I jumped down to the wheel, hit the standby button and yanked the wheel sideways. The boat swerved quite wildly and we missed it by ten meters

Ice! just when we thought it was all over.  For the past day we’ve had the wind and tide behind us, we’ve been doing nine knots at times.  So of course, right at the end of my watch we come into thickish ice just as it’s getting dark.  The next six hours were tricky.  Weaving in and out, trying to find a route and occasionally gently nudging pieces out the way.  We are now out of it again and moving swiftly on.

But it seems the North West Passage wasn’t giving up without a fight.  I do however have a new candidate for scariest moment of the trip. It was the last half hour of my watch.  We were going at nine point two knots over the ground and it was getting dark enough that ing was getting tricky. We’d seen some pieces of ice earlier and so were looking out and has the radar on screen.  I was sitting on the plank at the back of the boat and saw a wave breaking about thirty meters off the bow.  I then noticed that the white on the water wasn’t going away, I grabbed the torch we keep up there and turned it on, there was a large piece of ice twenty five meters off the bow that we were heading for at nine knots.  I jumped down to the wheel, hit the standby button and yanked the wheel sideways.  The boat swerved quite wildly and we missed it by ten meters or so but I noticed I was now jumping at every breaking wave I could see.

If we’d hit that we would’ve damaged the hull quite badly and I was distressed at how close it’d got before I’d noticed.  I but the auto pilot back on and got David up, I explained the situation and said I thought we needed two people on deck.  He agreed and soon enough we were seeing wave crests that turned into ice chunks and were using the torch.  Barbara came up at that point and I went to bed, but I was a little worried I’d hear a nasty thunk and we’d have to get off in a hurry.  This, happily, turned out not to be the case.  The system devised a little later was one person would be at the helm and one at the bow with the torch.  The helmsman would then see as the torch was swung around and do their best to not hit the ice.  Luckily we can’t see any more ice in front and there’s a chance we’re through all the ice.

According to the nav system we’ll get into Upernavik on the fourteenth.  We’ll see how it goes.  In the meantime I have a watch to go on, bye.


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