SV Kiviuq

A journal of the sailing vessel Kiviuq and her owners Marilou Kosseim and Alan Teale

Vessel Name: Kiviuq
Vessel Make/Model: Van de Stadt Madeira 46
Hailing Port: Inverness
Crew: Marilou Kosseim and Alan Teale
About: Marilou is a Canadian national, retired physician and Consultant Obstetrician/Gynaecologist. Alan is a British national, retired veterinary surgeon and animal molecular geneticist. Both are currently UK-based and members of the Ocean Cruising Club.
Kiviuq is a van de Stadt Madeira 46 in alloy, with round bilge and deeper draft options. The 46 is the scoop stern variant of the van de Stadt Madeira 44, the scoop being developed by the builder, Alexander Beisterveld of Beisterveld Jachtbouw in Steenwijk, Netherlands. Kiviuq is rigged as a [...]
13 September 2019 | Shining Waters Marine, Tantallon, Nova Scotia
05 September 2019 | St Margaret's Bay, Nova Scotia
22 August 2019 | Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia
13 August 2019 | LaHave Islands, Nova Scotia
04 August 2019 | Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
28 July 2019 | Head Harbour, Campobello, New Brunswick
11 July 2019 | Belfast, Maine
07 July 2019 | Belfast, Maine
06 July 2019 | Belfast, Maine
13 June 2019 | Belfast, Maine
01 June 2019 | Burnside Lodge
15 September 2018 | Belfast, Maine, Nova Scotia
30 August 2018 | St Peters, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
18 August 2018 | Bay La Hune, Newfoundland
10 August 2018 | Isle aux Morts, Newfoundland
04 August 2018 | Baddeck, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
30 July 2018 | St Peters, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
26 July 2018 | Spanish Ship Bay, Eastern Shore, Nova Scotia
14 July 2018 | Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia
06 July 2018 | Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Recent Blog Posts
13 September 2019 | Shining Waters Marine, Tantallon, Nova Scotia

Dorian and the aftermath

We rode out Hurricane Dorian at anchor in Schooner Cove together with four other foreign boats that came in for the same purpose. All the boats rode safely to their best bower anchors, I suspect on long chain scopes of 10:1 or more. We certainly did. It seems that the latest consensus among the cruising [...]

05 September 2019 | St Margaret's Bay, Nova Scotia

Waiting for Dorian

It was going to happen sooner or later. A hurricane is heading our way. After devastating the Abacos and Bahamas and brushing Florida, Dorian is now close E of the coast of the Carolinas, and the current forecast is that it will go right over Nova Scotia on Saturday/Sunday moving quickly in a NNE'ly [...]

22 August 2019 | Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia

Downward and upward

I realise there is quite a lot of catching up to do since my last post, which left us in Grand Manan, so apologies if this becomes something of a travelogue.

13 August 2019 | LaHave Islands, Nova Scotia


After St Andrews it was time to begin making our way across the Bay of Fundy towards Nova Scotia. This we decided to do in two stages. The first involved retracing our wake across Passamaquoddy Bay and around the southern end of Deer Island, then up Head Harbour Passage to the northern tip of Campobello [...]

04 August 2019 | Yarmouth, Nova Scotia

Things that go bump in the night.

From Campobello we sailed southabout Deer Island, an area renowned for its cetacean populations (and thus also populated with whale-watching boats), into Passamaquody Bay and up to St Andrews. Here we picked up a mooring just 150m or so off Market Wharf, the large and well-appointed town wharf.

28 July 2019 | Head Harbour, Campobello, New Brunswick

Going Downeast

We left Belfast just over a week ago on Saturday 20th July to sail down Penobscot Bay with the intention of spending a night at anchor in Seal Bay, Vinalhaven. Seal Bay is beautiful, well protected and not that far from the popular yachting centres of Camden and Rockland. Perhaps for this reason it was [...]

Remembering who rules

10 August 2018 | Isle aux Morts, Newfoundland
Well, some of it was very pleasant and some of it wasn't at all.

We weighed anchor in Baddeck, Cape Breton at about 0830hrs on Tuesday with the opening log entry for the coming passage describing our intention as sailing "towards Isle aux Morts, Newfoundland". Sailors tend to be superstitious, and therefore unwilling to change what has been accepted practice for centuries for fear of incurring the wrath of Neptune: what has worked hitherto, etc., etc.. And one thing above all that Neptune can't abide is hubris in those who navigate his domain. Hence one sails "towards" one's hoped-for destination, rather than assumes one is going to get there.

The sun shone and the day was bright and clear as we made our way northwards through the Great Bras d'Or; the 20nm long fjord-like stretch of water that connects the landlocked lakes of Cape Breton with the open seas of the Cabot Strait and Gulf of St Lawrence to the north. Here one must get timings right. The point where the Great Bras d'Or meets the sea is only a few hundred metres across and through there must go all the water that the twice-daily tidal rise and fall of the open sea encourages to flow into and out of the huge area of the Cape Breton lakes. It's a lot of water, and it can be in a hurry. Ergo, one doesn't want to even be trying to go in the opposite direction, and in the unhappy circumstance of a wind-against-tide situation it would be downright dangerous. Add to that the fact that the navigable channel is only 50m wide in places, and one must not only get timings right, one's pilotage must be spot-on. So it was that tensions eased only as we passed the last of the channel marker buoys going northward on the Cabot Strait side of the maelstrom.

