Category Archives: Europe

The Tall Ship Races in Fredrikstad

Fireworks Over the EuropaExploring Fredrikstad 1The Bark Europa 1A Sea of MastsThe Tall Ship Races 1Exploring Fredrikstad 2The Tall Ship Races 2Kruzenshtern 1Kruzenshtern 2Kruzenshtern 3Kruzenshtern 4Kruzenshtern 5Kruzenshtern 6Kruzenshtern 7Fredrikstad-14.jpgKruzenshtern 8My Travel Companions on the KruzenshternThe Tall Ship Races 3Kruzenshtern 9AmundsenThe Tall Ship Races 4A Timeless ViewThe Tall Ship Races 5The Tall Ship Races 6Gamlebyen 1Gamlebyen 2Gamlebyen 3Gamlebyen 4Gamlebyen 5Gamlebyen 6Gamlebyen 7The Tall Ship Races 7The Tall Ship Races 8The Tall Ship Races 9The Tall Ship Races 10Like a PaintingThe Tall Ship Races 11The Tall Ship Races 12The Tall Ship Races 13Sunset on the Tall ShipsThe Big PartyFredrikstad at NightWaiting for the Tall ShipsFjällbacka 1Fjällbacka 2
I have always loved tall ships. I have been lucky enough to sail on three different ships from afternoon-long mock battle voyages to an epic, two month long crossing of the Southern Ocean. While sailing on the ships is the pinnacle of excitement for me, another experience revolving around tall ships has intrigued me for years. The closest I had come to attending was in San Francisco when I found out about the event the day the ships were sailing out of the bay and I could only watch them leave from a distance. It was there that I first saw the bark Europa, which, several years later, I helped sail from Cape Horn to the Cape of Good Hope. After years of dreaming, I finally got to attend The Tall Ship Races!

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A Wild Crossing of the Barents Sea

Sailing on the Tall Ship Antigua 1The Barents SeaA Rainbow After the StormA Safe HarborShredded SailsThe Northern Coast of NorwayExploring Skjervøy 1Exploring Skjervøy 2Exploring Skjervøy 3Exploring Skjervøy 4Exploring Skjervøy 5Exploring Skjervøy 6Exploring Skjervøy 7Exploring Skjervøy 8Exploring Skjervøy 9Exploring Skjervøy 10Exploring Skjervøy 11The Antigua's Figurehead The Antiguasvalbard 4-19.jpgsvalbard 4-20.jpgSailing in Norway's Fjords 1Sailing in Norway's Fjords 2Sailing in Norway's Fjords 3The Aurora Borealis 1The Aurora Borealis 2The Aurora Borealis 3The Aurora Borealis 4The Aurora Borealis 5The Aurora Borealis 6The Aurora Borealis 7The Aurora Borealis 8The Aurora Borealis 9The Aurora Borealis 10The Aurora Borealis 11The Aurora Borealis 12The Aurora Borealis 13The Aurora Borealis 14The Aurora Borealis 15Manndalen 1Manndalen 2Sailing in Norway's Fjords 4Sailing in Norway's Fjords 5Sailing in Norway's Fjords 6Sailing on the Tall Ship Antigua 2Sailing on the Tall Ship Antigua 3The Arctic Cathedral - TromsøTromsøTromsø at NightAndre's Balloon - Arctic Museum The Norge - Arctic Museum

Southward we went. The winds and the waves became fierce and rain set in, so the captain decided to skip our planned stop in Hornsund, at the southern end of Spitsbergen – The conditions were not good for a landing and there was a huge gale coming in. The ship was made ready for the open ocean and a crossing of the wild Barents Sea. We waived our farewells to Arctic expanses of Svalbard and to the land of the ice bear and we set our sights on the notorious ocean crossing that separated us from the Norwegian shore.

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Blocked by Sea Ice!

