During July and August of 2013, Peter Watkins and Peter Haliburton organized three outings to introduce some newish sailors to the Bay of Exploits, while also practicing their boating and navigation skills. The trips were informal, with plans changing underway depending on the weather, and ideas that came up while on the water.
The first one was a day trip held on July 19, with two boats and five people participating. The Dog House (Bayfield 25) carried the two Peters, plus Steve Gill, while Eudaimonia (Alberg 22) was sailed by Jim Penney and Lloyd Gatehouse. The route was simple, starting with a lunch stop on a LYC mooring in Western Harbour, Sivier Island. From there the group went through Shoal Tickle, around the north end of Birchy Island, and then over to another LYC mooring at Western Harbour, Knights Island for a snack. Finally, the boats travelled through Birchy Island Tickle on their way back to Lewisporte.
The second day trip took place on August 2, and comprised of three boats and four people. Jim Penney accompanied Peter Watkins aboard The Dog House, while Steve Gill and Peter Haliburton were solo aboard their own boats, Shelby Lynn (Challenger 24) and Serenity (Paceship PY23). For this excursion, the flotilla took Birchy Tickle on the way to Western Harbour, South Samson Island. After having lunch there on a LYC mooring, the boats sailed north, and took Samson Tickle over to the eastern side of the bay and picked up a borrowed mooring at Intricate Harbour for supper. The vessels headed back to Lewisporte down Sloop Run, and spent the final couple hours practicing boat handling and night navigation while enjoying some good speed in 15 knots of wind on the beam.
For the third voyage, a full weekend event was held from August 25 to 27, so that the sailors could get practice provisioning and planning longer trips. It was decided that for safety, everyone would be paired up. Peter Watkins and Steve Gill were aboard The Dog House, Jim Penney and his son Bill were on Eudaimonia, while Eric Durham and Peter Haliburton were taking Summertime (Bayfield 25) out for her first trip of the season.
Neither Eudaimonia nor Summertime had seen any trips like this for a few years, so there was lots to be done last minute to get them ready. This allowed The Dog House to get a couple hours head start. The two other boats eventually got underway, and made some good time, reefed down in the high winds. After passing through Birchy Island Tickle, they made their way among the smaller islands up to Basin Tickle, but the weather was changing. With the sails now put away, both boats motored through Hornet Gut, and emerged on the other side to face rain and a strong head wind all the way over to Exploits Islands. Progress was slow, and it was dark by the time they entered the harbour and located The Dog House on the LYC mooring.
The next morning, after a good breakfast, and with wet clothing hung around the three little boats to dry in the sun, the crews boarded the two dinghies, and scooted across the harbour for a walking tour. Taking the well worn trail, they headed north, pausing to see where bridges had once spanned the two islands, and take in the sights along the way. The first destination in Lower Harbour was the breakwater, followed by a stroll through the old cemetery on the way up to the lookout. After making their way back to the boats, and having lunch, it was time to get underway again. Jim and Bill had to get back to Lewisporte, so they headed south, while the other two boats went north through the narrows, and made a quick turn in the ocean, before returning back through Lower and Upper Harbours, turning left, and sailing through Black Island Tickle on the way to Luke’s Arm, in Cottlesville, to spend the night at anchor.
After breakfast on the hook, the boats departed for a little tour of the area, including Puzzle Harbour, the channel south of Cottle’s Island, and then across Cottle’s Bay on to Intricate Harbour for lunch. There hadn’t been much wind since Friday, but for the rest of the journey back to Lewisporte the bay was like a mirror, and the sun smiled down out of a blue sky. Once all were secured at their docks, the remaining food was carried into the clubhouse, and a delicious supper was put together from just some of what hadn’t been eaten during the weekend.
The three trips had served their purpose well. All involved got to know the bay a little better, and learned how to pick up a mooring, raft several boats together, anchor for the night, tow a dinghy, plan a multi-day voyage, and practice both day and night navigation. There were also some good times and good meals along the way. With everyone intending to get their boats into the water much earlier in 2014, some trips even further from the marina are likely for next season.
Just about back home and we met up with a Bayfield 36.
Our route - travelled clockwise.