Randall Reeves

Night Arrival

16 Sep

September 14, 2019
Nome, Alaska

Mo makes her slow way against this implacable current and night drags on. A full moon, lights ashore glimmer across the glassy water. Two tankers appear as dark hulks on the horizon; they are anchored miles out and still only in 60 foot water. Even now tugs are ferrying their cargo of fuel to the town of Nome, which draws ever so reluctantly closer. 

Midnight. Into the fairway. Alioth has already radioed an invitation to raft alongside. “We have a group here; people want to see you,” says Vincent.

I turn the corner and there, ...

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A Northwest Passage Complete: CORRECTION

15 Sep

September 13, 2019

Days at Sea: 284
Days Since Departure: 349

Noon Position: 64 57N 167 16W
Course(t)/Speed(kts): SE 6-7
Wind(t/tws): NE 15
Sea(t/ft): NE 2
Sky/10ths Cover: Overcast 10 
Bar(mb): 1001+ and rising
On-deck Temp(f): 53
Cabin Temp(f): 57
Water Temp(f): 53
Relative Humidity(%): 63
Magnetic Variation: 8.6

Sail: Working jib and main, broad reach on port. 

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 118
Miles since departure: 36,138

Shifting winds overnight and our close approach to Cape Prince of Wales kept me up until 4am. Admittedly, I did nap in the pilot house, wrapped boots and all in a sleeping ...

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A Chukchi Blow and Crossing the Arctic Circle

14 Sep

September 12, 2019

Days at Sea: 283
Days Since Departure: 348

Noon Position: 66 54N 167 71W
Course(t)/Speed(kts): SxW 7
Wind(t/tws): E 25+
Sea(t/ft): E10+, steep and breaking
Sky/10ths Cover: Overcast 10 
Bar(mb): 995 and falling
On-deck Temp(f): 51
Cabin Temp(f): 57 (no heater today)
Water Temp(f): 48
Relative Humidity(%): 60
Magnetic Variation: 8.3 

Sail: Triple reefed main and working jib, reach. 

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 141
Miles since departure: 36,020

We had a fine sailing breeze after rounding Point Hope last night–full sail, wind abeam. But by 2am I was reefing and by dawn I had three reefs ...

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Cape Lisburne

13 Sep

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, ...

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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 ...

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Point Barrow and South

11 Sep

September 9, 2019

Days at Sea:280
Days Since Departure: 345

Noon Position: 71 28N 154 46W
Course(t)/Speed(kts): W 6
Wind(t/tws): S <15
Sea(t/ft): SW 3
Sky/10ths Cover: Clear, a hing of cloud landward  3
Bar(mb): 1010
On-deck Temp(f): 53
Cabin Temp(f): 68
Water Temp(f): 45
Relative Humidity(%): 55
Magnetic Variation: 14.5

Sail: Main and working jib; close reach

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 158 (Today was a 26 hour day, as I set the clock back two hours so as to get into local time.)
Miles since departure: 35,611

At 2am, I switched off the engine, and we sailed on ...

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Plodding Away the Miles

10 Sep

September 8, 2019

Days at Sea: 279
Days Since Departure: 344

Noon Position: 70 52N 146 50W
Course(t)/Speed(kts): WxN 6
Wind(t/tws): SE <10
Sea(t/ft): SE 1
Sky/10ths Cover: Overcast. Clear earlier, rain later. 10
Bar(mb): 1009+
On-deck Temp(f): 43
Cabin Temp(f): 65
Water Temp(f): 36
Relative Humidity(%): 40
Magnetic Variation: 17.6 

Sail: Motoring, main up.  

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 146
Miles since departure: 35, 453

That’s the thing about the Figure 8–there are just so many many miles of it…

A not very interesting stretch of water, this. The sky is hung with cloud that now and then sends ...

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Mo Crosses the Demarcation Line into Alaska

9 Sep

September 7, 2019

Days at Sea: 278
Days Since Departure: 343

Noon Position: 70 25N  139 36W 
Course(t)/Speed(kts): WxN 6
Wind(t/tws): ExS 5
Sea(t/ft): E 1-2
Sky/10ths Cover: Clear, 0 
Bar(mb): 1015, steady
On-deck Temp(f): 45
Cabin Temp(f): 65
Water Temp(f): 37
Relative Humidity(%): 41
Magnetic Variation: 19.7

Sail: Under power. Main up, doing nothing.  

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 148
Miles since departure: 35,307

8am. Sunup. On deck temperature: 35 degrees Fahrenheit. Water: 31. Water temperature the previous afternoon had been 46 and the day had been warm. Remembering that such temperature drops can be signals of approaching ice, ...

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TukWork

7 Sep

September 5, 2019
Tuktoyaktuk, Nunavut

Days since Departure: 343

Mandragore, containing her crew of Pablo and Pablo, made Tuk this morning, and together we warped to the pier next to the Northern store for fueling and watering. 

Fuel can be taken by jerries from the store pumps, a distance of 200 feet, or by calling a truck to the pier, and while the former requires hoofing one’s heavy cans, it avoids the delivery charge of the latter. We both chose hoofing it. 

I had the more fuel to take (100 gallons) and the more cans to transport. Without the slightest ...

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To Tuk

6 Sep

September 4, 2019

Days at Sea: 276
Days Since Departure: 340

Noon Position: 69 56N  132 25W 
Course(t)/Speed(kts): SW 5
Wind(t/tws): SE <10
Sea(t/ft): SE 1
Sky/10ths Cover: Altocumulus 9 
Bar(mb): 1011
On-deck Temp(f): 44
Cabin Temp(f):  57
Water Temp(f): 38
Relative Humidity(%): 50
Magnetic Variation: 20.9

Sail: #1 and main, full; wind on the beam.

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 135
Miles since departure: 35,128

The strangest thing about yesterday was that two hours after rounding the top of the Baillie Islands, a large raven flew over the boat. The color pallet for pelagics favors white and pale grays. ...

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