Midwinter, 2019: Head Harbor, Campobello Island

Canadian hospitality hard to beat

It’s Head Harbor, on Campobello Island in New Brunswick, Canada. We’ve sailed there a few times. The most memorable occasion was when we were on our way to the St. John River in New Brunswick a couple years ago. After entering Head Harbor we asked around for a good spot to tie up, and fishermen there said any one of the floating lobster docks would be fine. A while after we tied up, another sailboat came in, appearing out of the fog. The boat’s name was Tevah, and the owner, Eric Phinney, was looking for somewhere to tie up. We pointed to one of the other lobster floats. After talking with us for a bit, Eric found out we were headed to the St. John River. He immediately offered to save us a spot at the town pier in Saint John to await slack tide at the Reversing Falls. He also insisted on hosting us at the Rothesay Yacht Club, a small local club just past the more well-known yacht clubs. We started our cruise up the St. John River at Rothesay, and after sailing to Grand Lake and its anchorages, we ended in a local harbor near the Reversing Falls where we enjoyed a wonderful cockpit dinner with the Phinneys that featured Eric’s homemade bread. It was the beginning of a sailing friendship. Another time we were there, a local realtor gave us a rental car at no charge to check out the island. The hospitality of our Canadian neighbors is hard to beat!

Jane Davin
Boxford, Mass.

Great jumpoff for Saint John

The Mystery Harbor is Head Harbor on Campobello Island, New Brunswick. This is a long narrow gut that’s a good spot if you’re headed for, or returning from, the Saint John area. An east breeze can cause some concern, but it’s still a good harbor. There’s an abandoned boat factory with a float you can tie to, along with other floats that are used by fishermen for seafood processing. A store is available about a mile from the town dock.

Once when I was in Head Harbor I anchored just off the east end of the floats that belonged to the now-defunct boat-building facility. When it was time to leave I couldn’t budge the anchor. I saw some fishermen working on a boat in the harbor and went over to talk to them. They said as soon as they got their boat working they’d come out. Soon they were alongside and took my anchor line: Moments later they passed me my anchor. They wouldn’t take the cash I offered them. “We did you a favor,” they said. “Someday you can do us one.” It’s not like that in a lot of harbors.

Andy Marvin
Boothbay Harbor, Maine

Of course David knows

The Mystery Harbor, though I’m not competing for the fabulous designer cap, looks like New Brunswick’s Head Harbor on Campobello Island, where the Leight has sheltered many times and the locals are the finest kind.

David Buckman
Gilford, N.H.

Customs process is fairly easy

Back in the day, when it was easy to sail back and forth between the U.S. and Canada without anyone particularly caring, I loved to sail between Passamaquoddy Bay and Grand Manan Island. It’s not quite as carefree these days, but you can still call into Canadian Customs and enter Canada by phone. Head Harbor is perfectly secure and it’s simple to tie to an unoccupied float. It’s a good place to wait out an unfavorable tide. If it’s low a walk to the Head Harbor lighthouse is fun, but mind the schedule. This is a beautiful and remote area, and the people on both sides of the border are wonderful. In the last few years U.S. Customs, in Eastport, to their credit, has worked to make entry back into the U.S. simple and quick, so there’s no reason except distance not to visit.

Jesse Deupree
Portland, Maine

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