Happy Holidays


Merry Christmas to all our readers that celebrate that way and the very best of the season to those of you that celebrate in different ways. Phyllis and I want to thank all of you for visiting us here at AAC in 2013 and wish you good fortune and above all good health in 2014.

Now an apology. Somehow, having been on the road, well rail actually, for nearly two weeks, visiting family and friends, I lost the plot a bit on our annual Christmas Slideshow—previous years are here. It probably will happen, but it’s looking like it will be a New Year’s Slideshow instead. Also, because we have not been voyaging this year, the theme will be a bit different.

In the meantime, I thought I would share four of my most cherished photographs, which I made during our 2003 voyage to the remote Southeast Coast of Greenland. They share something that is really becoming rather rare: they were all made on film, which I think gives them a special feel or quality that differentiates them from the torrent of digital images flooding the internet these days. Yes, they are not as sharp as digital files, and if you look closely you will see film grain, but, at least to me, that is part of the film look.

Morgan’s Cloud, Arch Berg


This is my most popular image. It has appeared in calendars and on the front cover of magazines. The thing that makes it different from the hundreds of other boat-through-an-arch-berg photographs is that there was a glacier behind the berg. I got in the dinghy to get the shot while Phyllis motored the boat between the berg and the glacier.

Morgan’s Cloud, Skjoldungesund


In this shot you can see the set up for the one above. I took both pictures the day we spent circumnavigating Skjoldungen Island, which will always be one of my most cherished memories.

Midnight Off The East Greenland Coast


I made this image a little after midnight. Since there was ice in the water, we were heaved-to waiting for dawn to get going again.

Caroline Amalies Havn, East Greenland


This is one of the few really snug anchorages on the Southeast Greenland coast, and just about the only one where, due to the tiny shallow entrance, we can feel completely safe from drifting ice.

A Christmas Present for AAC Book Club Members

One more thing. If you are a member of the AAC Book Club, and logged in, we have a present for you: By right-clicking on the title links at the end of this post, you can download a high resolution copy of the above images (2880×1800 pixels). This is large enough to use for desktop wallpaper or a screensaver slideshow on any computer or tablet. We just want you to know how much we appreciate your support, which has finally made AAC sustainable.

On my computer, I have the images set up as a screensaver to come up after 10 minutes of computer inactivity. Great for dreaming when work gets to be a drag!

If you are not sure how to set up your own screen saver or desktop wallpaper just type something like “make your own screen saver (or desktop wallpaper) in ?????” into Google, replacing the question marks with the device you have, Windows, Mac, tablet, whatever, and you will be able to find step by step instructions.

Here are two examples: Windows Macintosh

Phyllis and I hope you enjoy the high resolution photographs, and once again, thanks for joining.

Morgan’s Cloud, Arch Berg

Morgan’s Cloud, Sondre Skjoldungen

Midnight Off The East Greenland Coast

Caroline Amalies Havn, East Greenland

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Meet the Author


John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

26 comments… add one
  • Jonny Dec 24, 2013, 3:30 pm

    And Happy Christmas to you from Wales.
    I have so enjoyed reading your posts, and one day (soon I hope) be very grateful for all the knowledge you have imparted.

    Wishing you every success in 2014 – especially with ‘Adventure’!

  • Sally Dec 24, 2013, 3:38 pm

    Stunning photos.
    Happy Christmas to you both from wet and windy England.
    love Sally

  • Brian Bilings Dec 24, 2013, 4:53 pm

    Great stuff and pleased that the Billings are looking after Morgan’s Cloud. Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year.

  • Conny harlin Dec 24, 2013, 5:11 pm

    Merry christmas to you both and thank you for your hospitality during my visit in Nova Scotia & Lunenburg. Great memories for me to have seen Bluenose again.

  • NeilH Dec 24, 2013, 7:17 pm

    Hi John, Phyllis

    Thank you for the wishes, and thank you for an inspirational and incredibly informative site. Hope you have a great Christmas and fair winds in the New Year.

    Neil and Kirstie

  • Richard William Lord Dec 24, 2013, 9:12 pm

    Thanks to the both of you and your amazing website for keeping my dream alive and for being my friend..

    Merry Christmas and God bless both of you..

    Richard William Lord

  • Flemming Torp Dec 24, 2013, 9:44 pm

    Dear Phyllis and John,
    Now, that our family Christmas Eve is over and the family has gone to bed, I am just sitting in front of my PC and enjoying the wonderful photos from Greenland – thank you so much! My wife has worked in Illulisat as a nurse, but I have never had the “guts” to go there with my boat. This year I returned from Tromsø to my home harbour in Helsingør (Elsinore), an unforgettable 80 days trip … pics in my blog (sorry for Danish text) – http://flemmingtorp.blogspot.dk/.

    Happy New Year, and Thank You very much for all the inspiration, and thoughtful input I have received from you guys … and your readers as well …
    Flemming Torp – Denmark

  • Richard Dec 25, 2013, 4:30 am

    Joyeux Noël from France. Thank you for jour news.
    Richard – Évidence IV – Brest – France

  • John Dec 25, 2013, 6:15 am

    All the best for the season, and thanks so much for your website.
    Christmas Day was wet and windy down here in the ‘forties’, but there is always tomorrow….

