The First Voyage of Isbjörn: Setting Forth

I’m writing this from the nav station on Isbjörn, laying alongside the fisherman’s wharf in Lunenburg. We just took on 221 liters of fuel from the truck that came by to fill us up. I was chatting up Jamie the driver and telling him about our trip.

“Do you know John Kretschmer?” he asked me, when I mentioned we were doing offshore passages. “Yeah, he’s been a mentor of mine!” I said.

“My brother Allen is on his way to Fortuna in Newfoundland to join John,” Jamie continued. “He was here last week, docked over by the Zwicker wharf and asked if I could come by and give him fuel. I don’t normally go down there, but I thought I’d give it a try. We backed the truck onto the wooden wharf and the front end crashed through the dock! John was terribly apologetic. ‘It’s not your fault John!’ I assured him. We had to get another truck down there to lift up the front end, then we slid some metal plates underneath and drove it out. In the end, John did get his fuel!”

Jamie is like most other Lunenburger’s (?) we met – super friendly, and time enough for a chat. The folks at the Boat Locker (Robin I think her name was), were much the same, as was Dawn at ‘Lunenburg Bound’, a fantastic little indie bookshop just off the waterfront where I picked up a copy of Sextant, about the history of navigation. I’m very much looking forward to that. We met Willow at the ‘Sweet Indulgence’ café yesterday where we went for coffee and some Wi-Fi (and where I’ll most likely be posting this from today). Super neat town, super neat people. It’s a shame we have to leave so soon!

I didn’t get a chance to blog on this trip, as I just plum forgot to bring the little Optimizer device that I use to send emails from the ship’s iPad via the Iridium sat phone. I hope those of you reading this are friends with me on Facebook, and got to see the daily YB Tracker updates I was sending in instead. Anyway, what follows will be a lengthy summary of our trip, broken into 3 or 4 separate blog posts (and all linked from this one here), some of which I’m writing right now, and some of which I wrote at sea but never got to send. A large array of photos is in the galleries below each post.

Setting Forth

It’s hard to believe that it was only 8 days ago that we departed Annapolis. The crew joined us on Saturday July 4 at Port Annapolis Marina. Mia and I had been scrambling to get the boat ready – our friend Nate Horton installed a new Seafrost fridge on short notice, only two days prior, Chesapeake Sailmakers replaced the UV cover on the genoa, and we attended to a host of other minor (and not so minor, like installing a new head!) items on the boat. Dan, the first to show up on Saturday around noon, got to follow me around town while I finished the last of my list. He helped tighten the alternator belts, searched in vain for a spare impeller, and bought me a coffee while we downloaded the weather and bought the correct electronic backup charts for the iPad (yes, I still use paper primarily). The rest of the gang – Charly, Sean (our coffee roaster!) & John – turned up at various times that evening, and we had a group dinner aboard.

On Sunday, departure day, we took fuel on at Annapolis Landing Marina while we waited for Sean. He and his family were staying in a nearby hotel. Mia wound up going out with the car one last time for a few last minute, non-critical supplies, and we made it out of the dock before noon, which is always my goal. Isbjörn motored out of Back Creek at 1100 on Sunday, July 5, bound nonstop for Lunenburg, Nova Scotia!