Randall Reeves

A Fill-Up in Sondre Upernavik

8 Aug

August 5, 2019
Anchored Sondre Upernavik
72 09N  55 31W

Past the Vaigat, the concentration of icebergs thinned. Most were hidden behind a merciless fog, but the radar warned of a steady five to ten within its range. What it could not see were the growlers that swung off from behind the larger bergs like comet tails. For these, I had to remain on watch.  

By 3AM, the predicted N wind began to fill over what had been a flat calm sea. We were due another 50 miles of climbing before reaching Upernavik, miles that would soon become a slog. ...

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Monte Registers a Protest and the Bergs of Vaigat

7 Aug

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 ...

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Stopped by Headwinds

6 Aug

August 3, 2019

Departed Fortune Bay at 1200 today. Aiming for Upernavik. Heavy fog right down to the water. Wind N at 5 knots. Temperature 50 degrees. Bergs are visible at less than half a mile, and from what I can tell, they are the size of city blocks. We pass four or more an hour, but they are ghosts in the mist.

By 1800 fog has lifted, but we are pushing into a stiff NNW wind, and Mo is plunge diving. When our average speed falls to two knots, I turn to the E for an anchorage, Kuanit, just ...

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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 ...

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Entering Disko Bay

4 Aug

July 31, 2019

Departed Sisimiut at 1900 hours and motored due north overnight for Disko Bay. Another uneventful passage of 140 miles, remarkable only for utter calm and a sea so smooth that boat motion was imperceptible.

Disko Island came into view in the late afternoon of the next day, as did the progeny of the glaciers that surround it. One big berg at first and then a train of them, slowly making their way toward dissolution in the open sea.

Anchor down at the E end of Killiit (Fortune Bay), S Disko Island, at 2000 hours. 35 feet. Rocky, ...

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Oil Leak in Sisimiut

3 Aug

July 30, 2019

The leak came from between the engine and the transmission and was black as coal. At its height, there were but five seconds between drips of this indispensable fluid, and upon arrival in Sisimiut, I found that we’d drained ten percent of the engine’s lube oil into the bilge in twenty hours.

“That’s a lot,” said my friend Gerd from his office in Florida. “It sounds like a rear seal failure; shouldn’t be too bad a job. First you remove the universal joint so you can push the propeller shaft back; then the bell housing and gearbox ...

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Images of Sisimiut

2 Aug

July 30, 2019

It’s Mo’s third morning in Sisimiut, and I still haven’t made it much past the Seaman’s Home and the chandlery near the harbor.

Luckily, Greenland is such a place that everywhere one turns is an exotic scene.

Here are a few such to keep things going while I work to stop the engine’s oil leak…

Rafted five deep along the inner wall of Sisimiut Harbor. It’s nice to have the outer berth until it’s time to go into town. Crawling over so many boats to achieve the pier is quite a slog.
Awaiting the return.

View from
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Crossing The Arctic Circle

1 Aug

July 27, 2019

Mo and I departed Nuuk in the late afternoon for the short climb to Sisimiut, Greenland’s second largest city, population 5,500.

The leg was uneventful, a mix of fast sailing and fast motoring on a fast north-setting current, except in two ways.

One, at 1800 hours on July 26, 2019, day 251 of the Figure 8 Voyage, Mo and Randall crossed 66 30N latitude and thusly sailed inside the Arctic Circle.

This circle carries several definitions, “the line above which trees do not grow and the ground does not thaw” being less common than “the parallel of ...

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Protection Against the Northern Bear

30 Jul

Editorial note: Hi readers. Most of the time the team behind the scenes don’t comment on Randall’s posts. However home for us, and Randall when he returns, is very close to Gilroy, California. You may have read the news of the tragic shooting at their annual festival this past weekend. We knew this post was due to go live today and Randall and I had a long discussion on if we should post this update at all. But we decided that we’ve shared all the other preparations and you readers should know.

For everyone involved in this project, gun ownership ...

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Nuuk’s Most Striking Feature

27 Jul

July 25, 2019

It feels like a place perched at the edge of the earth. Here snow-capped mountains rise right from the water’s edge and granitic rock lines the port. Small fishing boats come and go as long as there is light–and at this time of year, there is always light–while the load of ship-sized trawlers is craned into the humming fish plant. From Mo’s cockpit, I am overwhelmed by the smells of fish and the tar used to keep the antique fleet afloat, all of which are suggestive of a frontier town.

Once beyond the harbor, however, Nuuk’s most ...

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