Wed 18 Jul 2018 07:28
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Tuesday 17th July 2018
66:42.6 N. 013:42.5 E - just about to cross the Arctic Circle.
Peter: Since yesterday we have covered a lot of ground and it is difficult to recall it in detail. We began in fog, which cleared to a glorious day of magnificent coastal sailing, sometimes quite rapid under spinnaker, as we made our way south towards the Svartisen glacier. The mountain scenery has to be some of the best in the world, with fairy tale peaks and snow fields glinting in the sun.. we have been lucky with the weather in the last 48 hours - even the night hours are enjoyable with no real darkness and lots to talk about when on watch. We did have one mild trauma with spinnaker handling but it was resolved quickly and no harm was done to crew or boat. This morning we navigated our way through a maze of little islands marked only by posts difficult to see and occasional substantial lights. We saw a couple of cruise ships heading up the fjords but luckily none came our way as we headed for Engen, a tiny hamlet very near the snout of one of the branches of the Svartisen glacier. It was difficult to find space and we rafted up against another large yacht before heading off on a fast ascent towards the peak above the fjord. There is poor weather forecast and after careful consideration it was decided to continue south tonight to try and avoid the worst of it. This set hares running, literally, as Philippe and Rachael decided to attempt to make it in the time. Peter and Mary took a more relaxed approach but still made it to 800m whilst the young hares reached the refuge hut. The heat was considerable but we all made it back in time to give Peter Y an opportunity to head up to the glacier before we left just before 7pm, sailing away into a magnificent evening, sadly under engine! It is a breathtakingly beautiful area and as I write we have just experienced a fine sundown as we creep closer to crossing the Arctic Circle line in a few minutes time.
Peter went off watch about half an hour before we passed the Arctic Circle monument on the tiny island of Vikingen. This is placed on a ‘waypoint’ island that many vessels will pass when on passage in either direction. It feels a real milestone for Peter Y and me to be south of it for the first time on tour respective trips. Hopefully we will load a photo which is striking in real but may not come out well in photos. It was a beautiful night with a sunset about 11.30 and a sunrise about 2am but no darkness, just a bit of dimness. Later on the wind picked up for short spells and there was some sailing action ranging from putting in reefs to flying the spinnaker -not very successfully. Eventually we conceded defeat and put the engine (and fridge) back on.