Bluenose II is a Nova Scotia symbol of our past, present and future. Nova Scotia's sailing ambassador has been away from the sea for almost two years. This weekend, thousands of people joined the shipbuilders of Lunenburg by putting Bluenose II where she belongs, back in the water.
The weather didn't really cooperate, but hearty Nova Scotians just roll with it. As the sky brightened, it revealed a festive mood. Ponchos, weather-proof sailing gear, and rubber boots were the fashion statement of the day, along with smiles and blue noses.
Joining the spirited crowds, of course, our local contingent of pirates.
Given the early hour, proceedings got underway promptly. As the Bluenose II was rolled down an incline, dignitaries took the opportunity to share their thanks with the community and to note the importance of the Bluenose II restoration, not only as a symbol of our province, but as a tribute to the Nova Scotian way of life, our coastal and marine heritage.
The Bridgewater Fire Department band was on hand to provide musical cues for the event, and, since we couldn't see underwater, let us know the vital moment when Bluenose II was released from the supports which have been her home for almost two years, and floating on the water once again.
One of the true joys of the event was watching the number and diversity of watercraft who assembled to watch the proceedings from the water. Sailboats to fishing boats, kayaks and jet skis, it was a wonderful, spirited representation of our province's coastal connection.
And, just like that, Bluenose II was back.
After the speeches, the Bluenose II headed toward her parking spot for the day by the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic on the Lunenburg waterfront. Most of the floating audience joined her in a flotilla - I don't know whether this was planned or not, but it was an awful lot of fun.
After the excitement of the morning ... it was still 8:30 a.m. Undeterred by the rain, we walked around the streets of Old Town Lunenburg, where the town has joined in the fun with early shop openings and special events.
We made sure to stop at Ironworks Distillery, to partake of Ironworks' special Bluenose rum, a dark spiced rum crafted specially to celebrate the historic ship and her storied history.
After that, the rain picked up and we got very breakfast-motivated. Luckily, we found ourselves in front of a restaurant. With our food mission accomplished, we took one last look at Bluenose II, and headed home.
To learn more about Bluenose II, including archive images, video and her plans for the future, head over to bluenose.novascotia.ca.