We could not have asked for better weather for the first leg of our trip north. A ridge of high pressure has dominated the north eastern seaboard giving us clear blue skies and gentle winds for the 350 mile leg from Newport to Shelburne, Nova Scotia. Day time temperatures were perfect with shorts, t-shirts and sun hats very much the order of the day. However, it was a very different question at night. We needed every scrap of thermal clothing we could muster as the temperatures dropped to near freezing through the night. In the space of 350 miles the sea temperature has dropped a full 10C as we start to feel the influence of the cold Labrador current.
We are not alone in heading north. For much of the trip we have been accompanied by a pod of finback whales tracking faithfully in our wake. Their station keeping was impeccable, never getting quite close enough for the stunning photo opportunity, but never far enough away that we couldn't hear the gentle sighing as they breached and seemingly effortlessly glided along behind us.
On reaching Shelburne we met more north bound travellers in the form of 2 British yachts, 1 Icelandic,1 Swedish and one Québécois yacht. Our destinations were as varied as our nationalities and included Greenland, Iceland, UK, Newfoundland and the St Lawrence Seaway, but Shelburne is that sort of place, a real ocean crossroads and a natural magnet for any yacht cruising in the area, irrespective of destination. This is attributable not only to the fact that Shelburne is a splendid natural harbour with a delightful and well preserved historic town at its head, but also to the incredible hospitality of the Shelburne Yacht Club. You could travel the world and not find a more welcoming place to stay for a day or so.
Whilst there we were particularly grateful to Colin Speedie for the help and advice he gave us on our recalcitrant radar and to Natalie and Sylvan who over a few glasses of wine gave us a wealth of information about cruising in Quebec and the St Lawrence Seaway, together with a few ski touring ideas for winter as well. Our IPad charts are now well and truly annotated with far more "must see" places in Quebec than we will ever have a chance to see in a single season. All we need to do now is get there!