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Date: 16 Jul 2010 00:50:00
Title: A good day fiddling around

Thursday evening

Today has been a much-needed day of getting jobs done and working out our itinerary for the next month or so.

We had a pretty lazy morning taking advantage of the smooth anchorage - it wasn't like that last night though. At around midnight, we were getting pushed around by katabatic winds of up to 40 knots so it was pretty noisy in our cabin. They soon eased off, though, and we had a good sleep. When I looked out at the deck this morning, it was all under water. Last night, I'd diverted the deck drain into the starboard fresh water tank and it had filled up overnight and overflowed. No problem there and it feels really good to be drinking rainwater rather than making it out of the salt.

Over breakfast, we had a planning meeting. We talked over the problem we had yesterday morning with the poled out headsails and decided that we were all a bit thick not looking at the top of the mast as we're pretty sure that the spinnaker halyard got wrapped into the furling sail and stopped it dead. So, when we use the correct lines and turn our brains on, that rig should be ideal for what we were doing. We also talked some more about our passages over the next month and worked out more details of where we're aiming for in Canada and how far we think it's realistic to get up the Greenland coast before we cross over. As well as all that, we decided that we'd rather have another crewmember with us for the Arctic Canada section in case we have any more problems that require a bit of foredeck muscle. Richard and Kali are going to see if they can round up a likely victim - sorry, I mean candidate.

What with all that, it was time to go outside and get a bit wet - it was still raining. We had to check that we hadn't broken anything at the top of the mast so Richard went up first to check. Luckily, we got away with the furling problem and it's all OK. We did some other tidying up of the leech lines and genoa sheets before he came down. I'd not been all the way up the rig so we took the opportunity to hoist me up there. It's a long way! I got there in stages, though, and even managed to get enough confidence to get out to the spreader ends to check them. From the top, I could see that Saxon Blue was leaving a wake, even though we were at anchor. The silty water from the river was flowing out past us and leaving a trail of turbulence behind the boat. Like we were sailing slowly through Miso soup.

After lunch, we all went ashore (except Richard who had some jobs to do onboard) and went for a walk up the valley. The land is really wild. There are loads of different species of mosses and lichens sometimes in mats a foot deep that you sink into as you walk. At times, it's like walking through snow. Occasionally there are patches of beautiful flowers and even a tiny area of stunted trees. A few birds seem to be eking out a living on land and there are a few ducks in the river. Altogether not much moving about, though. There is some sign of human life. Some rickety fish-drying racks and signs of camping mean we're not the first to be here - at least some locals come here to catch the fish. Maybe that explains why we've not had so much as a bite the whole time despite Andrea and Jamie's best efforts. Talking of bites, though, the mosquitoes are persistent. They got me through the hole in the back of my hat.

It's calm again now and the forecast is for similar weather for the next few days so we're going to watch Avatar tonight and then have a good day tomorrow for Jamie's 40th birthday. It's actually stopped raining now and it's looking really beautiful outside.

Harvey

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