'19 Canadian Maritimes

IceBear update: Lunenburg to Annapolis

IceBear update: Lunenburg to Annapolis

Updates from IceBear

As I am typing this, I am sitting at the farm house in Sweden watching the tracker on the website, curiously waiting for the next update from Andy & IceBear via the YB tracker or the Sat phone. Now I know what it feels like for the families back home, following the progress from the home. The tracker and the new messages we have been posted along with it is a nice treat for us not being onboard, and I thought I could cut together a short blog with some updates from Andy.

Mia: Back in Sweden while IceBear is sailing south

Mia: Back in Sweden while IceBear is sailing south

Written on July 10, 2019:
Back in Sweden…

IceBear is currently offshore, about 100 nm from Lunenburg and off the coast of Nova Scotia. They had a nice passage south from St. Johns with a stop in the French Island St. Pierre. But this is the first time in a very long time that I am not onboard, sailing with Andy and the crew and finishing off the season. We made the decision a while back, we have now lived at the farm in Sweden over two years but never been there in the summer time.

ICEBEAR Offshore // "Iceberg, right ahead!"

ICEBEAR Offshore // "Iceberg, right ahead!"

Seeing the ice in clear skies was a hell of a reward for the heavy weather yesterday. Thus far we’ve stopped to admire two big bergs from close range, bringing in ICEBEAR under power (the wind, after all that fuss, shut down completely around 1200 noon as we rounded Cape Race) to within a hundred yards or so. I put the drone up to get a bird’s eye view, and the crew stopped to admire the beauty of nature’s most striking sculpture. Both bergs we stopped for had at some point in their decay rolled, for the tops of them were pure white and smooth as marble, highlighted in spots by deep turquoise cracks where they’d broken apart and re-frozen during their lifespan.

ICEBEAR Offshore // Francois, a Gale & Palm-Sized Lobster Claws

ICEBEAR Offshore // Francois, a Gale & Palm-Sized Lobster Claws

Above the village are staggering, vertical cliffs rising to 700-feet in sheer granite walls. A feature called ‘the Friar’ stands guard in the northwest, and after a heavy rain, waterfalls line the walls of the fjord on each side. The ‘streets’ are paved in hand-poured concrete and the locals get around on four-wheelers and snowmobiles, depending on the season. Only 60 remain in the village full-time, but they still maintain a school for the local kids - with just two teachers and six students, one of whom was graduating the 12th grade the week after we arrived. There is no pub, no restaurant or coffee shop, only a one-stop-shop for groceries, booze and hardware.

ICEBEAR Offshore // NewfoundLAND HO!

ICEBEAR Offshore // NewfoundLAND HO!

ICEBEAR encountered her first whales yesterday. After the wild breaching we saw a couple of humpbacks exhibiting in the distance earlier in the day, we’d kept a sharp lookout for the rest of the morning, hoping to spot more, and closer. Around lunchtime, I casually came up to check the water temperature on the speedo gauge at the helm. I heard the whale before I saw him, heard his spout off to port over my left shoulder. I turned just in time to see his low dorsal slip beneath the surface.

ICEBEAR Offshore // Whales, Dolphins & Hurricane Eggs

ICEBEAR Offshore // Whales, Dolphins & Hurricane Eggs

An hour after the dolphin show Tom spotted a whale spout to port. I saw the fin and shiny smooth top of a humpback gliding off to port. He spouted a few more times, then disappeared. Then, further in the distance, another spout. And suddenly a huge breach! There on the horizon, several more humpbacks were taking turns breaching and spouting, leaping full-body out of the ocean and crashing down in a huge splash.

ICEBEAR OFFSHORE // 8 Years at Sea

ICEBEAR OFFSHORE // 8 Years at Sea

Today is Mia & my 8th wedding anniversary! I never know what to celebrate more - the day we met, on December 28, 2006. Or the day we got married, June 18, 2011. After that first day, the second day seemed inevitable. One week after our wedding we flew back to the USA and prepared ARCTURUS for our first trans-Atlantic passage, leaving Annapolis harbor on July 4 (and forgetting the paper charts!), proceeding north and east to Newport first, then on up this way. We called at Lunenburg for the first time then (the last time I sailed with my mom), where we dropped my parents off and traded them for our friend Clint who joined us for the rest of the journey, continuing on to St. Pierre, our last stop before Ireland.

ICEBEAR Offshore // Back to the North!

ICEBEAR Offshore // Back to the North!

I hadn’t given a thought to the fact that we’re headed north again. Not just north, like from the Caribbean to Bermuda is a ‘northerly’ course, but north, as in towards THE north. We’ve only just crossed the 40th parallel, but it feels like an altogether different ocean here. The water is darker, colder. The air crisper. The sunrises and sunsets linger longer.