Heading South

Mike Jaques
Thu 14 Jul 2022 10:30
65:56.1N 23:59.4W

-----Original Message----- From: gareth thomas
Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2022 10:23 AM
To: umiak {CHANGE TO AT} mailasail {DOT} com
Subject: Blog. 14 July

It seems to have fallen to me to write a blog , an entry not having been written since Jim wrote of our triumphant arrival in Isjjaford. It can be said when skipper Mike suggests an update the crew seem to develop extremely acutely angles on their shoulders, and much avoidance of eye contact , no doubt being reminded of some steely eyed Latin teacher to whom excuses for the failure to translate a passage of Ovid were less than fully convincing.
A day was spent in Iskafjord recovering , getting warm , some dhobi( minimal) and generally savouring the few delights as well as some essential boat maintenance. A 2 metre tear in the jib involved it’s flaking and batten removal , annoiting with acetone and sticky backed sailcloth tape, then off to the netmakers for stitching .
RCC member and high latitude solo adventurer Trevor Robertson introduced himself and was good to meet. He has contributed greatly to the Arctic and Northern Waters pilot. ( A book rather to be read in the comfort of a centrally heated house rather than observing it’s imperatives of how to avoid entrapment in pack ice )
The Netto supermarket has a veg and fruit section where local delicacies such as coconuts and pineapple can be bought , as well as a freezer section well stocked with indeterminate large plastic shrouded shapes of presumably meat , originating from local mammals, perhaps deer , certainly whale and you never know maybe Arctic fox, although the latter is more probably worn rather than eaten.
A visit to the local museum revealed the harsh life of Icelanders in past times , sustained by line caught cod . The fish would be harvested from the icy sea into a rowing boat manned by six oil skinned viking descendants. The diet would be varied perhaps by a breast of puffin. The museum is closed during the winter months as the pervasive cold leads to thick ice sheets forming on the inside walls.

From Iskafjord we set out to Vatnsfjordur a protected shallow anchorage,
where there are three houses and a church ans a reconstruction of a fish drying shed. Paul besuited in perhaps 8 mm of neoprene dived for half an hour and reported a rather dreary sea floor populated by an occasional starfish. Eider duck were common and clearly irritated by our presence. Perhaps life is easier for them now most eiderdowns and puffa jackets have a stuffing ofChinese goose feathers.
To be continued.