Welcome to Labrador!

Posted on: June 20, 2023

June 18

Welcome to Labrador! Red Bay to be exact. One can find protection here from just about any wind direction. Usually a vessel would be running in to shelter from a strong so’westerly gale however for the Bowdoin this time around we have found cover here to wait out the remainder of the Northeasterly. Belle Isle Strait runs just north of Northeast so when any wind from the North to East quadrant blows it funnels right down through the strait. To accompany the foul wind a strong tidal current runs through here: the Labrador current splitting off mixed with tidal currents on both sides of the coastline becomes predominantly wind driven with any strong consistent wind. To sum it up: the dominant effect of tidal stream felt from the Northeast setting to the Southwest = slow going. For a full day until just after sunset we played the current and wind with both sail and power. We slowed down to about 1-2kts as ICE became the third variable in our transit through Belle Isle Strait. All day we were seeing Ice Bergs: some the size of houses and others the size of your average strip mall! Now we are getting bergy bits the size of your car. You can still see these on radar but with even smaller threating chunks and night upon us we decided to slow down to a safe speed until sunrise. Night was brief and by 0330 local time the sun was peeking over the horizon, and we were soon on our way again. Red Bay in our sights, we motored into a freshening North wind as it came off the hills and spilled into the harbor with strength. A nice empty dock for the taking, yes please! A comfy dock in a northerly but you would not want to be here in a southwesterly of significant force. For that you would have to go back down to the harbor entrance and find shelter in the ice ridden western Arm. Now with lines across and secured to the dock I look around. Where am I? I am either in a small fishing village in Nantucket or the Highlands of Scotland; hard to tell. Beautiful and quaint to say the least. A harbor with a storied past dating back to the 1500s, Red Bay was one of the largest whaling ports of North America. A few shipwrecks beneath the waves and an old whaling hulk aground are just a few of the reminders of the once bustling whaling village. After finishing breakfast and morning duties the crew went to the local Museum and to explore the town. We met back on the ship to go over a few navigation lessons and give the crew some time to fill out their logs.

After more exploring around and even finding some local berry pie we sat for a fantastic BBQ chicken dinner served with roasted sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts mixed in with goat cheese. By golly we are eating well! All hands were able to get a restful night sleep and tomorrow we will do some shipboard projects mixed in with seamanship lessons and then a crew hike.