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IN LATITUDES

because we look completely clueless. Either way, we are finding the world is full of friendly people. Some places, however, just seem to have a greater percentage of friendly people than others. We took the Great Circle Route from Newfoundland to Ireland, which meant we had to dodge a few icebergs. Thanks to ours being a late summer crossing, the chances of our meeting an iceberg were slim. Nonetheless, we did pore over the Canadian ice charts before leaving. We found our own little iceberg alley, and zigzagged through quadrants that were “supposedly” ice-free. As long as the icebergs got the same memo, we’d be safe. That said, we were relieved to be out of the ice zone after just a few days at sea. We had never used a weather router before, but as the winds had been unusually unpredictable over the months prior to our departure, we decided to get a second opinion on crossing windows

from Commanders' Weather. They were very reassuring and helped us pick a perfect window. We can’t say enough favorable things about them, as they provided a fantastic service tailor-made to fit our needs and budget. We talked with them three or four times on the phone before leaving, and they never seemed to tire of answering our questions. Once at sea, our passage was 'fast and furious', as we made the crossing in just 11 days and 20 hours. That's turbo speed for an overloaded 42-ft cruising boat. We had consistent westerly winds, and only one mild depression to fight through as we neared Ireland. The speed was great, although the constant fog was tiresome and meant we had to run the radar continuously. At times we couldn’t see much past the bow, so

A file shot of the much-traveled Zander, Anakena and Porter with dad. Anakena is named after a beach her parents visited at Easter Island. PELAGIC

Spread: Cruising on their own is no problem for the Bradfords. They drop the hook at places such as Loch Scavig in Scotland. Insets: This was after being pretty much alone in the fjords of Newfoundland. Amy kayaks with Anakena.

it was literally '50 shades of gray' out there, and the sky and sea were often indistinguishable. At sunrise on our last day the fog lifted and the clouds parted just enough for us to see the jagged shoreline and cliffs of Aran Island. What a beautiful sight! Although ours wasn’t the longest passage, higher latitude passages do take their toll. So it was with an indescribable sense of relief that we found land, for it proved beyond a doubt that we hadn't been just circling a North Atlantic fog bank. We then sailed along the west coast of Ireland and on to Scotland, and eventually to the Isle of Skye, which is as far north as we went. We toured whiskey distilleries, collected mussels, had peat bonfires onshore, and overnighted in some memorable anchorages with stunning backdrops. We're not big drinkers, but from our blog entries you’d think we were alcoholics: breweries in Ireland, whiskey distilleries in Scotland, calvados from Normandy, reds from France, and port from Porto. Our bilges are being packed

Latitude 38 April 2016  

The April 2016 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.