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Old 08-09-2020, 20:42   #1
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Escape from Nova Scotia

Good day all

As some of you are aware, in May we sailed from Antigua to Halifax due to the Caribbean lock downs at the time and the pending hurricane season. We would like to leave Halifax and get back to warmer climates before winter.

Our plan had been to bounce down the US east coast, having a leisurely trip instead of the epic beast of a trip we had when we headed north. Unfortunately though, US customs has advised us that the US border is closed for all Canadian registered pleasure craft. They have said this closure extends to ďin transitĒ vessels such as ourselves. This approach rules out the leisurely stroll option.

Given that we are looking at alternatives. Leaving and heading pretty much due south, via Bermuda and ending up in one of the West Indies. Of course, which one will depend on the restrictions in place at the time.

The other is to sail east, across to Europe and into the Med.

We know that neither option is great for us due to timing. We are in no rush and are prepared to wait to late October, but do not want to be stuck in Canada for the snow and cold season.

So, we put this out to the broader knowledge base on this forum. We are indifferent as to the Caribbean or the Med. Where would you chose to go if you are in our shoes with the current time of year?

Look forward to the responses
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Old 08-09-2020, 21:02   #2
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Re: Escape from Nova Scotia

Salty Dawg Sailing Association has a rally from Virginia to Antigua. I have asked if there is any way for them to help get Canadian boats south. Maybe you could join off shore, if nothing else. Find them on line and explain your need. The usual departure is Nov 2 or so. They may also be able to help you negotiate the red tape.
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Old 09-09-2020, 02:40   #3
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Re: Escape from Nova Scotia

Well, the Bahamas are open.

Going to the Med this time of year would be quite a slog.

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Old 09-09-2020, 05:39   #4
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Re: Escape from Nova Scotia

Thanks Nicholson. That is a good idea and I will reach out.

Little wing - it’s a slog anywhere this time of year from Nova Scotia. That’s why we were wanting to work our way down the US coast instead of the big offshore run. Once we get down south, we will stay down there.
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Old 09-09-2020, 05:59   #5
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Re: Escape from Nova Scotia

I heard the Atlantic is closed completely to Canadian cruisers! I guess we Americans will be forced to endure empty anchorages this season.
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Old 09-09-2020, 06:05   #6
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Re: Escape from Nova Scotia

Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleWing77 View Post
Well, the Bahamas are open.

Going to the Med this time of year would be quite a slog.

LittleWing77
Doubt if you could enter the Bahamas after a voyage from Nova Scotia due to their entry restrictions that require a negative PCR test taken no longer than 5 days prior to arrival.
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Old 09-09-2020, 06:31   #7
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Re: Escape from Nova Scotia

Personally I like the Med idea. Being no expert I am wondering about the weather opportunity as tropical weather declines and before winter storm season arrives. But the idea of wintering within walking distance of a nice cafe and patissere sounds lovely.
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Old 09-09-2020, 06:46   #8
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Re: Escape from Nova Scotia

I would head for Bermuda at the first really good weather window. North Atlantic winter gales can start by October 1 and windows become few and short. Once in Bermuda it’s an easy trip to the Caribbean and there is no hurry. Or you could just stay the winter.

Get a Covid test just before leaving.

If the weather forecast turns bad or you have problems I would enter a US port for shelter and call for instructions. Or you could take the risk that you won’t be noticed. In any case, don’t go ashore. Provincetown is a convenient spot about half way that breaks the trip into two four day stretches. Most likely they will simply require you to not go ashore and to leave as soon as safe.
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Old 09-09-2020, 07:11   #9
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Re: Escape from Nova Scotia

Might want to check US regulations again. On 02 July 2020 we met a Canadian cruiser on Lake Ontario coming from Bahamas bound for Toronto. He had a US cruising permit, I saw it.

Maybe different conditions, different timing, or there is a way. I dunno.
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Old 09-09-2020, 08:46   #10
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Re: Escape from Nova Scotia

Thanks Tetepare. Most recent border closure extension included marine traffic. All prior ones had not. The reason for this inclusion of marine pleasure traffic was because of Canadians and Americans crossing the border like crazy on the Great Lakes.

This is as per many conversations with US CBP. The current extension of closure is to Sept 21 and it is unknown if it will be renewed with the same conditions thereafter.
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Old 09-09-2020, 08:53   #11
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Re: Escape from Nova Scotia

You might want to start shopping for parkas.
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Old 09-09-2020, 08:56   #12
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Re: Escape from Nova Scotia

The Med has a winter. True most of the southern parts such as Spain do not have snow or ice, but it can be wet and windy and night temperatures can drop to 10c to 12c. We used to spent the summer in the Med and from November to May in the Caribbean. Perfect.
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Old 09-09-2020, 10:28   #13
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Re: Escape from Nova Scotia

That's picklesville. In one way, a good problem to have: places to go and time to get there.
A mad thought: would it be possible to quarantine the boat itself (no one aboard for a couple of weeks) in the Halifax shipping port facilities, then bring in a US skipper & crew for the sole purpose of delivering the boat south? An application to officialdom on the letterhead of a yacht delivery firm may appeal to officialdom.
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Old 09-09-2020, 11:21   #14
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Re: Escape from Nova Scotia

I suggest you "shop" around, when you call the border patrol. Try south of Boston. We're also leaving NS this month for the US coast.
Where are you now? We're in Isle Madame, and should hit hfx in a week or so. Just a couple stops after Hfx, then, if all goes well, off to the USA.

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Old 09-09-2020, 11:47   #15
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Re: Escape from Nova Scotia

Iíve done the trip from Halifax to Bermuda twice, and both times we got hammered. I think itís a bit of a crap shoot. The passage is too long for a slow boat to get an accurate forecast; perhaps you are fast enough. I have heard of boats having a fine sail. South from Bermuda is lovely, pick a good departure window and pick up trade winds after a few days.

First time we left Halifax with a good forecast but three days out a late season hurricane started south east of Bermuda. We never actually made Bermuda. Ended up avoiding the hurricane by making a big curve toward the US coast, then beating back upwind for several days to get back on course for the eastern Caribbean. We had expected to be seven days to Bermuda but took over twenty to reach Anguilla.

A few years ago we did the trip again leaving Halifax at the beginning of December after all hurricane activity had finished. That trip was cold, even after crossing the gulf stream. We also had strong adverse winds approaching Bermuda. Spent Christmas and New Years there recovering.

If I were to do it again (probably wonít) I think I would leave much earlier and wait out the end of hurricane season in Bermuda.
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