The Schooner Sara B Log

Back to indexPrevious PostNext Post

July 05, 2008     Post 23
Short Cruise to Canada

At Waupoos marina with a couple of other woodies
On a quiet and blue day of clear skies and calm waters at the beginning of summer old Sara B cast off the dock lines and chugged out of Little Sodus Bay steering for Waupoos in Canada. Ten hours later she tied up at the marina there. In between she sailed for perhaps 8 miles and motored the rest of the way. We spent one night here after calling in, and two friendly Canadians who had memories of their own wooden boat ownership stopped by to visit. One of those visitors, a guy who runs sailing charters aboard a modern Beneteau, had once spent many months re-building a Tancook whaler type schooner, also built in the Maritimes. That was years ago, and he was, I think, happy to look back on it as a memory rather than as an on-going reality of boating.

We got the old girl underway the next day under overcast skies and showers headed for Main Duck. It was invisible in the four mile visibility, but thanks to our federal tax dollars at work, the GPS system got us there. The wind co-operated from Timber Island on giving Sara B a pleasant easy reach, and to our delight, no one was anchored inside. So once again Sara B slipped past the willow tree and dropped the hook in the mud of the protected anchorage where her crew could watch turtles and a hunting bittern and be serenaded by the resident bull frogs.

Toby at the helm (with a rare fair wind!) from Waupoos to Main Duck
While fog surrounded the island, its land heated the air just enough to keep the sun shining on its meadows and small scrubby forests that day. Things were lush and green in sharp contrast to the year before. The poison ivy looked especially vigorous. We've never seen so many active hungry water snakes before, either. Maybe later in the season they keep a lower profile due to number of human visitors. We saw at least four snakes either on the beach or swimming ashore with fish dinners. In each case where we got close enough to look, the fish was a goby. The bass were still on their nests near shore and the carp hadn't really got going yet in their annual spawning riot at the head of the anchorage so the water was still nice and clear. One of the crew was tough enough to go snorkeling in the anchorage.

At anchor in Main Duck harbor
With a sense that perhaps big change lies ahead for the island, we made an effort to take photos of man made structures such as the lighthouse keepers' cottages, the ruins at Dulles site and other structures. I was sorry to see vandals had been busy knocking down the east wall of the small stone structure identified by one informant as the Cole cottage, right by the harbor. For now the island's timeless remote beauty remains. Loons still fish off its shores (though increasing numbers of cormorants are also hanging out here). There is still a dock master snake, still lots of turtles, and the bobolinks still call over the green grassy plains of Main Duck. No human has lived here for 24 years now. Will the island still be empty of condos and waterfront mansions and available to sailors 24 years from now?

South shore fog
On our scheduled departure day it was raining. The winds were light and not favorable, but the forecast for the next day was worse- 10 to 20 on the nose not much to the liking of an old gaffer. With the workplace time clock's imperative, it seemed prudent to start for home. Most of the trip was done under power. We had a brief brush with a not too strong squall about ten miles out. Then we chugged and plugged along against a 10 to 15 knot south wind and chop which flattened out later. As darkness fell and a bit of distant heat lightning flickered on the southern horizon, we closed with Fair Haven over now calm waters picking up the rich summer smells of Sterling Creek marsh and the land a good 3-4 miles out. We got back to our dock at around 11pm after a long day of work for the Thorneycroft. It was a good cruise- only complaint we can think of - it was too short!

Sara B's masts poke up out of the Alvar grasslands of Main Duck
A short video we took of evening gnat swarms on Main Duck that look remarkably like smoke is at Smoke.

Another video (not for the Ophidiophobic!) has a Main Duck snake taking a goby ashore for lunch - Snake.

Snake eats goby for lunch

Loon couple swims near

Bittern in classic pose

The MAIN duck; we're undecided whether squiggly white line on right represents a snake

Snake in the path

Boarded up lighthouse keepers house

Turtle wishing we'd leave

Back to indexPrevious PostNext Post