Friday, August 14, 2009

Big Ice Floes in Resolute Bay

Fiona's Resolute departure was set for noon today.  At 0530 Eric woke us up, concerned about several big ice floes surrounding us (again).  He decided we would leave right away.  He did tell Uwe on Perithia that we were shoving off, but I feel bad Eric did not wait for him.

David stood his first two hour watch at 1400.  Visibility down to less than 1,000 feet in fog with the sun right on the bow, the worse kind of setup.  Passing Aston Bay he was in quite heavy ice floes and had to hand steer.  For him this is a "baptism of fire."  After this never mind that he broke Fiona's captain's treasured teapot just after lunch.  Being a handy sort, his stock was already back on the rise when he braised the pot and screwed the handle back on.  Now it's stronger than ever.

We have seen a lot of seals today.  A couple of them were doing sea otter imitaions; lying on their back.  I thought at first they might be Harp Seals, also known as "Greenland Seals," but read that this variety does not populate Peel Sound.  So, maybe they are Ringed Seals.  We see more fulmars and one long-tailed skua today.

It is good to finally be away from Resolute.  The people are friendly, helpful and interesting to watch but the place is hard and gray.  Plus, staying there does not get me one mile closer to the goal of this trip; transiting the Northwest Passage.  I have had enough fun.  Joe says that we are playing pin ball with the ice ... and we are the ball1  Maybe pieces of the game should not expect a lot of fun.

We are sitting here on the boat waiting for dinner (the captain does all the cooking aboard ... thank goodness I'm not asked to prepare any "burnt offereings" on this trip!).  We are having spaghetti topped with Hunt's sauce and a can of corned beef thrown in.  Joe is reading Mark Twain's Roughing It.  It is 36 degrees (F) outside (water temperature is 41F).  We have the hatch open to ease access to the cockpit.  In addition to being cold, we are dirty; last shower three days ago.  Is this a crazy way to live?

2345:  The patches of snow and shade of rock on shore are such that one can imagine villages and even towns in site.  While there may be a few people between Resolute and Gjoa Haven scattered about, there are no towns or villages along our route.  It is another kind of mirage, like the ice floes and islands inverted by refraction which make them look twice as big.

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