The calm after the storm

Saxon Blue's Blog
Harvey Jones and Andrea Stokes
Fri 27 Aug 2010 16:43
66:14.275N 65:35.248W Friday morning

Well, we didn't leave for Kekerten in the night but we did have to up anchor and move. Things were getting a bit exciting with Saxon Blue yawing around all over the place although we didn't drag the anchor and, in fact, Andrea and I were fast asleep through all the commotion. About midnight, a guy called Peter who Kali had met on the dockside earlier called us up on the VHF and suggested a couple of more sheltered anchorages just up the fjord and gave Kali the co-ordinates. She and Magnus raised the anchor and motored slowly in that direction until it got light enough to see what was going on and then they dropped the hook again in a lovely sheltered bay. With that, we all went back to sleep until late in the morning. I think they really enjoyed themselves sorting it all out and I certainly enjoyed not getting wet on deck.

We all got up around noon but the wind was still howling about at 40 knots or so although our sheltered spot meant we weren't getting any significant waves hitting us. We had a leisurely brunch and then Kali and Magnus went for a walk. As they were walking, a huge rockslide came down the mountains ahead of us. Andrea and I could only see the dust from where we were but evern that was impressive. I spent a while sorting out my photographs of the trip ready to upload them when we reach somewhere with internet access and then Andrea and I went for our walk onshore.

The scenery is really bleak. Baffin is like Greenland in that it is really old rock - around 3.5 billion years so some of the oldest rock on the surface of the planet. Over that time, it became covered in sedimentary rocks with fossils and the whole "normal" thing. Then it got moved North and covered with ice which swept the surface clean of all the softer rocks. All that's left is the original bedrock and the scree it creates as it gets weathered. Their isn't any soil to speak of although we were walking through moss that is about a foot thick. It's hard work to walk on and feels like mud but, the more you walk on it, the cleaner your boots get. All around us, streams were rushing down the clefts in the rocks as the water dumped by the storm found it's short route to the sea.

Magnus picked us up in the tender and then it was back onboard for a delicious fish stew with the Halibut we'd been given by the L'anse Amour Venture crew a few days ago. Delicious. Dinner was delayed for an hour or so, though, as the generator had switched itself off while we were ashore with an error code indicating high exhaust temperature. That could only really be lack of raw water and Kali had eliminated all the usual suspects such as blocked sea-cocks. The only thing left was the impeller in the pump so we dismantled the saloon and the generator's noise shield and Kali replaced the now bladeless impeller with one of our spares. Job done. Only we thought we'd be good and check the heat exchanger for debris. It was really hard to reach but I got the end cap off and we flushed it through. Put it all back. Start the generator and it stops itself after about 30 seconds with a different error code: low heat exchanger pressure.

By this time, we decided to eat our dinner and then get back to the generator. After eating, I took the heat exchanger cover off again and reseated it but the same error. Then I look at the seal and it looks indented so we get a spare one of those out and fit that. Same problem. This was getting tedious and, with the difficult access under the floor, it was getting pretty sore and uncomfortable, too. I had a stop and think for a minute and remembered that the last time we'd had a generator problem, it had been a loose electrical connection so I wondered whether it was the pressure sensor that was the problem rather than the pressure itself. Trouble was, I couldn't find the sensor. So... I got the parts list out and found out that it's fitted to a hose, not the unit itself. Now we were getting somewhere. Sure enough, when we found the sensor, it had a poor connection that was also sitting in the small amount of water that had come out of the engine as we worked on it. Get that all tidied up and off it went - perfect.

These jobs are always difficult on a boat as there is so much equipment jammed into such a small space and access is awkward to say the least. While doing the work, it's very frustrating and I wondered why they couldn't have mounted the generator somewhere more obvious. Then, when (if) it gets fixed, it's very rewarding and I feel like I've learned something new about the boat. I'm also thankful that we spent so long getting prepared for the voyage and packed all the spares and the instruction manuals that we'd need. By the time the saloon was all back together, it was late and time to go straight to bed.

We got up just before 0800 this morning to get back over to Pangnirtung and stock up on supplies before finally departing for the South. The wind has died right off and the forecast looks good for the next 5 days so, hopefully, we'll have a safe, swift passage. There may be some swell left from yesterday's storm but we're hoping that will soon abate. Andrea and I had a last walk around town while Kali and Magnus did the shopping. Had a good chat with some locals who are taking some scientists off on a fish-survey and then we went to see if the museum was open - it wasn't. We went into the Parks office and found 3 young English people who'd been on an expedition into the Penny Icecap further up the fjord. They were lovely and really interested in our trip, as were we in theirs.

We looked back across the harbour to see a little grey boat balanced precariously on the rocks below the quay. Whoops. Got hold of Magnus and Kali on the VHF and we all headed back to the harbour to rescue the tender. Soon got that launched and Kali dropped Andrea and I back on Saxon Blue where we're now having hot toast with home-made houmous while Kali and Magnus check email ashore. Then we're off.


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