August 4, 2019
Days Since Departure: 308
Noon Position: 70 11N 55 19W
Course(t)/Speed(kts): NNW 6.5
Miles since departure: 33,116
Monte: I now know how felt your botanist, Sir Joseph Banks, when Cook refused his requests to stop and explore the land.
Randall: Oh? Do you not recall our recent visit to Fortune Bay, where we hiked the hills, smelled the flowers, and ate the berries?
Monte: Yes, yes, the berries were just fine, but two nights in one anchorage! Along this whole coast! It’s simply unsupportable that we have come all this way so as to do nothing but keep going. If this is what you call exploration, then I tell you that the complete works of Cervantes could be put onto the back of a post card with room enough left over for the collected sonnets of Sancho Panza and the philosophical musings of his donkey!
Randall: I didn’t think Sancho Panza wrote sonnets.
Monte: Exactly, EXACTLY! Senior!
He turns away, spitting angrily.
Randall: Now, Monte, remember that what we are exploring here is whether or not the Figure 8 is possible. Much as it may seem doubtful, other adventures will come, but later.
Our stay in Kuanit Bay barely got the anchor wet. We were, after all, only waiting for the N wind to ease. I made dinner, had a glass of wine, went to sleep. The alarm sounded at 0230 and we were soon underway on a calm sea.
A berg of extraordinary beauty had grounded near us in the night. I shot photos of it as we departed, and was struck again by how different a berg can look from different angles.
How do they do it–look so random and at the same time so designed? It is as if Gaudi tossed a handful of snowflakes into the air…
The Arctic Pilot has this to say about the Vaigat, the strait that sits between the top of Disko Island and the mainland, which we passed by in the afternoon:
“In June, after the break up of ice in Torssukatak [a fjord to the east] thousands of icebergs, some between 200 and 300 feet high, are discharged from the fjord into the Vaigat. Under the influence of the current, principally, they drift N along he coast of the Nugssuaq peninsula to about 70N and then S along the coast of Disko Island, rendering navigation dangerous and safe anchorage almost impossible.”
At noon we passed above 70N and began to open the Vaigut, and I began counting bergs. At first I counted 20, widely separated all around and all, seemingly, on the horizon. Half an hour later, I could count forty. A ninety bergs, I stopped counting and began paying attention to pilotage.
This article was syndicated from The Figure 8 Voyage