Under sail at last

Saxon Blue's Blog
Harvey Jones and Andrea Stokes
Sat 7 Aug 2010 00:18
70:41.335N 52:08.646W Friday night

If you're looking at the map, you'll see that we're back in Spraglebugt again - it's starting to feel like home.

We were awoken early this morning by the sound of the wind on the boat. We were yawing about all over the anchorage so there was all kinds of on-boat noise plus the waves slapping on the hull so we didn't have to wait for the alarm to wake up. We got underway soon after 0900, heading West down the fjord towards a tiny cove where some mummies were found. It took a while to raise the anchor as it was full of weed and even an old mooring rope which Magnus had to cut off.

Suddenly, we heard an alarm which we hadn't heard before and it was a few seconds before I realised that the Iridium satellite phone was ringing. That's never happened before. It was Richard from High Latitudes with news of how he could get us a replacement transducer for our sonar air-freighted out to Umanak next week. It was great to sort that out and great to talk to him - it sounds as though fatherhood is going well so far.

As soon as we got outside the bay, the wind picked up to a steady 30 knots so we rolled out half the genoa and headed off at 8 knots. It was great to be sailing again and exciting, too, with the number of bergs around. The wind was getting them agitated and there was more ice in the water than usual. We had received an email from Eef on Tulooka that they were in Umanak fjord as well so Kali tried them on the VHF and got an immediate reply. They were in Spraglebugt sheltering from the wind and gave us some advice about getting into the cove where we were heading.

As we approached the cove, I could see a row of rocks awash just outside it. The area isn't charted beyond a vague outline and that is the usual half-mile out of place. With the absence of our forward-looking sonar, I was taking it very steady but, even so, didn't feel very confident. Eef's instructions were clear enough but I didn't like the look of the line of rocks and so, when our depth below the keel dropped below 5 meters and the sea remained rough, I decided to abort the operation and turn back into deeper water. It's a shame that we didn't make it in and explore onshore but I'm happy that it was the correct decision in the circumstances.

We were now directly South of Spraglebugt with the wind still in the East so we could sail directly there on a beam reach. We shot across with half the genoa and a scrap of main out, drinking a cup of soup to put us on until lunch. As we rounded the point, we could see Tulooka anchored up and came into the bay on one of our previous tracks so we knew that was safe. The first time we dropped the anchor, it dragged before holding so we ended up too near the other boat but a quick re-anchor saw us safe. In fact, were we still in the Solent, you could have got 6 Bavarias in the gap between us but I didn't want to seem rude.

Eef invited us straight over for coffee but we had to get some lunch first as we were all starving after our windy morning. After a bit of pasta, we headed over to Tulooka and had a lovely afternoon chatting to Eef and her new guests who joined her in Upernavik just after we left there. They were all from Holland but spoke perfect English so we chatted about wildlife and islands while eating cookies in the cosy saloon. Then it was back to Saxon Blue and some jobs. Magnus has been splicing the anchor snubber and has made a fine job of it. I had yet another appointment with our black water tank which has been getting blocked regularly. I had a thought about what might work so used one semi-rigid pipe to extend the hose and give it a good jet wash. Thank goodness nobody was swimming. Very satisfying.

Then it was time for a quick relax before dinner - Kali surpassed herself tonight with a Red Fish Curry and a lovely Saag Gobi with yoghurt sauce. We really eat well on Saxon Blue. After a spirited after-dinner chat about why we all do what we do, Kali and Magnus have gone ashore for a walk while Andrea and I are relaxing onboard. The wind has moderated and there are patches of blue sky around so it bodes well for tomorrow.


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