By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,291)
Ocean sailing is as natural to Nolwenn Chauche de Gesnais as being at home – that’s because his home was a steel hulled 50 ft. ketch – Ivilia,- sailing all over the world with his parents and three siblings. His French parents gave up their secure careers to give their four children an education they could not get as students in schools near Paris. That love of the sea has led Nolwenn to places not many others have the opportunity to explore. Recently he and his wife, Pauline, purchased his childhood home from his parents. The two and a crew sailed her up from the West Indies to New Yard – arriving just over a week ago. Together the two are embarking on a challenge for which they are well suited. Now this exceptional couple wants to give others a similar experience aboard Ivilia.
Yesterday afternoon in the cabin of Ivilia, named for a Brittany Goddess, the gracious couple talked with mhn.com about their past as well as their current business plans. . Back in the spring of 2009, Nolwenn captained a research ship – Gambo – on several expeditions to Greenland to research glaciers for Aberystwyst University in Wales, where he was pursuing his Ph.D. in glaciology and oceanography. Gambo was owned by Dr. Alun Hubbard and purchased for research on the glaciers of Greenland. (Please google him or Gambo for more.) During part of that research, Gambo, a cutter, was hauled at the then Portland Yacht Services, 58 Fore Street, while Phin Sprague, Jr.’s crew did maintenance on her. When the research was completed, Nowlenn returned to Paris where he met his wife, Pauline. Pauline has two Master’s Degrees; one in agronomy (food sustainability) and the other in Economics relating to energy and to the environment. (Mhn.com did several stories on Gambo – one is dated June 28, 2009, entitled “Cutter Gambo Prepares for Scientific Expedition to Greenland.”)
Ivilia, weighs 20 tons, about 15 tons is because of its steel construction. The other 5 tons is due to all of the equipment on board said Nolwenn. She carries scientific instruments as well as life boats. She draws 6 ft. and is 13 ft. wide and carries 250 gallons of fuel. She was launched in France in 1999.
The current business plans hold equally exciting opportunities for this couple and their guests. Beginning next month, Access Arctic offers 10 – 15 day tours for interested parties of Greenland. The tours are geared toward interested tourists as well as researchers and their teams wanting to do research around Greenland. Nolween carries a complete inventory of scientific instruments aboard to accommodate researchers.in their work. Tourists can participate in fishing for halibut, getting close to the glaciers which are often 2 – 3 miles wide, hiking and visiting quaint villages. “Calving” is the breaking off of pieces of the glaciers into icebergs. Ivilia’s steel hull allows her to get as close as one mile from the glaciers said Nolween yesterday. Because of his vast experience, he can also provide expeditions to Canada, Iceland and Norway. Passengers are expected to fly to Greenland where the trip starts. There Nolwenn and Pauline will meet them and transport them to the ship. To date, they have scheduled seven trips with more planned for later in the season.
In 2012, the couple spent seven months aboard Gambo – frozen into the ice of Greenland. Nolwenn was performing experiments to study glaciers in winter. He determined that “significant submarine melting” occurs throughout the year, a subject about which little research has been done. It was an important discovery.
Pauline grew up on a farm near Paris. She loves her new life. “I like a simple life that is free from all the businesses of a city,” she said yesterday at New Yard, 100 West Commercial Street where the boat is being maintained for its upcoming voyage to Greenland. “The villages we visit are small. It’s easy to meet people and get to know them. It’s about relationships,” she said. The couple plans to leave New Yard, a/k/a Portland Yacht Services toward the end of May for Greenland. They are allowing two weeks for the sail there. They will return to Portland Yacht Services every several years for mainenance as needed.
For more information, please visit the web page: www.accessarctic.com and email them at email@example.com. The web page is largely in French, although it is gradually being translated into English.