The following pages chronicle the journey of the sailing vessel Pelagic and her crew. We are a family of 5; Michael, Amy, Zander, Porter and Anakena, taking our 42' Hallberg Rassy as far as we can comfortably go in three years. We left Oregon in September 2014, participated in the 2014 Baja Haha, continued on through the Panama Canal, into the Caribbean, up the coast of the US to Maritime Canada and from there crossed the Atlantic. After an arrival in Ireland we toured Scotland, then sailed down to France, Portugal and on to Morocco. In January of 2016 we slowed down considerably and enrolled the kids in a local Spanish school in Sanlucar de Guadiana for a few months. In the spring of 2016 we crossed the Atlantic towards the Caribbean. We are now in the Pacific, officially on our way home, albeit via a very circuitous path. We are currently in French Polynesia and looking at weather windows to Hawaii before finally making landfall back in the Pacific Northwest.

Currently our exact location is not available. Our spot coverage will pick us back up in Hawaii towards the end of May, 2017.

Our favorite sailing quote:

"If anythings gonna happen, it's gonna happen out there boss!" Captain Ron

Friday, July 31, 2015

July 31, Bras d 'Or Lakes, Nova Scotia

We passed so much of Nova Scotia by, we can hardly call ourselves experts on the subject of this northern maritime province. That said, I feel comfortable making the statement that the Bras d'Or lake region of Nova Scotia is awesome, breathtakingly beautiful and not to be missed, and we could have spent a month there. At the top of Nova Scotia, within Cape Breton Island, there lies a salt water inlet that is almost entirely enclosed by land. There is a small intake at the top of the island and a canal at the southern end, but otherwise it is totally protected from the ocean. This lake region is stunning! A thick forests lines much of the lake front, but the hill tops are cleared for farming, colorful lighthouses dot the headlands and lovely wooden churches are frequently seen from the water. Small inlets are plentiful and there are many places to tuck into and experience the seemingly boundless tranquillity the lake has to offer.

Upon entering the St. Peters bay we missed the last opening of the canal so we tied up to the pier for the night and did a short visit in town. The following day we traversed the canal. Quite a different experience from the Panama Canal! We only descended about 2 feet and the canal operator let Zander open and close the locks by himself. We cruised through the narrow entrance to the larger lake, viewing pastoral settings blended with rugged rocky points. We saw bald eagles, shore birds and lots of kingfishers. Later we had a brilliant sail across the lake and anchored in a small protected bay on the north end of the lake. We explored the beaches and were rewarded by the discovery of a huge oyster bed in some shallow water at the head of the bay. We devoured a few fresh oysters in the dinghy, but collected a bunch more for an oyster stew at a later date. Already looking forward to it!

The Bras d'Or Lakes are a beautifully destination, although I think if you asked any of us independently, the thing we will remember most about Nova Scotia is the amazing hospitality of the locals. This is one of those places where if you buy too many groceries the owner of the store drives you back in his car. In fact one of the things I like about cruising is not having a car and having to walk everywhere. If I stayed in Nova Scotia I'd gain weight because no one lets you walk anywhere, they love picking you up on the side of the road to drive you anywhere you need to go. In fact, on our first night we inadvertently took the spot on the pier of a local fishing boat. Anywhere else a tired fisherman would have been ticked off if he returned to find his slip taken. in our case our fishermen friends found us in town, politely told us not to rush through dinner, then they drove us back to our boat and apologized profusely for not having a sign marking their spot on the pier. They were super, super nice and everyone else we ran into was exactly the same. Even radio etiquette is more polite. Boaters ask politely to have bridges open and then thank the operator when they are through. Bridge operators aren't rude and excitedly welcome you to their neck of the woods It is like we have landed in Mr. Rogers maritime neighborhood. Either that or a prozac prescription is included with socialized medicine her in maritime Canada!

