Watch all five episodes of Ship ME Out at shipmeout.com
"Ship ME Out" tells the story of the people from around the world who get Maine wild blueberries from the barrens of downeast Maine to stores in Iceland, after they’re processed into jam and sailed across the Atlantic on a container ship. This five-part series is an economics story that shows how Maine's multi-million dollar investment connects the state to other countries and new neighbors.
It’s a modern-day Viking saga about business, sea captains, CEOs and wicked good blueberry pie.
NEWS CENTER Maine reporter Dustin Wlodkowski and photojournalist Kirk Cratty are the connective tissue binding together the characters you’ll meet on this journey for the first time on video. You can find the full series at shipmeout.com and on NEWS CENTER Maine's YouTube page.
Episode 3 - 'Shipped Out'
In Ship ME Out Episode 3, Dustin and Kirk will show you what daily life is like on a cargo ship. The show focuses on their experience on the EF AVA on its first leg of the voyage to Reykjavik. Over the course of three days, the ship travels from Portland to Argentia, Newfoundland in Canada, another Eimskip port. While the ship was docked there, Dustin and Kirk took a quick taxi ride around a village.
Where do ships leaving Portland’s International Marine Terminal sail?
As of the writing of this article, one of three ships calls at Portland’s International Marine Terminal each week. On trips originating from Portland, the EF AVA, the Eimskip-chartered vessel Dustin, Kirk and some wild blueberry jam were on, only makes one stop before it reaches Iceland. The stop is a tiny village in southern Newfoundland called Argentia. The other two vessels that go on this Eimskip route, known as the “Green Line”, make a stop in Argentia as well as St. Anthony’s, which is in northern Newfoundland. The Eimskip boats stop there because they have onboard cranes that are necessary to facilitate loading in that port. The EF AVA does not. All boats then continue from Newfoundland to Reykjavik, Iceland. After being loaded and unloaded, the return to the Newfoundland ports, make an additional stop in Halifax, Nova Scotia and finally sail back to Portland.
How long does it take to sail from Portland to Reykjavik?
Approximately eight to nine days. The trip duration is affected by weather conditions along the route. The distance between the ports is roughly 2,300 miles. The EF AVA’s max eco-cruising speed is 17 knots, which is about 19.6 mph. In bad weather, ship speeds can drop to much lower speeds, for example, six knots, which is about 6.9 mph. Other factors that affect trip duration include the length of time it takes to load and unload a cargo ship. In Portland, this process usually takes 24-36 hours.
Where did Dustin and Kirk sleep on the ship?
Dustin and Kirk were generously given the largest cabin on the EF AVA. The cabin was fully furnished with two twin beds, a refrigerator, a microwave, an electric tea kettle, couches, a coffee table, a small flat screen television, plenty of storage space and it even had its own bathroom with a shower.
What did they eat on board?
Dustin and Kirk ate with the crew. All meals were prepared by the cook and there were three scheduled meal times each day. Breakfast was a traditional English breakfast with ham, bacon or sausage, eggs prepared in the style of their choosing and sliced tomato. A variety of items were offered for lunch. Entrees included different fish, beef, chicken and lamb dishes with rotating vegetables and starches, like baked potatoes for sides. Dinner was essentially a smaller version of lunch. There was even ice cream on Sundays!
Can I take a trip on a container vessel?
Yes! It’s not as common a way to travel in North America but in Europe for instance, container vessels will often take passengers between different ports. According to various travel blogs dedicated to the subject, this will usually cost about $65 to $125 per night. Eimskip does not offer passenger cabins between Maine and Iceland. However, it does have a long-standing program for artists to make the trip free of charge in exchange for some art. This program was adapted for Dustin and Kirk so they could make the trip.
Where will Episode 3 take me? 📍
Off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada: The route for Eimskip Green Line ships like EF Ava takes them across the Gulf of Maine due east. They then turn north and cruise parallel to the outer coast of Nova Scotia until reaching Newfoundland.
Argentia/Placentia, Newfoundland: Two tiny villages in southern Newfoundland about 90 minutes southwest of the province’s capital, St. John’s. Eimskip Green Line ships stop here briefly to load and unload cargo.
Who will I meet in this episode? 🤝
Captain Jacek Rabiej - Captain, EF Ava
Michael Yavdoshchuk - Chief Engineer, EF Ava
Jonathan Dancalan - 2nd Engineer, EF Ava
Remus Clavel - Bosun, EF Ava
Finnur Finnsson - Super Cargo, Eimskip
Sigpor Agustsson - Electrician, Eimskip
Frank Barry - Operations, Eimskip Canada
Lisa McGrath - Owner, Five Star Taxi