Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Wednesday, 17 July en route

S/Y Visions of Johanna
Wednesday, July 17
66 12.5N/032 37.37W
1100 UTC

We have had some good sailing. Yesterday started with wind abaft the beam building to 24 knots with a brief period of 30 knot gusts. Winds eased a bit through the evening, then rose a touch at night. We sailed the day with a single reef main, staysail and 1/2 reefed jib but added a second mainsail reef late evening as a general precaution but also due the apparent wind coming forward of the beam as wind direction backed from ENE to NNE through the night time hours.

We had our first radar targets 85 nm. west of Iceland but these were a lone pair. Many targets were encountered 120 nm. from Greenland requiring 2 person watches by 4:30 AM this morning. Visualized the first growler at 0930 today and were pleased to note that we had it as a radar target. We are running one person in pilot house on radar and one or two persons on watch in cockpit, depending on target density and proximity. It's thick a' fog, though, and has been since last night. Targets do correlate with water temperature and fog.

Everyone has had good rest and sleep time and food has been tasty and plentiful. Boy, do faces light up when cookies are handed out into the cockpit! Tuna&egg salad sandwiches a` la Lucas with tomato soup with pasta and vegetable for lunch. Dinner menu was chicken drum sticks in herbed BBQ sauce, green peas and baked potato with pesto and chopped shallot yogurt topping. Mandarin oranges and Toblerone chocolate for desert.

Pending surprises, we hope to arrive at Storo Island close to 8 PM tonight which will mean only one night out for the crew. Everyone is looking forward to that!! Once we get to Storo we will decide whether to spend a day there or head the next day through an inland passage to Tasiilaq.
Bill and crew

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Departing Iceland for Green land

Hello All. Visions of Johanna has departed Isafjordur, Iceland bound for Storo Island, Greenland. Storo is about 60 nm. NNE of the settlement of Tasiilaq on the east coast of Greenland: 66 10N/35 30W.

Conditions good for crossing, very good in fact. All well on board, lunch and dinner are planned. Should have some good winds for the first 3/4 of the trip with winds easing towards landfall in Greenland which is perfect in my book. Hoping for a smooth passage, we'll stay in touch.


Bill and crew of Visions of Johanna

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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

What a difference a couple of days make

What a difference a couple of days make. we have moved on and time to catch up. 

A small weather window opened up Friday morning and we decided to sail from Seydisfjordur to Vopnafjordur. The forecast was for the 30-40 knot north-easterlies to ease to 22 to 15-18 on Friday for a 24 hour stretch. Saturday was to be windier with bigger seas. So after checking weather Friday morning, the decision was made to make the 65 nm. passage to Vopnafjordur. All started as planned, a decent day and moderate winds except the winds steadily increased from 15- 20 Knots to 26-28 knots. And seas were not small. At least the morning drizzle ended. After a while. But the head wind was daunting and the cross swell kept our motor sailing tacking angles to 110 degrees. So the 10 hour sail turned into a 13 hour ordeal. A bit painful overall as we took our lumps and arrived at 10:30 PM.. But arrival felt sweet none the less, and Doug was there to meet us.

Doug had hired a car for land travel in Seydisfjordur and he drove to meet us there, doing some reconnaissance on the way up. And speaking of renting cars, at least you need a drivers licence and credit card in Iceland. In the Faroes all you needed was cash. No card. No driver's license. Just cash. Although it should probably be recommended that you have a license.

We had a nice and very late fish taco dinner that night for Doug’s Friday farewell as he left for home Saturday morning. Thus, we all went to bed very late Friday night, 1 AM, but it didn’t really matter as it was still light outside anyway. You go from a late sunset, say 11:30 PM to an early sunrise around 1:30 AM. It never really gets past an early dusk before it turns to a light dawn, so you would never really need to turn your headlights on.

Sunday was a slow catch-up day for us, resting up. Still cloudy but no rain and less wind finally. We again had tied to a double level tired tiered wharf and I was shy to leave the boat for too long in case we become encumbered in the grips of holy rubber. No worries, I had plenty of chores on my to-do list to fill my time. Sunday morning the mayor of Vopnafjordur drove out to greet us. Thor took us into town and to the grocery and we learned that the town was one of the largest foreign commercial fish processing plants in Iceland. Vopnafjordur spews out a significant percentage of Iceland's foreign export. Thor was entirely gracious and helped arrange for a car rental for Chuck and Deb – although it ended up being much more costly than the short term rental initially discussed. And he arranged for us to come alongside an inner floating pontoon across from the Rescue Boat but I eventually did not move as the shoehorn it required to nuzzle in was not worth a short over night stay. And fortunately the wind turned to blow us OFF the wharf for the rest of the day and night.

Cruiser’s Nugget: The  harbormaster’s name in Vopnafjordur is Kristinn and his phone numbers are (00354) 473 1299 or 898 5298.

We sailed on Sunday for Raufarhofn. A small commercial town with a well protected harbour, it is strategically located to break up the sail from Vopnafjordur to Husavik. Winds were light but we had a decent  motor sail with reacher out, very pleasant. Still cloudy though. The inner harbor is small with floating pontoons in the shallows and  a wooden wharf to tie to just past the Rescue Boat which was full with three fishing boats. Towns people were out to greet and gaze at us and someone shouted out to us the phone number of the harbormaster. A good thing as no one had answered calls on Ch 16 or 12. He was very nice and at my behest, allowed us to tie to any one of the fishing boats. We chose the outside boat which was a good choice as the other two boats went out that evening.

