Friday 27 October 2023

A foggy start ….

This fall, we have been enjoying an extended period of warm weather. Such conditions can come with an increased chance of early morning fog, which did occur in abundance this morning. With that I went along to Sunset Park to check out the photo opportunities.

Earlier this month, I took some pics from the same location in Sunset Park, when it was much brighter, to see these click on ~

This morning’s pics …

Friday 20 October 2023

Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site

Back in August we made a visit to Kejimkujik National Park (Seaside Unit), see the related blog by clicking on ~

Within that blog, I mentioned I would wait a couple months when the fall colours were out, to make a visit to Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site, well that occurred today.

Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site is a Mi’kmaq cultural landscape of 404 square kilometres (156 sq miles) of located between the South Shore and the Annapolis Valley. With lush forests, meandering rivers and island-dotted lakes, the park is a place where you can escape by canoeing, hiking and camping, the hustle and bustle of the world and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Nova Scotia.

Tuesday 10 October 2023

Seaweed, Seaweed and Seaweed ...

……. but fortunately for only about a third of the beach.

With the tide coming in I was amazed by the sight that met me at Crescent Beach, lots of thick deep seaweed. It is the first time I have seen so much at Hwy 331 end. Usually if there is any significant accumulation, it occurs at the LaHave Islands end, but today that was all perfectly clear ….!!

It did not hinder my wander, with the tide having been out for a few hours and the sun bright and warm, the seaweed was dry and easy to walk on.

Today’s pics ….

Monday 9 October 2023

Nautical Charts ...

I have mentioned many times in previous blogs about my liking and affection for the sea, beaches, rocks, rock pools, fishing boats and in fact anything nautical. I may also have lamented in the same blogs, the enormous absence I felt and the longing I had for such things during the 28 years I was landlocked in Southern Ontario, which resulted in a promise made to myself that I would never again leave the sea.

When I lived in Scotland the sea was always there at an easy reach. For years during my childhood, I was regularly out in the fishing boat Bluebell, sailing off the Ayrshire coast known as the Firth of Clyde, in the waters around the Isle of Great Cumbrae and Little Cumbrae. Later in my mid-twenties, I moved to the Basque (Euskadi) Region of Northern Spain, where I had an apartment in Neguri with a clear view of the Bay of Biscay, which many times offered up dramatic and spectacular storms. Every lunchtime it was perfectly normal for me to sit on a bench by the beach, which was just a stone's throw from my workplace in Las Arenas, to watch the tide come in or go out.

I cannot recall a time in my life when I was not thoroughly enchanted and captivated by old sailing ships and the times in which captains like James Cook, George Vancouver and Sir Francis Drake existed, or the adventurous explorations like those led by Sir John Franklin and Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton.

At school I was an extremely shy kid with very low self-confidence. Within the classroom, I would never put my hand up to answer any questions given by the teacher. It was always out of the fear of making a fool of myself, that I would avoid class participation or any level of focus on me. But one memory from when I would be about eight years old has always stuck with me, a day that I briefly broke through my enormous shyness. It was during a “pick and book to read time" in class, I would always hurry to the book shelf to grab the same one, a book about old 19th century sailing ships, filled with lots of glorious pictures. There was one particular picture that repeatedly consumed my thoughts, it showed the magnificent colourful ornamental structure of an old sailing ship’s stern with its large banks of windows ~ similar to that on HMS Victory shown below ~

I would stare at this picture for days or even weeks during book time, I imagined myself onboard sailing the seas, discovering new uncharted lands, and having one of those cabins at the back.

During the times of being held thoroughly captive within the spell cast by the picture, I desperately wanted to ask the teacher, the person who in the mind of an eight-year-old knows everything and has all the answers, if this ship is still sailing the seas and if so where could I find it. Eventually, I plucked up the enormous courage within the quietness of reading time, to get up off my hard schoolroom seat, leave the safety of my wooden desk and make that long precarious walk to the front of the classroom. Upon my arrival, the teacher looked up from her own quiet reading moment, to see young Graeme standing at her desk, I am sure she would have been shocked to see that it was me. Nervously I showed her the picture and asked my question ~ “I would really like to sail on this ship, do you think it still out there someplace …?”. She thought for a moment and then responded with something like ~ “Graeme, I am not sure, but tell me more about why you ask”. After the invitation to open up, followed with a little more persuading, I stood there at her desk, telling her of my desire and hopeful ambition to be on this ship, to sail around the world, to stop and discover remote islands and to have the great smell the sea every day. I recall Mrs. Crumley, being surprised and I suppose encouraged to have young diffident Graeme come forward, drop his solid state of reticence and speak so willingly, openly and readily about the picture and all that it meant to him.

This clear memory has stuck with me for 54 years now, it was an enormously huge deal to get up and ask the teacher that question, then tell her of my affection for the sea and old sailing ships. Looking back, it is certainly an early indication of what exactly the sea meant to me and what barriers, if any, I would be willing to overcome to have it in my daily life.

