About Us

 

Cambridge Bay

Welcome to our blog!!

We are Rob and Sophia and currently taking a year off from our work and adventures in Nunavut to get to know and sail our boat Blue Tale, a Westsail 32.  We decided to take the plunge in 2011 to buy our boat after a short sailing trip in Thailand and a few sailing courses.  The plan for this year is to see if the sailing lifestyle would suit us and whether we want to take the future plunge into the big ocean to do a crossing or potential circumnavigation.  Join us in our adventures this year as we explore the beautiful coast of British Columbia and learn more about sailing and fixing up our boat.

 

Sophia enjoying some snow

Sophia Sailing Blue Tale

SOPHIA – has travelled since a young age and is passionate about photography, cooking and family.  Born in South Africa, she has lived in South Africa, Portugal and now Canada, slowly making her way to the far north.  Sophia has travelled extensively in Europe, Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Peru, Thailand and Canada’s Arctic.  She holds a M.Sc. and has worked in the environmental sector for over 12 years now, first as a consultant and now as a senior technical advisor for an Institution of Public Government (IPG).

 

Rob enjoying some snow

Rob fixing our mast lights

ROB – was born in Quebec, Canada and has lived in the United States, Mexico and northern Canada. He holds a BFA, MFA, diploma in natural resources, and an applied degree in conservation enforcement. Rob has worked for the Canadian Navy (Bos’n); and as an artist and collaborative printmaker, which is what brought him to the the north the first time around; teacher/instructor (university/colleges); in the environmental field, and now as a conservation officer (wildlife officer). He has traveled extensively in Canada, United States, Mexico, Belize, Thailand, parts of Europe, West Indies, Antarctic, and Canada’s arctic.  He is still trying to teach Sophia the Canadian ways but is not succeeding very well.

 

Prince River

Loka after a long day exploring!

LOKA – is our first dog and was rescued from the Yellowknife dog pound.  She was named by the pound and we initially thought her name meant crazy girl in Spanish (i.e. Loco) but when we looked up the name it actually means ‘world‘ in Sanskrit.  She is an adventurous, crazy dog and does not mind spending as much time outside as she can, except when it is buggy.  She is not so sure about this sailing thing as she is prone to seasickness.

Prince River

Jack after a long day exploring!

JACK – our second dog, was ‘rescued’ in Cambridge Bay.  She enjoys camping and chasing small little rodents as long as she can get a ride on the ATV.  She also prefers staying home, lounging on her muskox hide, watching TV and playing with her squeaky duck.  Sailing?  If it has anything to do with water, she will have none of it.

Both dogs are currently enjoying their year off in Winnipeg, far away from any major waterbody and sailboats!

Thelon River

Northern Transportation

19 responses to “About Us

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  2. Hello Sophia, hello Rob,

    I was reading your very interesting article “How to stay warm in the arctic” and I have a question regarding handwear. My hands really get cold easily and checking at the fur mitts I was wondering which is warmest if I had to buy only one pair? Would it be sealskin, beaver or wolf (or other?) What about the lining (fleece sheepskin or fur)?

    Your experience and inputs would really help me make my choice as I intend to have myself custom made the warmest possible.

    Thanks in advance for your feedback.

    Best regards
    Cédric

    • Hello Cedric,
      Rob has 3 set of mitts: beaver, sealskin, caribou. My beaver mitts are gauntlet style, double lined (duffle wool and fleece) and were made in Ft Smith by Jane Dragon and I wear them in deep winter. My sealskin mitts are a wrist style with wolf trim, and duffle wool liner and were made by Kenojuak Ashevak in 2001 and primarily for late winter/spring. My caribou mitts were made by Sophia and they have no liner and are worn in late spring.
      Sophia has wolf mitts gauntlet style with fleece liner, worn in deep winter, bought in Cambridge Bay. Sealskin mitts, wrist style with duffle wool liner, worn in spring. and a pair of beaver mitts she made, wrist style, worn in late winter/spring.
      We spend lots of time outside and Rob works as a Conservation Officer, so our clothing quality is very important to us. Comfort is a very personal choice and what works for Rob, doesn’t necessarily work for Sophia. Much of the clothing we have know was chosen via trial n error; some store bought, some handmade.
      Rob loves his beaver mitts, but they’re way to warm for him in late winter and spring. whereas his sealskin mitts he wears religiously throughout spring. Our parkas are custom made from Apocalypse Design (http://akgear.com). Most important, dress in layers and with loose clothing, and no cotton for base layers. – Rob

    • One more thing, if you’re going to buy local (if you live in the north) shop around and check out other peoples mitts for quality. Just b/c they’re sealskin or polar bear doesn’t mean the right type of fur from the animal was used, or the sewing could be really poor.

