What a difference a day makes

Summer 2022
John Andrews
Sat 28 Jun 2014 12:47
59:00N 41:02W

What a difference a day makes.  After motoring for 36 hours, the wind finally came back in, blowing right on the nose, along with the rain. Going to windward is not the most comfortable point of sailing. The boat sways around this way and that, and getting from one side of the saloon to the other takes a huge amount of effort. Just making and pouring a cup of tea requires total concentration. Some of you may have noticed a very odd kink in our track during this period. Heaving through the waves had caused our new, extremely heavy anchor to come adrift from its securing straps. It had started banging up and down on the deck and was now gradually lowering itself over the bow, swinging crazily into the hull. Something had to be done! We stopped the boat, and Max manfully went forward with two new heavy duty straps and ratchet blocks. Ten minutes later he was back in the cockpit, job done, and despite having taken a few waves over the bow, was pretty much completely dry, thanks to his amazing new Musto HPX Ocean foul weather gear. Flattening the boat was such a relief  that we decided to stay like that for the next half hour while we had lunch before bracing ourselves for setting off again. Spirits on board were generally at a low ebb. Looking out at the leaden sky and the lumpy sea, I found myself asking which bit of this was meant to be fun, and not coming up with an answer.

Yesterday morning however, dawned with clear skies, a brilliant sun, sparkling blue sea and the boat heading in roughly the direction we wanted to go. This was more like it. To cap it all, we were blessed with a visit from a very large minke whale. It surfaced only three or four boat lengths from the boat, right at our beam, rolling its long grey back out of the water, and sending up a jet of water and air from its blow hole. It did this four or five times before disappearing again into the deep. What a privilege to be so close to such a huge wild animal. Things were definitely looking up.

Bird life has been disappointingly sparse. We have been accompanied all the way by the occasional fulmar, but nothing else. Now we are closer to Greenland though, we have been joined by some squabbling terns and also by one or two great shearwaters who came swooping over the waves towards us. One of them had a go at the terns, but they were having none of it and attacked right back, as is their nature. We haven’t seen the shearwater since.

Today, dull skies have unfortunately returned and we are still going to windward towards our turning point round Cape Farewell. We expect to get there early this evening when after nearly five days going into the wind, we will finally be able to turn and start our journey up the West Coast towards Nuuk. Let’s hope the wind doesn’t decide to turn with us!