Tuesday, September 15, 2009

All Aboard!

Cruise North friends:

Dottie and I are going to post my daily notes and post-trip additions here. The URL for this blog is http://spiritmountain2009.blogspot.com/. When I started a Yahoo! group for our cruise, a few people joined, but haven't posted much. I thought that there might be some posts here, but when I searched the site, I saw that all the posts start with the cruise that followed ours. I added material in brackets after the voyage.

Above: Port of St. John's from the Lyubov Orlova, sailing ship sculpture behind docked ship Upper rt: St. John's Harbor, seagoing tugs load supplies for oil well platforms Rt:Fishing vessels on S side of the Narrows

2 July 2009

Boarding was 1 – 3 p.m., we asked our ride to pick us up at 2, which worked out well. [20 Sept.: Our ride was provided by Newfoundland Wildlands Tours (NWT), which we learned about from Cruise North Website: three days of seeing whales, dolphins, puffins and gannets, etc. nesting, and touring SE NL.]

The sign says: "A beacon for over five hundred years--The Port of St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador."

We went through security, which was a pale imitation of airline security. We have no idea what they did with our luggage [20 July 2009 Like scanning it in some way] or whether they did anything at all. When the security person wanded me, my glasses reported in from their case. I took them out and that took care of the beeping. We had to wait a while to get checked in, then got to our room and went back to the forward room to hear some Irish singing to pass the time or warm us up or sell CDs.

Then we had orientation.

Jason Annahatak, expedition leader, welcomes passengers. Iconic pic of boy between cod is behind him.

We were supposed to sail at 6 p.m., when the pilot could accompany us out of the harbor, but the ship needed to calibrate the compass or something like that,so we went around in circles for nearly two hours, but all of a sudden, I felt the engines pick up and we seemed to be moving out. Shortly thereafter we were passing through the narrows. [20 July 2009 By then, we were eating.] Before we got

Crewmember calibrating compass

through them, someone had sighted a whale off the port bow and more whales were sighted a few minutes later off the starboard bow. But I was finishing supper and didn’t rush out to see what I could see. Nothing. No whale footprints, no spouts, nothing.

The Lyubov Orlova

As we left the narrows we turned north, as I determined from our road map later. The clouds got lower and lower until fog touched the water in front of us and turned the waves dark. By then the light was failing, so we went to our room.

Got a nice pic or two of the sunset through St. John’s harbor and then through another gap in the coastal hills.

Sunset through the Narrows

[20 July 2009--A lot of us were up top at the front of the ship for a long time after we sailed out into the Atlantic. The captain came out and looked, anxiously, it seemed through his glasses at something off in the distance that was not visible through the fog. This went on for 10-15 minutes. Then a little dot became visible. Was it a big ship, an iceberg, a fishing vessel? Gradually it emerged as a small fishing vessel that passed harmlessly off to port at some distance.]

Fog-mantled hill near St. John's


Dinner started while we were still going around in circles in the harbor. Dinner was the last cruise event of the evening.

[Sept. 15: Before we left, our expedition director, Jason Annahatak, led us in a toast to the cruise. Then two ocean-going tugs left St. John's Harbor for the oil fields. One of these was the Atlantic Osprey. After returning from the cruise, we saw a documentary on Discovery or the History Channel, which showed a sister ship of the Osprey, the Atlantic Kingfisher, and another tug trying to move a huge iceberg out of the path of an oil platform. That didn't work, so they moved the platform. The Kingfisher was in port as the Osprey sailed off. And a Canadian Coast Guard vessel exited the harbor.]

Left: Jason Annahatak leads
expedition in a toast
at St. John's.

Right: Atlantic Osprey leaves
St.John's Harbor for
Grand Banks oil field.

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