Randall Reeves

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

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

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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Musing on the Strength of Anchor Chain During an Arctic Gale

24 Aug

August 23, 2019
Cambridge Bay, Nunavut
69 06N 105 09W

Sitting out a gale at anchor is not the same as riding out a gale at sea. In the former case, one is moored in a secure harbor as the storm rolls over, and in the latter, he is being swept along with the forces of nature like a butterfly on an afternoon breeze. But which is safer is an open question.

The adage that contains “any port in a storm” would suggest that given his druthers, a sailor would choose safe haven over running off every time. But this ...

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Cambridge Bay Achieved

23 Aug

August 22, 2019

Mo with Alioth in tow rounded the corner into Cambridge Bay at 11pm last night. Alioth came to anchor over a forty foot shelf in the bay’s West Arm, and Mo took a berth a few hundred feet further on. Another consort to Alioth, Mandragore, also took shelter nearby. 

Shelter. Because change is coming. 

The barometer has been falling slowly but without hesitation for three days. It’s high was 1024mb, and as I type, it reads 985.5mb with no sign of finding bottom. By way of suggesting that such a fall must presage apocalypse, the ice guide, ...

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Cambridge Bay, Almost

22 Aug

August 21, 2019

This log is out of order because I can’t keep up given current happenings. So, a short update now and a more thorough report in coming days.

Mo and I are still closing The Crux of the Matter chapter by an entry into Cambridge Bay. Here awaiting us are a few nights of consistent sleep, the replenishment of our fuel supplies, and hopefully a stroll through town. 

Sadly, hamlets in Arctic Canada contains no brew pubs, and though Cambridge Bay has taken a large step toward metropolitanization by the installation of two restaurants, the last I was ...

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The Crux of the Matter, I

20 Aug

Aug 16th
Underway from Graham Harbor

All day the sea birds are flying the other way. They are headed out of the ice maze, out into Lancaster, back into Baffin and south. Winter migration has begun. All the while, Mo pushes further into the heart of it.

Last evening’s ice charts show improved conditions. Above Bellot, the ice is about 3/10ths for long stretches, but below there’s still a tongue of 7/10ths above Tasmania Islands.

And then there’s the difference between the report and actual. Alioth is a day ahead of Mo by now, and Vincent reports, “We just ...

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20 Aug

August 19, 2019
1845 local
70 32S  97 27W
Larsen Sound
The Arctic

Just a quick note to report that Mo is through the ice and sailing fast on a N wind for Cambridge Bay, 235 miles SW. 

I have been pushing to get to Alioth’s position for two days. She has a busted gear box and can’t make more than three knots under power. She has been hove to at the head of our last major ice plug waiting for an escort as she’d have to sail through, a tricky business. 

We’ve all been sweating bullets over this last ...

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While Mo and Randall navigate we’ll give you a quick update.

19 Aug

Hello fabulous followers of the Figure 8 Voyage.

If you’ve been following the voyage you’ll know that Mo and Randall are currently navigating a pretty tricky portion of the North West Passage. Like you, we’re all holding our breath here a little. Randall won’t be posting today as we want him watching for bergs and navigating so you’re going to hear from us.

Couple of quick updates:


If you’d like to watch an interview Randall made with another adventurer Greg Horner. Taken while Randall was up in St. John’s Newfoundland take a look below.


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