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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Port Halifax, Nova Scotia

Halifax Port and Excursion
Moving right along, the ship is cruising at 17 kts or about 20 mph around the peninsula to Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Our stay in Saint John, New Brunswick was excellent but a bit tiring due to the bus driven excursion.  I have come to the conclusion that when the cruise includes a number of ports, bus riding on tours is not avoidable if you want to see the area. We may return via land in the future to spend more time exploring the area and coast.  We arrived in Halifax docking about 10 am. with planned sail time at 8 pm that evening. 

Halifax is a major city in Nova Scotia with an excellent port facility for all manner of ships and boats.  Cruising overnight included much fog again.  Sitting in the Schooner Bar we count not see the ships bow, yes this did include some good wine.  Once again, I wonder about the electronics on the ship and how well the captain can see to dock.  Of course a pilot boat came along side to deliver the local pilot to assist the ship. As we docked the rains continued, our first day of rain along the cruise.  Not

We had chosen the Big Pink Bus Hoponhopoff tour option.  This is good in that you purchase the ticket and can hop on and off the bus which passes your area every 30 min.  The operaters can actually herd cats, in that they can manage a number of passengers, speaking several languages, to board and enjoy the tours.  We had an insightful conversation with a couple from Chile.  The wife did not speak any English but the husband was near fluent and to make matters better is a wine broker for Chilean wines.  He did give us a short education on Chilean wines, encouraging our wine intake on a meal by meal basis. It remains a wonder how we can communicate without an interpreter in so many languages.  Just propose a toast and raise your glass and all will follow. 

Our first stop on the tour was the Maritime Museum along the waterfront of course.  Here is the best Titanic exhibition with many photos, messages and pictures. It seems Halifax was the nearest port when the Titanic called for help and ships were send to pick up passengers and bodies.  One interesting fact, at one point a ship captain had to stop embalming victims due to ship capacity and buried at sea many victims.  The captain stated he continued to embalm first class passengers with identification in that their survivors may inherit an estate. While the 2nd and 3rd class victims had less and were buried at sea.  Think about this when you book your cruise!!!!

I must say, the museum was excellent with many exhibits for steam and sail, along with two ships at dock you can tour.  The rain continued, However, we did attempt to view one ship but after challenging the rain, we discovered the ship was closed. Not to be discouraged, we took photos of the ship and a large yacht docked on the pier.  Just across the pier was a small sailboat which was dwarfed by the yacht.  This sailboat would reappear soon in our visit.

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After our museum tour we debated our next stop and decided is was time for lunch and a pint of the local beer.  One must enjoy the flavors of each port you know.  We asked about a good pub and were directed to the Old Triangle!  As our Irish luck would have it we found a wonderful bartender with all the local knowledge of brews, spirits and wines. He entertained us with stories of the area and samples of the local wine, vodka, whiskey and of course beer.  In the midst of this we tried the local Haddock and potatoes. We did not know the area is known for its potatoes (Irish remember) and made a wonderful vodka from the potatoes. 

While being entertained at the Old Triangle we met two interesting couples.  Denise visited with a couple who are retired Navy and have cruised the world. They are from Florida and continue their journeys after leasing their home to the returning children.  What a great idea. They told children who wanted to return home due to quiting school, etc, that they could move in but had to sign a lease.  We will keep this in mind for our experience with adult children.  The other couple sat next to me with quite a bit of news. It seems they own and sail the small sailboat docked adjacent to the SUPER YACHT we viewed at the museum.  They have sailed from Toronto on their way to Florida and Cuba.  While part of this is our planned adventures, sailing in the Maritime offers a different adventure and challenges.  Sailing at 45 deg. latitude includes colder weather, whales, shipping and new currents.  They explained the Labrador Current flowing south, which they will ride to gain speed. 

 They spent last winter on board the boat, iced in the Toronto Harbor and now live full time aboard. It seems the wife has helped deliver boats in several areas of the world and has much experience. They did explain how we could sail our trawler up the Hudson River to Quebec and follow their journey along the Maritime. This would expand our cruise to an area of the world not many private boats cruise.  That Great Loop cruise just gets larger!  See you at Prince Edward Island.

aboard "Explorer of the Seas
Denise and Barry, Deckhands

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