We had two people on the long ice poles we have pushing bits out of the way while Nikolai rammed the ice with the boat in the hope of pushing in out of the way

So much for twelve days to point barrow.  We’re now in the middle of a little archipelago past the V strait and are more or less trapped.  This morning at the start of my watch we decided to leave our cozy little  shelter on the ice.  The only problem with this otherwise flawless plan was that over the night ice had moved in the other side and blocked our way out.  This is where the difference between Northabout and other boats should be noted.  We had two people on the long ice poles we have pushing bits out of the way while Nikolai rammed the ice with the boat in the hope of pushing in out of the way.  Now with most boats doing that would damage the hull when they hit large pieces of ice.  But because Northabout is metal rather than wood or glass-fibre or anything it can withstand hits much better than your average yacht.  The hull of Northabout is flat.  This helps arguably more than having an aluminium hull because it means that when we hit pieces of ice that are too large to be shoved out the way we slide up on top of them rather than slamming into and damaging the prow.  This morning both of those features proved very useful.  Despite this it took us almost two hours to move the hundred and fifty metres between us and open-ish water.  Once we were out of that to our joy we found that the way we tried to take yesterday was no longer shut and we could leave the strait.  I slept for all of my downtime so the first thing knew about my location was when I went on watch.  We were heading south to get out of the ice that’s choking the Laptev Sea in a sheltered area of islands.  That didn’t quite work.  For a time we went through a very thick patch of ice and then broke through into a huge area of completely open water.  We had hoped that that would last so that we could get out of the south end of the archipelago.  Sadly as we approached the south end of a big island named Big Island we came across a flow of ice too thick for us to get through.

We searched around that area to see if there was any way to get through but unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be any.  So now we’re about to anchor of the end of a nearby island and wait to see if the ice clears.  This is becoming a bit of a habit for us.  Anyway, I’ll write to tell you how we get on with particular development tomorrow, bye.

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