On Friday, August 7th, we awoke at 4:30 to someone "you-hooing" from shore. My first thought was, "Damn kids, don't they ever go to bed?" Then Joe rolled out, popped his head out the hatch and said, "Shit. Look at this." Resolute Bay was full of ice and it was moving our way.
Beyond the ice Fleur Australe, the French boat, was making its way out by way of the only lead along the shore (Fleur has a swing keel and draws, with keel up, two feet less water than Fiona). But the German Perithia and Fiona were trapped. I wonder why Fleur did not give a toot on the horn or a call on Channel 16 to let us know about the ice, but I can only surmise that the skipper, Phillippe, the winner of two single-handed O-Star races, had his hands full. Or maybe his competitive nature promotes a philosophy of everyone for himself.
I got Eric out of the rack and said, "We've about five minutes before a big hunk of ice touches the boat." On deck a minute later, we raised the anchor and for the next couple of hours maneuvered as we could. After awhile Perithia commanded the only deep water hole left in the small area of clear water. Fiona was just a few feet from shore when the keel gently touched the glacial mud and she stuck ... at high tide on a full moon. A couple of hours later the tide receded, we listed to our side and spent the morning onboard on an angle. Sleeping in the "V" made of bunk and locker is not so bad!
Hard aground. A 35 degree list. A day like this moves one to ask, Why am I doing this? Why did I want to come here? It's not a job. There is no livelihood. I have no mission. Why make a choice to put oneself in harm's way with no tangible reward?
Does one need an excuse to do something like this? I suspect, as I lay 'tween locker and bunk, that some people may need to "cook up an excuse" to come here; watching the environment or climate change, scientific research or maybe a good-will tour. What if all those reasons are just excuses? Perhaps some people need a disguise to mask their real desire - a desire that lies somewhere buried below articulation, buried somewhere in the "Why."
I suspect, as Gordon Lightfoot wrote, we can know the wherefore, the outward appearances, but may never know the why.
Good for us that the afternoon tide was just a couple of inches higher. With the help of both dingys from Perithia and Fiona we were able to push the bow to the south, unstick the keel and maneuver to water that had cleared of ice.
For the past two days we've been raising and lowering the anchor and moving the boat trying to stay clear of the ice floes. By now we've become a bit blase about it. So we touch one now and again ... it bumps, we bounce off and, if the worse happens and we get some damage, the hotel and airport is just a dingy ride away ...
The wind blew hard this morning from the east and the bay seems to be clearing a bit. Let's see what the next few days bring to us.
Today was supposed to be laundry day.