Paul Departs

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Wed 15 Aug 2007 15:04

Position:  49 14.5 N  054 47.0 W  -  Alongside Lewisporte Yacht Club Marina


We got underway from Twillingate at 10.30 a.m. yesterday with a fresh southerly in our teeth.  The initial leg was close hauled on the port tack for ten miles before we entered a maze of islands for the remaining 25 miles to Lewisporte, all up wind.  Stirling had advised us that there was a larger iceberg in a place called Summerford Arm which was a bay within this archipelago.  I had looked at the chart and drawn a few lines on it to assess the feasibility of sailing in amongst this mess, and later, Paul noticing them looked at me suspiciously, “We’re not going to sail up there are we?” he asked.  I shrug non-committaly,  As it turned out my small scale chart made it look more difficult then it was, the channels were wide and all the islands were steep to with deep water all around.  In fact much of the sound was incredibly deep, over 500 meters, I could sail up to an island and still be showing 100 meters of water while only 10 meters off the land.

So we gradually sailed up through this maze, the mainsail reefed and the jib partially furled for the gusty headwinds, the seas calm with the protection of all the islands and the sun shining.  Max sat at the back of the cockpit playing his guitar, Paul filmed the passing scenery, and I enjoyed the sailing, definitely a Maslowe moment.

We sailed into Summerford Arm a short way, looked up into it but found no sign of an iceberg and once more I felt grateful that we had found Proteus.  We continued on our way.  It took us 10 hours to cover the 30 miles, sailing a total distance of 49 miles, thus averaging 4.9 knots which is quite respectable for old Sylph.  In the latter part of the day it grew overcast and even poured rain on us for a while but for the last few miles it cleared, the wind dropped and we motored the last 5 miles to the marina where we tied up at 8.30 p.m.  A long day, but pleasant, and I felt a good way to finish off Paul’s final day at sea.

Today Paul departs us.  He has come a long way to find his iceberg, 1723 nautical miles, that’s 3190 land miles or 5907 kilometers.  Perhaps not that far in these days of jet travel, freeways and cell phones, our beautiful blue planet has grown so small, but quite a ways in a small sail boat -35 days on board, 19 days at sea, often in difficult conditions – many days of dense fog and light winds, we effected a major engine repair alongside in St John’s, and we found our iceberg.  We could have flown here, got a tour boat, and Proteus would have been nobody, another chunk of ice melting to meld with the ocean.  At one time it must have been massive to have made it this far at this time of year and in our present climate, truly an old man of the sea.  I can feel a philosophical moment coming on, metaphors abound  … I shall resist the urge.

Congratulations Paul and bon voyage.

Talking of climate I was speaking with a yard person in the marina here who has lived in Lewisporte all his life.  He told me in winter this sound freezes over and when he was a boy he and his father could get in a car and drive all the way to Twillingate across the ice.  Check out the map!  He says you haven’t been able to do that for a long time.  More on global warming later – it’s not all doom and gloom by the way.

We have a new crew member joining us on Friday, Erin, and then comes Max’s mission – Operation Max Berger.