Expedition Around North America
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Leg 1 :
Tromso (Norway)- Reykjavik (Iceland)
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Leg 1
Tromsø (Norway)- Reykjavik (Iceland)
(May 17th- 31st, 2008)

May 31st 2008, 21h00 UTC (Onboard time = UTC)
Reykjavik Harbour

"Southern Star" is docked since this morning on to the main float of the old harbor in Reykjavik. Our arrival coincides with the Sea Day in Iceland. Events and happenings will be held all over the week-end. We had numerous visitors curious to know more about our story.
Our last leg from Olafsvik was as expected down winds but unfortunately too light to fill the sails according with the swell. We occupied the rest of the day in organizing this week's schedule, wich will be very busy with our field investigation on global warming.

Southern Star in Reykjavik - Delphine Maratier
Southern Star in Reykjavik during the Sea Day Festival
(Click to enlarge)
May 30th 2008, 20h50 UTC (Onboard time = UTC)
64°56'N - 023°49'W

We set sails half an hour ago to Reykjavik. It's raining for the first time since our departure from Tromsø. According with the weather forecast, we should have a downwind sailing til our destination. Early, this morning, we left for an expedition to the summit of the volcano SnæfellsjÖkull in the hope to enjoy the view from the top. At 1446 meters in altitude, the volcano sets at the spit of the Snæfellsnes peninsula. Lava fields lies until the sea. At the beginning, the sky was clear with some clouds in the horizon. Quickly, we find out that the view will not be for us today. We had reach the rim of the crater at 1410 meters in dense fog and everything cleared up when we were at 500 meters again.

Photo Vibe Knut
On the volcano SnæfellsjÖkull
May 29th 2008, 20h55 UTC / Stop in Olafsvik.

The last leg was done in very calm conditions. A huge swell from south was telling us that the weather was not the same everywhere. Every time we were sailing around a cape, hundreds of penguins was swimming around. It was 12 AM when we reached Olafsvik. A crewmember while coming ashore had the sensation that the quay was moving. Couple of hours later, we had the confirmation. An Earthquake occured in the region of Reykjavik (6,2 on Richter's scale). Olafsvik is a village of fisherman. Since we arrived, we had the visit non stop of cars turning around to see "Southern Star". People are a little bit shy but very friendly.

Photo Delphine Maratier
Olafsvik harbour
May 28th 2008, 20h40 UTC /65°44'N - 023°17'W

It was 7 AM local time (Iceland is in UTC) when we reached the Dynjandi waterfalls. The fjord was perfectly calm. The main waterfall drops over a 100 meters rocky scarp and it was easy to hear the thundering waters from our anchorage which was half nautical mille away. The place give this strong feeling that we have such a beautifull planet. We had spent the whole afternoon there. It was nice to walk a little bit after a 200 milles sailing since Husavik. We set sails again for Olafsvik, 90 NM away. Olafsvik will be our last stop before Reykjavik.

Photo Pierre Charles Gueroult
Womens crew in front of Dynjandi waterfall
May 27th 2008, 22h00 UTC / 66°15'N - 023°33' W

The contrary winds we had since departure fell totally down while approaching the north west peninsula of Iceland. The region is made of fjords cutting deeply the mountains. There is no tree. Steep cliffs to the north face the Danish Strait and the midnight light. These cliffs are ideal to nest and we met a lot of birds swimming around. Now the boat is flat, things are gentle again and the activity of the crew is quite normal. We'll sail tonight, we should arrive to the next destination in the morning. We saw a whale today but we're not able to identify it.

Photo Delphine Maratier
Guilio in his boat among the Crew
May 26th 2008, 19h00 UTC / 66°05' N - 017°32' W

We just left Husavik, one hour ago to the fjords of the north-west peninsula of Iceland. According to the predictions this leg should be done with lights contrary winds. Since this morning, we had met couple of local environnemental actors who were kind enough to answer our questions in front of the camera. Right now we have a calm wind, the sea is totally flat, sea birds are flying around, we're watching for whales. We're approaching a nesting cliff of puffins. Thousands of them are nesting there.

Photo Delphine Maratier
May 25th 2008, 19h15 UTC / 66°02'N - 017°20'8 W

Stop over in Husavik. Today was a maintenance day. The beautifull weather gave us the opportunity to set the stickers of our partners on to the hull and the boom. The film team, invited by "North Sailing" who organize whale watching tours from Husavik, went for a trip to shoot whales. They were able to watch for Minke whales and Humpback. Tomorrow we set sail again to the west.

