The calendar format does not really give me room to expand on the image descriptions. The images really deserve a bit more background information and I thought it would be interesting to share that with you.
Let’s get some technical stuff out of the way before I move on to telling the stories of how the images came to be. All the images in the calendar other than the Carter’s Beach shot, were shot with a Nikon D800 with a Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VRII lens. Carter’s Beach was shot with a Nikon D800 with a Nikon 28-85 f/3.5-4.5. The 70-200 seems to be my favourite lens for this kind of work as it is often difficult to get close to your subject. All images were shot in RAW format and post processed in Lightroom CC and occasionally Photoshop CC. Calendar design was done in InDesign CC and exported to a high resolution PDF file for printing on a Xerox J75 digital press.
The images, other than December’s, were taken while my wife Jane and I were travelling along the Nova Scotia coast aboard our Nonsuch 30 Dexterity II during the summer of 2015. Jane often spots a great image long before I see it. She has a great “eye”.
Cat Nap, Fog Hollow and Dexterity II rafted together at Carter’s Beach outside of Port Mouton, Nova Scotia. We spent a couple of nights here and really enjoyed the pristine beach and turquoise waters along with the company of our friends.
Jane and I are based in Halifax, Nova Scotia where Jane is a marketing consultant and I am a print industry professional. We spend as much of our summers as we can aboard Dexterity II. The past few years we have based our sailing out of Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. Next year brings a change as we plan to head towards Cape Breton Island and the Bras d’Or Lakes. The 2017 Calendar may have a slightly different flavour than the past few years.
My calendars are produced in ever increasing numbers each year and I give them to friends and acquaintances throughout the year. I often give calendars to cruising yachts we meet up with which allows me to claim a global distribution. I really enjoy sharing what I see with others and at the same time I hope to build a bit of a retirement business from my photographic adventures.
The first image in the 2016 calendar is in my mind the finest image I captured all year. The schooner Columbia reaching in to Lunenburg Bay on the 31st of July in the late afternoon.
Columbia reaching in to Lunenburg Bay after coming out of a thick fog
There was talk in the yachting community that the schooner Columbia may be coming to Nova Scotia. It started in the late winter and in the spring Columbia announced her sailing schedule. She would arrive in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia on or about July 28, 2015.
I was excited. I had followed Columbia’s construction in Florida for over a year. She was a replica of the fishing schooner that had sailed out of Gloucester, Massachusetts in the 1920’s. She was crewed mainly by Nova Scotians and came very close to capturing the famed Fisherman’s Trophy from famed Nova Scotia schooner Bluenose during that time.
The original Columbia was lost in the famous “August Gales of 1927” off Sable Island, Nova Scotia and the ship and all her crew were lost. The new Columbia was planning a ceremony off Sable Island to commemorate her namesake’s sinking and would be in Lunenburg for almost three weeks.
During her stay in Lunenburg she was having some maintenance work done. Her masts, booms, rigging, blocks and sails were all made by Nova Scotian craftspeople. I had a chance to speak briefly with head rigger Dorian Steele who had spent several months in Florida during her construction. Dorian was in touch with the captain of the Columbia and proved a valuable resource as to the time of her arrival in Lunenburg.
Dorian Steele at the helm of the pretty little schooner Sea Change. Nicely detailed, the bronze dolphin weighing her flag really caught my eye.
Jane and I sailed from Halifax to Lunenburg on Sunday the 26th of July. It was a quiet sail with light winds so we ended up motor sailing most of the way to keep our cruising speed up to 7 knots. We secured wharf space at Zwicker’s Wharf for a few days and settled in.
Jane and I both were suffering with a summer cold and when we awoke Monday morning things were worse. We decided to take a cab up to the Lunenburg Hospital emergency department to have a doctor check us out before we headed to more isolated areas. The Columbia was due the following day so after several hours at the hospital followed by some sage doctor’s advice and a quick trip to the drug store we decided to take it easy and let the medication do its work.
Dexterity II tucked in at Zwicker’s Wharf. The yacht to our stern was Alia Vita, a lovely 50′ Catana catamaran from Liverpool, England which had come in for repairs.
We were feeling much better Tuesday morning and keenly awaiting the arrival of Columbia. We walked down the wharves to check out the Bluenose II which was to sail out and meet her as she came in to the Bay. There was a group of people working on her steering gear and a crew member told us they would be out of service for the rest of the week. Any chance of getting a shot of the two schooners coming up Lunenburg Bay had vanished.
We went back to the boat to do some reading and resting. Columbia was not expected until late that afternoon. I checked her position on my AIS system and found her alongside in Rockport, Maine. She would have to be a very fast schooner indeed to arrive in Lunenburg late that afternoon.
