17 Miles for a Bolt

This breaking bolts on an engine that’s 30 years old is getting nerve-wracking. How many more will break – and is it because this particular Yanmar is the ONE model that doesn’t have any anode protection? It took a long time for me to believe that there wasn’t a pencil zinc for the heat exchanger but no, there isn’t. And maybe this is why it’s better if there is.

When the Phillips head gets chewed up over the years, you can still use a wrench on it. Which is good, until the wrench lets me apply more force than the metal can deal with.

Broken Bleeder Bolt

So that one foggy-day…which was gorgeous, by the way…

looking west toward Moosebec Reach

…turned into a longer sojourn. The close-up above is the bleeder bolt for the fuel injection pump, so there’s no going anywhere without it. If we’d been in Sand Cove, we could have sailed off the hook and gone wherever we needed to be, but this anchorage was tight so we didn’t see that as an option.

We’d chosen that spot because it was remote and protected (my favorite combination) but we were about 5 nautical miles from the only shipyard on the mid-Downeast coast. I called around and found someone who made it happen – a replacement for the part delivered before the Labor day weekend. We were in for one epic dinghy ride.

On the way to the shipyard

We started off chipper, but more than an hour folded-up in a little boat gets old and creaky. It was interesting viewing, with the rocks and ledges and islands clearing out in the middle and then getting closer together again as we approached Pig Island Gut (so much brutal poetry in all that beauty).

We made landfall and walked seven miles for provisions and an $11 banjo bolt that wasn’t broken (with a sub-part bleeder bolt that was) before heading back to the little boat for another epic fucking dinghy ride…yay?! There were two stretches of totally open water with opposing wind and current that was a little on the humbling side and we had a bunch of groceries keeping our legs from moving which made for achy knees but we bit that bullet and did that run.

There’s no land for planting around there, so I (Dena) have to assume anyone living somewhere like this fishes for food.

Huddled for protection
Mink Island

As soon as we had that new bolt (no I [James] didn’t get that photo) installed, we left for Cross Island and the Navy’s VLF antenna array.

Cross Island

Okay so I (James again) am a great big antenna geek and I make it a point to see all the wild and crazy antenna freak-outs that I can and this one is one of the freakiest…a 28 “post” antenna array that takes up 3,200 acres of prime beach front property just to guide our (the U-S-of-A’s) Polaris missiles when they go to destroy people we (Dena and James) probably have no beef with. But it is a fascinating feat of monkey-engineering.

VLF Submarine Communication Station Maine
VLF – Very (frick’n) Low Frequency

A working boat homeported from Cutler, ME, burbled by us at a respectable speed. They’d been partying – about 8 people enjoying themselves, looking near enough in build and coloring to be family. I heard one of them say “Washington” and wasn’t all that surprised when they circled around to ask us questions and enjoy our story…as told at a light shout from one anchored boat to a drifting one. It was a whole lot of quintessentially down-eastern fun!

Halfway to Grand Manan

After a peaceful night at anchor, we headed across the entrance to the Bay of Fundy for Grand Manan Island. We passed Machias Seal Island but didn’t get close enough to see the protected puffins there. The sailing was as grand as the island, and the strong Fundy currents we headed across pushed us around a bit but didn’t delay us. The perfect introduction to unfamiliar waters.

We moved in fairly close to the beach (with beachgoers even though it seemed awfully chilly for being in those cold-ass waters) and anchored a safe distance from the large moorings, one of which had a work barge on it, and the fish pens, which were numerous.

We’re in New Brunswick! I (Dena) have never ever been here before and I’m not sure I ever will be again.

The lion is both for the British GeoIII and the German Brunswick coats of arms, which makes me that much more confused about how those battles ever made sense to the people fighting them. The heraldic ship is for, you know, shipbuilding and shipping.

After taking down our bright shiny Q flag once we were cleared in (a simple phone call and vaccination status app form), we flew our ridiculously large but very enthusiastic courtesy flag. Thanks for welcoming us to Canada!


Happy to be here!

Below the great circle.

Of course, the next thing we did? Walked.


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