Monday, June 29, 2009

Fiona Arrives in St. Johns

Fiona arrived in St. John's, Newfoundland yesterday. She will be in port for about a week before proceeding to Greenland.

Meanwhile, the ice melt in the Arctic continues at a pace above the average. The National Snow & Ice Date Center shows that the ice melt is, however, slower than the rate in 2007, as seen in the accompanying graphic.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fiona Departs Lunenberg

S/V Fiona departed Lunenberg, Nova Scotia this afternoon at 3 o'clock bound for St. Johns, Newfoundland.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Extent of June 21st Sea Ice

The graphic above is from data collected June 21, 2009 from the National Snow & Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder. For our purposes, sailing Fiona to Alaska this summer, it is good to see the ice opening up on the Greenland west coast and north of Baffin Island in the Lancaster Sound. The Center reports today that "the pace of ice melt is accelerating."

For comparison, the graphic below shows the ice situation at the end of May.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center reported on June 3, 2009, "After a slow start to the melt season, ice extent declined quickly in May. Scientists are monitoring the ice pack for signs of what will come this summer. The thinness of the ice pack makes it likely that the minimum ice extent will again fall below normal, but how far below normal will depend on atmospheric conditions through the summer."

Fiona Progress Report

Capt. Forsyth writes via e-mail today that Fiona bypassed Provincetown, Mass and had a good sail all the way to Cape Sable.

But north of there she encountered heavy weather and tore the jib (the foremost sail). With Fiona now in port, the sail is being repaired by North Sails, a loft in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

The forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday this week is for winds up to 40 kt from the northeast which, he writes, "is no good for us." Forsyth hopes to leave Thursday (6/25/09) for St Johns, Newfoundland. He tells me, "I will meet you at Nuuk, on sched, all being well." [Photo by Eric Forsyth of Finoa in Antarctica]

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Russ Meets Captain, Crew and Ship

On May 24th I traveled to Long Island to meet Capt. Eric Forsyth and Ed Hopkins, the second member of the crew. I wasn't able to meet Joey, the fourth and youngest member of our group. But I did meet the little ship Fiona.

The occasion was the official Bon Voyage party for Eric's planned circumnavigation of North America, which will include my portion; the attempt on the Northwest Passage. After looking at each other for a few minutes and sharing a beer, we decided we could indeed all live with each other for two months on a 42 feet long sailboat.

Fiona left Long Island on Monday, June 15th at 10:30AM. Sailing to Block Island, she is bound for Provincetown for any needed repairs before heading for the Canadian Maritimes.

I plan on joining the vessel about July 14th in Nuuk, Greenland. From there we are bound for Baffin Island in the 103 year old wake of Capt. Roald Amundsen. The Norwegian explorer completed the first successful transit of the Northwest Passage aboard the 70 feet long sloop Gjoa in 1906.

The past week I've busied myself with collecting the clothes and equipment I'll need for my summer in the arctic. Putting my new ham radio license to work, I'm collecting the names and call signs of people who may interested in, or able to be of help to me during, the trip.


[The photo is of Fiona "on the hard" just a few days before launch for the Northwest Passage attempt.]

Map of Russ' Planned Route Aboard Fiona

View Fiona on the Northwest Passage in a larger map