Dorian’s crew had been working on Alia Vita so I asked one of them if they knew when Columbia was to arrive. Friday, late in the afternoon was the reply. What could we do? We had planned to be off sailing for two weeks but the main purpose of the trip was to photograph Columbia. It was no hardship to continue our stay and nurse our colds.
We got to know Rob and Frances on Alia Vita a bit. They were live aboards and had not been this far north before. They had been sailing the Caribbean for several months and came north to enjoy some cooler weather. They both were quite impressed with Lunenburg and the facilities that were available to them. Rob made the interesting observation that when the dolphins off your bow become seals it’s time to turn south. And that’s exactly what they did after getting their repairs completed. Jane made sure they had one of my calendars before they headed out.
We later saw Alia Vita at Carter’s Beach and then they were off to Liverpool and then Shelburne before making the crossing to Maine. I’m sure they are sitting in the warm sun as I deal with our first snowfall of the winter.
Sitting in Lunenburg is not such a bad thing. We enjoyed several of the excellent restaurants including Magnolia Grill, Jane’s favourite. We visited the local shops, spent time around the wharves talking to some of the hundreds of tourists that arrive from all over the globe every day, visited the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic, and most importantly managed to take some very nice photographs.
Wednesday night racing in Lunenburg Harbour. This is Monomoy, the longboat off the barque Picton Castle, exhibiting some of the finer points of small boat racing.
Wednesday evening is race night in Lunenburg Harbour and every small boat in the harbour seems to participate. These are not just any small boats. They are classic boats with beautiful lines from another era. Groups of people arrive at the wharves to be ferried out to their vessels by the We Be Jammin’, a small south seas style open boat that seems to be used by whomever has the whim to take her out.
The race is more of a cruise or a sail than a race. I’ve never figured out how a winner is determined. After a set amount of time or an unidentified course is completed the boats all gather at the Lunenburg Bay Yacht Club to celebrate the completion of the race. This is a small floating building on the far side of the harbour in the shallow water near the golf course. The celebrations go on well in to the evening and eventually the We Be Jammin’ returns the racing crews to the dock.
Lunenburg Bay Yacht Club sits quietly at her mooring awaiting the arrival of the crews from the Wednesday Night race.
Another example of the classic small boats taking part in the Wednesday night racing
Friday arrived and we were assured that the Columbia would arrive later in the day. Columbia’s visit was being kept a bit low-key. Very few people we spoke to actually knew of her pending arrival. Shortly after noon I noticed that Dorian’s schooner had headed out with a crowd on board. Shortly after one of the tour boats left with a full load. It was time to head out on the Bay.
The weather was good. A light wind from the southwest with clear skies but the ever persistent fog bank was hanging over Cross Island at the mouth of the Bay. Jane and I left the dock, pulled up the sail and headed out the Bay. Columbia was not showing up on our AIS system so we had no idea where she was or when she would arrive. The dense fog at the mouth of the Bay prevented us from looking down the coast to see her coming.
We sailed in and out of the bay for hours. Out to the edge of the fog and then back to the entrance of Lunenburg Harbour along with Dorian’s schooner Sea Change, the Tour Boat, and later in the day several small RIBs with what appeared to be people from the local news outlets aboard. We would all be jockeying for the best position when Columbia arrived.
We knew approximately where Columbia would appear through the fog but the difficult part would be getting in position to get some nice shots of her as she sailed up the Bay. Dexterity II is a cruising boat and was heavily laden with supplies for a two week adventure. The maximum speed we could expect to get out of her was approximately 6 knots with the sail up and the engine pushing as well. The plan we devised would be to immediately start heading in to the Bay the minute we saw Columbia and follow her from ahead until she would overtake us and pass by.
The afternoon wore on and at approximately 4:30pm Columbia broke through the fog. It was an amazing site. Jane and I both had tears in our eyes. She was absolutely stunning. As she approached the sun broke through and lit her up against the grey fog. We just sat and watched for a few minutes then suddenly realized that she was closing in quickly so we set our plan into action. We would only get to do this once so it had to go well.
I was at the helm with my camera gear sitting on the seat cushions at the ready. I have this unfortunate habit of sailing the boat while taking photos. I like to think it lets me have a solid control of the angles and lines as I compose shots. The truth is Jane is equally competent at the helm and I probably would have gotten more time to compose my shots had I put her on the helm but the clock was ticking and we were steaming away making almost 7 knots with the diesel pushed to 3000 rpm. Jane was on lookout and doing a great job pointing out possible shots and headings that would work better.
