Lo­cal land­fall

Mariners trav­elled from Jog­gins, around Cape Bre­ton, and down to North­port

The Amherst News - - FRONT PAGE - AMHERST NEWS

Not want­ing to ‘rust un­bur­nished’ in their re­tire­ment, thou­sands of years ago Ulysses and his merry men pushed off from their home in Ithaca into the Mediter­ranean Sea.

Ac­cord­ing to Bri­tish poet Al­fred Ten­nyson, be­fore seek­ing new ad­ven­tures, Ulysses said to his men, “though much is taken, much abides, and though we are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are: one equal tem­per of heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will – to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield.”

Keith Hunter may not have given such a re­sound­ing speech when he and his merry men set off on their jour­ney from the Two Rivers wharf near Jog­gins last month, but set off they did. They re­turned home to North­port in early Septem­ber af­ter hav­ing nav­i­gated the seas around the en­tire prov­ince of Nova Sco­tia.

“On the sixth of Au­gust, we left on the high tide and fol­lowed the high tide out of the Bay of Fundy as it was drop­ping,” said Hunter. “We made good time and went over to Halls Har­bour, and from Halls Har­bour over to Digby, and then to spots all the way around the prov­ince. It was great.” The jour­ney started out calm. “I started in Two Rivers and I went as far as Lunen­burg and, ex­cept for one day when it was a lit­tle rough, it was flat calm,” said David Wood. “I got off in Lunen­burg, and as soon as I got off it got rough.”

The en­tire trip was 2,300 kilo­me­tres, and they spent 350 hours nav­i­gat­ing be­tween 22 ports.

They trav­elled three days in dense fog and lost four days due to high winds and waves, meet­ing 16-foot waves near Canso.

“We’d go down one wave and all of a sudden in the cabin you couldn’t see air, all you could see was wa­ter,” said Blake Da­ley, who did much of the nav­i­gat­ing.

“One wave was 16 feet but, for­tu­nately, it had broad shoul­ders, so it was the gen­tlest wave we had the whole trip. But the sight of that wave was un­be­liev­able,” added Da­ley.

Da­ley said they looked into the maw of the wave.

“Jens (Jensen) asked, ‘what’s a maw?’” said Da­ley with a laugh.

High waves forced them to seek shel­ter in Canso and in Port Hood on the western shore of Cape Bre­ton.

Hunter pur­chased the 33-foot boat, the Goe­land 11, in 2014.

“The fel­low who had it built was Wil­lie Gibbs. He was a friend of all the fel­lows on the boat,” said Hunter. “The boat was built by a fel­low in Richibucto, New Brunswick. He used all Cum­ber­land County wood from Hoeg’s lum­ber mill to build it.”

Gibbs launched the boat in 2001.

“He was di­ag­nosed with can­cer in Jan­uary of 2014, and by Au­gust he passed away,” said Hunter. “In the in­terim he sent an email around want­ing to get rid of his boat and his truck be­fore he passed away, and I was the first one to get back to him on the boat.”

Hunter and his crew took their first ad­ven­ture on the Goe­land 11 in 2016, and spent five days nav­i­gat­ing the Bras d’Or Lake in Cape Bre­ton, then in 2017 they spent seven days trav­el­ling the cir­cum­fer­ence of PEI.

“Some­where along that trip Blake said, ‘wouldn’t it be nice to go around Nova Sco­tia?’ and I jumped at the chance and said that would be a real ex­pe­ri­ence,” said Hunter.

Hunter loves be­ing out on the wa­ter with friends, and says they might nav­i­gate the south­ern shore of New­found­land next year.

“It’s only a maybe for New­found­land, but if not New­found­land maybe the Mag­dalen Is­lands.”


The crew of the Goe­land 11 gath­ered for a photo af­ter mak­ing land­fall in North­port in early Septem­ber. From left, Bob Janes, Jens Jensen, Brent Jensen, Blake Da­ley, Mor­ris Haugg, Keith Hunter, and David Wood. Three of them - Hunter, Da­ley and Jensen - made the en­tire trip around Nova Sco­tia, while the oth­ers joined the team for dif­fer­ent parts of the jour­ney. Also along for part of the trip was Keith’s son Michael (not in photo).

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