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


Whale Spotting on the Way to Halifax

The seas have been flat calm and we had the opportunity to see more whales on the way to Halifax. This time we got to see some Humpbacks. They didn’t come too close but it’s always a welcome and exciting sight.

As usual, the fog came in thick coming around Nova Scotia. The bow completely disappeared as the fog took on the consistency of Pea Soup. The burgee pole that stands just 25ft from the bridge window was no longer visible. Fortrus had her Fog Horn sounding as we weaved through small fishing boats just a few hundred meters around us. We never even saw a light.

On the morning of August 6th, we’re hoping that the fog lifts before we start our entrance into Halifax.


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.

Traversing through NYC

After a crazy trip, the guests all flew out of New York on Saturday. Our guests were all great and we had a fantastic time with them!  Fortrus said goodbye to New York City on the 22nd of July. Melanie and the crew were all on deck for a beautiful clear departure. The city looked spectacular.   Natasha rode with Charlie in the Scout to take some photos of Fortrus as she cruised away from the city.
 
We took the East river into Long Island sound. The seas were flat and the scenery was beautiful all the way into Newport.  Michael is taking advantage of being in Newport by finalizing a lot of the provisioning needed to do the passage.  Erik took care of all the last minute preparations in the engine room. We are now ready to hit the cold climate.
 
…Next stop will be Boston!

Annapolis

With our arrival in Annapolis on the 9th, the first step of our voyage is complete.  Fortrus has now accomplished 5% of her trip around the continent. We departed from 26 degrees north, are now at 38 degrees and the hope is to make it all the way to 75 degrees north of the equator.

 
 Photo by Erik Aubry. Annapolis Yacht Basin
 
The boat is running very well, and the crew is super excited to be underway.  We have begun our long trek north until our left hand turn at Upernavik Greenland.
 
Annapolis is a beautiful city with a great Naval history, and we can only hope that the rest of the trip goes as smoothly as this first leg.

The Beginning of FORTRUS’ Adventure

Embarking on an epic trip around North America is daunting. Saying goodbye to friends and family is never easy, but working for somebody that wants to travel through one of the toughest passes on earth is awesome!

 

Fortrus departed from Fort Lauderdale on July 5th for what is undoubtably going to be an adventure—15,000  NM total from Fort Lauderdale, over the top of North America and back home to Florida through the Panama canal. This will be a very long voyage for a boat that travels at a little less than 10 knots.
 
Captain Scott Newson

Our first leg is familiar, only 850NM up the east coast from Fort Lauderdale to Annapolis Maryland. The seas have been beautiful and we were lucky enough to have a massive dolphin send off.