Andy & Mia

An Afternoon ‘Recce’ to Mythical Sable Island

1 Aug

“It’s like hearing about this legendary place, and not totally trusting that it’s really there. Then when you see it for yourself, and it really does exist, what a cool feeling!”

Those were Mia’s excited words this evening as Isbjorn ghosted along the beach just off Sable Island, that mythical sand spit at the confluence of the Gulf Stream and Labrador currents, 150 miles from mainland Nova Scotia. Even the Sailing Directions, normally straight and to the point, reserve a bit of hyperbole for the place. After explaining how the wild horses that Sable is known for got here in ...

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A Foggy Entrance to St. Pierre

30 Jul

I’m writing from the yacht club wharf in St. Pierre, the last remaining outpost of France’s once sprawling New World empire. At one point in time, it stretched from Newfoundland to the Mississippi. No more.

We’re in St. Pierre & Miquelon, a spectacularly rocky, wind-swept archipelago about ten miles south-southwest of the Burin Peninsula on Newfoundland’s south coast. This is France proper. Not French-Canadian, but French. And very much so. Where the architecture of homes and businesses in Newfoundland was rugged and utilitarian, in St. Pierre it’s colorful and charming. Some folks speak English, but not much, and not ...

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Dilly & Tony Save the Day

27 Jul

Zero dark thirty. I’m on radar watch at the nav station. Thus far, the coast is clear. Our new crew David is on deck, fighting off the first signs of seasickness. The fog has come and gone all day. Just now its rolled in thick, visibility down to zero. The glow of the tricolor light reflecting on the heavy fog casts an eerie shadow to either side of the boat, just at that transition angle between the colored, red/green lights that shine forward, and the white light that shines astern. The wind just shut down again and we are motor-sailing ...

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WRI Weather Forecast for leaving St. Johns

26 Jul

On the 26th, a ridge of high pressure will extend from 40N/60W
NE’ward through Newfoundland and will shift east of Newfoundland through the
27th.  To the west, a low pressure centered over the E’rn St Lawrence River
Valley willmove ENE’ward over Labrador through the 28th. An accompanying cold
front will extend SW’ward over W’rn Nova Scotia on the morning of the 26th and
will move E’ward over the E’rn Gulf of St Lawrence through Cabot Strait by
midday on the 27th, after undergoing some weakening.  The front will weaken
into a trough as it moves over Newfoundland the night of ...

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Exploring NewfoundLAND

24 Jul

A brief moment of clear skies before Cape Race.

A brief moment of clear skies before Cape Race.

We cleared Cape Race on Tuesday morning. The sky was thick with fog and devoid of wind. Lightning struck in the distance and the thunder, a half-minute later, rolled on and on and on over the calm seas, a truly majestic sound, one we could appreciate as it was far enough away for comfort.

High-vis gloves help in the fog!

High-vis gloves help in the fog!

As we headed up the coast for the last 60-mile jaunt to St. John’s, things started to change. A thin crack in the fog offered a brief glimpse of the dramatic ...

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PHOTOS: 2016 Leg 7: Lunenburg to St. Johns, Newfoundland

20 Jul

Capt. Andy joined Isbjorn after his appendicitis surgery a week earlier in Newport. A great sail out of Lunenburg, the wind kept building as we sailed along the coast of Nova Scotia. To avoid a big low between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland we jumped in to Lewisbourg for a day. 20 hrs later we were out again, some frustrating light wind sailing through fog until we rounded Cape Race. The fog lifted, the wind picked up and can not say other that a spectacular sail up the coast. Dozens of humpback whales, dolphins and puffins all around the boat and we didn’t ...

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Isbjorn Offshore: Newfoundland-Ho! Rounding Cape Race

18 Jul

The rain poured down this morning. Lightning struck in the distance and the thunder rolled on and on through the fog, a deep groaning like a distant freight train, at once a little frightening, but more so overwhelmingly beautiful

The rain poured down this morning. Lightning struck in the distance and the thunder rolled on and on through the fog, a deep groaning like a distant freight train, at once a little frightening, but more so overwhelmingly beautiful

The rain poured down this morning. Lightning struck in the distance and the thunder rolled on and on through the fog, a deep groaning like a distant freight train, at once a little frightening, but more so overwhelmingly beautiful. We’re rounding Cape Race as I write, only a few miles offshore, though we don’t yet have land in sight. Birds surround ...

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Isbjorn Offshore: Fog-Bound for Newfoundland

16 Jul

Well that was the right decision. Sitting out Friday in Louisboug seemed such a tough call while we were still at sea. When I wrote that last blog post about our diversion, the weather was perfect - Isbjorn was broad reaching in 15-20 knots of wind from the SW and a gentle swell lifted the boat as it glided past.

Well that was the right decision. Sitting out Friday in Louisboug seemed such a tough call while we were still at sea. When I wrote that last blog post about our diversion, the weather was perfect – Isbjorn was broad reaching in 15-20 knots of wind from the SW and a gentle swell lifted the boat as it glided past.

Well that was the right decision. Sitting out Friday in Louisboug seemed such a tough call while we were still at sea. When I wrote that last blog post about our diversion, the weather was perfect – Isbjorn was broad ...

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Isbjorn Offshore: Tough Decisions, Heavy Weather

14 Jul

Isbjorn is bound for Louisbourg, a small former French outpost on the tip of Cape Breton Island to wait out tomorrow’s forecast heavy weather. At one point in history, in the 1700’s, Louisbourg was the 4th busiest port city in North America after New York, Boston & Philly. That’s something. We plan to go back to sea in the wee hours of Saturday morning, after the worst of the weather has blown itself out but while there is still a favorable breeze. Here’s what WRI had to say:

“Latest observations indicate winds have veered to SW’ly along E’rn Nova Scotia, ...

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WRI Weather Outlook, Lunenburg-Newfoundland

11 Jul

To: Captain, Isbjorn
Prepared: July 11 15:30z
FM: WEATHER ROUTING INC. (WRI)

Synopsis:  A gale centered southeast of Nova Scotia near 43N/57W this morning
will move NE’ward to north of Newfoundland through tomorrow, then move E’ward.
An area of high pressure will move offshore of New Jersey tomorrow morning and
will move SE’ward toward Bermuda through the 13th.

A broad low will be centered over NW’rn Quebec by the morning of the 14th and
will move E’ward offshore Labrador along 55N through the 16th. Associated
strong cyclonic circulation will cover waters from the Gulf of St Lawrence
south to along ...

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