Northwest Passage 1By Elizabeth Ann Kerr

My trip to the Northwest Passage started long before I boarded the flight to Kangerlussaq with visits to Eddie Bauer, North Face, SAIL, MEC and Patagonia to purchase the clothing and equipment necessary to ensure I stayed warm, dry and comfortable and able to participate in whatever the daily sojourn offered. Function ruled over fashion for the most part. It’s hard to look good when wearing seven layers of clothing.

Believe it or not, this iceberg is bigger than our ship!

After a relatively uneventful four-hour sub-charter flight from Toronto, we arrive in Kangerlussaq – population 1,000 – but, ironically, the only place in Greenland with a runway that can accommodate a Boeing 300. All passengers who wish to continue their Greenland trip by land must take a Greenland Airways flight – which lands in three destinations on the island.

I choose, yet again, to take the road less travelled and – via a black well-trodden Zodiac – I arrive at my main means of transportation over the next 17 days – the Ocean Endeavour – a 198-passenger cruise ship, which is going to take me and my fellow travellers into the Northwest Passage.

At 3:43 a.m. (local time), I saw my first iceberg through the window of my aptly-appointed cabin. It had the same effect on me as my first sighting of a giraffe on the Serengeti. Awe-inspiring. Surreal. Untouchable.

Our 17-day adventure took us through the Davis Strait and Baffin Bay along the coast of Greenland. During the first few days, we crossed the Arctic Circle – twice! Halfway through our cruise, we cross back into Canada.
Northwest Passage 2
Here we are tooling around icebergs in our Crayola-coloured gear looking for hump-backed whale.

It’s cold outside. The snow-covered mountains aren’t really that welcoming just yet. The customs officials, whose breath can be scene on Deck 7 (my deck) arrive on board to process our papers. We wait anxiously and with trepidation for the afternoon’s itinerary, which includes a visit to Aujuittuq (Grise Fiord) – Canada’s northernmost civilian community and, perhaps, a chance sighting of a polar bear.

We have settled into a routine now…despite the time changes and early (and I mean early) wake-up calls, including a weather report for the day! After a hearty buffet breakfast, we head back to don our gear for the morning’s excursion. We have been divided into seven colour-coded groups (assigned by where our cabins are located) for safety purposes and to streamline the boarding process for the more than 150 passengers and crew on board. Once called (by colour), we head down to the lower deck where allocated lockers with life jackets and rubber boots await.
Group Photo
Here we are with our 200 fellow passengers, experts and crew huddled on the stern of the Ocean Alexander.

In groups of ten, accompanied by a driver (who could also be a musician, documentarian, writer, naturalist, biologist or geologist), we carefully board a waiting Zodiac. The three-step process for getting in seems easier every day except, of course, when there were 10-foot swells and timing is even more critical.

Depending on the day and destination, we are out for one to four hours. This all depends on weather, the ship’s proximity to shore (if we are going to shore) and what, of course, is waiting for us to see, whether it’s a bear, a beluga whale or an Artic hare.

I think the only thing as surreal as my first iceberg siting, is the field of 10+ Zodiacs filled with Crayola-coloured outdoor gear hovering around a field of icebergs waiting for a humped back whale to appear…which it did.

Northwest Passage 4Whether a great hike along a fjord to sight a muskox or a cruise along the shore to see a polar bear or a wet landing to visit four headstones (three of which belonged to Franklin’s crew) on Beechey Island, every day was a lesson in nature’s wonders, geography, archeology, culture and history. It was much for fun than high school.

When the sun hit this iceberg, the glow was mesmerizing.

Once back at the ship, hot showers and hot lunches await us. Afternoon itineraries are usually quite loose where you can relax, mesmerized on deck (weather permitting) or continue your education provided by the many experts on board. Of course, you can also choose to workout, take a yoga class or plunge into the pool or hot tub (when open).

At 6:00 p.m. (wherever we are), passengers, experts and crew all head to the Nautilus Lounge for a recap of the day and a debrief about tomorrow (including what time we have to wake up). We hear more about what we saw, learn a Nunavit word or two and applaud the best photo of the day. Tomorrow’s proposed itinerary is also shared.

A sit-down dinner offering something for everyone’s appetite and food issues is served at 7:00 p.m. in the Polaris Lounge. Not too long after our arrival on board, we established ourselves at a lovely table near the bow of the boat and ate there most days joined by newfound friends and catered to by an extraordinary wait staff.

After dinner, the daily program continued, whether it was a movie, a singalong or even a costume party. The keeners attended everything. The wiser ones tucked in early to prepare for another day on the Northwest Passage.

 

 

An Abacos Adventure

Great Guana CayBy Mark Stevens; Photos by Sharon Matthew-Stevens

It’s a perfect Sunday morning jaunt.

We’re gliding through green-blue waters, colours so vivid and bright they hurt your eyes. We’re set for a close reach out of a harbour guarded by a necklace of tiny emerald islands decorated by palms that dance in fifteen knots of wind.