My all-time favorite movie is one I have probably watched at least three dozen times, I know in the seven years I have lived in Nova Scotia, I have watched it at least twice or three times a year. I have it on DVD and permanently stored within the PVR ~ it is the 1935 version of "Mutiny on the Bounty" with Charles Laughton as Captain Bligh and Clark Gable as Fletcher Christian. In my opinion, it is the best of the five Hollywood efforts about this true story of the mutiny aboard HMS Bounty. Every time I have watched the movie, I come away with the same thoughts of how fantastic and exciting it would to go back to 1789, with no knowledge of modern-day comforts and conveniences, to sail the trade winds all the way to Tahiti, spending months there enjoying the fruits of the land, the climate and the warm turquoise waters. Then to later join the mutiny, sailing vast areas of the Pacific with Fletcher Christian before finding the uncharted Pitcairn Island to live out my life within its plentiful remote surroundings ~ I have always thought that as being perfect.


Before moving onto the main reason for this blog, below are links to previous blogs about visiting sailing ships to Lunenburg and other things maritime ~

Tall Ships in Lunenburg

Tres Hombre

The Picton Castle

Down the other side of the river and beyond …

Some of the links above mention or have photos of The Picton Castle whose home port is Lunenburg. Currently the barque (a sailing ship with three masts) is on another year-long around the world voyage, with stops at Panama, Pitcairn Island, Tahiti, Fiji, Bali, Cape Town, St. Helena, Grenada, Bermuda and more. Anyone can sign up to be on the crew for such an adventure, there is no need or requirement to have any previous sailing knowledge or experience. It is expensive, but does come with a year of room and board, many life-changing experiences and volumes of memories that could be told for a very long time.

You can track The Picton Castle's current progress and read the captains log from the following web-site ~

The link below is to a 5-minute YouTube video which gives a brief history of The Picton Castle and more about its world excursions ~

Also on YouTube, there are eight episodes of a series titled ~ “The Tall Ship Chronicles: Amateurs Sailors Navigate the Globe!”, which covers an eighteen month around the world voyage from 2001/02 aboard The Picton Castle, it is truly great viewing.

Episode 1 can be found at the following link, with all the others listed on the YouTube page sidebar ~


The subject of this blog ~ Nautical Charts …

I guess I have got carried away a bit with all that I have written above. The actual purpose of this blog is to show off a couple of acquisitions I made during September of last year (2022) ~ those being two gigantic Nautical Charts.

Within the time we have lived here in the South Shore; a Ship and Boat Chandlery has opened up in Lunenburg. It is a truly fascinating place filled with all sort of maritime bits and pieces, or in their own words ~ “A cheeky ship's chandlery located in historic Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, chock full of thingamabobs & doodads I have yet to learn the names of …” In addition to lots of thingamabobs & doodads, they also have a healthy stock of old and extremely old Nautical Charts. They are absolutely lovely and randomly you can find one for any of the seas, oceans and coastal areas of the world. Every time I am in Lunenburg, I stop by the chandlery to wander through the treasure trove of hundreds of ship and boat thingamabobs, and then always spend time searching through the large stack of Nautical Charts in the hope of finding one for Scotland.

During that September day last year along with the great help from Julie, who was visiting us from Ontario, we found two that for me were from familiar and well-known areas of Scotland ~ there will be more on this further below after the following photos showing Lunenburg’s Ship and Boat Chandlery and many of its “thingamabobs & doodads” ….


The Nautical Charts ~

Upon finding the charts which I recall were conveniently located at the bottom of a huge pile, I had no hesitation about becoming their next proud owner. My plan was to eventually make a rustic style frame for each and then find two walls in the house with a big enough area to accommodate them. But first because the charts came with a decades old fold in each of them, I decided that they would need to spend a year under the living room area rug to flatten them out. So off they went out of sight to hopefully minimize the fold markings. Fast forward now to September 2023 and the unveiling by rolling up the area rug, to expose the perfectly flat and I believe stiffened up charts. What followed then was a couple of lovely days out in the garage with stock of recycled wood, where I made two frames. The resulting big one is 52” x 33” (1.32m x 0.84m) and the smaller one at 46” x 33” (1.17m x 0.84m).

Both charts cover Scotland’s west coast, the bigger one which dates from June 1956 is for "The Firth of Clyde, Cloch Point to Little Cumbrae Island", which happens to be the areas I sailed around during my sea fishing days on Bluebell. The second chart dating back to July 1933 covers Lower Loch Long, an area which has a strong family connection to me.

The Firth of Clyde, Cloch Point to Little Cumbrae Island ~

My fishing area

Lower Loch Long ~

Blairmore and Kilmun can be seen on this part of the chart

Within the Loch Long chart are the coastal villages of Blairmore and Kilmun. From the early years of the 20th century, my great grandparents Hugh Wright and Janet Strath had a house on the beautiful waterfront at Blairmore. Along the shore from Blairmore is Kilmun, where they and other family members are buried at Kilmun Parish Church.

The following blog from our 2019 visit to Scotland has a number of photos which show how beautiful this coastal area is ~

Scotland 2019 part 2 ~ The Shore