Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bluenose 2 ~ Lunenburg, NS, Canada

There are so many things to see on a Cross Canada RV trip that it is almost impossible to make out a list ! It isn’t possible to see it all but there are so many things we should not miss. One thing that had not entered my mind was seeing the Bluenose. You know, the schooner ship that has been on our Canadian dime since 1937?  I didn’t even know where it was, but let me share that experience with you.
During our stay in Nova Scotia, we were spending time on the Bluenose Coast, which stretches more than 320 km (200 mi). That means there is a lot to see and where shall we begin? We’re staying in an RV park near Mahone Bay, NS so we just get on the road and set out to do some sightseeing.

Lunenburg, NS docks
We arrived in the seaside town of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia which it turns out, is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. Who knew? We make our way through the old world charm of this seafaring village and arrive at the waterside docks.

Bluenose 2
The Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic is a large red building that sits on the docks and sitting there in the water is Bluenose 11.  Now, I will admit that the women didn’t get as excited as the men, but we do appreciate the history of the ship sitting in the harbor. That changed when we realized that we could actually take a tour of the Lunenburg harbor on the Bluenose.

Lunenburg, NS
We did have to wait another day to get that cruise but we were very lucky to be able to purchase tickets and sail on the last day that she would be in that harbor for the season.
The Bluenose has since been brought into Lunenburg Shipyard and is being totally restored and not available for sailing in 2010 or 2011 but will return to the water in 2012.
                                                            Passengers on Bluenose 2
 It was a cold day for sailing but we were not discouraged by the weather.  The crew of six officers and 15 deckhands worked hard to give us a great sailing and they kept busy doing their job amidst the many curious passengers on the ship.

Anchor on Bluenose 2
The original Bluenose was built in Lunenburg and launched in March of 1921 and worked as a fishing and racing schooner.  The first race was won after one fishing season and went undefeated for 17 years, becoming a provincial icon for Nova Scotia as well as an important Canadian symbol in the 1930’s.  She also remained a working fishing vessel during that time.

Bluenose 2 sails, ropes and masts
Fishing schooners became obsolete after World War 2 and despite efforts to avoid it, the Bluenose was sold to the West Indies to work as a freighter, where she sunk in 1946.

A replica was built in Lunenburg in 1963, using the original plans. She was built by a brewery for promotional reasons but was later acquired by the Province of Nova Scotia and used as a sailing ambassador.

The world's largest sail

It is impossible to show the massive size of the ship or these sails from on the ship but it was pretty impressive watching the crew do their job in getting up the largest sail in the world at 386 m2 (4150 sq. ft.). The height of the mainmast is 38 m (124’8”) and the ship is 49 m (160’9”) long. 

The Bluenose Flag flies
Many honors have been bestowed on the Bluenose over the years and they’re well deserved. It was easy to see the pride in the officers and crew as they gave us a look back at the 80 years since the original schooner was built.
Even though we weren’t planning on taking a cruise, there was excitement in sailing the Bluenose out into the Lunenburg Harbour on a windy September afternoon. You just never know what you might find and do when you take a sightseeing drive in the Maritimes.


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