Columbia sailed up my stern and then along my starboard side. I was awe struck. I just couldn’t believe the beauty of this schooner. Her hull was glistening in the sun, her sails were clean and full, and the crew was clearly enjoying the sail in the Bay. The power of this schooner was apparent as she silently slid past us. You could feel the wind pushing her sails. It was incredible.
I spent most of my time looking through the lens knowing that I would get to see her in the images I was taking. Up the Bay she went and just outside Lunenburg Harbour she stopped to drop her sails and to give us the time we needed to catch up to her.
What follows is a few of the hundreds of shots I took as we sailed with her in Lunenburg Bay and then followed her in to Lunenburg Harbour and her dock at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic.
An amazing ship. A few weeks later we got to meet the captain and crew while Columbia lay alongside in Lunenburg. They had seen my images and contacted me to see if there were any more they could look at. I was a bit surprised to find out that they wanted to use my photos to get a peek at the set of their rigging. Something the crew rarely gets to see from the angles my photos were taken.
While speaking with the captain I learned that while building the Columbia they also built a second sister ship. The steel hull was currently in five sections but the yard’s plans were to weld the sections together and complete the hull then search for a buyer before completing the ship. It would be a sight to see the two of them under sail.
We’ll leave Columbia here and move on to the next month in the calendar – February.
L’Hermione arrived in Lunenburg on the 18th of July after sailing from France and visiting several ports along the US East coast. She was on her way home to France, making a quick stop over in Lunenburg and another in St. Pierre et Miquelon before crossing the Atlantic.
I was unable to get to Lunenburg by boat for her arrival so Jane and I drove down to watch her be escorted into the harbour by the Bluenose II and a fleet of spectator vessels.
My March image is the Oxygen 43 Kejadenn anchored of Carter’s Beach near Port Mouton, Nova Scotia. We had arrived at Carter’s Beach after travelling down from Mahone Harbour. We joined up with our friends on Cat Nap in Mahone Bay and met up with more friends on Fog Hollow as we passed the LaHave River. We planned to spend two or three days at the beach depending on the weather. We had seen Kejadenn in Lunenburg Harbour earlier in the year but had no idea how far they had come. There were a lot of yachts from France around Nova Scotia in 2015 but I have no idea why. Several of them were travelling with L’Hermione.
To give you some idea how far this small yacht plans to travel below is a map of their planned trip. The red line represents the route to their final destination and the black line represents the route home. Quite a journey but even more so when you consider that the couple is travelling with two small children.
Another shot of Kejadenn sitting at anchor off of Carter’s Beach. Look at that beautiful water!
April brings a nice shot of the Queen Mary 2 leaving Halifax, Nova Scotia. She was in town to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the founding of Cunard Lines in Halifax.
The Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron had organized a flotilla to see the Queen Mary 2 off so Jane and I joined in with Dexterity II. It was a beautiful evening as we watched the Queen Mary 2 leave her birth, circle the harbour and then do a close “fly by” of the piers where thousands of people were watching.
A nice shot of Dexterity II with her Union Jack and Queen Mary 2 in the background. Copyright AP Images for Cunard.
Magical, part of the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron flotilla, escorts Queen Mary 2 out of Halifax Harbour.
Next up on the calendar is the Raft of Sea Rays shot. When Jane and I are both working through the week we often will spend a weekend over at MacNab’s Island in Halifax Harbour. In the early spring it’s a great way to give the boat a bit of a shake down before heading to more distant places. You very quickly find the things you forgot to put on board, what’s not working, and I’m able to make adjustments to the rig. The Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron has two moorings off the island and if we are lucky one of them is unoccupied. While on the mooring in Wreck Cove we often see this group of power boaters rafted up.
They raft together on a single mooring ball with usually 2 people per boat. These boats all have large swim platforms off their sterns with a transom door that allows the various crews to visit from boat to boat by walking across the platforms. When the evening meal time comes around the BBQ’s hanging on the stern rails are lit and the chef stands on the platform to do the grilling. Looks like a lot of fun. As the sun sets the boats are lit up in a variety of ways and the music gets a little louder. The party doesn’t run too late but more than once we have witnessed some dead batteries in the morning.
One of my favourite places in Nova Scotia to spend a few days is Carter’s Beach just outside of Port Mouton about 10 miles down the coast from Liverpool. The beach is really three crescents along with a small island or two and a freshwater stream. The main beach area is approximately a half mile long.
There is access by road to a small parking lot for about a dozen cars near the beach and during the week it’s not unusual to find that you have the entire area to yourself. The beach is sheltered from Nova Scotia’s prevailing southwest winds and as such is a wonderful anchorage for cruising yachts.
