Icebergs Ahead?

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sat 14 Jun 2008 17:21
Noon Position: 46 02.3 N 055 21.1 W
Course: East Speed: 3.5 knots
Wind: North by Northeast, moderate breeze
Weather: Overcast, occasional drizzle, slight seas, visibility fair, cool
Day's Run: 107 nm

"It is not the beginning but the continuing of the same until it is
thoroughly finished that yieldeth the true glory." Sir Francis Drake

Last night the wind picked up again, by midnight we were down to a double
reefed main and about 50% jib (it's a roller furling headsail), at 6 a.m.
the wind had eased sufficiently to allow us to set a bit more sail, now only
one reef in the main and about 90% jib. Putting in those reefs in the
middle of the night is a real chore. Getting dressed takes about 20
minutes; fat warm socks, foul weather trousers, sea boots, foul weather
jacket, head warmer, safety harness and tether, headlamp, and finally
gloves. But it is worth it, despite rain and spray and cold I come back
below dry and warmer then when I went out. Then comes the undressing,
reminds me of my old Navy days, practicing decontamination routine with NBC
(nuclear, biological, chemical) suits, in this case keeping unwanted water,
especially sea water out of the living spaces of the boat. Once things are
wet with salt water in this cold climate they never dry out.
Last year I had the loose ambition of making Greenland, I knew we were
probably setting off too late to achieve that goal so set a secondary goal
of finding an iceberg. Engine problems put paid to any hope of Greenland
which, in hindsight, was probably a good thing, but as most who are reading
this blog would know we achieved the secondary aim. This year we have
departed a good six weeks earlier so barring any number of things that could
go wrong we have a pretty good chance of making it. One of my goal remains
to place a signed copy of Al Gore's book "An Inconvenient Truth" into a time
capsule and bury it in a glacier. Another goal is simply to get as far
north as we can, hopefully as far as the Arctic Circle.
But . . .
Just one of the things that might go wrong this time is the very thing we
spent so much time trying to find last year, namely icebergs. Whereas last
year by the time we got this far north icebergs were few and far between,
yesterday I checked the latest ice report and find that there are numerous
icebergs between Cape Race and St Johns, my first and hopefully only port of
call before Greenland. Cape Race is the southeastern point of Newfoundland
which we should be rounding sometime late tomorrow if the wind is favorable.
>From Cape Race to St Johns is another 60 miles. To quote from the late
amateur adventurer Major Bill Tilman, one of my heroes, "There is little
point in setting out for a place that one is almost certain to reach."
The overall mission of these voyages remains to raise awareness of global
warming though I think it safe to say that in the last 12 months the issue
is now well and truly on everyone's mind, only the ever present 'lunatic
fringe' are denying that mankind's activities are adding significantly to
global warming. The question to be answered now really is what are the
consequences and what can we do about it? I shall continue in my own way to
"discuss' these questions as we continue on our voyage. I shall be very
interested what Greenlanders have to say about the issue, noting that
Greenland was originally settled by Eric the Red in 985 during what is now
referred to as the Medieval warming period. Apparently in his day Eric was
such a trouble maker that he was ostracized from Norway and later Iceland,
which then led him to look westwards for uninhabited land to settle, and
found Greenland; one of the many butterfly wings of history.
Bob Cat is currently staying warm under the sea rug, where else would one
find a sea cat at sea?

Bob Cat:

And here under this warm blanket I think I will stay until further notice.
This little house sure does move around a lot, even my food bowl won't stay
still. And we won't discuss the intricacies of the daily ritual, I maybe a
Hemingway Cat (one of my unique qualifications) but I do not subscribe to
the Joycean school of writing, some things just do not need to be described.
I don't think much of the view right now either, one morning it changed
rather dramatically and has been changing in subtle ways ever since, not for
the past few days however, and not for the better either. And for some
reason it seems unseasonably cold, though I have never been one for keeping
track of dates, not much use for it really.
I help keep skipper Bob warm at night but he is such a nuisance, always
getting up and down. I think there is something a little Pavlovian going
on, a little bell rings and up he gets off to do goodness knows what, and he
nearly always comes back cold, so I have to warm him up all over again. Not
sure whether the fringe benefits adequately compensate for these ancillary
duties but we do our best, you know how I hate to complain.
All is well.