The First Voyage of Isbjörn: Arrival in Canada!

I love sailing into a harbor, especially at night. Moitessier once wrote that he prefers sailing into a harbor at night because nobody is watching, and you don’t have to worry about folks thinking you’re showing off. Sometimes you are, of course, but to me, it’s more about the joy and challenge of coming in under sail than anything else.

Alas, it was a motorboat ride for the last 30 miles or so, the water so flat the stars reflected in it. One cool side effect of this was the incredible phosphorescence in the water – the wavelets coming off the bow were glowing brighter than I’d ever remembered seeing, the water just alight with the little sparks of plankton. It was so bright at one stage I actually woke Mia up to show her. Satellites flew overhead, moving stars that we traced across the sky. John is a wiz at constellations, and he helped me identify several. We even spotted the Andromeda galaxy just ahead of the boat, and low and to the right of Cassiopeia. Cool stuff.

It was middle of the night (of course it was) as we turned into Lunenburg Bay, and none of the guys had slept at all since dinner, too excited to make landfall. FOMO, my dad calls it – Fear of Missing Out!

Mia finally did get up, and was our navigator below on the paper chart spread out on the table, plotting under the red glow of her headlamp (thanks to Charly who reps for Petzl!). Dan took the helm while me, Sean and John looked for the navigational marks we’d follow through the Bay and into the harbor.

A large breakwater extends out from Battery Point, with a lighthouse on the end. We made for this, and finally turned into Lunenburg Bay, the town lit up but very quiet. Someone somewhere was burning a wood stove, and the smell wafting out across the water was really something. In a good way. Back to land, back to life.

We nearly hit an unlit green can heading down the last stretch in towards the anchorage. Dan passed it to starboard by only 3 feet or so, and only by dumb luck – none of us had seen it, myself included, with the strong background lights of the town killing our night vision. We didn’t though, and dropped anchor in 20 feet of water at the edge of the anchorage, Lunenburg town to starboard and a fleet of anchored boats just in front of us. Dan shut down the engine. All was quiet.

That aforementioned champagne and cold beer came in handy then – at 0200 local time, we toasted to our achievement. The crew shook hands, and we sat down to relive the passage over several glasses of bubbly a few cold brewskis and some lively conversation. Before everyone abruptly crashed and went to bed on a still boat for the first time in nearly a week.


Stats from the passage:

Rhumb-Line Distance (incl. Ches & Del Bays): 700 NM
Total Distance Sailed: 791 NM
Average Boat Speed: 5.9 knots
Average VMG (velocity made good): 5.2 knots
Top Speed: 8.5 knots
Top Wind Speed: ~18 knots
Motoring Time (in gear, not including battery charging): ~24 hours‘Oh-Dark-Thirty’ Coffee Consumed: 2 pounds!