A Polar Bear in Liefdefjord Exploring Liefdefjord 1Exploring Liefdefjord 2Exploring Liefdefjord 3Exploring Liefdefjord 4Exploring Liefdefjord 5Exploring Liefdefjord 6Exploring Liefdefjord 7Exploring Liefdefjord 8Exploring Liefdefjord 9Exploring Liefdefjord 10Exploring Liefdefjord 11Exploring Liefdefjord 12Exploring Liefdefjord 13Exploring Liefdefjord 14Exploring Liefdefjord 15Exploring Liefdefjord 16Exploring Liefdefjord 17Exploring Liefdefjord 18Exploring Liefdefjord 19Sailing SouthwardClimbing Zeeuwse Uitkijk 1Climbing Zeeuwse Uitkijk 2Climbing Zeeuwse Uitkijk 3Climbing Zeeuwse Uitkijk 4Climbing Zeeuwse Uitkijk 5Explorer Keith at the LookoutClimbing Zeeuwse Uitkijk 6Ytre Norskøya 1Ytre Norskøya 2Ytre Norskøya 3Beautiful Spitsbergen 1Beautiful Spitsbergen 2Beautiful Spitsbergen 3In the Footsteps of the Ice BearMagdalene Fjord 1Magdalene Fjord 2Magdalene Fjord 3Magdalene Fjord 4Explorer Keith in Magdalene FjordA Beautiful Arctic Sunset - Magdalene Fjord 1A Beautiful Arctic Sunset - Magdalene Fjord 2A Beautiful Arctic Sunset - Magdalene Fjord 3Colorful IceA Beautiful Arctic Sunset - Magdalene Fjord 4Barkentine Antigua - Magdalene Fjord Barkentine Antigua at Sunset - Magdalene Fjord A Beautiful Arctic Sunset - Magdalene Fjord 5Exploring Bellsund 1Exploring Bellsund 2Exploring Bellsund 3Exploring Bellsund 4Exploring Bellsund 5Exploring Bellsund 6Exploring Bellsund 7Exploring Bellsund 8Exploring Bellsund 9Exploring Bellsund 10Exploring Bellsund 11Exploring Bellsund 12Exploring Bellsund 13Exploring Bellsund 14Whale Bones in BellsundExploring Bellsund 15Beluga Skulls - BellsundOld Boats in BellsundExploring Bellsund 16Exploring Bellsund 17Exploring Bellsund 18Snowy Ptarmigan - Can you See it? The Snowy Ptarmigan in the LightBarkentine Antigua in BellsundSouthward Under a Canopy of Sails 1Southward Under a Canopy of Sails 2Southward Under a Canopy of Sails 3Southward Under a Canopy of Sails 4

The ringing of the ship bell jolted us out of our slumber. The bell was reserved for letting us know when it was time to eat and when there was something amazing to see, so we all rushed on deck. The sky was blue and cloudy and there were amazing, jagged mountains rising up all around us. On the shore we spotted two large polar bears milling about. One of the bears had a dead seal in its mouth and was enjoying its morning feast. The landscape was breathtaking and I was torn between watching the bears and scanning the Arctic expanses. There wasn’t any ice in the sea around us, which made me wonder how far we had gone during the night. After about an hour watching the bears the bell rang again to tell us breakfast was ready. We walked inside and filled our plates with cold cuts and cheese and fruit and then took a seat. During breakfast the Captain informed us that the ice conditions had been too unpredictable and that he didn’t want to risk getting stuck, or worse, so he turned the ship around in the night and headed out of the Hinlopenstretet – My only hope of seeing narwhales was gone! There was a lot of disappointment, but we quickly turned our attentions to the places we would see on the west coast and accepted our fate. Continue reading »

