Sailing Islands aboard Rovinkind II

Two ships passing in the night

On Wednesday, September 17, we set sail from Nova Scotia for what would be our first night passage – sailing from Shelburne to Bar Harbor, Maine.

We left at 7 a.m. in the morning and arrived at 1 p.m. the next day. 180 miles. 29 hours. 2 very tired sailors.


Following the path of Opportunity, a boat out of Toronto bound for the Caribbean and then the Pacific.


Departing Shelburne Harbour at 7 am

The wind was not great for going to Cape Cod, which would have been our preferred route. The wind was light and then came from the north west in the afternoon. Not great for getting to Maine either, but the wind was supposed to come around from the south west for the evening and all night.

SunsetGulfofMaineThe sun sets over the Gulf of Maine


So serene…no land in sight.

It was an easy sail for most of the night. There were two cruise ships which made the night more eventful. The Balmoral was on our AIS for most of the night. It came behind us on the same path around Nova Scotia’s Yarmouth area. We called it to check if it knew we were there. They let us know they saw us and that they would adjust course and pass us on their port. The second ship which rounded the southern coast on the same course was the Crystal Serenity. We called them on VHF to see if they saw us and they said “yes we are a cruise ship and we have all electronic equipment”. I called them back and said in a firmer voice: “We are a sail boat on the same course ahead of you 11 miles. Do you see us on radar or AIS?” They said “just a second” and then came back on the radio stating that they did know that we were there. Hmmm….obviously they did not actually check the first time. Patricia was on the AIS during the night and I was keeping a watch on deck. I like night sails. You have to keep focus for hours of nothing which is always interrupted by trying to figure out if the cruise ship or a fast ferry has you on Radar or AIS. It was a great sail and the boat took good care of us.

Lucy did really well on the trip. She found the lowest place on the boat to sleep (the walk through between the main cabin and the aft cabin). We put the sleeping bag down and she settled in for the night. I was almost jealous at 0400 hrs when it was cold and I was tired. Ok so I was jealous…does that make me a bad person.  A third experienced crew member would be perfect for night passages.


Lucy finds her sea berth

When we arrived in Bar Harbour and just as we went to dock (with the customs people and Harbour Master standing on the dock) I tested the bow thruster once to make sure it would work. It spun once and then stopped. Oh crap! I turned it back on but the lights did not come on. Did I already say “Oh crap!”. I recalculated the wind and wakes from the cruise ship workboats and we made a not perfect but adequate landing. The Customs Officers who we called on the way in to Bar Harbour took all of our information and told us not to depart the boat and said “do you understand” I said “yes”. Now with the two customs officers on the dock my first instinct was to quickly jump off the boat tie up the boat that was not so gracefully brought alongside, before something else happened with the cruise ship motor boats slapping us against the dock. As I jumped off I thought “Oh crap!” for the third time in one minute. Was that OK to do? I quickly hopped back on the boat when it was secure and invited the officers on board. The Customs Officers came on board and I knew immediately that they understood I had to secure the boat and that they did this work all the time. They asked us for all our papers, including the dog’s. They were very helpful as we asked about procedures and a Cruising Permit – the permit was $15 American and we received a number with instructions to call a 1-800 each time we dropped anchor as we traveled down the east coast.

We immediately  wanted to get a SIM Card for our phone and get the dog off the boat for a walk on land. She hadn’t been ashore in nearly 36 hours – it’s a good thing she is trained to use the bathroom on the stern of the boat.

We tried a couple times to get the boat off the dock earlier in the day to head out to the town mooring we rented,  but we were getting slapped against the floating dock by the Cruise Ship boats going every couple minutes from 3 ships. We finally gave up after being awake for 36 hours. I secured an extra spring and went to bed.


Arriving in Bar Harbor – that’s the Balmoral, the cruise ship that overtook us during the night

  1. Exciting times. What a thrilling arrival! Beautiful photos, I feel like I am onboard with you.

    • You can be onboard with us…start planning for where you’d like to join us!

  2. I know you two were happy to get a solid night’s sleep!

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