Monday, June 21, 2010

Crossing to Newfoundland

The drive to Cape Breton where we would catch the ferry to Newfoundland was one of the worst we have had weather wise. There was wind, rain and even a little sleet and hail, but at least the Canadian roads were nice and smooth. To top it off, when we arrived at Adventure East Campground the car battery was once again dead so we had to jump it. Another problem to be solved. As if to signal better days ahead the rain stopped long enough for us to set up. The next day we were up early (6:30 AM) and had clear skies for the forty mile drive to the North Sidney only to discover we could have dry camped at the ferry for free. Oh well.

We were looking forward to a sunny, but windy 100 mile ferry ride across Cabot Strait between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. But soon after checking in at 9:15 for the anticipated 11:30 departure we learned that the sailing had been delayed to 12:45. We soon saw the reason for the delay as our ship the MV Caribou was moved and replaced by the MV Joseph & Clara Smallwood. At 11:15 the loading began with everything from cars to trailer trucks and about a dozen RVs going on to the two vehicle decks. We could not stay in the rig during the crossing which was not a big deal for the expected six hours trip. But again, soon after we were on the passenger deck it was announced that the departure was being delayed further by a couple of problems with the ship. One was a computer satellite issue which caused everything from the ATM to the radar to stop working and the other problem was they could not close the bow door we had driven through to get aboard. NOT GOOD!! Finally at 4:00 everything was ship shape and we were on our way with only a slight list to starboard that made walking from side to side like going up and down a ramp. That's the bad news, the good news was the crossing was uneventful and dinner was on the house because of the long delay. We also had plenty of time to talk to our fellow travelers who included a circus troupe of 35, vacationers and fellow Escapees who were going for the summer. There was even shipboard entertainment by Bugs and Debbie. I guess the crew knew what they were doing as we made it to Port aux Basque at 11:00 PM. That is 11:00 PM Newfoundland time which is ½ hour later than Atlantic time and 1½ hour different from WashPA. This is our sixth time zone this year.
We did not have a reservation near Port aux Basque as we had planned to have enough daylight to find a spot we had heard about along the highway 15 miles out of town. That had to change as we have never driven the rig at night and the moose infested roads of Newfoundland was not the place to start. The ship steward told us there was a small shopping plaza just a couple miles away where we could park. We got off the exit as he told us and pulled into a closed gas station with another rig from the ferry, but did not see any place to park. Within a minute we met our first Newfie who stopped and asked if we needed help. After explaining our situation he said the building across the street was empty and that we could park there and NO ONE would bother us. Welcome to Newfoundland.
Spray from the ocean waves blows over the Canso Causeway as we enter Cape Breton.
The MV Caribou, the ship we were supposed to sail on.
Cars, RVs and trucks lined up before boarding the ferry.
RVs driving onto the top vehicle deck as a trailer truck heads for the lower deck. The huge bow was the thing that would not close and delayed our departure.
Opus looks to the crew for directions.
It was just a little tight with four rows of vehicles squeezed on board.
Finally!!! Departing North Sidney Harbour.
The way things started out I figured I had better know how to use this thing.
Bugs and Debbie helped pass the time with their lively show.

1 comment:

MarkandRenita said...

They couldn't close the bow! A slight list! Sleet! What an excellant adventure.