  • Svein Lamark Dec 25, 2013, 7:13 am

    Dear John and Phyllis!
    Thanks for your kind wishes and beautiful photos!
    We are now docked in Lofoten and the weather is calm. Last night a storm of 70 knots was warned and the good captain Klodiussen was planning to anchor north of Lofoten and wait out the storm on Christmas evening , but once again he managed to sneak around the storm and dock us in Lofoten. This way we also managed to pass The North Cape twice in calm weather.
    I will now take the bus to Kabelvåg to The fishermen’s cathedral for the Christmas service.
    I wish both of you a merry Christmas.

  • Deb Doyle Dec 25, 2013, 12:25 pm

    Stunning pictures. Happy Holidays to all.

  • John Sturrock Dec 25, 2013, 1:02 pm

    And a Merry Christmas to you from the Pacific Northwest. Thank you for all of your great posts and above all, the great information.

  • Henrik Dec 25, 2013, 1:07 pm

    Phyllis & John
    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to the both of you.
    Your website is very inspiring to us. We really hope to be able to sail to Greenland within the next two or three years.

    When I was having a closer look at your photos, I came to wonder, what kind of flag are you guys flying on the stern of Morgan’s Cloud?
    On the first picture, the one with the reindeers where MC’s hull is white, it seems like your flying a red flag, may be the “Canadian Red Ensign”, but on the other pictures you flying a blue one?


    • John Dec 26, 2013, 12:44 pm

      Hi Henrik,

      I’m from Bermuda and “Morgan’s Cloud” is still registered there. The red flag is the Bermuda National Flag (British Red Ensign with the Bermuda coat of arms on the fly and the blue flag is the ensign of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (British Blue Ensign defaced with a crown and the letters RBYC.

  • Paul Mills Dec 25, 2013, 1:24 pm

    Dear Phyllis, John, Colin and Matt,

    Thanks very much for all of your work on this site in 2013, from a windy and wet West coast of Scotland.


  • Ezequiel Sundblad Dec 25, 2013, 1:27 pm

    Nice pics John, Merry Cristmast for you two and the best for the 2014.
    Un gran abrazo

    YPAKE family from Netherlands

  • Marc Dacey Dec 25, 2013, 2:41 pm

    All the best from powered-down Toronto and thanks for the nautical wallpaper!

  • Stephanie Dec 25, 2013, 4:07 pm

    Dearest J & P,
    Scott joins me to wish you merriment at Christmas, health and prosperity throughout the new year and continuing success with setting up these amazing shots of the unique places that you find in your travels.
    The print of Upernavik Ice Fjord was forwarded to Brooklyn, so I’ve been spending a lot of time completely absorbed in this wondrous composition of grays! I believe that, to some extent, the measure of an artist depends on what they are able to accomplish with grays, and as if to prove my point, this is a compelling image the reveals something new every time I look at it! You have also captured wonderful things with what interests me the most in painting: degrees of reflectivity, transparency and translucency .
    Sending love, Stephanie

  • Grete Dec 26, 2013, 5:13 am

    Kjære John og Phyllis,
    Merry Christmas from Northern Norway. With wind and rain it does not look much like a good old winter. The skis are ready just waiting for the snow to come back. Take good care for the holidays and the new year.

    Mange hilsener fra Grete

  • Rumen Dec 26, 2013, 4:54 pm

    Dear John and Phyllis,

    I’m sure though ashore,,you did have wonderful Christmas. So was mine, going through various topics of your most useful and interesting website. Here, on the Black sea coast a few days ago I did some wonderful daysailing with decent offshore winds, flat seas and occasional sunshine.


  • Greg Dec 27, 2013, 12:06 am

    A Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you two too! And –
    Thank you both (& your delightful cohorts!), very much, for the rich expressions of your you – In your wise words, kind words (& firm ones), your images & all of the life energy you invest in us – I & many are enriched!
    Your emails are a coveted treat in my inbox (& you feed my dreams 🙂
    That represents a lot of you coming my way!
    Again thanks & best wishes, Greg

  • S. Brennan Murphy Dec 27, 2013, 10:13 am

    A very warm and cozy holiday to you both from winter wonderland, Brooksville, Maine. I always enjoy your beautiful images from your northern travels.

  • Øyvind Prytz Dec 28, 2013, 12:18 pm

    “God jul og godt nytt år ” from Norway.


  • Robin Araujo Dec 31, 2013, 6:18 pm

    Thank you for all the beautiful pictures. Hoping to see you back on the water very soon. Wishing you a healthy, happy New Year.

  • Mike & Yvonne Coates Jan 1, 2014, 12:30 pm

    Best wishes for 2014, fair winds and good sailing. Looking forward to our return to Norway this summer.

  • Lori Scott Lowery Jan 3, 2014, 6:31 pm

    Stunning photos……you guys are truly livin the life ! Keep these wonderful photos comin ….

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