      • Hi Sophia and Rob,

        Thank you so much for the time you took to answer and the very detailed feedback!
        So if my understanding is correct beaver and mitts are the warmest with sealskin being used when it’s warming up a bit and something more waterproof becomes handy. And craftsmanship is also a very important part of the equation.

        Unfortunately I live in Paris France so far from up North so I can’t really shop locally. I will have to reply on online stores which may be very good but all claim their mitts are the warmest 🙂 So not so easy to make up one’s mind…

        I’ll be going to Finland in the Arctic circle so I’ll first check what they have locally before I pass any order. Shipping and customs fees are always very expensive (besides a good product) so I may be better advised to check there first.

        Again thank you very much and have fun!

        Best regards,
        Cédric

      • Hey Cedric,
        Keep in mind, Rob’s beaver mitts were double lined and bigger. Seal skin can be just warm with the proper lining (Rob prefers duffle wool). With wrist mitts, the cuff should be just barely tight enough for your hand to slip out and the trim is used as a draft-block between the mitt and your jacket. All mitts should be loose, it’ll feel weird at first, but you get better air flow between the skin and mitt. Stitching should be fine and tight and the mitt should have a slight curve to it otherwise you could muscle fatigue in your hand. The liner should also be removable for washing (this is a preference not necessity). I find the best weather/wind resistant fur mitts should be scrapped dry but not commercially tanned, except for beaver.
        Also I believe the EU has a total ban on all marine products, so be careful. – Rob

  3. Hi Sophia and Rob,
    Just wanted to say thanks for following our blog–hope you enjoy it as our voyage progresses! I’ve been interested to read about the preparations for your sailing voyage—they sound familiar! (minus the dogs)—and about your life in the Arctic. Seth and I are super excited to visit your neck of the woods, although of course there’s always the possibility we won’t make it all the way through. I hope you enjoy the sailing life, but be warned that you might start to like it too much…
    Fair winds!
    -Ellen

    • Hey Ellen & Seth,
      Love your blog and adventures! Sorry for the late reply, we’ve been packing up the apt and putting things in storage before leaving the arctic, which is tomorrow weTher permitting. Not looking so good right now…
      We’ll be on out to our boat May 13 and getting ready to spend a year on it sailing the west coast. Let us know what your port of calls will be in the territory of Nunavut, Canada? I pretty much know someone in all the communities here, we’ve been to most and lived in three. I work as a conservation officer (wildlife officer) and have been up here since 1999. We’ve done lots of travelling up here (mostly by snow machine), but also by boat, helicopter, and plane. If we can offer you any suggestions let us know, we had some friends from Norway who did the Passage back in 2009 and they had a great trip. I was in Pond Inlet last Sept and came across a number of sailboats that got stuck and had to get assistance From coast guard. Our best to you, we look forward to reading more about your trip. We’re heading for England and Ireland on Apr 19 to see friends.
      Rob

      • Hi Rob,
        Thanks for your reply and thanks very much for your offer to put us in touch with people in Nunavut! We’re planning to stop in Cambridge Bay, Gjoa Haven, and possibly Resolute, Arctic Bay, and Pond Inlet. If we can go through Bellot Strait, we wouldn’t go to Resolute, which reputedly has a not-so-great anchorage. We’re obviously hoping not to get stuck (!!) and won’t feel any shame if we have to turn back or winter-over somewhere. Maybe we can be in touch by e-mail? seton.leonard (at) graduateinstitute.ch. We’d love to hear any advice you have or tips from your friends who did it in 2009.
        Safe travels!
        -Ellen and Seth

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  9. this was really interesting did not know what you do for a living voorspoed vir julle rita

    • Hello Tannie Rita,
      Baie dankie vir the message. Ons geniet die lewe maar jy kan sien dat ons werk baie and travel baie vir werk.
      Baie liefde!

      Sophia

  10. Pingback: Loka and her Great Escape | Sailing Pups·

  11. Hi Guys
    Congrats on your decision!! What a great thing to do – especially at your young age! I remember Blue Tale 1 very well as your dad and i used to try and figure out if we could cross “the big Lake” with her!
    Good thing that did not get by the planning stage. Will follow your adventures with great interest. Have fun!!
    Bill/Val

  12. Congratulations on the new blog Sophia and Rob! I am super excited to be following along on all your many adventures to come. Be safe, and be wild!

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