Thursday 5th July

Thu 5 Jul 2018 18:00

Thursday 5th July

Mary as guest contributor today.

Our first day with Lorna and Daniel as crew and a busy morning so far.

We enjoyed Kirsty’s delicious fish supper last night waiting for their slightly delayed arrival and they had a second sitting. There was wine too!!! Plus Mary’s cake and Norwegian custard. (Sorry we’re food obsessed)

Virginia sorted out free hire bikes from the harbour office and the four ladies left the engineers fitting the new engine control panel. It now looks very smart, works and has visible labels so no excuses for not knowing which is the glow button. Good work from the engineering team of Peter and Daniel.

Us ladies stopped at the fuel station to check they had gas and discovered some excellent sailing kit - warm boots and more waterproof gloves than you can shake a stick at. Several purchases were made before we started our proper cycle tour of Longyearbyen.

Feeling like the Svalbard cycling equivalent of the No. One Ladies Detective Agency we struggled up the hill toward the church and discovered a very special sundial on the corner. This is thought to be the furthest north sundial and has been designed by a Tasmanian lady of Italian descent and manufactured in Newcastle. Photo to follow. In the winter they use the moon instead of the sun, and in the little box there’s a small brush for you to gently brush away the snow.

We continued past a bell (sounded for avalanches)and a First World War memorial to Nybyen, the top of the town where there are several cheaper hotels and some excellent restaurants, the best of which is housed in what looks like a garden shed!

Lorna checked out some skidoos (some complete with covered child seats) and a reindeer mother and young fawn obliged by wandering onto the Main Street for a photo opportunity.

Patrick spent a useful visit to the library checking the weather forecasts and buying up yesterday’s cakes.

Next to the supermarket for fresh bread and then to the museum for a browse.

The museum was excellent with interesting info about the whaling and mining history of Svalbard and some great info on the wildlife too. The library corner was kitted out with a selection of seal skin rugs and cushions. It’s surprisingly rough fur.

Back to the boat for a team briefing over lunch and then refuelling and taking on water before setting off for our first seven up sail. Beating to windward with long tacks across the fjord. We hoped to see a blue whale that is supposed to be in the fjord but no luck. Only the birds flying around gave us some hope but they were just teasing us. We started with a two hour rolling watch which means we have two hours on and five off, but after dinner at an appropriate anchorage we plan to test out the two watch system, four hours on and four off, which we will use for the journey back across the Barents Sea. Peter with Daniel and Kirsty, Patrick with Mary and Lorna. Virginia is reserve and cook. We’ll see how it works tonight!

Sent from my iPhone