Life in Nova Scotia is tied to the sea in many ways. What better way to get to know Nova Scotia better than to enjoy a lovely summer day sailing in the Harbour on the Tall Ship Silva? As part of my Summer 2012 commitment to be a "hometown traveler," I knew my summer was going to be incomplete until getting out on the water.
The folks at Tall Ship Silva invited me aboard on a beautiful sunny Sunday. We boarded the ship right on time and were warmly welcomed by the crew. After our safety briefing, we cast off and headed out into the Harbour. It was pretty breezy, and the crew called upon some sailors-in-training to help hoist the sails.
I've lived in Halifax long enough to enjoy the charms of harbour in rain or shine, but there's something extra fun and extra spooky about sailing when one of our famous mysterious fog banks roll in. Entire parts of the city disappear before your eyes, reappearing just as quickly without warning or notice.
I had the good luck and good planning to sail on the Silva the day she was celebrating her tenth anniversary. Happy anniversary, Silva! In addition to a cruise in the Harbour, we had on-board treats - a candy bar! - and button making for the kids (and the grown-ups who asked nicely). I display it proudly on my satchel made from recycled sails. Ahoy!
Halifax Harbour is the very definition of working harbour and no two days are like. Transit ferries, container ships, cruise ships, luxury yachts, smaller craft, and kayaks share the water, and you'll never see the same thing twice when you're out there. Even the odd seal or two is known to pop its head up, looking for attention and posing for photos.
We "lost" the city in the fog pretty quickly. Luckily, we had plenty of bright sunshine overhead.
Other ships seem to appear out of nowhere. Okay, out of the fog. When this happens, it's lovely and mysterious, harkening back to the Halifax of yesteryear.
Our cruise was further enhanced with a sail past of Georges Island, a small uninhabited drumlin in the middle of the harbour. We went fairly close to the island, taking in view of the old fortifications and structures that have stood on the island for hundreds of years.
All in all, it was a lovely day for sailing around on the harbour, despite a few moments of, "Where are we?" "Is that Halifax or Dartmouth?" Trust me, it didn't really matter because we were having a whale of time roaming around the ship and keeping our eyes peeled for things to see on, and in, the water.
We also got to know some of the crew, like this guy.
Sadly for me, all good things must come to an end. There was a lot of fun as we cruised back into the dock, with the on-board crew tossing the rope to the on-shore crew in an immensely dramatic fashion. Also, everyone wore party hats to give it a sense of occasion.
Back on land, we couldn't help but notice that a determined little tugboat, our very own Theodore Tugboat, was heading into the foggy unknown.
Whether you're a Nova Scotian visitor, or full-time resident, there is always lots of Nova Scotia to see, but the seeing is best from the sea! Anchors aweigh!