Thursday, July 30, 2009

Is There Enough Fuel?

It's the midnight watch.  We are becalmed at 74N/6430W.  Time to think.  I'm thinking we don't have enough fuel on board for this trip.  Right now we'd need 140 gallons to motor to Gjoa Haven.  I am thinking this because Resolute is virtually closed and may be completely closed [due to ice] before we could arrive under power.  The good news is that we talked to Debs [my sister who has kept the blog updated and provided us with ice and weather information en route, becoming in the process, an expert yachtsman's Northwest Passage advisor ... there aren't too many of them in the world!] on the Iridium telephone.  She tells us the "ice strip" with which we've been concerned at the entry to Lancaster Sound is gone.  So, we can go direct to the entry point with no deviations.  This will save some fuel.

Joe and I are up tonight discussing the "equal time point" [an aviation term that is the point at which it takes the same time to continue to a destination or return to a point of departure (or, in fact, any two chosen points)].  This would give us, at the "ETP" which is five hours beyond the Lancaster Sound entry point, five gallons remaining in the tank, at the present rate of burn, upon arrival at either Gjoa Haven or a return to Upernavik.  This ETP calculation figures that Resolute will not be an open destination for us.

8:00AM - My emotions are at a low ebb this morning.  Eric is electing to motor to 75N71W in hope of finding wind.  I believe we are close to "bingo" fuel.  Eric and I talked this morning.  He says, "That depends on how you define 'bingo.'"  One thing I believe, is that the definition cannot contain the work "luck."

5:00PM - Not as many fulmars.  We have perhaps two following the boat.  It is as if they want to give up.  Do they pick up my own pessimism?  We do, however, have a lot more little auks.  We see a few dozen.  The temperature is 46F.  The sea temperature is 51F.

-entry from Russ Roberts' journal

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