The View from Fortune Bay

5 Aug

August 1, 2019

Fortune Bay, Disko Island

69 15N 53 45W

One cannot have too many books aboard. By way of a proof: this morning I would like to know why my anchorage on S Disko Island is named Fortune Bay. I can guess it is something to do with whaling, but not a single volume on the shelf answers the question, and the only hint comes from Andrew Wilkes in his sailing directions, ARCTIC AND NORTHERN WATERS:

“Fortune Bay is a ragged bight with many islands and rocks, lying 5 miles W of [the village of] Qeqertarsuaq. Many of the islets have sledge dogs stranded on them for the summer. Kangerluarssuk, the inlet at the E end of the bay, provides a landlocked anchorage.”

Mo lies in the Kangerluarssuk inlet, and it is indeed landlocked, a great comfort to the sailor.

Why is this so? An anchorage is considered landlocked when, from inside, you can see land in every direction; i.e. you cannot see the entrance or, more importantly, open water. Such harbors are rare and, if small enough, can be well protected from seas of any direction.

And so, maybe this is the source, the discoverer celebrating his good fortune in the naming of the place.

Yesterday’s explorations, both in the dinghy and on foot, found no stranded sledge dogs, but when the wind went S, a great fog rolled in, and then the entrance to the bay was beset by icebergs. With trepidation, I circumnavigated several in the inflatable, departing in a rush when one of them cracked with a sound like thunder.

This article was syndicated from The Figure 8 Voyage


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