All change

Mike Jaques
Sat 20 Aug 2022 10:53
62:28.0N 18:14.2W
We are now on the way home, currently about 50nm south of Iceland’s southern tip heading for the Sound of Pabbay which is at the southern end of the Outer Hebrides. There isn’t much wind and the original routeing has softened considerably, alas I fear more motoring to come.
The mountain gang have all headed home, back to work for most. I was rather sad to see them all go ( as of course I was the first gang too, in case you are reading it ). We didn’t quite achieve our plan but it would be fair to say we made the best of it. The ice, both sea and berg, was particularly heavy this year compared to my copious studying of ice charts. Accessing our expedition area was therefore a big challenge. Even when we could sail into the coast most of the possible anchorages were ice bound. Nevertheless we did climb some new peaks and in good style.  I don’t know why but the climbing teams mirrored our watch keeping pairs in the main. Tim and Gringo climbed several great routes as did Chris and Olly although they seemed to have favoured ski mountaineering. The OAP team of Al and I had a few great days out and I even managed a some tentative ski turns. We also had a fabulous and long glacier circumnavigation. As we headed further north most of the peaks were first ascents. I was pleased to have managed a great peak with Olly, fitting as it was our 3rd trip together.
Navigating in uncharted waters has it’s own issues but I’m pleased to report that we didn’t ground although we did get 0.2m under on one occasion! We worked a loose rota of boat days, where the water was filled up, shore parties ferried and boat things cleaned or repaired. Most nights we had folk up in their underpants pushing off ice floes.
Interestingly from the point that we left Kulusuk we never saw another person or even a vessel on the AIS. In my view this has to be one of the most remote areas on the planet. The scope for climbing, unclimbed alpine peaks is immense. All you have to do is get there!
Right now we have 10kts of breeze, we are making 7.5kts sog in the right direction,the sun is out and it is considerably warmer. We are down to three, Colin who I have raced thousands of miles with and my nephew Richard who is trying to rack up sea miles.
Enough, back to watching for whales.