Coming Ashore

June 5, 2019

The Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Making an unknown shore by boat, alone, and following a longish interval at sea is a perfectly normal way to arrive at a place; at least this is what repeated experience suggests. So, I am surprised at the greeting that follows arrival here.

The Dock Master, Wayne, meets Mo at the slip to take lines. “You must have friends,” he says as I jump ashore, nearly breaking a leg.

“I hope to have retained a few,” I reply.

“No, I mean, in New York.” He hands me a letter that had been sent ahead, a greeting from fellow cruisers Connie and Tony with a little cash. “We’d like to buy your first beer,” it says.

At the club, I am hailed quite before that beer can be delivered. “You’re the guy just in from Cape Horn, aren’t you? The word is out. Come sit with us.”

During dinner, I find a man has suddenly squatted next to me. He extends a hand. “We’ve never met, but I’ve been following your voyage.” He has just come in from the rain and brought the cold with him into the overheated bar; his glasses are fogged. He seems nervous.

“If there’s anything I can do for you while you are here, just let me know,” he says.

Next day, Saturday, I phone the sail maker. “I’ll be there in ten minutes,” he says. By the time of his arrival, there are already several others crawling over Mo. Sebastian, the owner of a Boreal at the end of the next dock has come by to see the new high latitude boat in town. Phil, a machinist and yachtie, is stooped over Monte, assessing his damage.

Later in the day, a phone call. “This is John Harries; I run a website called Attainable Adventure, you may have heard of it…” Indeed! He wants to see Mo and discuss Monte’s argument with the drogue that put us here.

I escape to the club for a phone call with my wife. Before I am able to dial, a woman sits next to me. “My name is India. I am the vice commodore. We’ve heard of your recent exploits. Would you like to present to our group on Tuesday? 7pm. Sharp. Oh, and here is Sean, our Commodore; let me introdude you.”

Granted, I am no Lindberg. These are not throngs. But the attention is unexpected, and to my shame, it is not unpleasant.

For two days I do nothing but hike between Mo in her slip and the clubhouse. Even in the daily fit of rain, this trek takes but five minutes. By the second morning, I have shin splints. Let me reiterate: I get shin splints from walking the equivalent of three blocks twice a day. After eight months at sea, my legs have forgotten their function and must be drug forward as if they are mere luggage.

Rob is the man who accosted me at dinner, and he has become an indispensable part of the Figure 8 crew. On Monday, we trundle all over Halifax on my first acquisition run. A length of clear hose, primary fuel filters, engine oil, anchor windlass switch, fuses, heat shrink, duct tape, penetrating oil, a few new screw drivers, engine thermostat, bottom paint.

It took all day.

Today he helped move Mo to the fuel berth in a southerly that brought drenching rain.

Given the resource here and the remoteness of St. John’s, I’ve decided to extend my Halifax layover.

Tomorrow we haul Mo for an inspection and a coat of fresh paint.

10 Comments on “Coming Ashore

  1. Randall,

    You shouldn’t be embarrassed by the attention. You’ve inspired many, and if I were in Halifax right now, I would have been there to greet and help too (and hope to say hello and hear a story). Think of it this way, you’ve spent 237 days making deposits into a relationship with the rest of us following you, and now you have the backlog of withdrawals waiting for you. Enjoy your time ashore — shin splints, attention and all!


  2. I love Halifax and the RYS! I had a similar experienced pulling in. Wonderful people – I thought they’d look after you!
    Lots of live music and fun bars in town too, when the jobs list is in hand and your legs are up to it.

  3. Randall, you are very modest man. You are doing something no one else has done. We are living vicariously through you. Oh yes, I wish I was there, and I too would have welcomed you and helped in anyway I could. And whether you know it or not – no matter your personal beliefs – there are many of here praying for you. With all that you have to do, be sure and take care of yourself. You may even want to stop by the local clinic and get a quick check-up yourself. You are working hard to make sure that Mo is fit, and you owe it to her to be fit yourself.

  4. Very proud of you. We were in Halifax in 2006 for the 100th anniversary of the Citadel. Be safe and enjoy the pubs. Our favorite is the Old Triangle.

  5. Wow! Speachhless… I have been following from day 1…

  6. “brought the cold with him into the overheated bar; his glasses are fogged. He seems nervous.”
    Can’t wait to read your novel!

  7. Great to hear you’re getting back on your feet, Mo in shipshape and not surprised about the friendliness in Nova Scotia! Good luck with all the repairs and a safe journey onwards when you’re ready!

  8. Halifax and it’s people are top notch. You deserve the attention and the support. Enjoy getting Mo back in top order. St John’s is also famous for its hospitality so you’ll get another dose of it there!

  9. The Hospitality in Nova Scotia is next to none yous!
    Enjoy the East Coast dialect especially in Newfoundland B’y!

    I’se The B’y …Trickle Cove Pond ..Jack was ever inch a sailor
    Old Polina…Lukey’s Boat…are but a few great songs to hum on your voyage.
    The Salt Box in Mahone Bay NS has the best craft beer in the East Coast. Names like Holy Mackerel,Jesus Murphy, Blue Nose, Nun on the Run Are but a few.
    Newfoundland has the Rum called Screech … for a reason.
    Enjoy East Coast Canada life and have a safe voyage.

  10. Randall, we’re so excited for you. All the attention is WELL DESERVED! We’re envious of the people who get to tease out some stories there in Nova Scotia, but we’re looking forward to the accumulation of arctic tales we’ll hear on your return. Get rest, be safe and we can’t wait to “talk Turkey” with you around the holiday season. Cheers to you, friend. S&S

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