Thirteen years ago, Anne & Michael Hartshorn set out for a 10-year circumnavigation.

The pandemic has affected people in different ways, but it’s impact on travel has touched everyone. While some of us have been limited to local trips within our region or country, Anne and Michael Hartshorn’s dream has been interrupted beyond measure; 13 years ago, they set out for a 10-year circumnavigation.

From their home in the UK, Anne and Michael set sail in May 2008 on Nimue, a 44-foot Contest, for a 10-year journey around the globe. They headed south to the Mediterranean and crossed the Atlantic landing in the Caribbean in December 2010. Wanting to enjoy every destination, they took their time exploring the Caribbean and East Coast of the United States, and then travelled through the Panama Canal and up the West Coast, arriving in British Columbia in 2016.

As Michael explained, “We want to explore each country, get to know its culture and meet the local people before we move on. We didn’t just want to sail round the world and ‘tick the box’!”.

With work required on Nimue, the Hartshorn’s sailed into Canoe Cove, a destination chosen for the quality reputation of Blackline Marine. Their top priority was replacing the corroded aluminum window frame with a hard dodger, which Blackline fabricated. But that was just the beginning. Being in the boat yard gave them the opportunity to undertake a considerable amount of work including an engine overhaul, re-soundproofing the engine room, replacing the aluminum rudder shaft with one made from stainless steel, and the interior cushion covers…and more!

Nimue remained at the Cove for eight cold and rainy months of extensive work, after which Michael and Anne were anxious to continue with their adventure. For the next three years, they explored the Gulf Islands and coast of BC, returning to the UK each winter, and leaving Nimue at Canoe Cove.

In 2019 they sailed up the Inside Passage to Alaska and, following their return to Canada in March 2020, fully expected to continue their journey. Unfortunately, the pandemic was declared within three weeks of their return, international borders closed, and the realization they would not be sailing anywhere anytime soon quickly set in.

The Hartshorn’s were forced to return to the UK, and planned to continue their adventure in August 2020, a timeline that proved unattainable due to COVID-19. Today, with Canada’s borders still closed, they remain in the UK waiting for things to re-open and the opportunity to resume their journey. Of course, given the global nature of the pandemic, there are considerations beyond Canada.

“Naturally we are keen to return to the boat. Whenever Canada allows visitors, we hope to be able to do some local sailing around BC or return to Alaska,” says Michael. “We don’t think it would be prudent to consider about crossing the Pacific, until the whole world has been vaccinated.”

And so, 13 years later, the 10-year adventure continues, and their story now includes the disruption of a global pandemic. This is a lesson about patience and having to be flexible – one that Anne and Michael have managed with grace.

They have absolutely loved their trip so far and, when asked if they had insights or advice for someone thinking about a similar undertaking they said, “There are always new challenges and things to learn. However, if you are considering Bluewater cruising, make sure you have a yacht capable of undertaking such a trip and have a good understanding how to fix things!”

We look forward to welcoming the Hartshorn’s back to the Cove very soon!