Cruiser’s Nugget: Raufarhofn Harbormaster phone number is (00354) 861 2880.

We awakened to a bright and sunny Monday morning in Raufarhofn. Stupendous day. And so was the sail to Husavik. Sunny with a modest breeze, the livin' was as easy as the swells. There was sunning on the fore deck and exercise on the mid deck. A fine day...

Beam and then broad reaching in easing seas and 14-18 knots followed by a long stretch of sailing wing & wing. Snow capped peaks and whales spouting in the distance. This is more like it!

We rounded Tjoernes peninsula and it's light house and were visited by many resident birds. Husavik was just a short way down the fjord.

Arrival in Husavik Monday afternoon was smooth. Husavik is an active port and a major whale watching center in Iceland and the harbormasters there were professional and helpful .We tied to a wooden wharf with perfectly aligned vertical planking and vertical rubber bumpers that were just a bit more slender than our fenders so our fenders kept the boat off the bumpers. Good tie up with no tires to encumber us. 

Cruiser's nugget: Contact number for the harbormaster's office is (00354) 464 6175. Duty officer phone number is 893 9175. Julius and Johannes are courteous and friendly.

Plan is for a road trip on Tuesday to see local inland sights such as Dettifoss Waterfall. It should be warm and sunny. We will stay in Husavik 2 or three days, likely to leave Thursday with fair winds.

Best wishes from Bill and crew.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

You can't fight the wind

We remain in Seyvisfjordur waiting for a change in the weather. Which may not happen till Friday or even Saturday. There is a low parked just to the east of Iceland which will retreat south but then is likely to drift back north Thursday night. This low and the moderate high to the SW of Iceland are creating a zone of high winds directly over the east coast of Iceland...and Visions of Johanna.Here is the GRIB file from this morning. Hint: we are the green boat symbol at 3 o'clock around the circumference of Iceland.

 We are tied along side an old wooden wharf that has seen better days.

Seydisfjordur is known as a historically interesting and picturesque town, made up of multi-colored houses and "surrounded by snow capped mountains and cascading waterfalls". The harbourmaster said that 75-80 cruise ships will stop here this summer; there were two  cruise ships and a ferry here yesterday.

The wind at the head of the fjord here has not often been the 35-40 knots predicted outside - although we have had our moments. Curious, I went to one of the cruise ships and asked to speak to the captain. After introducing myself I was immediately invited up to his quarters and learned that the weather outside indeed was as forecast. In here I'd say that 2-4  times a day, when wind direction lines up with topography, we really get hit with a brief period of high (35-40 kn.) gusts but as a rule our local wind has been 5-20 knots. Still, it is challenging to balance our dock lines against the 1.5 meter tide and shifty winds on a fixed wharf that is in modest disrepair.

The cruise ship I went aboard (located low center, blue hull in picture above) was a smaller ship, 200 passengers, that goes around Iceland in June and July and on to Greenland in August. The captain Herve' promised to look us up when/if  we found ourselves in the same port again.

We did some nice hiking yesterday, mostly through the valleys, as the wind was relatively docile during the day but it is more or less howling cold today.

Now, I need to go and check on that weather again...

Best regards, Bill and crew

Monday, June 3, 2019

Iceland arrival

We arrived Seydisfjordur Sunday afternoon after a fast sail from Vagur. Wind was just forward of the beam to start and generally backed towards the north, so we were close reaching to nearly close hauled at the end. But we sailed nearly the entire 275 nm. and made just over 200 nm. in a 24 hour stretch - without too much drama.

The approach to Seydisfjordur was exciting with high snow capped mountains in the distance that were obscured by two snow squalls as we made our approach. The entry is a fantastic site...

We had emailed our notice of arrival before departure and checked with the Iceland Coast Guard 60 miles out. We were expected and Runar, the harbourmaster, was at the ready to take our lines upon arrival. We are the first boat to visit this season and  Runar has been exceptionally helpful, taking time to be sure we were set with electric, water, etc. We had a great dinner (steak fajitas) and a good sleep.

Today remains wet and cold. A philosophic gentleman I know well once said "the coldest winter I ever had was the summer I spent in Iceland."  Weather will be wet and cold for 2 more days but hopefully we'll get some hiking in. And a few more days here will let the northerlies pass and then we are off. More soon.

Best, Bill and crew

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Due to weather, we have decided to depart Faroes today for Seyvisdordur, Iceland. Anticipate arrival there 1700 hours local time Friday. See blogsite for details and more photos. Go to:

Best, Bill
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Departing for Iceland

Sorvagur, Faroe Islands

Current Conditions: 90% overcast, with intermittent showers. Not hot. Wind 12-15 kn. easterly

We sailed to Sorvagur yesterday with thoughts of basing here for a few days to hile and spend a day in Mykines. But...

Weather is expected to deteriorate over the next 48 hours as a low will be strengthening and moving east just south of the Faroe Islands. Thus, we have made the difficult choice to leave Faroe today ahead of the change. We will be seeing (we think!) 15-20 kn. east, backing to NE. At least less time here will equate to more time in Iceland.

So we are bound for Seydisfjordur, Iceland imminently. Good bye, Faroes!

Cruisers nugget: There does not appear to be a reasonable place to tie up here. The wharf in front of the old fish plant is occupied by local baots or ferry leaving only the outer wall with tire issues as noted in the guides and one must beware of getting caught below the tires. We had a tire watch with timely adjustments. Not recommended in 2019.

Pictures of Sorvagur...

You will next here from us in Iceland.

Best, Bill and crew of Visions of Johanna