Overtopping the Baillie Islands

5 Sep

September 3, 2019

Days at Sea: 275
Days Since Departure: 339

Noon Position: 70 16N  125 53W
Course(t)/Speed(kts): WxN 5.5
Wind(t/tws): E 15
Sea(t/ft): SE 3
Sky/10ths Cover: Clear 0  
Bar(mb): 1015, steady
On-deck Temp(f): 45
Cabin Temp(f): 65
Water Temp(f): 32 (ice is near)
Relative Humidity(%): 35
Magnetic Variation: 20.7

Sail: Under engine; full sail as well.  

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 132
Miles since departure: 34,993

After sunset, I slowed Mo so that I could sleep. The reason for the slowing was that as we approached Cape Parry, our clear water would become what the ice charts classify as “<1/10th concentration” (the pale blue color on yesterday’s graphic). 

What this has meant before is, at worst, widely dispersed growlers and bergy bits, and at best, nothing at all. 

Night is dark now; the chances of seeing small ice are nill, so I tried to punt entering the “<1/10th” area till 5am.

I slept poorly. The zone boundaries on ice charts are estimates. And besides, approaching ice, even at distance, and sleep just don’t work well together. But I persisted until 4am, when I just couldn’t stay down any longer. 

By now dawn was on the make. I slid open the companionway hatch and climbed on deck. What met my view was a field of growlers no more than five minutes distant. We had to divert for one of the hefters on the quick.

From Cape Parry, I steered due W, as per the plan discussed yesterday. By breakfast, Victor had forwarded the day’s wind reports, strong easterlies pushing the ice back toward shore. I could get pinned in. “I’ll keep an eye on you,” said Victor, reassuringly, but from his home office in Montreal.

The early field of growlers was not reproduced as the morning brightened, but by 10am I saw a large line of white to the S, a high and ugly looking pod of pack ice. Ahead remained clear. An hour later, a similar pod crossing almost the entire horizon to the north. Again, ahead remained clear. 

By 1pm I hadn’t seen any ice for two hours. I turned Mo toward the Baillie Islands, which we rounded to the N without difficulty at half past seven. The sun set two hours later over a clear sea. 

Baillie is the last pinch point in Canada–insert sigh of relief. The next worry, if you are the worrying sort, is Point Barrow. 

Tuk is 130 miles more to the W. Then home is but two or three more leaps further on.

This article was syndicated from The Figure 8 Voyage

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