Contractors, vendors and people that helped Fortrus get through the NW passage.

 

A&R Engineering:                  Metal works, design, welding and powder coating

N&G Engineering:                 Main Engines and Generators

Décor Modern Metals:          Metal works, design, welding and pipe work

Hull Technologies:                 Welding and Modifications

Premier Marine (Halifax):   Canadian Agent

Blue Water Shipping:           Greenland Agent

Alaska Yacht Services:          Alaska Agent

Steve Hubbart:                      Captain M/Y Indigo

Pemba Marine:                      Paint and Varnish

Saltwater Boat Works:           Carpentry and design

Dennis Boat Works:               Carpentry and design

Island Marine Electronics:   Nav equipment and overall electrical work

Cote Marine:                          Electrical work

GBR Marine:                           Atlas Tech

ABT TRAC:                             Justine Rhodes

ION:                                        VSAT internet service provider

Paradise Marine:                   Electronics

Maritime Summit Shop:       Sarah (cold weather gear)

Seven Seas Yachts:                Scout dealer

Andrew Lebuhn:                   Broker (Camper and Nicholson)

Kardinal Marine:                   Management

Murray and Associates:       Naval Architects

Pete’s frootique:                      Halifax

Newson Provisioning:         Beth and Brian Fresh fruit and veg

Marc Jackson

Streamline Computing:        All I.T. and A.V. work done on Fortrus

The whole team

Amanzi Marine:                 Yacht provisioning, fueling and overall planning

Blog design and hosting.

 

As the Captain of Fortrus, I recommend all the above people or vendors.

Thanks for helping to make this trip a success,

Captain Scott Newson

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Cornwall Island and Heavy Seas

We headed around the east side of Cornwall Island to see how high we could climb. We made it to 75 degrees when the ice surrounded the boat. It was amazing to be surrounded by new forming ice but we new at this point that we couldn’t keep heading north. Fortrus was digging a perfect channel through the Ice. We did a few turns and made some cool designs in the ice. The Scout was riding in a trench of water with ice on both sides. Amazing…

Photo by Natasha Kovalenko.

Photo by Natasha Kovalenko.

We headed south down Prince Regent inlet and got into some pretty heavy weather. The winds were gusting from the North at over 50 knots. The boat handled the stern seas of 5 to 7 feet with no problems at all. The Scout was doing some pretty impressive surfing. We think that it might have gotten barreled a few times.

We tried to anchor around Fort Ross but the wind was too much. We contacted the coast guard and together we agreed to shoot through the Bellot Straights. We ran into 7knots of current as we went through the narrows. Our speed dropped to less than 2 knots over the ground.

We knew that we would be running into some pretty serious ice once we got to the other side. The wind decided to drop off as we entered into the ice fields. The first wave of ice was pretty easy. It was around 3/10th of concentration. We knew that the second wave was going to be between 4/10th and 5/10th.

The ice in the second field got pretty thick so thought that it would be a good idea to put the jetskies in the water and have some fun. The guests and crew all jumped and floated around on chunks of Ice. The jet skies aired over a few icebergs and Sam decided to swim around the ice in a dry suit. We almost lost Notti as he floated away on a small piece of Ice. Sam rescued him on a Jet ski.

Photo by Paul McDonald.

Photo by Paul McDonald.

Photo by Paul McDonald.

Photo by Michael Power.

Once we were done playing around, we needed to punch through some heavy ice before making it into open water. Some of the bergs stopped Fortrus completely in her tracks. The Steel hull thumped against the ice so hard that people almost fell over on deck. It was pretty scary but we don’t have any salt water coming in. That’s a good thing.

We made it through and are now off to Cambridge Bay. The wind is a steady 28 knots and to seas are 4 to 6 on the nose, pretty bumpy weather but we need to bang out some more miles.

Photo by Jacob McDonald.


Search for the Narwhal

After we left Pond Inlet we went on a search for the infamous Narwhal. The crew has put a lot of research into finding them. All sources pointed us to a place called Bruce’s Head in Koluktoo Bay.  We anchored there for the night in the hopes of seeing the unicorn of the sea. After no sightings, we decided to head out on the morning of the 27th.

Approaching the Glacier. Photo by Michael Powers.

We had to do a little more exploring and decided to head up into Croker Bay to see some Glaciers. As we approached the first glacier werealized that there was a lot of ice floating around in the fjord.As Fortrus crept towards the Ice wall, Paul spotted a polar bear swimming in the water. We quickly turned the boat around and followed her as she swam towards an Iceberg. The cameras were flying on the bow as she climbed up the Iceberg and disappeared down the other side.

