Greenland at last
Sun 24 Jul 2022 14:31
So here we are anchored at last on Jens Munk Island, after 4 nights at sea. We are not sure that anyone has been here since the 1931 British Arctic air route expedition and Mike found the anchorage on their original chart. We were all assembled by late Tuesday (19th) from various departure points (Milan, Munich, Luton and Heathrow) and with various experiences of July 2022 airline travel. The shuttle to downtown Reykjavik was pretty efficient and followed by a local bus to the yacht club where Umiak was berthed. Those of us who were there in time had a good fish meal in a local restaurant and a good night’s sleep on board.
The next day there was a spot of last minute shopping to be done as folk had anxiety attacks about what had been left behind, followed by fish and chip lunch. Departure was delayed by a massive queue of one rib to refuel. Despite only being one boat had about 6 huge tanks to fill and it took a long time. Apparently he was going to Greenland to study climate change and judging by the size of the tanks and the proposed speed, he was certainly going to contribute to climate change.
We finally set sail into a 20+ knot Westerly and had a great sail but not making much progress as the wind was coming exactly from our proposed destination to such an extent that after a whole night of tacking we were still well in sight (and mobile coverage) of Iceland. We had soon settled into the routine of 3 hour watches and had fed well on sausage (Cranston’s) and mash.
The wind had soon dropped off and we were motoring by Thursday morning – disappointing but at least were pointing in the right direction! On Friday evening the wind filled again and were were able to get about 12 hours of very pleasant sailing and by now everyone had their “sea-legs”. We were hoping to reach landfall in Kulusuk Island or Tasalak by Saturday lunchtime but unfortunately as on the previous attempt they were completely inaccessible because of heavy pack ice...it was impossible to break through despite some very determined efforts. We therefore had no alternative but to spend the rest of Saturday motoring South along the edge of the ice looking for a way in. The scenery was impressive with some very large and beautiful bergs, glistening in the evening sun. Eventually at about 4 o clock on Sunday morning, we found a way through another ice band into clear water beyond and found a very beautiful and shltered anchorage by 1030 on Sunday morning.
Unfortunately, the heater has not been working to date so it is marvellous to have the stove working and get things dried out and warmed up. We have a freshwater stream at the anchorage so are able to wash better and maybe even shower!
It looks as though there are some excellent mountain objectives around us although it remains to be seen how accessible they will be as we are on an island and many of the hills are on the mainland. Plans are therefore a bit fluid at present (but this is “adventure travel”. We have a forecast of heavy wind on Tuesday/Wednesday and at some stage we need to get to Tasalak or Kulusuk to refuel so we shall have to “see how it goes!)
To be continued....