Members' Online Book: Cruising Notes—Canada's East Coast, Chapter 1 of 32

Canada’s East Coast—Home Of The Perfect Anchorage?

Loon in the rain

One evening last summer, while anchored at Yankee Cove, Nova Scotia, John and I were sitting in the cockpit, discussing what our criteria are for a good anchorage.

Maskells Harbour 1

Interesting clouds at Maskells Harbour, Nova Scotia.

Our conversation was sparked by our surroundings: the eerie calling of loons (which reminded us of Cub Basin—another favourite Nova Scotia anchorage), the bald eagle hunting from the trees on the shore next to the boat (reminiscent of Maskells Harbour), the haunting groan of an offshore buoy (as at Shelter Cove)…plus 360˚ shelter and excellent holding (which applies to numerous anchorages on the Nova Scotia coast)…

Yup, we agreed, Yankee Cove is definitely on our roster of really good anchorages.


Schooner “Charlotte” sails into Yankee Cove, Nova Scotia.

And then a schooner entered the harbour under sail…Wow!

These are only a few of the numerous “perfect” anchorages that dot Canada’s East Coast. We look forward to sharing them with you in this Coastal Guide.

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Meet the Author


Phyllis has sailed over 40,000 offshore miles with John on their McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, most of it in the high latitudes, and has crossed the Atlantic three times. As a woman who came to sailing as an adult, she brings a fresh perspective to cruising, which has helped her communicate what they do in an approachable way, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

7 comments … add one
  • Michael Weiss Nov 23, 2015, 8:35 am

    I anchored in Pulpit Harbor this past August. Indeed it was lovely. Another favorite was the hurricane hole, The Basin several miles north of Sebasco.

  • Wilson Nov 23, 2015, 10:48 am

    We have anchored in Yankee Cove on two occasions, having it all to ourselves. I am told and have no doubt that it is beautiful but cannot provide eyewitness confirmation because it was so foggy both times that we saw absolutely nothing beyond our immediate surroundings! But, having spent most of three weeks on the coast between Halifax and Cape Breton this summer, seeing a grand total of five other yachts and anchoring in many beautiful and private spots, I will say that it is one of the nicest cruising grounds we have seen in many years.

    Lovely schooner!


  • Mike Jul 24, 2016, 11:10 pm

    The west coast….The fjords and thousands of islands…wow.

    Sorry. I just had to say it.

  • Randall Walford Sep 29, 2016, 11:11 am

    Love your site.
    This is a bit off the wall, but could you please provide some general comments aimed at those of us who may be contemplating setting up our retirement land base in a modest cabin on some small cove in Nova Scotia with the sailboat moored out front? If possible, please name and comment on relative merits of areas, with a focus on relative weather, tides, depth of sailing community, and challenges that might beset someone attracted to say Lunenburg and some of the other areas outside Halifax.

    • John Sep 30, 2016, 3:42 pm

      Hi Randall,

      Yikes, that’s a pretty tall order that would take a post or two to do properly. Also I’m no real estate expert. That said, the best area to look is probably the coast from Liverpool to Canso, as well as the Bras D’or Lakes. You might want to check out Veiwpoint, a very cool web site that shows what’s available!

      You could look at that, and then say buy a set of charts for Nova Scotia and relate the two.

      Once you have an idea, then you probably want to talk to an agent. Call a few brokers and ask them to hook you up with an agent that is also a boater, as many are.

      As to weather, it’s great, except for January and February which, to put it mildly…SUCK!

      Do also keep in mind that we get pretty significant sea ice, so keeping a boat in the water through the winter is a challenge…trust me, I know.

      I would also suggest you rent before buying to see if the community that you are considering works for you.

      • randall Sep 30, 2016, 8:37 pm

        Thanks, John. I will follow your advice.

  • Marc Dacey Sep 30, 2016, 4:33 pm

    John, that site is a goldmine and, combined with Google Earth showing me a walk to the nearest non-drying out seawalls, a sore temptation!

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