The water is quite deep up to the edge of the beach and quite cold. Not really a place to go for a swim but a terrific walking beach. Visiting yachts are a common sight here as it is an easy day’s sail from Shelburne, a common port for visiting yachts to arrive in after crossing the Bay of Fundy from the United States.
It’s back to Lunenburg Harbour for my next image. The Maude steams by scallop draggers at their berths in front of Adams & Knickle Ltd. I believe the Maude is operated by the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic and is a fine example of an inshore fishing vessel from times past.
The Cachalot I and Freedom 99 along with Chockle Cap make regular trips to the scallop fishing grounds. They seem to stay out for 7 to 10 days and bring back thousands of pounds of fresh scallops. You can purchase them just up the street from the wharf at the Adams and Knickle store. Jane and I pan fried a nice dinner of scallops on Dexterity II while we were tied up on the next wharf over. Really can’t be much fresher when you are sitting in your boat eating scallops that came off the boat next door. As an easy alternative you can walk one street up and visit the Magnolia Grill for their pan fried scallops off the same boat and served with rhubarb chutney and a caesar salad. Absolutely one of my favourite meals.
The famous red Adams and Knickle buildings are just south of the berth for Nova Scotia’s famous fishing schooner Bluenose II, seen here sitting at her berth one summer evening while visitors tour her decks.
The 180′ three masted barque Picton Castle sits in her home port of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. She had just completed her sixth circumnavigation of the globe in the spring of 2015. The sail training vessel, as a write this note in January of 2016, is currently on a TransAtlantic voyage which will see her arrive back home in April 2016.
The vessel then quickly provisions and picks up a new crew for another amazing voyage. This time heading out to the UK, France, Germany, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, the Canary Islands, Senegal, Cape Verde, the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Bermuda, USA and Canada returning to Lunenburg in the summer of 2017.
The Marblehead to Halifax Ocean Race is held every second year and is hosted by the Boston Yacht Club and the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron. The first race was held in 1905 and continued on sporadically until 1939 when it was decided the race would be run every second year opposite the Newport Bermuda Race. I was lucky enough to be the official finish line photographer for the 2015 edition of the race.
This photo of Actacea, a 1971 Hinckley Bermuda 40 Yawl, was taken as she approached the finish line off Hangman’s Beach in Halifax Harbour. While not winning the race she was 1st in her division and received the Olin J. Stephens trophy for best performance in the Marblehead to Halifax Ocean Race and the Newport to Bermuda Ocean Race which took a first place spot in the year before. Actacea is owned by Mike and Connie Cone of Philadelphia. In 1996 the Cone’s raced her in their first Newport Bermuda Race coming in last overall. Twenty years later, after an amazing list of improvements, she was first overall. Quite an example of perseverance.
The first boat to cross the finish line (line honours) in the 2015 Marblehead to Halifax Ocean Race was the 40′ Carkeek HP 40 Spookie. She started the race off “Tinker’s Gong” near Marblehead Harbour and finished the 360 nautical mile course with an uncorrected time of 2:04:24:25.
The image for the month of November takes us back to Carter’s Beach and the beautiful Swan 77 Cygnus Montanus as she appeared through the fog early one morning.
I really don’t have much more information about her other than she is registered in Sweden and is currently for sale for approximately $2M USD as the owner has purchased a new vessel. I considered making an offer but …
The photo below is a shot of the main saloon I took from the Nautor’s Swan website. It gives you some idea of the kind of comforts one can expect on a large sailing yacht. Very much different from the below decks of my Dexterity II however I should mention that both yachts have a lovely teak interior. The similarities end there.
Finally comes the December shot of ice boating on the Northwest Arm in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This shot was taken in early March of 2015. On board is one of the hardy Haliburton boys who grew up along the Arm and whose family has a long history of enjoying the waters off our coast.
It’s fairly rare for the Northwest Arm to freeze from the round about at the head of the Arm to the Dingle Tower about mid way along it’s length. As a youngster in the 1970’s I can remember walking across the Arm one winter just south of the Waegwaltic Club on rather thin ice. The shot below was taken in March of 2003 when we had a similar freeze over as in 2015.
And this shot was again taken in March of 2003. That’s my daughter India out for a sail and if you look closely in the background you can see ice boaters and skaters enjoying the recently frozen Northwest Arm. Morrison’s are a hardy bunch!
That’s it for this year’s calendar. I’m already working on the 2017 edition and hope to have more great images for you to enjoy. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me using the contact or comments forms below.