Orcas and Russian Sightings
Arrival in St. John's, Newfoundland
Reindeer's 1976 Transatlantic Voyage
June 5 - 12, 1976
Blog Entry #4
Approaching St. John's, Newfoundland after 5 glorious sailing days, I remember feeling ready to reach a destination. Ready to get my feet on something solid. Ready to step ashore and feel grounded. But I did not know enough to get ready for what lay ahead.
On Saturday, June 5th as Newbold mentioned in his book, we "quietly slid into the harbor and tied up to an old fishing schooner at the head of the harbor" of St. John's. We eventually moved Reindeer to a better location on the concrete pier near a warehouse where to our surprise we stumbled upon the dressing room of the leading actors (the construction site for a number of Orca whale replicas) for the yet to be released 1977 movie ORCA - a film attempting to ride the wave of success of the 1975 thriller JAWS. View photos of this film stars at the bottom of this blog entry. As you might suspect, we found these aquatic actors rather flat, humorless and less than imposing out of the water or on a hoist.
The next 6 days Newbold and some of the Newport to St. John crew members returned home while the remaining 4 of us (Orlin Donaldson, Toby, Paula Garfield and me) used the time for provisioning and preparing Reindeer for the next 1600 mile leg to Iceland. During this transition time there was a constant chill in the air, but the weather remained pleasant and comfortable.
As we all know, the more weather conditions stay constant, the more likelihood a significant change will occur. So, when we listened to the weather forecast and heard the news that a number of transatlantic soloists had lost their masts and dropped out of that race hundreds of miles west of Great Britain, we knew the weather front was headed our way. By Tuesday June 15 we were heading eastward into at least one storm and maybe more after we departed St. John's.
Though we had some warning, none of the crew onboard probably could have envisioned what 4 gales and 50-70 knot winds would feel like. The next 10 days would test every fiber of our being. We were all in the same boat and about to experience first hand what a wild multitudinous sea was. And there was no way out but to face Nature's wrath and endure her punishment. The favorable winds will become a memory; our foul weather gear and harness will be our ally.