Next Stop ...

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Tue 24 Jun 2008 17:29
Noon Position: 47 49.9 N 052 15.2 W
Course North Northeast Speed 4.5 knots
Wind: South Gentle breeze
Weather: Overcast, fog patches

We are back at sea continuing north to the land of ice after a productive
and, largely due to the extraordinary hospitality of a few locals, a very
enjoyable stop over in St Johns. In fact in between getting a number of
jobs done plus the usual mundane domestic chores such as shopping and
laundry and being looked after, in particular by Pat, I found little time to
update the blog, so here we are.
After my first night alongside, that is back on Thursday night, I awoke to
find another boat berthed on the same pontoon as Sylph, coincidentally also
flying the Australian flag. It turned out the owner, Peter, also has
designs on Greenland but he is more ambitious and adventurous than I and
intends to attempt the North West Passage this season. An interesting
consequence of global warming is that the North West Passage is now becoming
a viable route and quite a few small boats are making the transit each
summer. Peter told me that last year four boats went through and this year
he knows of three boats, including his own that will be making the attempt.
Another interesting coincidence, it turns out that Peter participated as a
Youth Crew aboard STS Young Endeavour during her world voyage back in 1992,
so we found that we knew quite a few people in common.
Another interesting character I was privileged to meet during my short stay
in St Johns was a Dutchman, Jan, who had sailed his boat, Bastaert Van
Campen, over from Holland and was waiting for his wife to join him for a
short cruise of Newfoundland before heading back home again via Spitzbergen.
He has completed two world circumnavigations single handed, the first time
he made one stop in Hobart, Tasmania and, clearly not satisfied with this
achievement, did it again, the second time non-stop. Some people obviously
enjoy looking at the ocean – a lot! Perhaps needless to say, both Jan and
his boat redounded in an unpretentious warmth and solid seaworthiness.
And I want to say a special thank you to Pat who spent so much of his time
running around helping us with supplies and locating the bits and pieces
that one’s boat seems unable to do without once it touches land.
But now we are clear of the land and must make do with what we have, our
first course for Greenland is a little east of north so as to avoid a bunch
of icebergs off the Newfoundland coast, once we are well clear of these if
all goes well in about two days or so we will alter course more to the north
and shape for the capital of Greenland, Nuuk.
We have a fair breeze right astern, the fog has cleared, the jib is poled
out to starboard, the drifter set to port and we are making a nice steady 4
½ knots.
Bob Cat has been making himself pretty scarce over the last few days, it
seems he has found a new hiding space somewhere on the boat which must be
very comfortable for him, he spends so much time there I go without seeing
him for several hours, after sailing I started to wonder if it was possible
that I had left him behind. But fortunately not, he eventually came out for
food and some attention.

Bob Cat:

I have been able to get a serious amount of quality work done over the past
several days, my environment for the most part has been very quiet and
still, very conducive to my calling, though our residence has on occasions
been invaded by some aliens. I am a very private feline and these
intrusions have been most unwelcome, fortunately my study den seems to be
well immune from prying eyes and sticky fingers. Strange to say, on
consideration I must confess that there is something soothing about the
motion this strange little house adopts for much of the time. And, apart
from the odd loud whistle sounding enough to fracture a feline’s tympanum,
there seems to be no interruptions to one’s work from strangers when our
humble abode is moving, small mercies.
But enough of this mindless distraction, back to work.
All is well.