Passing Icy Cape

12 Sep

September 10, 2019

Days at Sea: 281
Days Since Departure: 346

Noon Position: 70 47N 160 77W
Course(t)/Speed(kts): WSW 5.5
Wind(t/tws): ENE 12
Sea(t/ft): ENE 2
Sky/10ths Cover: Rain 10
Bar(mb): 1007, falling slowly
On-deck Temp(f): 51
Cabin Temp(f): 63
Water Temp(f): 49 (49!)
Relative Humidity(%): 49
Magnetic Variation: 11.2

Sail: Twins poled out full

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 115
Miles since departure: 35,726

Note the warm water in the above stats, 49 degrees. Just three days ago we were recording water temperatures of 31 degrees. 

Around noon, wind we had, a beautiful following wind. Not in the forecast, but who’s complaining. I poled out both headsails, lowered the main, shut off the engine. Wind increased. Suddenly we were doing 7 knots where all night 4.5 was the norm. I made up lines and went below to congratulate myself with a piece of toast and jam.

Before the other side of the bread was even warm, wind went E. By the time I got the poles down and all plain sail set for wind abeam, it had died right away.

Engine back on at 1pm. God bless and keep Big Red. 

In the afternoon I continued getting ready for the coming low. By Thursday, this whole sector will be E25 – 30. That’s more wind than we’ve had under sail since the Atlantic, and neither Mo nor Randall are quite ready. 

Today I transferred fuel from jerries into the main tanks so I can get the jerries off the deck. While stowing the empties in the forepeak, I took the opportunity to lighten load by tossing over the side some canned goods that hadn’t fared well. They were rusty and bent and probably would do in a pinch, but we’re coming to the final leg of this voyage, and I still have mountains of food. So we made an early donation to Neptune’s Holiday Drive. Ten cans of Chef Boyardee Raviolis. Enjoy!

This afternoon, glassy water; within it, scads of jelly fish, all heading south for the winter. Floating on top, one dead seal; winter migration no longer a worry.

We are rounding Icy Cape as I type. The promontory was named by Captain James Cook in 1778 as he explored these waters in search of the Northwest Passage. The month was August, and ice still clung to the coast. Cook would be turned back by pack ice just a few miles further on; thus, Icy Cape effectively represents Cooks furthest north. 

Cook’s experience was not extraordinary. When Frederick William Beechey discovered and named Point Barrow in 1826, he could not reach it by ship, but rather had to send boats ahead. Likewise, Franklin was kept from Point Barrow by ice in 1826. In 1837, Thomas Simpson walked the final 50 miles when his boats were stopped by ice, and only in 1849 did William Pullen round the point in two whale boats, this after sending two larger, unsuccessful boats back to the ship. [source Wiki]

I have swung close to Icy Cape so as to take the measure of it, but this year it is buried in cloud rather than ice. There is nothing to see.

This article was syndicated from The Figure 8 Voyage


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