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.


Playing on an Iceberg and Resolute

After leaving Croker Bay we decided to pull over and play on an Iceberg. We found a Monster berg and pulled the scout up to it. Everybody jumped off and instantly became kids. It looked like a perfect floating winter playground. Guests and crew all started to climb and play on the Ice.  After some time, we decided to back Fortrus up to the berg so that everybody could step off and on to the swim platform. Pretty cool…

Photo by Natasha Kovalenko

Photo by Levi Bell.

We anchored that night at Beechy Island.  We went ashore to see the gravesites of Franklin’s expedition. We all gave thanks to the explorers that paved the way through the NW passage. It’s unbeleivable to imagine what it would have been like to be stranded there. Noddy and Erik ran into an Arctic Hare on the island and got a few great photos. We also saw a fox running around on Beechy the next day. Other than the animals, the island has a very sober feeling about it.

The weather changed over night. The pressure dropped more than 16 mb and the seas became a short six feet. The winds lasted the entire 60NM to Resolute where we needed to be to pick up the Australian boys.  Our voyage is now definitely starting to feel like an adventure.

Photo by Charlie Howden.

Photo by Charlie Howden.

Michael was running a little low on fresh fruit and veg. We had my parents, Beth and Brian pack up some supplies and meet up with the boys on their way through Ottawa. The four made it through some thick fog and into Resolute. Michael was very relieved to receive some much needed fresh supplies. There isn’t much in the way of fresh vegetables or fruit up here.

With the change in weather, the ice decided to shift and block our way south. We contacted the Canadian Coast Guard to discuss the situation with the ice. They agreed with our plan. We will hang out up here for a couple of days and wait for the ice to dissipate before heading south. Let’s hope the ice cooperates with our plan.

Photo by Natasha Kovalenko.

Now that we have all the guests on board and a couple of days in hand, we’ve decided to head a little further north. The snow has been coming down hard and the boats brow is now covered in Ice.  The guests were having a good time taking photos in the snow.

We spoke to a few locals in Resolute and they put us on to a pod of Baluga Whales. Very cool white whales.

The hope tomorrow is to make it all the way to 80 degrees north. We’ll try to make it all the way up to the pack Ice.

Photo by Natasha Kovalenko.

Artic Hare. Photo by Erik Aubry.

 


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


The trip across the northern Labrador Sea couldn’t have gone any smoother. The smiles and excitement from seeing a polar bear lasted the two days of the crossing.

Crossing the Labrador Sea. Photo by Natasha Kovalenko

The fog lifted as we arrived into the Pond Inlet channel and the day became absolutely beautiful and sunny. Fortrus was surrounded by mountains covered in glaciers as she cruised into Pond Inlet.

Fog over the montains: Photo by Erik Aubry

Fog lifting. Photo by Erik Aubry

Entering Pond Inlet. Photo by Natasha Kovalenko

We cleared into Canadian customs and had a little walkaround town. We got to see our first Narwhal tooth. Unbelievable to imagine how big these animals must be.

Village of Pond Inlet. Population 1,315. Photo by Melanie Waugh

Fortrus will make her way west through some small icebergs tonight where she will anchor off Bruce Head in the attempt to find the illusive Narwhal. This spot hosts many different species of sea mammals. We will spend the day here, do a little fishing and maybe go ashore for a hike up a mountain.


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.


Artic Circle with the Boys

Paul and the Boys made it to Nuuk. They are onboard and drinking some whiskey. We decided to head out immediately. At 13:30 on Aug 21st, Fortrus crossed over into the Arctic Circle.

Fortrus & the Burg: Photo by Natasha Kovalenko

As we circled around Disko Island, we saw some fantastic icebergs that stand hundreds of feet in the air. They are absolutely unbelievable. The photo’s are flying.

Paul & the Boys: Photo by Michael Power

The trip with the boys has already been adventurous. Today we tried to make it into Ilulissat harbor. As we edged our way in, there was far too much ice and we had to turn back.  Chucks of ice the size of volkswagen’s were banging off our bow. The noise of the ice bouncing off Fortrus was enough for us to turn around. We were still nine miles from the harbor when the decision was made to turn back. The ice was much thicker ahead.
We are now heading another 220NM north to Upernavik. We’ll take on some fuel there before turning left and crossing to Pond Inlet.
Hopefully we’ll have better luck getting in there.

Ice Sculpture. Photo by Charles Howden