Monday, July 27, 2015

July 27, cruising along the coast of Nova Scotia

We are cruising along, crossing the infamous Bay of Fundy, and traveling at about 6-7 knots with relatively calm seas. The last 24 hours have been surprisingly comfortable with enough wind to sail quite fast. We are close hauled, which is not my favorite point of sail, but with calm seas it is quite easy and we are moving fast. I almost hate to write this and jinx our favorable conditions. The forecast suggests the next two days will be more of the same conditions, so we are hoping to get to the Bras'd Or lakes early Wednesday. This region of Nova Scotia has been aptly described as "A basin ringed by indigo hills laced with marble. Islands within a sea inside an island". We won't have a lot of time to explore this area, but we hope to pass through the locks near St. Peters on the eastern edge of Nova Scotia and sail out the northern entry point at the top of the island.

We are passing the day reading and watching a few blue planet discs (yes, you'd think Z would have had enough of the big blue out here, but apparently not!). We are starting to see lots of pelagic birds, birds literally adapted to live in the open ocean. I've always been a little frustrated with trying to ID seabirds. In Alaska and along the Pacific coast the species diversity is so rich that it is hard to tell one petrel or shearwater from another and the auks all resemble flying footballs. As well, in the Southern Ocean, and our time there, the number of albatrosses that look like fulmars and other shearwaters make my little non ornithological head spin. Here in the Atlantic there are far fewer species and we love watching them because, in part, we can actually call them by name. We've seen leach's storm petrels, sooty shearwaters and a few great shearwaters (I say with great authority). They are all so graceful as they dip their wings gently along the wave surface. You don't see these birds in the tropics or close to shore, so this has been a welcome re-entry into the northern latitudes.

Porter and Anakena are in Alaska with my parents, so it is only the three of us out here at the moment. We will be picking up my cousin Cole in Newfoundland in about a week and will hopefully be able to cross the Atlantic shortly thereafter.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

July 26, leaving the United States

As I write this we are motoring out of Casco Bay en-route to Nova Scotia.  This will be our last US port before we get into Canadian waters. We were pretty heavily delayed waiting for a spare part to arrive before we could leave.  Just a little part....the prop!  Anyway our departure is a little bittersweet.  We have had a wonderful time with Mike's family and friends from Birch Island. All the kids have fun on Birch Island and look forward to seeing their friends there every year. We've also been spoiled having access to West Marine, hi speed wifi and excellent shopping.  I've been worried about provision in Newfoundland, so we went a little overboard with the grocery shopping.  I literally couldn't get another stick of gum on this boat it is so packed with food!

We are expecting to motor today, but have good winds Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  While it is always better to sail, a flat sea state is kind of nice when you haven't been at sea for a while.  We could use a day to get re-acclimated to life afloat.
prepping the boat, view from the top of the mast looking back at the Mere Pt. landing

Pelagic off the Birch Island pier.  Never thought I would see that!

testing the survival suits

provisioning for the next month.  One of many food lockers on the boat

hiking in Camden
more provisioning.  Now where to put it?

the Glas and Bradford clan

July 20, 2015

The count down is here.  We are expecting to leave later this week for Canada and we are prep, prep, prepping!  We WERE totally on budget until we got to Ft. Lauderdale, and now everything we couldn't do over the last year is being fixed and cha ching! We are hemorrhaging money at the moment and we get multiple packages a day delivered; parts, parts and more boat parts.  We need to get off shore, or somewhere we can’t use our credit cards very soon!  That said, the boat is in great shape and things just need to be fixed and replaced in this environment.  Hopefully all this preparation will set us up nicely for the next year of cruising.  Next leg: Maine to Newfoundland, Canada and then on to Ireland.