Sailing North In the Arctic Ocean

Exploring Moffen Island 7The Antigua ArrivesSailing North in Svalbard 1Sailing North in Svalbard 2Sailing North in Svalbard 3Sailing North in Svalbard 4Sailing North in Svalbard 5Sailing North in Svalbard 6Sailing North in Svalbard 7Sailing North in Svalbard 8The Three CrownsExploring Ny Ålesund 1Exploring Ny Ålesund 2Exploring Ny Ålesund 3Exploring Ny Ålesund 4Exploring Ny Ålesund 5The Northern-most Railroad - Ny Ålesund Exploring Ny Ålesund 6Exploring Ny Ålesund 7Exploring Ny Ålesund 8Exploring Ny Ålesund 9Exploring Ny Ålesund 10The Norge Airship Hitching Post 1The Norge Airship Hitching Post 2Exploring Ny Ålesund 11Exploring Ny Ålesund 12The Norge Airship Hitching Post 3Exploring Ny Ålesund 13The Barkentine AntiguaNy London 1Ny London 2Ny London 3Ny London 4Ny London 5Ny London 6The Ruins of Smeerenburg 1The Ruins of Smeerenburg 2Floating Ice and Mist at Smeerenburg Walking on Clear Ice - SmeerenburgThe Whalers' Cemetery - SmeerenburgThe Toes of an Ice Bear - SmeerenburgDriftwood Beach - SmeerenburgVirgohamna 1The Monument to Andre - VirgohamnaAn Arctic MushroomVirgohamna 2Virgohamna 3An Ice Bear!The Snow Storm Snowy Decks A Gathering of Ice BearsFrosty The CrewmanPlaying in the WaterBreak the Iceberg!A Feeding Frenzy Reflections Dead Whale Bay - SallyhamnaMomma and BabyExploring Moffen Island 1Exploring Moffen Island 2Exploring Moffen Island 3Exploring Moffen Island 4Exploring Moffen Island 5Exploring Moffen Island 6Exploring Moffen Island 8Exploring Moffen Island 9Exploring Moffen Island 10Sailing to Nordaustlandet Walking on Nordaustlandet Drifting Snow - Nordaustlandet Climbing Konnberget - Nordaustlandet Climbing Konnberget 1Climbing Konnberget 2Climbing Konnberget 3Climbing Konnberget 4Exploring Nordaustlandet 1Exploring Nordaustlandet 2Exploring Nordaustlandet 3Exploring Nordaustlandet 4Kinnvika Station 1Kinnvika Station 2Kinnvika Station 3Kinnvika Station 4The Cross on Nordre RussøyaSunset on the Hinlopen Strait

I took in a deep breath, smiling as the icy air shot into my lungs and filled my body with a strong sense of being alive. It was still technically summertime, yet the multiple layers of fleece and nylon I was wearing did little to cut the Arctic chill. I looked down to my small backpack and hoped that I had brought enough clothing to stay warm. From my vantage point on the tourist dock I watched the infrequent boating traffic go by on the fjord. Each time I saw a new boat rise up out of the distant horizon I got excited, only to be let down when the small dot turned into a large fishing boat or a research vessel. Just as I began to wonder if my boat was going to show up, I spotted her tall profile rounding a large fishing boat that was moored nearby. Three tall masts rose up out of her lovely turquoise hull, several square sails hung from the yards on the fore mast, and a web of ropes and lines tied them all together. I watched in awe as the tall ship from my dreams approached the quay and came to a stop. The name Antigua was painted on the bow in big white letters – My ride had arrived! Continue reading »

Into the Land of the Ice Bear

Warning - Ice BearTo the Land of the Ice BearSvalbardNybyen Guesthouse Exploring Longyearbyn 1Exploring Longyearbyn 2Exploring Longyearbyn 3Exploring Longyearbyn 4Exploring Longyearbyn 5Exploring Longyearbyn 6Exploring Longyearbyn 7Exploring Longyearbyn 8Exploring Longyearbyn 9Exploring Longyearbyn 10Exploring Longyearbyn 11Exploring Longyearbyn 12Exploring Longyearbyn 13Exploring Longyearbyn 14Exploring Longyearbyn 15Exploring Longyearbyn 16Exploring Longyearbyn 17Exploring Longyearbyn 18Exploring Longyearbyn 19Exploring Longyearbyn 20Exploring Longyearbyn 21Exploring Longyearbyn 22Exploring Longyearbyn 23Exploring Longyearbyn 24Exploring Longyearbyn 25Exploring Longyearbyn 26Exploring Longyearbyn 27
I have always been an insatiable dreamer. When I was young I would devour the pages of National Geographic Magazine as I accompanied the authors on grand adventures all over the world. In school, I was the kid that sat in the back of class blankly staring forward with a thousand mile gaze, daydreaming about being an explorer and sailing across the ocean to an unknown land. As the other kids studied English and math, or slept soundly at their desks I could be found in Antarctica, or the jungles of South America, or in Africa on some grand, but fictitious adventure. I often found myself plying the deck of a tall ship in the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean, surrounded by a boundless seascape of floating ice and strange animals. In my dreams I could feel the heaving of the ship’s deck beneath my feet and the icy touch of the wind on my face. There were always wild storms raging around me and the Aurora Borealis was constantly dancing overhead in amazing curtains of green. As an adult I have been fortunate enough to actually live and experience many of my childhood dreams, though not exactly as I dreamed them so long ago. From Antarctica to the Amazon, my travels have helped me paint a realistic image of the world outside of my dreams. It was finally time to add some reality to my dreams of the Arctic. Continue reading »