Photo Delphine Maratier
Humpack wales, Husavik
May 24th 2008, 23h30 UTC / 66°02'N - 017°20'8 W

Stop over in Husavik. Today we left for Myvatn lake famous for its steaming vents and volcanic activity. Myvatn lake lies at 60 kilometers away from Husavik. The road goes through huge lava fields giving to the whole area a moon's landscape shape. After the first kilometer we saw children and adults picking plastic and papers on the beach and around the village. Cleaning the area is something the children learn at school. When we reached the lake, our best wish was to go toward volcanic pattern and we were attracted by the biggest steaming columns. We find industrial buildings at the place. Islandic use this natural ressource as energy to produce electricity and for heating houses. All touristic sites have free access with clear explanation about the place and how to protect it.

Photo Delphine Maratier
Sulfur from Myvatn lake at Hverir
May 23th 2008, 20h50 UTC / 67°08'N - 012°14'W

The weather was still gorgeous today and we totaly enjoyed our landing in Iceland. THe first glimpse of the coast was in sight at 9:h00 AM and we docked along side a fishing boat at 8 PM. In between, the wind, the sea, birds and cetaceans made a coalition to give us the best they could to finish in a magnificent way the first leg of the expedition. Moutains are still covered with snow. Husavik is a small fishermen village. The colorfull wooden houses and blond hair down the street remind us Norway, which we left only five days ago. We had a warm welcoming from Islandic people.

Photo Delphine Maratier
Port of Husavik, Nord of Iceland
May 22nd 2008, 20h50 UTC / 67°08'N - 012°14'W

Beautifull weather today, blue sky. This morning three whales came to visit us. Unfortunately their identification was impossible. The wind coming a bit more from the beam, had permitted us to set the new main sail, which is superb. It was a hard job because we had no time to adjust all ropes before departure. That the way it is. If we were waiting to be 100% ready to leave, the departure itself could be compromised. Laurent went to the sheet point of the yankee, 7 meters above deck, to cut a piece who was destroy by the spinnaker boom. In the middle of the afternoon, the fog came and closed totally the horizon. Not a single boat was in sight since departure but we had putted the radar on. For the time being we're sailing at 7 nds still in the fog.

Photo Knut Vibe
Laurent in the action
May 21st 2008, 19h15 UTC / 67°58'N - 005°56' W

In this fourth day, we're entering for real in our respective mission about the expedition. Til now, every one was seeking for its own mark. Today, probably with the help of a fair weather, photographers shoot, cameramen film, writters writte and the team in the kitchen does its best. We're planning to land on the north east coast, in Usavik. On small islands of this coast, we can watch for thousands of puffin and their waters are famous for whale watching.

Photo Gabriel Pitras
Northern fulmar flying around
Southern Star
May 20th 2008, 21h45 UTC / 69°47'N - 000°38'W

The main point today was the crossing of the Greenwich's meridian on our way to the "land of ice". Eveybody on board feels well again. Two dolphins came and play to the bow. The fair weather forecast permits us to make plan for our islandic call, it was a peacefull day.

Photo Delphine Maratier
Down wind at dawn

Mai 19th 2008, 18h35 UTC / 69°55'N - 009°00' E

Last night was exactly like we were waiting for, calm and confortable. We had a good rest. We did the first hours of navigation in the insides, still protected. Near the exit, the swell became more and more present. the beat of the off shore with its taste of adventure. Now the norwegian coast is just a tiny blue line to the horizon. We are sailing at 9 knots in the good direction.

Photo Delphine Maratier
Spinnaker boom manoeuver

May 18th 2008, 20h30 UTC / 69°42’N - 016°50’ E

Last night was exactly like we were waiting for, calm and confortable. We had a good rest. We did the first hours of navigation in the insides, still protected. Near the exit, the swell became more and more present. the beat of the off shore with its taste of adventure. Now the norwegian coast is just a tiny blue line to the horizon. We are sailing at 9 knots in the good direction.

Photo Delphine Maratier
Coast of Norway

May 17th 2008, 21h40 UTC / 69°32’ N – 018°43’ E

The first milles of the expedition are done. We had left with the national day, what a beautifull day here in Norway. Well we had a bit of snow but hearts were warm. All our friends were there to wish us a good trip. We had decided to stop far away of the rush and rest for a whole night before setting sail for real. We're 8 milles from Tromsø, still in the insides. Tomorrow we leave for the off shore. When we reached our anchrage, couple of musked beef was on the beach.

Photo Delphine Maratier
Departure from Tromso

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