The plan, today at least, is to have Porter and Ana fly to Alaska and spend a few weeks with my parents before they all meet us in Ireland in mid August.  It is a long time to be without the kids, but they don’t really care about ocean crossing bragging rights and honestly, I feel better about having two less souls to be responsible for during a high latitude crossing.  Seems to be a win, win. How is a high latitude crossing different from any other crossing?  Not so different, there still is just a lot of ocean in front of you, but cold water is a little more unforgiving if anything does go wrong.  On the positive side, we won’t be too far from shipping routes, so in the event we ever had any trouble, we actually may be able to get some assistance.  On our last cruise from Easter Island to Southern Chile we were bobbing around in the Southern Ocean for 20 days and only one ship ever traveled that route, so in comparison, this should be a walk in the park.  Not surprising, when you have your kids, or kid along, nothing is a walk in the park anymore.  Anyway, the difficult thing about this crossing, aside from the cold water is the fog.Where the Labrador current and the warm Gulf Stream meet, off the Grand Banks, it can be foggy, extremely foggy and accompanied by strong wind. Normally winds can be expected to disperse fog, but off Newfoundland the fog is frequently so dense and widespread that the winds have little clearing effect.  What does this mean for us?  Just that we have to be a little more diligent with our watches.  No worries, we have radar, AIS and three and a half adults to keep careful watch and we are crossing at the exact best time of the year to cross.  We are almost ready!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Recently submitted a little update to Latitude 38, a sailing magazine in the bay area and they published the whole thing.....didn't expect that.  Anyway, here is a shameless link to the post.

Check out page 100-102 in the PDF linked to the right.

At the moment we are still anchored in Casco Bay; fixing things, visiting with family and prepping for the next stage in our voyage; cold water cruising.  We expect to be here for another couple of weeks before heading to Maritime Canada.

July 3, 2015 Update on land life or at least life at anchor

We've been anchored in Casco Bay, off of Mere Point for the last week and a half.  In that time I've flown to Alaska to retrieve Anakena, stealing a few days to enjoy the midnight sun and see some friends, Porter has started camp, Zander has enjoyed having Porter start camp and Michael has kept busy ticking things off the very lengthy list of "to do" items.  New whisker pole, check, new spinnaker sock (last one disintegrated in the UV), ordered, re-plumb aft head toilet, check, dive on the max prop and decide if it needs to be rebuilt (bummer, it will need to come off and be rebuilt and we will be eating top ramen for the next month to pay for it) and a new ignition switch installed, check.  The checks are being placed, but there is a seemingly endless list of tasks still to complete.  The windex still needs to be replaced, a frigate bird landed on the last one and broke it, the mast light needs to be replaced, a stern light needs to be replaced, lee cloths need to be made, a starter motor needs to be rebuilt, new engine gauges installed, as well as numerous smaller tasks and the list goes on. We also need to clean the boat from top to bottom; scrub the bottom, wash all the cushions, linens and carpet.  Purging is another big "to do" item.  Does Kena really need 8 dolls, 12 barbies, two lunch boxes and a neon pink and green cowboy hat, just to name a few things?  How many soccer balls, comic books and tackle boxes do we need to carry around and what items on the boat have we not used in 10 months?  Surprisingly, quite a few and those will all be happily purged and left in Maine or donated. Lastly, what are we going to do about our cockroach problem.  Even the word is filthy and it is a dirty secret that I hate to admit to. We have tried to deny their existence for some time, but we have to face the fact that they are lurking under floor boards and behind panels.  Nasty little creatures, that can actually live for a week without their heads, and they are the plague of the cruising life.  No one can say cockroaches in your home, albeit a boat, is not utterly appalling. They are associated with filth and squalor.  Ok, so I don't need to dust off a shelf to make room for my housekeeper of the year award, but we are not dirty people. In fact I probably clean more on the boat for the square footage than I ever did at home.   My galley is about the size of a shoebox, so I have to keep that area tidy or I wouldn't have anywhere to cook at all.  Mildew is a pesky little problem in marine environments and surfaces, bulkheads and cabinets need to be regularly bleached down.  Marine heads are notoriously smelly places and the only way to battle the odor is to scrub daily. So where did we get these little revolting creatures if I've been the housekeeper I claim to be?  Unfortunately, they are very easy to get; they come in with fruit you buy in the market, they can actually fly in your portholes, they can climb your dock lines and even if you are lucky enough to not have them come aboard in the previously mentioned ways, they can live on the glue that holds cardboard boxes together.  So every box; box of cereal, box of jello, box of cake mix, has to be taken away and the contents stowed in Tupperware or other containers.  Of course we tried to keep them off the boat, but somewhere in the Caribbean the real pirates came aboard and although we haven't seen many, we know they are there and even one is too many.  This week is battle time, and I plan to win this little war on my apocalyptic surviving foes! I'll keep you posted.