Polar Bear! Photo by Paul McDonald

Steve spotted her again as she swam towards the glacier. Charlie brought the little boat around and we began to hunt her down for some closer photos. The ice was thick and the scout was banging through some very big bergs. The current was ripping and the ice tried to grab us a few times. Ice flows are definitely not something to play with.

Ice. Photo by Stephen McDonald.

Scott and Charlie Scouting the bear through the ice. Photo by Michael Power

The tender caught up to the bear and we took some great photos of her with some magnificent backdrops. In the moment and not reallythinking, we noticed that we were under at least ten stories of ice that could fall on us at any moment. Very dangerous and extremely scary but the end result was, getting some Ridiculous photos and video.

More then ten stories tall at the water. Photo taken by Stephen McDonald.

We have no idea what’s next.

The Boys just after we spotted the polar bear. Photo by Natasha Kovalenko


It just gets better and better!!!!

Polar Bears! Photo by: Paul McDonald

Just when we though it couldn’t get any better. We find a polar bear riding an Iceberg in the middle of the Labrador Sea.  Absolutely Amazing!!!

Polar Bear. Photo by: Paul McDonald


Upernavik

The Icebergs got bigger and bigger as Fortrus cruised north along the west coast of Greenland. The scenery as we pulled into Upernavik was absolutely stunning.

Town of Upernavik. Photo by Michael Power

We had a good last night in Upernavik that included a massive fireworks show that I’m sure the locals will be talking about for years.

The guests and crew went through a few hundred rounds of paintballs and most are feeling the affects today. The night also included a skinny dip by a few brave souls.

Midnight Sun. Photo by Michael Power

We met Trevor, a fellow Australian that has been traveling around the world for years on his 30ft sloop. He spends his winters locked in the Greenlandic Ice with 5 months of provisions. We had him onboard for breakfast and sent an email off to his wife saying that he was O.K. They hadn’t been in contact with each other for months.

Trevor’s Sloop. Photo by Michael Power

Amanzi Marine organized us some fuel in Upernavik. We topped up and took off. Greenland is now behind us. Wow… it is absolutely stunning.

Fueling. Photo by Michael Power

Next stop is Pond Inlet, Canada.


Boston Harbor: Last U.S. Port Before the NW Passage

Fortrus arrived into Boston Harbor, which will be her last U.S. port of call before the NW passage. We had a great time exploring the coasts of New England and Massachusetts. Our guests for this leg of the trip were fantastic, and it was awesome to share this part of the world with such a wonderful group. The greatest highlight of the trip was beautiful flat calm seas that hosted a pod of twenty plus Minke whales. One curious whale swam thirty feet off the port side of Fortrus as we headed north to Provincetown. Michael’s food and the girl’s interiors service made our guests very reluctant to depart Fortrus in Boston. We will definitely miss this group and will try our best to bump into them again once we make it across to the west coast.

With Michael’s food and the girl’s interior services, guests are reluctant to depart Fortrus.
Photo by: Natasha Kovalenko

We now have 370NM between Fortrus and Halifax Canada. That’s where we will spend some time provisioning and getting ready for the north. We will acquire a new freezer that will fit up on the sundeck. This will help Michael with the massive job of provisioning Fortrus for the ride across the Arctic. It will have a secondary purpose of becoming a cold garbage locker once the provisioning has been depleted. We will be removing our dirty oil and taking on clean lube. Fortrus will also be fully toped up with northern diesel to handle the trip. We will definitely have a few very busy days in Halifax, nothing that a few poutines and some Timmy’s will get us through.

Erik, Levi and Scott: testing the sun deck driving station as they leave Boston Harbor.
Photo by: Natasha Kovalenko


Ice Reports

These are the Canadian Ice reports that we will be looking at daily in order to navigate safely through the passage.
I’ve attached charts from June 29th and July 29th to illustrate how the ice recedes. The warmer currents run north up the coast of Greenland and the the colder currents run south down Baffin Island. We will be running up the coast of Greenland before crossing back over to Pond Inlet. 
 
The smaller localized charts give much more detail. Non Ice class vessels like Fortrus can safely navigate in the green areas or 3/10th concentration. 
 
You can upload these charts at: http://ice-glaces.ec.gc.ca
 
We needed to stock up on paper charts as well, so we purchased just over 700 charts for the trip. Admiralty charts for the east coast, Danish Charts for Greenland and U.S. Charts for Alaska. We also made some upgrades to Fortrus by adding VSAT, Iridium, I/R Cameras and a Gyro. We completely serviced all machinery, navigation equipment and stocked up on spare parts and tools.  Additionally, we added a large garbage locker and a gas tank for the tenders, because of the time and distance between stops.  All the crew worked overtime to get the boat ready for this trip.
 
Steve Hubbart from M/Y Indigo sat down with myself and the crew on several occasions to talk about his trip. Steve safely navigated the passage in 2011. He gave us much needed guidance.