Our boat, “Tropical Escape II” (perfect name for both the boat and our adventure), is a 44-foot Robertson and Caine catamaran, chartered from Sunsail’s Marsh Harbour base on Bahamas’ Great Abaco Island.

Read More about An Abacos Adventure...

 

Lifestyle

  • Prev
Stuart Walker a legend in competitive sailing passed away on November 12, 2018 in Annapolis. Stuart ...
“In Grenada, we had about 80 cruiser kids visit our boat...by dinghy of course! Sometimes you ...
Austin Edwards told students and parents at the Saanich School’s “Parents as Informed Partners” ...
As the sole arbiter of the Photo of the Week I, your editor, get to make the choice. This week, ...
Michele Stevens pointed us to this interesting project which recently came to fruition in Cape ...
Our Photos of the week this time come from BC where our friend Rob Stokes sent us a very nice ...
Our little treasure: Montague (Monte) taken at Pirate's Cove in the Gulf Islands. Monte is a ...
It has been a long, hot summer here on Georgian Bay and we miss Adamant 1 terribly. We did manage ...
On Thursday last week, at age 88, Bruce Kirby has been invested into the Order of Canada for his ...
The Olympic Qualification Regatta is now being held in Aarhus Denmark with unlimited entries. That ...

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
At the boat shows, the Ranger Tugs’ classic tugboat lines always grab the crowds, with the wives ...
Sometimes a great idea requires an encore, and French yacht builder Jeanneau got that with the ...
Tactical Custom Boats announces the sale to a North American client of a custom Tactical 77’ – Fast ...
Bruce Elliott is an inventor. And when he sold the technology he developed to build utility poles ...
One often asks of a winning achievement or a fabulous design, could it have possibly been done ...
The latest new model from Cruisers Yachts is the Cantius 42 and this yacht made its debut in the ...
The Sabre 45 Salon Express is new for 2017, making its debut at the Fort Lauderdale International ...
Jeanneau’s newest NC model is the NC 33, and it’s an exciting and innovative inboard cruiser ...
The Four Winns H290OB combines two of the most popular new big boat trends to come up with a great ...
Commodore’s Boats is a full service shipyard with over 50 years of generational history and ...

Hanse 388

Hanse 388By Katherine Stone

The Hanse group produced their second most popular boat of all time with the Hanse 385. The trick was to build on that winning formula when they upgraded to the Hanse 388, which they have done in spades. The German build quality is first rate and true to the Hanse tradition. Leaving the hull the same with a steep stern and straight stem for an optimal long water line, they went with a slightly stiffer, heavier displacement, new deck, interior layout and window line. Hanse’s highly experienced yacht construction team, judel/vrolijk & co., have combined ease of sailing, comfort and performance into the newly designed Hanse 388.

Read more about the Hanse 388...

 

 

 

DIY & How to

  • Prev
A recent conversation with a fellow contractor got me thinking: With all of the information out ...
As the cold approaches, shrink-wrapping is a hot topic, and I’ve heard more than a few debates at ...
Nothing stops a vacation faster than a problem with the fresh water system – be it leaks, smells, ...
Pyrotechnic distress flares have been around for decades, while electronic strobe distress flares ...
Most of us don’t give a second thought to our sacrificial anodes – those curious knobs of raw metal ...
In this time of boat show afterglow, many boaters are counting the days until launch. 
This one-day course consists of both theory and practical demonstration sessions, is designed to ...
 Since the initial article of this column we have identified a wide range of apps and ...

Ask Andrew – How to hire a boat repair contractor

hiring a contractorBy Andrew McDonald

A recent conversation with a fellow contractor got me thinking: With all of the information out there, including: Websites showing repairs, YouTube tutorials, Instagram pages and snapchat streams – let alone books, magazines, service manuals, and years of practical experience – how does a boat owner know which method(s) are ‘right’, who to trust, and who to hire to do the job? In short: How do you find and select a contractor?

Unfortunately, most people are forced to hire a contractor due to a circumstance where something has broken or failed, or the task...

Read more about hiring a contractor...

 

  

Marine Products

  • Prev
Sail shape is long gone. They have stained, feels thin and you see broken threads everywhere. Your ...
Stripping the antifouling paint from the bottom of a boat is physically demanding and is one of the ...
The 2019 Ultimate Sailing Calendar highlights the drama and excitement of blue-water sailing, as ...
Weather nerds and boaters of all stripes will be absorbed by Bruce Kemp’s account of the monstrous ...
Canada Rope promises that its new Night Saver Rope will illuminate at night and act as a reference ...
Take a look as a 68-foot yacht docks itself in between two Volvo Ocean 65 sailing yachts at the ...
Industry Firsts Include Direct Injection and Integrated Electric Steering System
Verviers, Belgium, 18 May 2018 — Mercury Marine, the world leader in marine propulsion technology, ...
Again, we return to the beginning. We started this column with a look at marine navigation for ...
Ga-Oh (spirit of the winds in Algonquin) creates bags and other items from re-purposed sails.