The welders gas bottle produces a huge jet of flame from the hob. So now making a cup of tea is one of the most exciting things to do on the boat.

Hello again.  So, as I said earlier we did indeed gain more knowledge today of the ice and that that knowledge was that the ice had closed over the passage with the westerly wind and that we were stuck here until it shifts.  That has not changed since this morning but I have discovered a strangely therapeutic pastime.  Given where we are I find it a great comfort to have a look at a map and see that a significant part of the journey is already completed.  Indeed the part that we have already done has taken more time per hour than any other point in the trip.  After we cross the next passage we’ll be steaming on ahead, no longer waiting for the ice to clear.  After all the north west passage is already open.  The reason I do this is because I find action without gain really really depressing.  I don’t think there’s anything I hate more than having put a lot of time and effort into a task and seeing that it is no nearer to completion than when I started.  Luckily for me however we are already about a third of the way round distance wise and slightly less than a half for time.  So I’m afraid it’s not all that long until I’ll be back home to terrorise you all.

The days here pass fairly uneventfully.  We don’t have much to do to be honest.  Although one funny thing that has happened is that we switched gas bottles.  We have four gas bottles attached to the back of the boat, at any one time one of them is connected to the cooker and It’s what we cook our meals on and make tea with.  Now as of yesterday we’ve moved onto bottle number two which is from Russia.  Now for some reason or other this bottle was not fitted with a regulator for a gas cooker, but for a welding torch.  This means that the gas is supplied at a greater speed, I think, than would be normal, so when we turn the stove on we get a huge explosive jet of flame from the hob before it all calms down again.  So now making a cup of tea is one of the most exciting things to do on the boat.

While just sitting around all sorts of funny thoughts come into your head at times, like if we succeed we may well own the only Kemun teabags to have sailed round the north pole.  Or we might be the first people to have made a malt loaf in the middle of the Kara Sea.  The possibilities are endless.  We might have the only crystallised ginger in the Arctic Ocean, or the only people to have brought an OCR maths textbook into the Barents sea, you never know.

We get new ice charts tomorrow so with luck we’ll be able to get going then.  I really hope we do. Although the rest is nice just hanging around’s really getting to me.  Bye.

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