By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,315)
“I’ll go with the flow,” said Keri Lord as she talked about her upcoming trip to Newfoundland aboard Ilivia, a 50 ft. steel hulled sailboat, launched this afternoon in preparation for her trip to the Arctic. The west coast of Greenland is the destination of Ilivia, although Lord will go only as far as Newfoundland.- a sail that is expected to take ten days from Portland Yacht Services in Portland Harbor. “I love adventure and this is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” she said. Lord has done some sailing in the area, but nothing of this magnitude. She expects to see whales and icebergs before flying back to Portland – when those arrangements are complete. Lord lives in the Parkside neighborhood of Portland. Her father was in the Air Force in World War 11 and based on Greenland.
This young French couple is offering passengers a unique experience – tours of Greenland that can include dog sledding, seal watching and cross country skiing, Ilivia plans to sail Sunday for her destination which is on the west coast of Greenland – a remote place with which its captain and his wife are well acquainted. There is a lot of interest in Greenland and Nowlenn and Pauline want to provide opportunities for both scientists and non-scientists to see first-hand under their knowledgeable leadership what is happening in the Arctic. More trips around Greenland are planned.
Lord has signed up for this adventure offered by Captain Nowlenn and Pauline Chauche de Gesnais after reading about it locally. This young French couple arrived at Portland Yacht Services early last month to do routine maintenance before departing for Upernavik. This will be his fourth trip there where he has done extensive research on glaciers for his Ph.D. from Aberystwyst University in Wales. Please google Dr. Alun Hubbard and GAMBO, Research Vessel for more background on Nowlenn.
Nowlenn pointed to the Casco Bay Bridge in the near distance trying to describe the size of a glacier. “Look at the Bridge and imagine something three times higher and all white. That is what a glacier looks like,” he said. The population of this island is 20,000 people with the smallest village having 100 inhabitants. The village they are headed for has about 1,000 – 1,500 inhabitants. Every village has an airport which supports planes and helicopters, since there are no trains or cars connecting villages. There is a 60 mile wide band along the coast in which blueberries, mushrooms and small birch trees grow. Inland are ice caps and that’s where scientists go temporarily to research their projects.
Speaking of food, the couple take only dry food and canned food with them and no prepared foods. A truck was rented his afternoon to purchase between one and two tons of food for the voyage. Lord went on the buying trip with two other members of the Ilivia crew. Today Nowlenn had his first taste of tuna jerky and liked it. He might add that to his menu. He also took on board a paperback copy of the book, “North to the Night,” written by Alvah Simon. Published in 1999, it is the story of a trip to the Arctic. (It comes highly recommended by this reader.) There will be five making this passage East. on Sunday.
During the summer months islanders stock up on fresh produce that will last them through the winter months. A head of lettuce costs $10. The grocery stores are fully stocked – you can purchase anything you want, but it’s expensive. They hun seals for food which Nowlenn has eaten. The texture is like stead and the flavor like liver.
“Every year there are more and more sail boats and ships coming through the northwest passage because of the melting of the ice. There is tons of interest in the possibilities as the Arctic opens up,” said Jonathan Steitzer, tugboat captain for Dunlap Towing, “In the last four years that I’ve been there, the growth has been exponential.” Steitzer is stationed in Alaska.and lives in Portland.
Please visit Post # 2,291, dated May 7, 2015 for the first in this series of articles about the voyage of Ilivia.
For more information on trips to Greenland, please visit accessarctic.com. Much of the webpage is in French, although it is being translated into English. Please email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.