Picnic's over


We have now sailed just under 1,200 miles this season, almost all of them in near perfect sailing weather with the wind aft of the beam. We haven't had to reef once and the worst we have had to put up with is some fog along the Nova Scotia coast.

However, we have a feeling the picnic's now over. After almost a month with a ridge of high pressure predominating the weather has taken a turn for the worse and we have just spent the last 3 days in Port au Choix, north west Newfoundland, sitting out a gale. Ahead of us lies 2,500 miles of sailing , all of which will be against the prevailing winds, and a lot of which will be battling against currents of up to 5 knots in the St Lawrence River.

Tomorrow we plan to set out and cross the Straits of Belle Isle to the north Quebec shore. We don't quite know what to expect when we get there because from a sailing perspective the north Quebec shore is still the proverbial blank white space on the map. Pilots have been written for the Newfoundland, Labrador and Greenland coasts, and there is even a sailors guide to the Northwest Passage, but as far as we can tell nothing has been written about the 300 miles of Quebec coastline that runs from the St Lawrence River to the Labrador border. The road from Quebec ends at Natashquan and thereafter much of the coast we will be traversing is inaccessible by road. For many of the small fishing communities along this remote coast the sea remains their only highway.

The chart makes it look like a fascinating area to explore, the local fishermen here in Newfoundlamd have warned us to expect lots of icebergs, and the long term weather forecast promises lots of strong headwinds. Tomorrow we will find out for ourselves whether it is truly a 'hidden gem'' or whether there is a very good reason why so few yachtsmen have visited and written about this area! However we won't be blogging the answer for a while as the one thing we do know for certain is that there will be no mobile internet coverage there!

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