Ocean Hermit – sailing, solitude and stories

My plans to retrace Captain Cook's unfinished voyage have been postponed a year while I work on the next Marine Diesel Basics book and get my new boat SV Oceandrifter ready for sea.

* Voyage to Ungava (1) – finally under way

Departing Toronto at dawn with long-time friend and fellow sailor Jiri, August 2009. Also aboard was Thom who was extraordinarily generous with his time and energy to get the boat ready

The voyage to Ungava has finally begun.  After four months of long days and hard work refitting the boat in Toronto, “Kuan Yin” is at last heading for the salt waters of the Atlantic coast of Canada. Whether or not we reach Halifax, Nova Scotia, (more than 1000 miles from Toronto) or not before the winter storms bring an end to this season’s sailing is uncertain. However, it’s a tremendous relief to have finally started. There’s a bump in the road that feels like a mountain to be climbed before any big project is properly launched. The delays and postponed departure seemed endless , as if we’d never get away.

Filthy diesel flushed from one ofthe tanks - the fuel should be almost clear!

This phase of the voyage is very much a “shake-down” cruise to discover what works and what still needs to repaired or refitted. For example, after a magnificent 36 hour sail with friends Thom and Jiri, from Toronto to the historic town of Kingston, at the eastern end of Lake Ontario, I’ve had to stop to pump out all the old diesel, which was plugging filters, and repair a cracked engine mount. And the depthsounder doesn’t work if the engine’s running.

Remembering what it's about - Thom enjoying the sailing on a glorious afternoon

Sometimes it’s easy to get bogged down by small problems and delays. What helps keep me going is to constantly reconnect with the “why” of the voyage and the work.  In the short term, I’m hoping to encounter whales in the lower reaches of the St. Lawrence river.  Late August is the time for blue whales. What an extraordinary experience it will be if we come close to the largest creature that has ever lived on this amazing planet.  A full grown blue whale is three times longer than “Kuan Yin” !

Friend Eric (r) brought real champagne and dinner to celebrate our imminent departure with Thong and I.

Last supper brought by Madla Krondl (m) with whom I stayed throughout the refit. She was always amazingly generous in her support, patience and interest in the project and my wellbeing. An extraordinary lady. Friend Wee (r) came from Thailand to go sailing but delays meant he only had one day at sea.

Free pdf download: Voyage to Ungava 1, 2, 3

(This was originally posted in August 2009.)

Please check under “Ungava” for other updates of this adventure and subscribe to receive reports from Labrador this summer, 2010.

© 2009 Dennison Berwick. This article may be republished for noncommercial purposes, with full copyright attribution and notification to the author. Any other use is a violation of copyright.

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This entry was posted on January 7, 2010 by in Labrador, Sailing and tagged , , , , , .
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