St. Andrews, NB – Monday, 8/19
Denise was up at the crack of dawn and wanting to get a run in before we left Yarmouth for St. Andrews. She had an opportunity to take some pictures of the town, including very old tombstones in the park, a memorial to those lost at sea, and some old Victorian homes in the historic district.
All indications were that it would be the best day possible to leave Yarmouth and cross the Bay of Fundy. And it was, except for the very heavy fog that blanketed the area. It was the thickest day yet, coming all the way into the harbor and covering the town. We waited until the last possible moment to leave, hopeful it would burn off but it only did slightly before we had to leave.
Finally we untied the dock lines and headed out of the harbor, thankful for radar and for at least some visibility to navigate around the buoys and into the Gulf of Maine.
We encountered very little boating traffic and continued heading north. Our plan was to skirt Brier Island near St. Mary’s Bay on the Nova Scotia coast as a possible bailout, and then go over the tip of Grand Manan, also a bailout opportunity if needed. But the seas were incredibly flat and as we entered the Bay of Fundy at the southern tip of Grand Manan, and we wondered why everyone is so paranoid about this body of water. Yes, we got lucky and were running with the wind, the tide and the current behind us as so all the factors were in our favor as we headed north. Yes, we had to go north to get south (go figure). Besides the fog and about 30 minutes of some light rain, it was a pretty uneventful passing.
As we approached the northern end of Grand Manan Island, we encountered our first boat (a ferry) and the fog lifted just enough for us to see the high cliffs on its westernmost point. We also could see the Wolf Islands off to our right, and in no time at all we were back in the fog.
We approached the western shore of the Bay of Fundy we entered the passage just north of Campobello Island. Here there is a treacherous winding channel called the Letete Passage that is strewn with rocks, but is well-buoyed and both show up well on radar. So did the ferry that appeared as soon as we came around McMaster Island, but Capt. Mark negotiated around all of it without any issues. The cross currents and whirlpools that form in this area are challenging even for our boat, which Mark was able to power through it all. But it was just a bit nerve wracking when there was such fog.
Once through the passage we entered the Passamaquoddy Bay and headed towards St. Andrews, NB, our intended destination for the evening. Yes, we are now back in New Brunswick and getting a flavor for the southern end of this Canadian province. We entered the St. Andrews harbor and were greeted by an outgoing whale-watching boat, with the passengers wearing bright orange foul-weather gear sitting in an open-air boat, not unlike the ones we saw in Tadoussac, Quebec. Hopefully they got to see some whales on the Bay; it was too foggy for us to see any.
We had reservations on a mooring in the harbor, and with Denise at the helm and Mark picking up the pendent, we were able to collect it and settle the boat before the harbormaster (called the “wharfinger”) was able to meet us in the launch and direct us to the appropriate ball; he was impressed. We launched the dinghy and headed to town to explore as it was nearly 3:00 pm and we didn’t have a lot of time to explore.
The first thing that you notice is the floating docks for the dinghy and how they are attached to the permanent wharf. The attachment system is designed to facilitate the large tides here; they run 25 feet. But when we arrived near high tide we didn’t really notice a huge difference.
We walked through the downtown area going in and out of the shops, many are tourist-oriented like we have seen in other Canadian coastal towns. But there were a few that were unique and the architecture of the buildings was really interesting.
This town is famous for the “Loyalists” who fled Castine, Maine during the American Revolution, moving their homes on barges to settle here. Many of the original buildings are still in the town, albeit renovated and updated where possible.
We walked up a few of the streets and checked out the Catholic Church (St. Andrews) from which this town is so-named.
Unfortunately, we missed seeing the Algonquin Resort and a few of the other “must see” places as we were more intrigued with the old buildings and the water side of things, especially the shore as the tide went out. We walked down one street near the St. Andrews Yacht Club where we had a good view of the harbor, and where we could see rocks on the shore as the tide had started to go out. It was really fascinating.
It was getting late in the afternoon and some of the shops had started to close. We were tired and hungry and found a nice pub (The Red Herring Pub and Eatery) to grab an early dinner and a few beers. It helped that we arrived in time for the “early bird specials” which was even better for us.
We came back to the wharf to get our dinghy and what a difference a few hours make. The tide had gone out and we found the dinghy float to be 20’ below where it was earlier. We noticed the charter sailboat was sitting in the mud, and the gangplank to the floats was at a very steep angle.
We took the dinghy back to the boat as the fog was rolling in for the evening. Mooring fields can sometimes be bouncy, but with little wind it was not too bad. We got rocked by a few lobster boats on their way to their moorings, and after the last whale-watching boats and charters came in, the harbor settled down and we had a calm night.
Today was our last day in Canada and tomorrow we will be back in the USA for the first time since 7/3. We will also once again be on Eastern Daylight Time instead of Atlantic Time, thereby gaining an extra hour. Normally we would have stayed up later to begin to adjust, but it had been a long tedious day and we were tired. By 9:30 pm we were both out for the night.
Here are some more pictures from our short time in this wonderful town of St. Andrews:
Stay tuned for more of our adventures on Island Office