A truly remote anchorage

Saxon Blue's Blog
Harvey Jones and Andrea Stokes
Sun 20 Jun 2010 21:43
66:25.738N 022:29.077W Sunday evening

We're anchored just off a black sand beach in a bay that's open to the North. There are half a dozen waterfalls coming into the bay from the snow-capped mountains all around. There are a couple of buildings that are now summer houses but would have been farms before this area was abandoned. There is no road so the only way in is on foot or by sea. It's really calm now so I'm hopeful of a good night's sleep with no wave slapping.

We set off this morning at about 8 again, or at least we did once we could persuade the anchor to let go of the seabed. It was in find sand mixed with silt and, as there were no waves to help break it out, it took a while for it to come up. This is very reassuring but the trouble is that you only know how well set the anchor is once you've already broken it out and set off. I still think Spade anchors are the nuts, though.

We managed to sail for most of the day though a maze of shallow reefs off the coast. There is a glacier covering much of this peninsula so that was visible over the top of the seaside mountains. The winds getting funneled down the fjords were flukey all day so we would be furling the sails in 25 knots one minute and literally a minute later, we'd be either under full sail in 10 knots or even having to put the engine on just to make headway. Still, it kept us on our toes.

As we approached the point of Horn, lots of sea birds were heading in for the cliffs so we went to see if we could find where they were nesting. That wasn't too hard as the granite was painted white with their deposits. They were mostly Guillemots and their nesting area went on for miles. A great sight to see such numbers. The seas here are truly alive.

We motored into this bay, did a quick sonar survey and anchored up off the beach. It looked too good to miss so we soon had the tender launched for the first time in ages and set off to explore. There is a strange hexagonal refuge on the beach with a hand-cranked VHF radio inside. Alongside it are a row of ruined buildings from 1895 that I think are an abandoned Herring plant. Slightly further inland is a campsite for the people who come here to hike and birdwatch. We met a couple of friendly German chaps and then continued inland to look at the waterfalls.

The head of the fjord is a boggy flat expanse with occasional ridges that I reckon is a series of beaches, one behind the other. The seaward end is strewn with driftwood which seems to be holding the sand-dunes together. John and I saw paw-prints and then Cind spotted the culprit. A brazen Arctic Fox just trotting around his manor looking for an unlucky bird - or German, perhaps.

John and I went for some high-speed bird-spotting action in the tender and then it was back for a delicious Chilli. We've just seen our first seal for ages and I'm looking out at seabirds and splendid isolation. If the sky was clear, we'd see the midnight sun tonight but it's cloudy so that's off. Still, I'll not be awake at midnight to see it anyway. The only thing missing from a perfect day is my lovely Andrea but we'll hopefully have her back onboard soon.


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