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

Retracing the voyage of an Inuit family and two Moravian missionaries who – in 1811 – sailed in a 45-foot boat around northern Labrador into Ungava Bay to meet Inuit who’d never before seen Europeans. This voyage was one of the earliest cooperative ventures of Inuit and Europeans. Unlike many later voyages in which the Europeans considered their Inuit companions merely as guides, in the voyage of 1811 was captained by the Inuk leader Jonathan. The Moravians published a small book about the voyage.

For the last 5 years I’ve been researching, preparing my 32-foot steel sailboat Kuan Yin and attempting to go north down the Labrador to retrace their historic adventure. Three attempts in the last three summers have been thwarted by mechanical setbacks. But, with luck 2013 will be the summer I finally reach Kuujjuaq, 25 miles up the Koksoak River, which was the final destination of the voyage of 1811.

More information on this 3000 mile voyage coming soon. Subscribe for updates throughout the voyage.

Map of the voyage of 1811 around the Labrador Peninsula
Map of Kuan Yin’s route from Quebec in the wake of the voyage of 1811 around the Labrador Peninsula.

Voyage to Ungava:

Part 14 – the story of 2013 – Back to School After 38 Years

Part 13 – only 300 miles – When Success Means Turning for Home

Part Twelve – Sailing in Labrador in 2012 – So Far So Good, and So Beautiful and So Daunting

Part Eleven – the secret of self-reliance – Simplicity is Complexity and Complexity is Simplicity

Part Ten – ready in Newfoundland – Preparations before the 2012 Departure

Part 9/3 -moving forward despite disappointments – How to Keep Smiling in the Face of Endless Delays (3)

Part 9/2 -moving forward despite disappointments –  How to Keep Smiling in the Face of Endless Delays (2)

Part 9/1 – moving forward despite disappointments – How to Keep Smiling in the Face of Endless Delays (1)

Part 8 – reaching Newfoundland and the Atlantic Ocean – So Far So Good

Part 7 – A sense of accomplishment – Reaching Labrador At Last

Part 6 – A taste of heavy weather  – Post-tropical Storm Earl and other gales

Part 5 – Another small personal challenge and triumph – Rounding Cape Whittle

Part 4 –  A small personal challenge and triumph – My Own English Channel

Part 3 – From Quebec City to the Gulf of St. Lawrence – Take the Rough and the Smooth

Part 2 – Kingston to Quebec City – Progress Seldom Comes in Straight Lines

Part 1 – Departing from Toronto – Finally Underway

8 comments on “Labrador

  1. Barbara Elias
    April 2, 2010

    May the force be with you on your voyage. I look forward to your weekly updates. Barbara


  2. Mary F
    April 28, 2010

    Sounds like an adventure. Count me in for the updates too.
    My sailing experience is somewhat limited to Scottish waters a long time ago. Looking forward to a virtual travel experience to Labrador… not been there yet!


  3. Robert
    May 8, 2010

    Bonjour Dennison,

    Here’s a link to Captain J.E.Bernier story told in a TV serie called Histoires Oubliés (Forgotten Stories) that sailed in the Arctic a 100 years ago. He was named KAPITAI KALLAC by the Inuits




  4. Lionel Cormier
    August 23, 2010

    I see you on Siitech arriving here in Havre-Saint-Pierre.If you need anything check me out, here in HSP.


  5. Ellis D Chubbs
    September 18, 2010

    Hi Mr Dennison I hada short chat with you while you were tie’d up in LaTabatiere and I was just wondering how thing’s went after you left Tabatiere you told me you were going to try to git to Red Bay and Chateau Baie so I was wondering how thing’s went and if you made it to St Anthoney yet .Im just another curious sailor is all . Happy sailing Ellis


  6. Orland, your Supporter
    January 4, 2011

    Have known you for many years and am always intrigued by your adventurous ways. A recent supper (Jan 2) with you in Bangkok reaffirmed what I have always suspected about you. I also love that word “serendipity” as it mirrors my reason for edging into my 80th year with confidence, excitement and determination to make every minute count. I am with you in Spirit since I cannot be there in person. For two reasons I am hoping to fly to Nain when you get there: to see you off on your memorable trip north and to visit Labrador for the first time. Then I will have visited every province and territory in Canada. One of my lifetime goals. And I have you to thank for that. BON VOYAGE and here’s hoping you meet as little ice as possible as you go over the brink! Or is it around?


  7. peter kick
    February 8, 2011

    What a life you lead! I am jealous. I have had a few bouts with the north and long to go back. Several outings in James and Hudson Bays, launching at Chisasibi, Wemindji, Eastmain. I sailed to Ivujivik on a Beneteau 21, from Chisasibi, and took a Nimble 25 pilot house to Innukjuaac from Wemindji. Neither was enough boat for the north. In Great Whale, our boat was robbed by a bunch of Inuit kids–one of whom drowned off the wharf later that day. It was terrible. My wife died the next year, of pancreatic cancer. Since, I have longed to go back. As I am planning on installing a woodstove in my Endeavor 32 (berthed Tenants Harbor, ME), I found your info about the Sardine you installed, thereby discovering you in the process…so glad I did!. Once I was locked in at Wemindji harbor for a month and burned 2×4 cutoffs from a housing project! (in a lousy dickinson Newport solid fuel stove…). I have always wanted to get back to the north–explore the Belchers, Ottawa Islands, the south coast of Baffin Island, etc.
    I hope we run into eachother–always a free mooring, hot shower, and comraderie waiting for you here in Tenants Harbor.
    Smooth Sailing


  8. Bob Deschene
    October 30, 2011

    Don’t suspect you are in Toronto at the moment but if you are let me know-I am here until 13.11.11 then back to the Motherland. Janice and I now own a campervan-currently stored in Vancouver-looking to pick it up in May 2012 to spend a year travelling around North America and hopefully Mexico.

    Hope you are well.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: