Arctic

This whole transiting the Northwest Passage (The Passage) in a yacht is getting out of hand and many (maybe most) of the crews and boats trying it shouldn’t be anywhere near the place. How can someone who has spent much of the last 20 years in the high latitudes in a yacht say that without being a [...]

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Self-Study of Polar Bears

Phyllis has just completed a six month long self-assigned course on polar bears. In this post she shares what she has learned about this beautiful animal and the ways her new knowledge will affect our behavior when we go north. She also expresses deep concern about what we believe to be the badly flawed policies of Parks Canada.

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The Adaptable Polar Bear

John and I just returned from a challenging Arctic cruise, one of many we’ve undertaken over the last 20 years. On all our previous voyages, we’ve only ever seen the back end of one bear running away from us…we were on the boat, steaming out of an anchorage in Northern Spitsbergen. However, this summer’s voyage [...]

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We have sailed the coast of Labrador many times and appreciate its rugged scenery, beautiful light, and isolation. So when the government of Canada decided to make the northern part a federal park, we were thrilled. But now that we can’t visit the Torngat Mountains National Park, we aren’t so thrilled anymore. Parks Canada has [...]

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Question: We are toying with the idea of sailing the northern route [to North America from Scotland] with stops in Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland. Is that nuts? I know you have done it at least once if not more times. Our boats are sound, an Alden 48 and a Shannon 43, and we want to [...]

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Question: We are planning to cross the North Atlantic east to west via the Arctic route in June on the way to an attempt to transit the North West Passage. We plan to leave from Iceland on a passage to the west coast of Greenland and are wondering how close to round Cape Farewell [south [...]

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Question: We are planning a trip from eastern Canada to south west Greenland and return and have the following questions about ice [see specific questions and answers below summary answer]. Answer: Ice navigation is a big subject with a lot of ambiguity that generally defies any attempt at short answers. This is why we generally [...]

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Question: I’m planning a cruise of the west coast of Greenland. For charts I have the choice between C-MAP electronic charts running on Furuno Navnet with Maxsea on a PC and Danish paper charts. Which would you recommend? Answer: In a perfect world, both. Let me explain why: Although the C-MAP electronic charts are pretty [...]

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Q&A: Winter Boat Storage In The North

Question: We are thinking of buying a 70′, 55 ton, steel motorsailer which we want to fix up and cruise on for 4 months of the year. We would be starting out on the east coast of the US and are contemplating going via Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Greenland to Northern Europe. We would have [...]

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Changed Plans And Superyachting 2006

Our last news letter described our circumnavigation of Newfoundland in the summer of 2005 and our return to Maine for the winter of 2005/06, with a plan to complete the refit of Morgan’s Cloud over the winter and move back aboard in the spring of 2006 to resume our cruising life. It was not to [...]

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Question: We plan to go through the Strait of Belle Isle about July 1st. Is this practical given ice conditions? I have been told that a northeast wind can choke the Strait with ice at that time of year. I also have been told that ice is less likely on the Newfoundland side of the [...]

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Q&A: Which Paper Charts For Iceland?

Question: The cruising guide for Iceland contains a list of Icelandic charts. Comparing that with the US chart catalog, the Icelandic coverage is much more extensive. Is it practical to expect to purchase charts in Reykjavik for the remainder of our Icelandic sailing? Are they in stock? Reasonable cost? Or would you recommend that I [...]

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Question: How seriously do I need to take the threat of polar bears in the Arctic? Answer: I have never hunted and don’t like guns much, but the threat is real. On our Greenland, Baffin Island and Labrador trips I have always been a bit skeptical and lackadaisical—carrying a gun, but unloaded; walking into broken [...]

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Our Furthest North 2002

We last wrote from the west coast of Spitsbergen. From there we continued north visiting several anchorages, the most interesting being Virgohamna from where André left on his fatal attempt to reach the North Pole in a balloon. The dry Svalbard climate has preserved the remains of this expedition, and the slightly later Wellman attempt, [...]

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