A passage disrupted by good weather

Summer 2022
John Andrews
Fri 26 Jun 2015 23:09

So, this is day three of our passage to Greenland, and where are we? Tied up on the wharf in Black Tickle, Labrador.  Have we taken refuge from storm, wind and wave? Have our autopilot and compass finally failed us completely? Is Roger desperate to get off the boat?

Well, none of these. Bizarrely we have decided to come here because of the unexpected high pressure area which has stabilised right in the middle of the Labrador Sea/Davis Strait. We have been sailing in a fairly leisurely way, on starboard tack all the way from Fogo Island. The wind has been resolutely from the North and perishing cold. The way the weather pattern is developing, John has worked out that we will lose nothing by coming into Labrador and spending the night, waiting for the favourable southerly that is predicted to come in on this side of the Davis Strait tomorrow morning. The alternative is to tack onto port and because of the current, go back the way we have come, only to motor west through the centre of the high to get back to favourable southerlies.

 We have had our expected share of fog, often not lasting more than half an hour or so, but last night it was persistent. Sailing in the dark, in fog, in an area where you know there are icebergs, and knowing that they are not always picked up on the radar is a very nerve racking business. John had a particularly taxing time with an iceberg he picked up on the radar, which appeared to be moving against the current. Whatever he did to dodge the thing it seemed to move ever closer. It was only a few hundred yards away when suddenly, an AIS symbol appeared on the chart plotter screen, revealing the iceberg to be a fishing boat. He was not best pleased although relieved that the mystery was solved.

Black Tickle is a very small community with no road connecting it to the Canadian highway system. There is a fish processing plant and that seems to be about it. We took a walk around the settlement which showed little signs of life, although the people we did see waved cheerily enough.

We expect to leave at first light tomorrow morning to catch the eastern edge of the high pressure area with its southerly winds and sail the rhumb line to Aarsuk, hoping we can keep in the southerly wind stream. Time will tell.