Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Temperature is 60 degrees F at 71 1/2 North off Greenland

Last Update July 28th at 00:01 GMT
Last U

After making good time and seeing my first icebergs the wind changed back to the north. I had two days of 15-20kts head winds with super think fog. I never have been a fan of the fog but when you are sailing blindly, surrounded by icebergs with no radar, things get a bit dodgy. Finally when the fog broke I looked around and saw five bergs within a mile of me. Since then the weather has been very nice, but very little wind. Over the trip the temperature has slowly dropped, to the point that in the fog the other day it was in the 30s. Yesterday it was 56 (13c) and today it was 60 degrees (15c)! 60 degrees at 71 1/2 North?! I’m thinking about heading to the beach and going for a swim (just kidding). Yes the skies are blue and the days are warm, but there is no wind and wind is what matters. It’s been slow going the last five days and I have a feeling that this is the way its going to be up here.
When you look at my PredictWind tracker you will see that I’ve been staying close to Greenland. The center of Baffin Bay is still covered in ice. Theres only a rather narrow corridor of ice free water up here and that corridor is off of Greenland. The warm weather should hasten the ice’s retreat. I should really say ice-less and not ice-free because there is still a bunch of bergs. I can deal with ice bergs but pack ice is something very different. Speaking of ice bergs I’ve seen more then I can count. From giant growlers the size of a large office building to bergy bits the size of a VW bug. The bergs are natures sculptures, each one unique and as they melt and break apart their beauty changes and evolves. Some are bleach white but most have a tint of blue or sometimes pink. The largest are both majestic and intimidating. Its worth sailing up here just to see them.
To every upside there is a downside. Icebergs are amazingly beautifully, but man is it hard to sleep when they’re around. Hitting a berg would be like running into a giant rock. The ice has no forgiveness and would sink my little boat in record time – and I’m seeing more ice every day. Yesterday I counted 17 bergs without moving my head – they seem to be everywhere. This is when it would be nice to have some crew. I didn’t sleep for 3 days and only got a couple hours sleep last night broken up in 20 minute intervals. Because the sun never sets up here my concept of time has been destroyed. I no longer know if its night or day. When I do look at a clock I’m always shocked “it’s 3am? But I thought it was 9!”. The good thing is when I get out off Baffin Bay I won’t have as many icebergs but in the North West passage I will be dealing with ice pack. At least by the end I will have seen many different types of ice. Outside of sleep deprivation, all is well. I just hope the wind picks up a bit, I still have 400 miles to the mouth of the NW passage.

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