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.
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.
A weather buoy just outside the harbor indicated sustained winds of 15.6 m/s, gusting to 19.7 m/s. That’s ‘meters per second,’ how they do it here in the Nordic countries. Roughly doubled, gives you the windspeed in knots. Translation? A steady 31 knots, gusting to 38 (!).
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!