But the sun was still shining, the sky was blue and the southerly wind that was to take us towards Newfoundland, some 90nm distant, was filling in. Before long we had a steady 20 knots of following breeze and Kiviuq was picking up her skirts. Neptune was obviously occupied elsewhere.

The afternoon saw some high stratus cloud beginning to form and by late afternoon one could almost imagine a halo around the veiled sun, which is never a good sign. The wind now was gusting in the higher twenties and the ever-present Atlantic swell was being accentuated by wind-generated wave action on our starboard quarter. This would normally give us reason to put a reef in the mainsail and take in a little jib, especially with night approaching, but there was by this time another factor to consider. We were sailing fast, and that would have us making landfall on the 'iron-bound' SW coast of Newfoundland in the darkness of the moonless early hours of the morning. Moreover, with the now SE breeze it would be a lee shore. We therefore put not one, but two reefs in the main and jib in order to slow progress.

Next up to keep the crew on alert was the increasing shipping traffic we were encountering as we crossed what is a busy strait through which passes almost all of the shipping for Montreal. We were also not the only vessel en route to or from Newfoundland, although I think we were the only sailing vessel.

By 0100hrs the distance to SW Newfoundland was shrinking fast and the wind had backed into the east, putting it on Kiviuq's beam. This really makes her go, so something had to be done. We decided to heave-to and then concentrate on not being run down by any of the shipping around us. As it happened I only had to make one VHF call to a large vessel with a very near projected closest point of approach. As expected though, the officer I spoke to had seen us on his radar and AIS and stated his intention to alter course to pass safely to the south of us.

By 0200hrs, even hove-to as we were, Kiviuq seemed drawn to Newfoundland and we were only 10nm or so from the nearest point of land near Port aux Basques. We started the engine and began motor-sailing very slowly towards the ENE to place us for a dawn run in towards Isle aux Morts from a safe distance offshore.

Then we noticed the first flashes of lightning, quite a distance off, but something else to think about. As we puttered along it did get closer, but never close enough to be a real concern. But a sudden downpour of tropical proportions told us that squalls were now on the menu. And indeed, when Marilou examined the radar display we were surrounded by a number of heavy rain cells, but as dawn approached they moved away eastwards along the Newfoundland coast without giving Kiviuq another drenching and problems with squall-force winds.

When the reluctant dawn finally arrived it was grey, humid, and very damp with visibility down to a mile or two. But we were where we had planned to be; that is six miles south of the entrance to the very narrow Isle aux Morts fairway. We turned in, but with just a mile to go we still hadn't seen Newfoundland, such was the poor visibility, and getting poorer.

Actually the first thing we wanted to see was the red and white 'safe-water' buoy at the seaward end of the fairway. But when we were a hundred metres or so from where it should have been, a large red can buoy appeared out of the murk. The discrepancy between what we were seeing and what was charted, together with the crashing swells on the rocks that we could now just make out ahead of us, had us within seconds of aborting the approach. Then we spotted a second red buoy, as charted, just beyond the first. We proceeded with extreme caution then from buoy to buoy marking the entrance channel and between those rocks with their crashing breakers very close on either hand.

Then, as is often the case in such situations, the tension evaporated in sudden 'sweetness and light' as the entry was made. The wind was gone in the shelter of land, the water was as calm as a mill pond, and on this occasion a collection of simple wooden houses emerged through the mist where expected on the starboard side. This was Isle aux Morts.

Carefully we made our way around some of the islands in the bay to an almost landlocked anchorage called Squid Hole ('Squiddle' in Newfynese). As we crept in through the narrow entrance we expected to see an islet about one third of the way down the little bay, but the only evidence of it was a patch of seaweed showing on the surface. This was given a good berth as we passed it heading deeper into the bay. There we set the anchor and gave it a good pull with the engine and reverse gear before putting the kettle on.

So the electronic charts we were using were in error on at least two points during our entry to Isle aux Morts. First, the red and white safe-water buoy was a red can buoy, and second, the "islet" in Squid Hole covers near high water, and this was only a couple of days after neaps. Clearly we shall need to use the Newfoundland charts with a healthy degree of caution in future.

But we were safely in, although I can't help thinking it might have all been a lot easier if when I had poured my glass of sherry the evening before I had also poured one for the mighty Neptune.

Note: A position report has been filed separately and our current location in Isle aux Morts should show on the map page.

Correction: In the previous post I stated that Baddeck is the main town in Cape Breton. It isn't. Sydney, a commercial port and industrial town, is by far the largest centre of population. Baddeck is the 'capital' of the Bras d'Or Lakes region.
Where is Kiviuq?
Kiviuq's Photos - Main
4 Photos
Created 1 June 2019
4 Photos
Created 23 August 2016
16 Photos
Created 23 August 2016
5 Photos
Created 22 August 2016
5 Photos
Created 22 April 2016
11 Photos
Created 22 April 2016
10 Photos
Created 21 April 2016
4 Photos
Created 20 April 2016
13 Photos
Created 22 October 2015
13 Photos
Created 21 May 2014

About & Links

IMPORTANT NOTE: In Map &Tracking above you can see where Kiviuq was located when we last reported a position to the blog. But please be aware that position reporting sometimes goes down. This can be due to a technical problem on board, to a problem with the satellite system or to a problem with the blog site. Therefore...... PLEASE NOTE THAT IN THE EVENT THERE IS NO POSITION REPORTING THIS SHOULD NOT ON ITS OWN BE TAKEN AS AN INDICATION THAT KIVIUQ AND/OR HER CREW ARE IN DIFFICULTIES. Technical/electrical problems are by no means rare at sea in relatively small vessels.