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.