Well ... the clean-up is immense, a belief shared by many BVI-islanders. There are very few easy solutions to rectify the entanglement of owners, insurers, businesses, and other vested interests. Everyone is trying to do the right thing, but the negotiations are not clear-cut, and it's just about the most complex thing I've ever witnessed ... -Paul Exner, October 16, 2017.
From Paul: "We struggle to leave our home of 8 years in Josiah’s Bay. Liz and I lived there since we met, our babies Eoin and Ava came home there after birth. We weathered IRMA there, and survived. We accept the wasteland-vista we see from our balcony: leafless and twisted trees, and scattered debris that once beheld the homes of others … Josiah’s Bay is the way it is, and was hit hard by IRMA. Most dwellings there and elsewhere on Tortola are gone. Within the BVI territory I estimate 50% of land-based, and 90% of sea-based accommodation is not habitable by ANY standard … wall-less, roofless, capsized, or sunk respectively … vehicles are windowless, over-turned, or tumbled-down a mountain side.
Heart of goodness and darkness. Liz, Eoin, and Ava are in good spirits after Irma. We were in the eye for 52 minutes which means we got a direct hit. Too dangerous to asses wind speed accurately but I believe we had winds over 200 knots. We were fine until the balcony doors blew in then hell broke loose. -Paul Exner.
Photo shows his boat, Solstice, on the hard in Nanny Cay, right in the center. He doesn't even know the state of his boat yet, as he's on the other side of the island...
HUGE thanks to Isbjorn crewmember Brian Bonter for putting together this awesome video from this past February's RORC Caribbean 600 Race in Antigua! Crew included: Andy, Mia, Paul Exner (Racing Skipper), Rory Finneran (Mate), Brian Bonter (made this movie!), Ryan Bradfield, Dan Shea, Thomas Sarlandie, John Duggan & Brian Theodore. Music in the video by St. Paul de Vence & Blaggards.
Tuesday, Aug. 29, 5-8 PM.
Join us for a Happy Hour and Open House aboard Isbjorn at Wasahamnen, Djurgården (Stockholm, Sweden). Check out the boat, share stories and chat about the podcast!
This is open to everyone who wants to come by and say hi and check out the boat - bring your friends!
Isbjorn made the front page of the local 'Nya Åland' newspaper in Mariehamn! The headline translates roughly to '7,000 Miles Sailed for Algot's Baptism.' Basically, Mia's best friend is from Åland, and we're now godparents to her first son, Algot. We had planned all along to have the baptism after our season was over, but hadn't actually planned to sail here! When the crew wanted to visit Åland, and since we had some time, we ended the last passage here and they took the ferry home.
We're back in Marstrand, but we're supposed to be in Stockholm! Isbjorn made landfall here in July after crossing the North Sea from Shetland. Anyhow, my dad and some sailing friends from the Chesapeake, Tom & Darlene, joined us here in Marstrand for what was supposed to be a fun delivery/cruise around the bottom of Sweden and up into the Baltic and to Stockholm, where our next trip with crew would begin. That plan got scuttled almost immediately - on our second day on the boat, we had a gnarly beat against a strong southerly wind and a wickedly short, steep chop...
What a special trip! Crew met up with isbjorn at Oban Marina on the small island of Kerrera just outside of the town of Oban. The trip started with day sails and exploring the islands, some amazing anchorage such as Loch Scavaig on south of Isle of Skye. We got to enjoy a few Whisky tastings at Tobermory and Talisker and local music in several pubs!
After an amazing trip though Scotland, we set out on the first night sail up to Stornoway on the outer Hebrides. Thanks to amazing after and a big high pressure system over us we got to spend 24 hr at Fair Isle and then a few days in Shetland before setting of across the North Sea to the island of Marstrand on the West Coast of Sweden!
*SOUND ON FOR SOME BAGPIPES!* #Isbjornsailing & crew have been having a BLAST exploring Scotland for the past week! We put together a short highlight reel of some of our favorite spots, including sailing around Ardnamurchan, the western-most point in the UK, hiking in the Cuillin Hills & watching seals in Loch Scavaig! Andy recorded the music live at the Old Inn on the Isle of Skye during a late-night session with local musicians & lots of whisky!
'The downwind run from the Azores to Scotland'. Not at all as we expected, this trip has been the one that we thought we would encounter the most weather of the year and we had prepared their crew for it. In Ponta Delgada the day before departure the long-term weather forecast looked to good to be true. We started of with an evening and night of motoring but pretty quickly the wind picked up from behind and we sailed downwind most of the way. Due to some light wind and that we were head of schedule we decided on a quick stop in the Aren Islands just of Galway Bay in Ireland.
Part Two of Isbjorn crew 'Mac's' trans-Atlantic blog, part of his round-the-world by land and sea journey. "The strongest winds we saw peaked at 44 knots, with 34 knots sustained over several hours, which are really strong, creating 15 to 18 foot swells. That is classified as a gale. It was a big weather system on a small boat in the middle of the night, and I enjoyed the adrenaline-charged thrill of being at the helm on night-watch during part of this. It was a “Lieutenant Dan” storm, if you remember Forrest Gump. As reported previously- an ocean is a damned awesome thing, y’all."
The following is an excerpt of our crewmember Kevin 'Mac' McMahan's travel blog, hardtravelin.net. "I walked out of my Texas ranch on May 1 with my pack on my back, hitch-hiked to the train station, rode the Amtrak to New York City, hopped a cruise ship to Bermuda and here I am on Isbjorn, ready to sail across the Atlantic with y'all."
Dolphins occasionally streak by the boat and we kill the steaming light, letting the darkness settle. The ocean is itself black under the black night sky, and the dolphins GLOW. No exaggeration. The phosphorescence is so thick in these parts that anything that stirs up the water leaves a fluorescent trail...
Andy, Mia, and the crew expierience dying wind but are determined to not start the engine. Whales show up less than 100 yards from the boat and new friends are made over the VHF. All the while Mia is making delicious dinners to keep the crew well fed! Check out the latest update as Isbjorn crosses the Atlantic Ocean from Bermuda to the Azores.