September 11, 2019
Days at Sea: 282
Days Since Departure: 347
Noon Position: 69 06N 165 53W
Course(t)/Speed(kts): SSE 5
Wind(t/tws): ExS <10
Sea(t/ft): E 3
Sky/10ths Cover: Overcast 9
Bar(mb): 1005+ and falling
On-deck Temp(f): 51
Cabin Temp(f): 68
Water Temp(f): 52
Relative Humidity(%): 53
Magnetic Variation: 9.3
Sail: Working jib and main, reaching to port
Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 153 (another 26 hour day so as to get ship time into the local zone.)
Miles since departure: 35,879
Miles to Nome: 332
I’ve swung in close to Cape Lisburne for the view. When passing here in 2014, cloud was low and Lisburne was a black hump to port, but even a partial sighting of high cliffs dropping vertically into the sea revealed this as the most massive land feature we’d seen since Greenland.* Today confirms that recollection of an impressive Cape.
The US Coast Pilot has this to say about Cape Lisburne, “[It] is a bare brown mountain 849 feet high [and] distinctively marked by … pinnacles and rocks near its summit, and its shore faces are very steep. The cliffs are rookeries, and during the summer months the sky is sometimes darkened by the flights of birds. The wind rushes down from the mountains in gusts of great violence and varying directions, and at such times passing vessels should stay well off the cape.” [USCP9, p. 454]
By dawn we had wind enough to sail; by 8am, the engine was off and Monte back in action. I repeat, my good friend Monte was at the tiller and for the first time since the sail across Lancaster Sounds. We felt like a ship again.
I spent the morning on last chores in preparation for what will be big winds over the next two days.
-Transfer more fuel from jerries into tanks so as to get weight out of the bow.
-Move the dinghy from its lashing on deck and into the anchor locker.
-Rig the jib sheets for heavy weather.
-Cover windlass and lash anchor in place.
-Lock hatches and floorboards.
-Top off autopilot and engine fluids.
That last line item is a habit that’s developed over time. No, it’s not that I wait for an imminent blow to get clean, but I’ve found it’s nice to be clean when the s***t hits the fan.
I paid for my vista of Lisburne after noon when the wind died in its shadow. Engine back on. And now we plunge dive into a tall SE swell. No sail up at all; it was just beating itself to death. Thirty miles south are twenty-knot easterlies. But they re not for us. Not yet.
*Alaska’s Brooks Range, spotted a few days ago, was hidden by cloud in 2014.
This article was syndicated from The Figure 8 Voyage