Even Slower Progress

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Fri 18 Jul 2008 19:48
Noon Position: 65 12.3 N 053 24.7 W
Course: North, Speed: 4 knots
Wind: Northwest, gentle breeze
Weather: Sunshine.
Day's run: 27 miles

We have had a lousy days run over the last 24 hours, in fact while
travelling 27 miles we actually only made 19 miles in the direction we want
to go in. The weather pattern is currently dominated by a high pressure
system sitting over Greenland, which makes for nice sunny days but not much
wind, though Greenland does get a nice sea breeze in the afternoon. I was a
bit surprised to hear this but when I look around it makes sense, the
coastal regions are pretty much free of snow and ice, lots of rocky black
mountains which must soak up the sunshine on these long summer days. All
these rocks then heat up the air in the fjords and suck in the cold air from
over the coastal seas. This suits me just fine at the moment, last night
the wind died about midnight and we were left drifting, so after fiddling
around for a while trying to eke out a few extra miles I gave up and went to
bed. Apart from getting up every now and again to have a general look
around, I had a good 7 hours sleep, very civilized. I can actually just
lean out of my bunk a little ways and see my Australian flag flying, or not,
it was hanging limp all last night, so I didn't even have to crawl out of
the warmth of my bunk to check on the wind. And seeing as we are drifting
it would be a strange iceberg that managed to sneak up on us. When I
eventually got up at about 9 a.m. the sea was glassy smooth and as I was
looking around enjoying a bowl of cereal and a cup of tea I resigned myself
to a day of drifting. Maybe I'll get some maintenance done today, I
thought. But at 10.30 patches of wind started to ruffle the surface,
turning it from light green glass into dark blue crinkles. Since then it
has now steadied into a good 12 knot breeze and we are making a very
comfortable four knots. It is a head wind but the sailing is superb. The
visibility is excellent; the clean crisp cold air is so dry light carries
through it undistorted forever. We had a huge full moon last night (there
is that strange word again) following the sun on the opposite horizon as she
dipped just below the horizon for a few hours, out of sight but not
completely hidden, you could tell where she was from the brighter light
emanating from the horizon. Sound carries phenomenally in these conditions
as well. Last night I was looking around and I could hear all these birds,
initially I thought I was hearing things as I could see only one bird, but I
could hear a rookery. I scanned the horizon but could see nothing. The
sounds were faint but as clear as a shiny bell. I could hear individual
birds of different species, each with their unique call. The evening
certainly had an eerie beauty to it. It would have been a crime to disrupt
the peace with the motor. An advantage of keeping quiet is that I can hear
other boats, especially small craft many miles away, generally well before I
see them. It's a pity icebergs didn't make more noise. If a piece breaks
off you sure can hear them, depending on their size, but obviously they do
this too often. When a large one breaks it sounds like a cannon going off,
a howitzer if close by, or a dull rumbling thunder if in the distance;
smaller one's close by sound like a rifle crack, though maybe that is the
sound of a local hunter. These days they get about in fast outboards, every
now and then they will stop and take a pot shot at something, presumably a
seal. I guess it beats sitting motionless at a breathing hole for many long
cold patient hours.
I was hoping to reach our next stop, Kangerlussuatsiaq (or Evighedsfjord,
it's earlier Danish name) today but our ETA has blown out to early tomorrow
morning. Not to worry, I could go like this for many days.

All is well

Bob Cat:

Another hard day of unremitting work, still it's a passion with me so I am
not complaining. I've found this nice spot up the front, often it's a bit
bouncy up there, but at the moment it is has only a slight up and down
motion with a bit of a lean to it, stable, and the motion is even and
harmonic, it makes an interesting alternative to my usual work spaces. I
find different environments give sleep different qualities, some subtle,
others completely wild. What a world is the world of sleep. Fascinating,
just absolutely fascinating. Anyway, back to it.