Andy & Mia

Departure & Into the High Arctic

7 Jun

  Isbjorn on anchor as we readied for departure towards Svalbard.

Isbjorn on anchor as we readied for departure towards Svalbard.

The weather for the past week is the coldest it’s been – by far – since we crossed the Arctic Circle. High’s in Tromsø during our short stopover never got above 5ºC (41ºF), and only for a short period in the afternoon. The fact that the sun hasn’t set since May 26 gives the environment a warmer ‘feeling’, at least mentally, but it’s cold. It snowed in town, on and off for the past few days, and above about 200 meters in the surrounding mountains, a fresh coat of white ...

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Isbjorn Inland // Relaxing Exploration in Arctic Norway’s Inner Fjords

2 Jun

  Motorboatin' in the inner sounds gave us a chance to play with the camera exposure. Photo by  James Austrums .

Motorboatin’ in the inner sounds gave us a chance to play with the camera exposure. Photo by James Austrums.

After our stressful night in Reine, the wind had eased off enough to let us get off the dock around 0900 the next morning. I had only gotten about 4 very fitful hours of sleep, but knew I could relax and nap once in open water. The gusts in the valleys were still touching 35 knots, but the lulls between them were longer and came more often. We removed all the extra dock lines we’d added prior, then made our ...

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Arctic Weather in Reine, Lofoten

30 May

Trust me, this was way sketchier than it looks in the video! That breakwater isn’t far off Isbjorn’s bow…

“In the high latitudes, you’ll have a long stretch with no wind, and you kind of feel comfortable with it. But you really have to keep the ship in shape all the time and be prepared for the weather, and never let your guard down. And it’s so easy to let your guard down.”

-Maik Brotzmann, from Tuesday’s ‘On the Wind’ podcast episode.

I’ll say I’m pretty relaxed being at sea again after the other night, which was a reminder that ...

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Isbjorn’s First Days in the Arctic // Exploring Lofoten

29 May

  Isbjorn in Henningsvær, our first Lofoten village.

Isbjorn in Henningsvær, our first Lofoten village.

Isbjorn is at sea. Long passage today in rainy, blustery conditions from Reine towards Lødingen at the head of the Vestfjord and the northern end of the Lofoten islands. We need to make some miles towards Tromsø now after bouncing around Lofoten for the past few days. 

18 Hours in Bodø

  James, our ships photographer, caught us coming into Bodø, where he joined Isbjorn.

James, our ships photographer, caught us coming into Bodø, where he joined Isbjorn.

We’ve had pretty good luck with the weather so far – our sailing days have been windy and gnarly, with rain and wet and cold. But then our time ...

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What One Isbjorn Crew Learned from Her 1st Offshore Passage // by Sophie Darsy

26 May

  Sophie & her watch mate Rob driving Isbjorn through the North Sea.

Sophie & her watch mate Rob driving Isbjorn through the North Sea.

Note from Andy & Mia: Sophie sailed with us on Isbjorn from Sweden to Scotland in May 2018, our first passage of the Arctic season. She’s a 30-something from France who lives in Stockholm with her partner Ryan, another 30-something from Iowa. They recently bought a Beneteau & are about to start a cruise from Stockholm to the Med, their first. Sophie came with us, like many do, to get some experience before setting out on their own. Here, in her own words, is what she learned.


What

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Landfall in Bodø

25 May

  No wind, but look at that scenery!

No wind, but look at that scenery!

The mountains alone this rugged coast of Norway appeared a little bit before we crossed the Arctic Circle on May 24. They remained with us for the duration of the passage up to Bodø, another 60 miles to the northeast or so. What didn’t remain was the wind.

We used as much diesel on this passage as we have on any passage really, running on fumes off our big tank as we motored the last few miles into the harbor. The trade-off was the spectacularly calm ocean. The silvery light from an overcast ...

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Farthest North! Isbjorn Crosses the Arctic Circle

24 May

Leg 2 Blog 2500px3.jpg

At 0459 this morning, Isbjorn and her crew crossed 66º 33’ north latitude, and entered the Arctic. I’d have preferred to do it under sail of course, but motor-sailing on an oily calm sea, the mountains of northern Norway in the background standing watch in the silvery morning light…well, it ain’t that bad!

This feels really exciting. In all of the sailing we’ve done to this point, this feels like the biggest accomplishment. We were only 30 miles off the mainland coast, closer still to some off-lying islands (all of which were in sight), but crossing that boundary line where ...

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Two Days Offshore from Shetland towards Norway

24 May

  Isbjorn covered 190 miles in the first 24 hours from Lerwick! Laura & Dick (helm) driving through some big winds & seas on Day 1.

Isbjorn covered 190 miles in the first 24 hours from Lerwick! Laura & Dick (helm) driving through some big winds & seas on Day 1.

Sun’s out (gun’s out!). Can’t ask for a better day on the ocean, especially in these parts. Wind is 12-15 from the north. Isbjorn is bombing northeast close-hauled & making 6-7 knots on a flat sea glittering full of diamonds in the afternoon sunshine. A handful of high cirrus give some texture to an otherwise sparkling clear blue sky. Tom & Rick are on watch, Laura is sleeping on the high side pilot bunk in ...

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Towards the Arctic & Video from the North Sea

16 May

  Isbjorn in Kirkwall, Orkney at sunset.

Isbjorn in Kirkwall, Orkney at sunset.

Isbjorn’s new crew will arrive in about 40 minutes. Mia & I have finished cleaning up the boat. Yesterday Mia did a HUGE provisioning run. I decanted a few bottles of propane into our American tanks. We went running in our downtime, ate Indian food last night for dinner and enjoyed the variable weather that is Orkney. I filled the outboard with the last of gas so I can top it off at the gas station, then proceeded to drop the outboard’s gas cap into the water behind the boat. Good thing that only ...

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Five Days on Mainland, Orkney

13 May

  The 'fushing' harbor in Stromness, the other town on Mainland.

The ‘fushing’ harbor in Stromness, the other town on Mainland.

Yesterday’s weather was Scottish! We awoke to a steady drizzle, the decks soaked and the dock covered in puddles. By noon the sun was out, but the temperature had plummeted. A few hours later, the sun remained, but the air was warm, folks in town walking the streets of Kirkwall wearing t-shirts. By dinnertime, the fog had rolled in and you couldn’t see the end of the dock.

I went for a run while Mia cooked dinner, following the road along the waterfront that wound it’s way towards the east ...

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