Randall Reeves

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 ...

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Sept 2, Slow Slowly West and North PLUS VIDEO

4 Sep

September 2, 2019

Days at Sea: 274
Days Since Departure: 338

Noon Position: 69 41N  199 42W
Course(t)/Speed(kts): WxN 4.2
Wind(t/tws): W 5
Sea(t/ft): NE 1
Sky/10ths Cover: Overcast 8 (Squalls with light snow till noon)
Bar(mb): 1019
On-deck Temp(f): 40
Cabin Temp(f): 65
Water Temp(f): 36
Relative Humidity(%): 34
Magnetic Variation: 19.5

Sail: Under power. 

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 119
Miles since departure: 34,807

Miles to Tuk: 300

Little to report but progress, slow progress. We are motoring on a flat sea now and at the usual clip, but there is a current here in the Amundsen Gulf ...

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Sept 1, Underway again (and another Northwest Passage Video)

3 Sep

September 1, 2019

Days Since Departure: 337

Noon Position: 68 48N 114 43W
Course(t)/Speed(kts): N 4

Sail: Under power; main 1 reef

Miles since departure: 34,688

Winds are finally diminishing, but out in Dolphin and Union the short, stocky sea is still pushing Mo around. Not going to be fast for a while yet.

I remember the point during the 2014 Northwest Passage when I’d had enough, enough engine racket, enough of being stuck in a cabin that was either too cold or too hot, enough of the what-if-we-dont-make-it-then-what worry. That point was three days after Tuk on the 1000 ...

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Aug 31, Boat Bound in Bernard (plus Video)

2 Sep

August 31, 2019

Wind: NW15-20
Sky: Low and squally with SNOW
6am Temperatures–
On Deck: 37
Cabin: 45 (before I fired up the heater)
Water: 39

Snow. 

It’s too warm to stick, but that it’s falling at all I take as a sign. In the Arctic, the dog days of summer portend winter; autumn is coming quickly, and I’m but half way through the Northwest Passage. Half way and still pinned down by contrary winds in Bernard Harbor.

Where I live at the moment, inside the boat a quarter mile S of North Star Point, is comfortable enough, but within ...

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Pinned Down at Bernard Harbor

31 Aug

August 30, 2019

Wind: WNW20+
Sky: Low and squally with some pea-sized hail
6am Temperatures–
On Deck: 37
Cabin: 43 (before I fired up the heater)
Water: 40 (this is up from 33 degrees in Dolphin and Union)

The title of today’s report was going to be, “Images of a DEW Line Station,” but all day it has been blowing a three-quarter gale from the NW. Ragged cloud, rain and hail. Mo is pulling at her leash like a dog that’s not been walked in a week, and I don’t dare leave for the required hike inland to the abandoned ...

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To Bernard Harbor

30 Aug

Aug 28, 2019
Dolphin and Union Strait
Total Miles: 34,658
Days at Sea: 272
Days since Departure: 333

We depart in the early morning from Disappointment Harbor for … for where? I’m not sure.

I want to stage for a leap into Dolphin and Union Strait in the forecasted lighter winds of the next day, but where to wait in the interim is unclear. Fifty-four miles from Disappointment, I choose a divot in the headland behind Lady Franklin Point. Nothing fancy; just a place to hide for a few hours.

Winds on final approach are 25 on the nose. Anchor ...

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Disappointment Harbor

29 Aug

August 27, 2019
Coronation Gulf
Total Miles: 34,600
Days at Sea: 271
Days since Departure: 333

Winds are on the nose all day but at not more than ten knots. What slows us is the rolling chop from higher winds further W. Still, I can’t complain. By late afternoon, we’ve come abreast of the Richardson Islands, which decorate the northeastern corner of Coronation Gulf. 

There are but two known anchorages in this island group, and neither looks appealing. But the next stop is a full ten hours further on. So, I decide to do a bit of exploring. 

The northeastern ...

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To Byron Bay

28 Aug

August 26, 2019
Total Miles: 34,464
Days at Sea: 269
Days since Departure: 331

The forecast calls for SW20, but the wind is highly dynamic all day, light to the Finlayson Islands, strong enough and far enough S thereafter to sail close hauled for a few hours, then light again as the day waned. 

In the night and as we made approach to Byron Bay, a large thunderhead formed in the SW. It poured so much rain that the water top turned white. Mo got a drencher for ten minutes and then had to claw through very stiff SW winds ...

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Cambridge Bay Escape

27 Aug

August 25, 2019
Cambridge Bay
Nunavut

Sunday morning. I am kick-the-dog frustrated. Wind is still hard and cold from the SW, day after day, relentlessly the wrong way, pinning us down in Cambridge Bay. And it is the same for as far out as the forecasts care to predict. How can we get home in such a wind?

From the cockpit, I can see a lone wooden platform on the beach near the tank farm, the cradle in which this boat stood the winter of 2014/15, now old and gray as driftwood. It’s a sign, I think, inviting Mo’s return. ...

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Cambridge Bay Contrary

25 Aug

August 24, 2019
Cambridge Bay
Nunavut

The blow blew itself out overnight, but weather has continued to be unsettled. Today, strong winds from the SE, rain and a heavy, ragged cloud. In the morning I shifted Mo to the pier in town for fuel only to find the wind increasing still and the pier foaming with chop. 

Thinking I could dinghy in for fuel, I anchored near town and just off where Amundsen’s Maud came to rest so many years ago. But the berth was too small, and it felt unwise to leave the boat in such blustery conditions.

So, ...

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