Williams Harbour, Labrador

July 17th, 2008 by Randy Jones

Jenny and I received a phone call tonight from our intrepid adventures. They called on the satellite phone, and it worked about as well as a cell phone. I scribbled notes as fast as I could, and here’s the latest:

They left this morning at 5:00am to make the push across Belle Isle Straight between Newfoundland and Labrador. The seas were calm and smooth most of the day, and clear with occasional fog. En route, they encountered a pod of minke whales. At least they think they were minkes, because they only saw fins and not a tail. Apparently the options are humpback, fin whale or minke, and the later is shy about revealing their hindquarters.

Iceberg ahoy! Today they saw a really big, Titanic-sinker iceberg rising 100 feet above the water out a shroud of fog. The crew reported the water temperature went from 13ºC down to 2ºC as they went by. This monster created its own fog bank in an otherwise clear area. Beautiful, and a little scary too. It showed up like an island on the radar. We’re looking forward to seeing pictures of these two aquatic encounters!

Williams Harbour is a flourishing metropolis of 59 people, so no internet, but lots of fishermen. In other news, the crew is adjusting to boat life. Skip and Walt are brushing up on all the new electronics that went into the boat. Shane is studying the manuals for the boats engines. Kip is knitting and cooking. Pat is fighting off a cold, and winning (good news!). Oh, and they’ve decided to return the parts for the fridge and just make do with ice in the coolers.

About this time the phone went dead. Probably a cloud interfering with the satellite, or a polar bear. Stay tuned!

6 Responses to “Williams Harbour, Labrador”

  1. M'Ellen Alden Says:

    Williams Harbour is not on any of my maps and charts. Is it possible to provide us with latitude and longitude? I am certain that gps provides that data down to the minute of lat and lon. I suspect as the voyage continues the villages will be even smaller and less likely to appear on any maps.

    I am assumming the mileages that you provide are statute miles NOT nautical miles. Most nautical charts provide nautical miles. Is the Geraldine’s speed given as knots (nautical miles per hour) or in statute miles per hour?

    I’m sure the navigator in Geraldine would find it easier to provide speed in knots and distance in nautical miles. The conversion would be easier for us here in our nice warm homes.

    All the best. I would guess the large berg sighted is one that finally broke free of its grip on the bottom. I expect you will see lots of them as this global warmed summer continues.


  2. Randy Jones Says:

    Hi Mike, Boat speed is in nautical miles/hr—and they’ve been doing about 8.6 through the water (via paddle wheel speedo) and 9.6 over the ground (via gps). Either the instruments need calibration, or they are being helped by a current. I like the current theory. Not sure if the distances given are nautical miles. I think they are, but I’ll let them speak to it when they get internet. Do metric people have these headaches?

    As for location, the map on the homepage puts a pin in their current location, so that’s the easiest way to see. But here are the coordinates they called in: 52.33566N -55.46209W, which should somewhere in the second little notch up the coast of Labrador from the tip Newfoundland.

  3. Peg Kortes Says:

    Hello fellow armchair travelers — I’ve had good luck with Google finding info and pictures on the small places; ie, Williams Harbour. Don and I have been as far north in Labrador as Nain. The coast is rugged, the villages are few and small, and fishing is still a significant part of the economy. Thanks to Randy and Scott for giving us a wonderful way to follow the Geraldine and crew. Bon voyage and God speed!

    Peg Kortes

  4. Randy Jones Says:

    Inspired by Peg: here is a close up map of the region showing Williams Harbour. You’ve got to love a site called virtual tourist!

  5. Randy Jones Says:

    Wow wow wow! Gogo! — Quinlan
    Such great photos! — Randy

  6. Ed Wright Says:

    Awesome pictures!!

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