1500 Position: 43 36.9 N 064 56.6 W
Course: 050, Speed: 6.5 knots
Wind: South 15 knots
Having waited patiently for a southerly wind for two
days, yesterday evening (Thursday July 19) we had pretty much given up on it.
We had worked what little wind there was and now we were only 25 miles from Shelburne.
While barely a ripple disturbed the water’s surface, a short swell
rolled under the hull causing the sails to slat constantly, shaking fat dollops
of dew from the boom. The fog was thick. Five hours of motoring would
see us at anchor for the night or we could sit and wait forever for this
seeming mythical wind. After a brief crew consult and a decision was made:
down sails and on motor, cautiously we pushed our way into the murk, sounding
our little fog horn conscientiously every two minutes, a feeble attempt to
penetrate the barrier barely an arm’s length away. Every ten
minutes we would cut the engine to idle and listen for any engine noises or fog
horns that might indicate other traffic. Occasionally I would hear a loud
“awrk” and an ungainly slapping of wings and feet as a sleeping
gannet, rudely surprised by our approach, would awkwardly scramble to get out
of our way. I fell to speculating about navigating at sea prior to GPS,
after all this time in fog we would by now have been hopelessly lost and there
was no way we could have thought of trying for harbour. As it was we
crept in dead slow, our eyes straining to peer through the red and green penumbra
of our sidelights. In the conditions we opted to anchor short of
At 6 a.m. I awoke and cursed a small sailor’s curse, I could hear a fresh wind humming through the rigging. After carefully considering the pros and cons of remaining at Shelburne or continuing north, I decided a fresh southerly wind was too good to waste. If we are to find an iceberg this summer without risking gales later in the season we have to be making tracks. Paul wistfully looked ashore, muttering something about bacon and eggs and coffee and fresh squeezed orange juice, and then manfully faced to sea.
It wasn’t long before we were back out in the open ocean, once more in fog, but this time with a fresh breeze in our sails, making good a steady seven knots, wondering how far and to where this wind would take us.