2024 Schooner Bowdoin

Moored in St. John’s Harbour

Posted on: June 4, 2024

The Schooner Bowdoin set sail from Boothbay, Maine, and arrived in St. John’s Harbour, Newfoundland, after navigating through the Narrows. The Narrows, the only passage from the Atlantic Ocean to St. John’s Harbour, is flanked by steep rock walls to the north and south. Steering large ships through this narrow channel requires a skilled captain, as it is often likened to “threading the eye of a needle.”

St. John’s Harbour is the first international stop on the Bowdoin’s 5,000-mile journey to Greenland, where the ship will sail as far north as the 70th parallel. This voyage marks the Bowdoin’s first venture past the Arctic Circle since 2008.

Returning to Boothbay was a special moment for the Bowdoin, built in 1921 at the Hodgdon Brothers Shipyard in East Boothbay for Rear Admiral Donald MacMillan, who led 26 Arctic missions between 1921 and 1954 and received the Hubbard Gold Medal from the National Geographic Society in 1953.

We explored the town, learning about its rich history and connections to Bowdoin. Everywhere we went, there was a palpable sense of excitement and adventure. As students, we were excited to share the skills we’ve learned at Maine Maritime Academy and discuss the extensive preparations to prepare Bowdoin for this trip and ensure its success.

The Bowdoin was specifically designed for Arctic exploration. While the journey is familiar territory for the ship, it is a new adventure for everyone. The reality of the North Atlantic started to set in as a 4-foot swell rolled in from the southeast, and we prepared for the seven-day journey to St. John’s Harbor.

Time onboard the Bowdoin is divided into “watches.” Each of us is assigned a four-hour watchkeeping or watchstanding duty, allowing the Bowdoin and her crew to operate the ship 24 hours a day. These watches also provide personal time for rest and other duties, like assisting with meal preparations and study time.

All is well on the Bowdoin since setting sail from Boothbay, Maine, with her new crew, and we’re excited to be in Newfoundland! For some of us, it is our first time leaving the U.S., and we’re eager to explore St. John’s Harbor!

For ongoing updates on this Arctic adventure, follow the Schooner Bowdoin Blog!

Post By: Jorge Morales-Lopez
Graduate Student, Global Logistics & Vessel Operations