Heading South again

Saxon Blue's Blog
Harvey Jones and Andrea Stokes
Fri 30 Jul 2010 08:58
72:19.278N 054:58.758W Thursday night

We started heading South again today which was a bit sad. We left our beautiful anchorage at 0900 and travelled back down the fjord past the Impossible Wall which Bob's climbers had scaled. It was just as impressive the second time, whether with the naked eye or through the binoculars.

A few miles later, we diverted to pass by the tiny village of Proven. This is perched on a small island with another even smaller one between it and the open sea. We passed through the channel between the two islands. There are maybe 30 houses in the village, the usual jolly colours, with a church and a tiny quay. The location is just the same as the abandoned villages we'd been exploring over the last two days - right by the sea on a small island with a harbour. I think this one was the same as those before the Danes arrived. Perhaps they built a trading post at Proven as it's easy to access from the open sea and that meant the population grew at the expense of other settlements. That's my theory, anyway.

As we left Proven behind, we passed another tiny island and saw a pack of huskies running along the shore keeping pace with us. The practice of leaving your dog team on an island for the summer is pretty widespread here. The dogs are left to fend for themselves so only the toughest make it through to the next season. The owners throw the occasional dead seal onto the beach, if the dogs are lucky. They looked disappointed that we didn't do the same. In this area, it's packs of starving dogs that are the main danger rather than Polar Bears and there are stories of owners (and unsuspecting visitors) being eaten by their own dogs if they don't keep a sharp lookout when they land on the isolated islands.

>From there onwards, we were travelling down an uncharted fjord so we had to go carefully at times between islands and use the Forward-Looking Sonar all the time. Eef had told Richard about an anchorage that she'd used in the past so we had a rough idea where we were going. We passed a couple of islands made from Basalt columns like the ones on Staffa in the Hebrides and many small bird cliffs although, like the others we'd seen, the birds had already gone. We saw no ice for hours which only made it seem more like Scotland.

As we neared the anchorage, we slowed right down and took a turn between the mainland and a small island. The depth stayed constant at around 15 meters so we kept going until we could see the entrance to a tiny side fjord - more like a canal really. This turned North and continued for about a mile at the same width (60 meters or so) and the same depth (10 meters) which increased the impression of a canal. At the end, there's a perfect pool, steep-to all the way around and just the right size of us to anchor right in the middle with enough swinging room so we don't have to put lines ashore. It's totally sheltered and the water is gin-clear. When I took Kali ashore for a walk, I could look down to the bottom and see the dead mussel shells along with the few live ones and hundreds of sea-urchins.

Richard and I spent a few hours replacing bits of the fuel system trying to stop the air that's appearing in our diesel filters, then we had a delicious lasagne with Pesto and I fell straight asleep in my chair while the others pottered about. I'm off to bed early now as I'm getting up for an early watch at 0400 tomorrow so we can travel all day and get back to Umanak fjord in one trip. Goodnight!


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