High Latitudes

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 [...]

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.

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 [...]

Why Go North? For The People

Though this is third in the series explaining why we keep going north, it's not down the list in our hearts: the people we meet in the north are a big reason we keep going back.

There’s no mistaking the profile of certain boats, so it was easy for us to recognise the red yacht transiting the Caledonian Canal one day in early April, despite the near blizzard conditions at the time. Vagabond is a well-known yacht in polar circles, and there is really nothing quite like her visually. Built in 1979 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Those of you who have read some accounts of boats wintering over in the polar regions may have visions of dented hull plates, narrow escapes and three inches of frost on the INSIDE of the boat. That is not the Polaris way. That is not to say that there are not hazards lurking in Michael [...]

A few weeks ago we met up with our friends Michael and Martina on their beautifully designed and built custom Hutting 54 Polaris. They were kind enough to give me, camera in hand, a tour and to patiently answer my many questions. While few of us will ever have the resources to custom build a [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Why Go North? For The Light

Why do we keep returning to the north, you ask? For one thing, there is a quality to the light in the north that is indescribable—you have to see it to believe it!

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