Mission in the Hills & 80º NORTH // Delos in the Arctic Part 11

19 Jul

Andy Helm Ice Magdafjord_2500px.jpg

We got ashore around 7 pm and tied up the dinghy to a giant whalebone on the stony beach, keeping her offshore with a stern anchor and starting up the steep slope to the hill just west ofIsbjorn’s anchorage. Large polar bear tracks led west in the snow across the little saddle towards the archipelago on the other side. We made the ridge in a few minutes and walked further south for a view over the alpine lake, which feeds a little waterfall that plunges down towards the anchorage. The lake, on July 1, was frozen solid and covered in snow.

The Delos gang set up camp at the top of the ridge. Alex pointed her camera across the channel towards one of the islands that was forming a fascinating cloud at its peaks as the southwesterly wind moved in. She’d get a lengthy time-lapse of the cloud forming and disappearing again. Brian flew the Mavic, while Brady set up a time-lapse on the glacier to the south behind the boat. Kiril and James were hiking around with the gimbal doing something.

Mia & I hiked down to the lake with my little wooden kåsa to look for fresh water. We found a small feeder stream where I got a few sips, then continued down towards the waterfall. A huge snowfield covered most of the stream, but I was able to get down into the boulders on either side of it and found all the freshwater I could drink. The snow was piled 4-feet on either side of the pool, but the water was there for the taking. The lake was surrounded on three sides by a huge ridge of mountains that had to be 2,000-feet above sea level. They all funneled down to the lake, and I couldn’t help but think how tempting it’d be to bring skis back here some early spring before all the snow melted. God, it looked epic!

Storage, Continued

Brian’s 3rd hard drive took over 13 hours to mirror. Finally, just before bed at 0200, it finished, and he was able to crack open the 1B drive, knowing we still had two complete copies in case his handiwork wrecked the 1B drive, which of course was the original backup. Sadly, his swapping out the controllers didn’t work. I mean, it worked, in that he was able to do it, quite easily actually, but the 1A drive still didn’t mount. So we’re still missing two days of footage. Thankfully, most of it should be on the camera memory cards, but we won’t know until we can get the software to recover that data, and we won’t get that until we get back to Internet! So we’ll re-shoot the critical bits – a few interviews, some sailing footage, etc. – and hope for the best. Brian and Karin will take the bad 1A drive into Stockholm and hope to find someone who can recover the original stuff, but we’ll have to wait a while for the results of that.

Beach Party_2500px 2.jpg


We’ll continue our passage south back towards Isfjorden today, hoping to stop by the walrus colony next to Danksoya, then ride the forecast northerly all the way back into Isfjorden. Mia’s making pancakes now for brekky (it’s 3 pm, but our schedule long-ago let go of the clocks), and shortly we’ll weigh anchor and head south.

Touching 80º north was a big one for me. It means nothing in reality, but feels pretty cool to have sailed within 600 miles of the North Pole. There can’t be many people who’ve done that in a small sailing boat, right!?

Until next time,


– Andy

This article was syndicated from 59º North Sailing // 59º North Blog


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