Canada – First Impressions – by the Mom

The temperature of the air started dropping about halfway through our trip from Florida to Nova Scotia. How did we know? We got through a whole day without perspiring. Next thing, we needed jackets (or something) when sitting in the cockpit. Things were looking on the up and up.


Soon after this, the nights cooled right down and we needed blankets and beanies to survive our watches. Don’t worry, Marike and Karin J are not on watch. We kept  reading out the temperature to each other – it was such a novelty to see it dip below 20 degrees Celcius.

One would expect the cooler weather to dampen our spirits, but no, things were turning decidedly festive on Shang Du. It was with excitement that we brought our “cold clothes” from out of the deep, deep recesses where we hid them for the last year and a half. Nearly like Christmas – discovering stuff that we forgot we owned. We were more than ready for Canada.


We approached the St. Peter’s Lock – Gateway to the Bras D’or Lakes – in a stiff breeze, but with glorious sunshine all round. There were lighthouses and Church Steeples and everything was incredibly green and beautiful.


The Lock was our first experience of the wonderful, warm welcome that we would receive everywhere in Cape Breton.


The personnel were so friendly and helpful. While we were tied to the side waiting for the lock to open, the young lady on duty answered all our questions with great humour. Yes, they did sometimes get bears. Yes, in Winter everything is covered in snow. No, those are not just Pine trees, but Spruce trees and many other different kinds of trees. (To our South African minds they all just looked like Pine trees). And, Yes, they cut their own Christmas tree for Christmas every year

We slipped into the lakes during the late afternoon. We picked up a mooring buoy at the Lion’s Club Marina to spend the night. We left Shang Du after 11 days at sea, eager to see everything that the town of St. Peter could offer.dscn4488Sophia was thrilled to be on land again.


The streets are really beautiful. Every few paces we met up with a hanging ball of flowers. At first we thought these were attached to private houses, but no. It turned out that all the streetlamps in town were adorned in this way.We stopped to ‘smell the roses’.


The fresh, cool air was invigorating and we walked past one beautiful wooden house after another. We bought a lovely fresh bread from a German bakery. The shop was attached to a dwelling house. In the garden, they have their own little green house, planted with all kind of greens.

The grocery store is on the main road in town and we made it just in time before they closed. We have become much too accustomed to the shopping hours in the States (Wallmart is open 24/7).

There were real flowers in the bed in front of the store window:dsc_0080

The girls were thrilled to find a basket with a variety of fruit labled :”Fruit 4 Kids”. Of course, even though some of them often feel very grown up – they definitely saw themselves as children right then.


The day ended on a glorious high of a hot, running shower at the Marina and a lovely cuddle up to sleep soundly without worries or watches.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.