate 94162.6920160723_185914

Air 19C
Water 73.2F
Wind 11kn W to 3kn SW
Pressure 100.3 kPa Steady
Cloudy to Clear skies throughout the day
T.O.D. from Charlottetown 12:08
Distance 55 NM
Time 5H 46M
Average speed 9.5kts
Max speed 25.8kts

We spent the morning catching up on Blog posts as it was still a bit too windy until early afternoon. I also attempted to get some underwater GoPro footage along the docks with the selfie pole.
There are literally hundreds of Moon jellies and the odd Lions Mane jelly floating around the marina in Charlottetown. The locals say ‘This is nothing, sometimes you can almost walk on them there are so many.’
I scooped a few Moon jellies out of the water with a bucket for the kids to get a closer look.20160723_090100

This species doesn’t sting like the Lions Mane variety. These are the two most common in the area. You can differentiate them by the lack of streaming tentacles on the Moon jellies.

More sailing races today! You can see all the sails lined up as they prep the boats on shore.20160723_093926



A large ship came in to harbour overnight. In the morning he was lining up to play bowling for paddlers.20160723_115700
Around noon the winds had died down to 7 knots so we organized the boat to head out. Just before we were leaving, the owner of the fishing vessel behind us had arrived to start up his boat and charge the batteries. We had a quick chat with him about the fishing season. He told us lobster season is from the beginning of May to the end of June. He said they typically bring in 10-12 thousand pounds of lobster in a season, but this year they hauled 50 thousand!

Once we were on the water we did a short jaunt across the bay to a recommended anchorage to do some paddle boarding around the shore while the winds continued to decrease further offshore.

At 1400 we hauled anchor and continued onto Ballantynes Cove.  As we continued across the Northumberland Strait we had perfect clear blue skies above, while along shore, both north and south, we could see storm clouds building.  You could watch the mushroom head grow within several minutes on the cumulus clouds. 20160723_143453



As they built volume, you can watch them go darker and then eventually see the rain begin to fall. There was also quite a bit of lightening activity.  We were out in the middle of the straight with perfect weather above us, while the shore was getting hit approximately 10 km away.

Meanwhile Co-captain is watching the helm…

When we are traveling there are three main apps I use for our weather and water information. ‘Windfinder’ shows us the wind conditions, and wave height on route. We can see the forcast several days in advance. This is the free version, so it has ads on the bottom…Screenshot_20160725-205743

‘Tides Near Me -Free’ is what we use to check the tides for a given port we are going to. The tidal range (high to low) can be drastically different from one port to another, and currents can be quite strong at times, so it’s good to know what the tides are doing.Screenshot_20160725-205811

The Weather Network app is good for general weather conditions in an area, as well as interactive cloud and thunderstorm map.  Screenshot_20160725-214004


We also carry a digital barometer on board that we keep an eye on to see if the barometric pressure is rising, dropping or staying steady.

Although the weather is important to watch, I have found that wind speed and direction seems to be the thing that makes the biggest difference in whether we are going to travel or not.  I find that we can comfortably travel in a headwind up to 7-8 knots before the waves get uncomfortable, or we can travel with following seas (wind behind) blowing at 10-11 knots without a problem.20160723_185731
Because our passage was quite long today, we would travel at 6 knots for 1-1.5 hours, then accelerate to our cruising speed of 21-22 knots for 15-20 minutes.

As I mentioned above, the weather was perfect for our passage. The great thing about the water is that you can see so far into the distance and watch for weather changes. While we approached and rounded the point just before Ballantynes cove, we could see in the distance a thunderstorm developing offshore. Very dark with a lot of lightning. It was still quite far out we made it into the harbour before the rain hit us.20160723_185754

Once we arrived in the harbour, we hailed the harbour master but there was no answer. Presumably because it was closed seeing it was 20:00.  There were no open docks to tie to so we asked some locals, and they gave permission, for us to raft to a fishing boat that was tied to the pier.

We went ashore, to look for information, and inside the Tuna Interpretation Centre, we found the Harbour Master Office open with a interesting, young chap working.  As we signed in, he asked me the typical questions. How long is the boat? What’s the boat name? When he got to, What is your name? I said ‘Doug Law’, to which he gives a peculiar look and says ‘Is that your real name?’ I reply ‘As far as I know.’ He give a short ‘Huh’ and keeps writing. I paid for the night and then filled up the boat with 887.8 litres of fuel.

Diesel here was the best price so far at 98 cents per liter. It was going to be $1.20 in Charlottetown, so luckily we held off until today.

As we were refueling we asked the young chap about the coming rain, and he advised us they weren’t calling for rain that evening.  I pointed out the ominous storm clouds heading our way and he specified that he only checks the weather in this immediate area. Okay then… We finished refueling and within fifteen minutes it was pouring!

*TL Note:  Being rafted to a fishing boat required us to walk over their boat to get to the pier.  I am pretty sure I will not be signing up for crew on a fishing boat any time soon.  The scales were everywhere.  The stink was very noticeable. It reminded me of living on the farm.

There was a spectacular thunderstorm that night with a large amount of rain. Ryanna managed to catch a bolt of lightning below. I guess she does have lightning fast reflexes! 20160723_204223

Chow for Now!


Author: Doug Law

A technology professional currently taking a three month sabbatical, doing the Down East Loop, aboard a 36 foot Express Cruiser, with his family.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *