Eben got news of the the get together in Blockhouse NS to celebrate Howard Garland’s life. He told me of the event, and we knew of the long ride. In the week or so before, we had somewhat planned to go and see our friend Howard KC5532 off.
The days just before the weekend of the event there was warmth and rain here in Maine and from Bob’s observations relayed via text Halifax area had been warm as well. Local weather here in Maine was predicted to be clearing and that temperatures would drop. Text from Art on Thursday was good news that the ice was good before the rain, and that the same amount of rain was falling there as in Maine. The fact that there was a good chance that DN racing could be part of the celebration nailed it as far as we were concerned.
Eben texted me at 1845 that he was loaded up and hitting the road from CT. That gave me plenty of time to load my DN gear in/on the Alltrack while planning room for a second set of gear etc.. I did my best to keep it down to the minimum gear and had everything loaded and on the rack by the time he arrived at 2330. Boats on their sides next to each other, bottom side to bottom side with sails in between worked great. A couple of 2/4s where the tie down lines were, allowing for tight lines without the boats being pulled together. So. We had the car all loaded with our DN gear by 0030 or so. We went to bed setting the alarm for 0600. We were able to hit the road by 0800, and forgot nothing!
The weather was perfect, it was clear and cold. All of the lakes that we passed on the way to the border in Calais were frozen, clear of snow, and instilled happiness in us iceboaters. We passed a local restaurant that that had interesting food listed on the sign as we passed. Eben and I looked at each other, and decided to turn around. We were happy that we did as the food was excellent, especially the seafood chowder, wow. After lunch we gassed up on less expensive gasoline measured in gallons before crossing the border into Canada. The border crossing was no problem since this time I remembered to bring my passport. There was no request to inspect or anything like that.
On the airline to Saint John then Moncton for 4 hours or so. We then picked up 104 then 102 to take us toward the big city. I think we arrived at Terry and Cheryl’s place at about 1930 Atlantic time. I believe we gained the hour when crossing the border into Canada. 10 hour drive becomes 11 in this direction.
Very cool to find that Art Sampson was there after we climbed Terry’s very steep driveway, and made our way into the Heffler’s place. We did the normal thing after our long drive, describing the ice that we spied along the way, the perfect weather etc.. Art had the forethought to pack his sleeping bag so we were free to enjoy a bit of rum. We talked while we smelled the delicious food that was soon to be served.
Dinner was served, and we ate, talked, and enjoyed the Heffler’s wonderful hospitality for the remainder of the evening. Eben and I hit our bunks after midnight I think, and we found the next morning that Art and Terry had talked till after 0300. I would imagine a bit more rum was involved also.
In the morning I must have slept in as Art had hit the road. Coffee and some breakfast and a bit more visiting. We dressed in our go to meeting duds and drove a bit over an hour to the Best Western in Blockhouse. When we arrived there was difficulty in finding a parking space. We went in, Claudette and her boys were greeting the guests as was his brother Captain Kevin Garland. Everyone talked and related stories of happenings remembered with Howard. To my knowledge there were well over 200 folks at the event, many ice boat friends, and the crews of the Atlantic Destiny included.
We then sat down and a Reverend Talked about Howard, of the things that happened to him, and because of him through out his life. He did well, and made us laugh with a story of the way Howard met Claudette. Howard was out cruising in his first new car that he had ever purchased, a ’79 silver anniversary Trans Am. A minor rear end collision with Howard led to a date, and then love. Then we all had a bite to eat, more talk of memories etc.
After the gathering Eben and I decided to stay in Bridgwater that night because we would be racing on lake Mushamush the next day. The Best western was full up, so we went a bit up the road and found another place with a room. We then decided to drive down the shore of the Lahave river for a way, we then veered off to the east. We went to Lunenburg to see what it would be like in the winter, as we had visited there with Howard and Claudette in the summer. The town was indeed much less crowded, and all the schooners were covered up, but it was still a very interesting evening adventure.
We noticed a restaurant, the Saltshaker that was open and decided it looked like a good place for our dinner. We decided to continue our Lunenburg tour for a bit longer, continuing our exploration of this maritime town. The west end of a time zone affording us light till almost 1800. We walked a loop, up one street then back on another to the Saltshaker pub. Having a very pleasant evening adventure and using all of our bonus sunlight, it was dinnertime.
The restaurant was a good find, the food was good and conversation interesting. Local mussels, and a locally brewed pint, delicious. The place was surprisingly busy, just what we were looking for. We drove home from there taking a different route that was a bit longer, but just as scenic in the dusk. When we got back to the hotel we found the weather on television, watched that, talked a bit and I read very little of my book, lights out.
Being the iceboaters that we are, we made note of the time of the breakfast and set our alarms accordingly, we were the first ones there. Good breakfast it was, and the hot coffee did its thing, so we were able to suit up and drive the 15 minutes to Mushamush. We were not the first ones to arrive however. Chris was parked and unloading when we arrived. Deep sea diver/surfers know how to get an early start.
We untied our gear that we had secured to our racks, the gear had not moved at all. We got the gear on the ice then moved the car as others were beginning to arrive. I will take this opportunity to thank Eben for all of his help getting my gear onto and off of the ice. We were plenty early and the wind was calm, so we all set up at a relaxed pace.The wind was forecast to be in the 7 to 9 knot range by mid day. There were 10-12 DNs set up on the ice by 1000 or so.
There was a large amount of ice, but there were several pressure ridges that we had to take into account in setting our race course. Bob had scouted the ice and there was a larger plate to the north, but after a bit, we decided to set the course to the south of the major ridge. That allowed the setting of the windward mark to be in front of the set up location. We set the leeward mark, and all of us sailed to the windward mark, and parked our boats in a line. Tyler said a few words and scattered Howards ashes as we saluted. We all noticed that the wind had indeed filled in, so we did as we should and sailed down to the leeward mark and the starting line.
Not too much care was taken to choose starting positions as we did not have any numbers on the ice to designate position. We did our best to line up fairly, and in a strait a line as possible, and we did have an official, Terry Haywood that was kind enough to give us a countdown and a starting yell. There were about a dozen DN racers on the ice, and thanks to Eben’s working memory I am able to list them in what he guesses to be a rough finishing order:
- Tyler Garland
- Bob Crinion
- Eben Whitcomb
- Dave Fortier
- Art Sampson
- Chris __
- Mitchell Webber
- Terry Heffler
- Mike Webber
- Danny Mosher
- Dave Whynott
Not racing but on the ice sharing the good vibes was Doug Gaudette (PEI)
Terry Haywood our official
I was hoping to find the results on the Nova Ice Yacht Club website, but the site (domain name) was stolen so it is no more. What is important is, we had good wind, we had some good racing, and I believe we all had a blast.
I am going to include a couple of Eben’s observations that he included in the texts of data that he supplied:
Notable performances (besides the visiting NE skippers!)
Tyler Garland carried the day! He was on fire!
Moving like the wind! Bob C. Close on his heels.
Danny Mosher from PEI didn’t have a boat, but put in several notable races in a borrowed old boat & gear!
Mitchell Webber, age 15, son of Mike Webber sailed every race of the day & was first to stop and aid Chris__ when his plank came off.
Capt Clyde __ retired scallop Cap, a friend of Howards damaged his boat early in the day, went home, repaired it and raced in the last two races!
After the fantastic racing we loaded our equipment and runners into the VW. We then secured the boats, sails, planks and booms onto the rack. Claudette invited us all in for the best seafood chowder ever, and I had only eaten a granola bar with a bottle of water all day. Needless to say I had two bowls of chowder! Eben and I stayed for a while talking with Claudette, Tyler, and Matt. We had a really nice visit then had to hit the road to Fall River, about 1.5 hours away.
We arrived at the Heffler’s place, negotiated the steep driveway, parked and went on in. I think we had a bit of rum and as it was dinner time. Terry being the hospitable man that he is, fried us up some fresh Nova Scotia haddock for a meal. We did get to bed early as we wanted to get an early start in the morning, and we definitely had had a full day.
We were up at 0600 and after some coffee and breakfast we hit the road. We knew it was at least 10 hours to my place in Biddeford where we had to load Eben’s vehicle, and he then had another 4 hr drive home. It was another beautiful day for driving, visibility unlimited. We did not even need to stop for lunch as Claudette had given us a platter full of cheese, pate, smoked mussel, crackers etc… We basically only had to stop for fuel, coffee, and the US border crossing. The crossing went well, I believe in both directions the agents knew what iceboating was, and had no need to inspect.
I believe that I can say this for both Eben and myself. We had a wonderful trip to Nova Scotia. And, as Eben said, we all gave Howard a great sendoff, and we should go up at least once a year from now on!