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Date: 17 Jul 2010 01:21:00
Title: An exciting Birthday for Jamie

69:14.844N 053:33.067W Friday evening

Well, that was a day of biting off more than you can easily chew! We got up for a cooked breakfast and gave Jamie his 40th Birthday presents and card. We gave him a new arctic hat, a new base layer and a Greenland calendar for next year. He also got a copy of The Gruffalo from Mary. At his request, Jamie wanted to spend his birthday walking and eating curry so...

We dropped Jamie and Richard off on our way out of the fjord so that they could walk over the mountains to Godhavn. Andrea, Kali and I set off in Saxon Blue to go the long way around and meet them in the harbour. We thought that we were in for a relaxing day as the wind was light and the sky clear. As we got to the end of the fjord, though, the sea really kicked up. I think it was the outgoing tide against the incoming wind and swell but, whatever the cause, it was bouncy and hard work. We were getting green water over the decks again and the watermaker was complaining and sucking air. We slowed down but it was still hard work for an hour or so.

As we turned to head South again, the sea calmed down and we motored along with high cliffs to our port side, all of them decorated with scree cones at the bottom. To seaward, on our starboard side, a series of massive icebergs were grounded in about 100 meters of water. We were in about 50 meters so they couldn't get us! We had to watch out for growlers all the time, especially when downwind of one of the bergs. Andrea took loads of video but, in the end, she, too, realised that there are only so many pictures of icebergs that anybody needs.

Our last berg was right on the leading line into Godhavn (which means Good Harbour) but we avoided that and headed into the village. It really is a good harbour, totally sheltered by a ring of rocky hills. There isn't much room to swing but they've helpfully put a lot of bollards and rings into the rocks alongside. We had a good look around, picked our ideal location and went into action. Kali rigged mooring lines onto the bollards on the rocks, Andrea measured us away from them and then dropped the anchor. I motored back towards the rings, Kali grabbed the lines and we were there. We're only about 20 meters from the rocks but they're steep-to so that's perfect. By that time, it was about 6pm so we'd taken a couple of hours longer than we'd expected to get around and we fully expected Jamie and Richard to be waiting impatiently for us, demanding curry.

They were nowhere to be seen. Andrea announced that they'd be in the pub but, after an hour of them still not emerging, we began to doubt that. Kali got the curry finished and we all had showers but they still weren't there. Then we got a garbled message on the VHF and it was Jamie telling us they'd be another half hour. Not long after their time was up, we got another message that they were staggering into town so I set off in the tender to collect them. What a sorry looking pair. They were smiling but the rest of them looked pretty bad. Their shoes were caked in mud as were their trousers, they were white with dried sweat and Richard was spotted with mosquito bites. We shot back to Saxon Blue where the boys had simultaneous showers and then we sat down for our long-delayed curry.

Turns out that they had a hell of a crossing. The rivers were swollen with snow-melt and rain so that they had to wade across them up to their thighs. They couldn't stop for a rest as the mosquitoes would descend in swarms and Richard had lost the headnet Andrea had lent him very early on. There was no path and, in the end, they'd had to leap over a gorge containing a rushing torrent some 40 meters below them. Now I know we've only got their word for all this derring-do but, given the sight of them, I think they had a proper adventure. For corroboration, there was the superhuman amount of curry they both ate. The curry was amazing - Kali's fish being the best I've ever had by quite some margin.

So we had a toast to Jamie's birthday, another to Kali's curry, another to Andrea's chickpeas and then ate chocolate cake. We'd all had a fine day doing what we like best. I felt a slight pang of jealousy when I watched the guys heading off into the hills but I'm so glad that I didn't go with them. I honestly don't think any of us would have made it if I'd been there slowing them down. We also managed to get a fair few miles under our keel which is just as well as we still have 60 to go tomorrow morning to pick up Paul from Illulisaat. It'll be a 0400 start for me tomorrow so I'm not long for my bed.

Harvey

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