Contractors, vendors and people that helped Fortrus get through the NW passage.

 

A&R Engineering:                  Metal works, design, welding and powder coating

N&G Engineering:                 Main Engines and Generators

Décor Modern Metals:          Metal works, design, welding and pipe work

Hull Technologies:                 Welding and Modifications

Premier Marine (Halifax):   Canadian Agent

Blue Water Shipping:           Greenland Agent

Alaska Yacht Services:          Alaska Agent

Steve Hubbart:                      Captain M/Y Indigo

Pemba Marine:                      Paint and Varnish

Saltwater Boat Works:           Carpentry and design

Dennis Boat Works:               Carpentry and design

Island Marine Electronics:   Nav equipment and overall electrical work

Cote Marine:                          Electrical work

GBR Marine:                           Atlas Tech

ABT TRAC:                             Justine Rhodes

ION:                                        VSAT internet service provider

Paradise Marine:                   Electronics

Maritime Summit Shop:       Sarah (cold weather gear)

Seven Seas Yachts:                Scout dealer

Andrew Lebuhn:                   Broker (Camper and Nicholson)

Kardinal Marine:                   Management

Murray and Associates:       Naval Architects

Pete’s frootique:                      Halifax

Newson Provisioning:         Beth and Brian Fresh fruit and veg

Marc Jackson

Streamline Computing:        All I.T. and A.V. work done on Fortrus

The whole team

Amanzi Marine:                 Yacht provisioning, fueling and overall planning

Blog design and hosting.

 

As the Captain of Fortrus, I recommend all the above people or vendors.

Thanks for helping to make this trip a success,

Captain Scott Newson


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


Clearing the Straits of Belle Isle

We’ve now cleared the Straights of Belle Isle. Looks like we just made it through in time. Twenty four hours from now brings 35 knot winds and short 12 ft seas.

We’re heading into some serious fog as we start our three day trek across the Labrador Sea. The winds are 25 knots and the seas are starting to freshen up. The big wind and bumps should stay behind us. We’ve got a little current running so we’ll only be able to average 8 knots till we reach the warm northern current that runs north along the west coast of Greenland. We’re hoping for a blistering 10 knots close to the shore.

The outside air temperature is down to 52 degrees and the water temp has dropped into the low sixties.

The whales and dophins have been all around us. Absolutely amazing…

We are not expecting to see another boat for the next three days. The coast of Greenland will be a welcome sight.

Photo by: Erik Aubry coming around Newfoundland

Photo by: Erik Aubry coming around Newfoundland


Arriving into Halifax

Halifax is a great town. It has a ton of great pubs, nice restaurants and it’s full of helpful friendly people. The buildings are old, beautiful and the streets are super clean. The Fortrus crew had a great time.

Brian from Premier Marine helped us organize everything that needed to be accomplished in such short time.  We discarded, shopped, loaded, and bunkered. Fortrus is now fully loaded and sitting very deep in the water. Sarah from the Maritime Summit Shop helped us with our cold weather gear. The staff was extremely helpful and had everything organized and ready for us to pick up as soon as we hit tall ship quay.

We left Halifax on the morning of August 9th. It is now day two of the crossing and with the long range weather looking good, we’ve decided to do a straight shot to Nuuk Greenland. It’s a 1300NM run that will take us around Newfoundland, through the straights of Belle Isle and up Iceberg alley.

We had another great dolphin send off and we’ve seen a few whales that also seemed to wish us a safe trip.

From this point on, everything becomes unfamiliar and extremely exciting. We’re all looking forward to see the first sign of Ice.

Fortrus arriving into Halifax

Fortrus At Work


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.


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