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Eshamy's Northern Passage
From Lancaster Sound to Peel Sound
08/15/2011, Peel Sound

The past few days have been rather grey and foggy so we haven't seen very much! We've continued along Lancaster Sound (dodging a few icebergs still) and into Barrow Strait passing the bird sanctuary Prince Leopold Island which we didn't see due to fog. This morning we started heading south down Peel Sound with the sun shining and a steady breeze from the north northwest. Around noon, was out on deck changing sails when we looked north and saw fog rolling in..quite quickly too. The wind and sea picked up as well so we had an exciting afternoons sailing down Peel Sound in the fog. Was the strongest winds and biggest seas (which weren't really very big but compared to the flat seas we've experienced so far) we've had in weeks. It also got rather chilly, approximately 4°C on deck and 7°C below deck. So much for an afternoon relaxing in the sunshine and baking something tasty! Our dinners are probably getting less exciting, we started this passage with meals like prawns and fried rice, pasta with tomato and vegetable sauce, sweet and sour vegetables with rice but last night we progressed onto beans on toast. But beans on toast can still be a good meal occasionally! Might have to try and make something interesting tomorrow. It's quite dark and overcast tonight but the fog has lifted which is good. Just to note, we are heading due south at the moment but our compass is currently telling us we're going almost due north! We haven't seen anyone else since Issuma in Baffin Bay, but we heard a Canadian patrol plane speaking to a Russian vessel on the VHF earlier this evening. Thanks for the calls, messages and information too greatly appreciated :-)

Moon over Bylot Island
08/12/2011

Moon over Bylot Island with and iceberg as well..

Hello Canada
Katherine
08/12/2011, Lancaster Sound, Canada

The morning brought our first sighting of Canada. The snow covered peaks (the Byam Martin Mountains) of Bylot Island could be seen while we were still 60nm away! The day remained sunny with flat seas, clear skies and scattered icebergs but unfortunately the breeze dropped out around noon. We are currently in Lancaster Sound between Bylot Island and Devon Island heading west. Bylot Island looks amazing and I'm keen to read about Tilmans adventure across it in 1963 (keen to explore the island too!). The full looking moon has just appeared above the island and in the stunning evening light it is spectacular sight. Since entering the Sound we have seen quite a lot of seals swimming about or lying on icebergs and many seabirds. This makes a change from Greenland where we didn't see that much wildlife at all (except in the restaurants and shops).

We’ve got company!
Katherine
08/11/2011, Baffin Bay

We thought we heard the radio and sure enough we did..it was someone calling the 'sailing boat' they could see, which was us. It was Richard Hudson skipper of Issuma, the yacht we'd met in Upernavik. I think we were as surprised to see them as they were to see us, it's a big bay! So although they left a day earlier and went a different direction to us they are now sailing along several miles north of us heading in the same direction. It's actually the first sailing boat we've seen while at sea in over a month. Hopefully we can get some nice pictures of them. The icebergs are fewer now, the skies are still clear and currently the sun is sitting just about the horizon..first time I've had the opportunity to see it not set! We've entered Canadian waters now and are heading for Lancaster Sound then probably on to Peel Sound. Hope you are enjoying reading the blog, we will put some crew pictures etc up when we are next in port.

08/13/2011 | Philp
Issuma went round the south side in the ice pack in Baffin Bay, hence the delay.
Into the Fog..
08/11/2011, Baffin Bay

How quickly the weather can change...we had dinner on Tuesday night in the sunshine and then 2 hours later the wind was doing strange things, visibility got very poor and the temperature dropped. Icebergs and fog are not a good mix but it helps having the radar! Can't imagine what it would have been like for the early sailors in these waters, such brave folk. On Wednesday morning it was dead still, overcast and the sea was like glass, everything was just grey but saw some interesting seabirds. In the afternoon we passed a 122m cruise liner 'Hanseatic' who had just come from Lancaster Sound and will return on the 14th August heading for Cambridge Bay. Don't feel so far away from it all when you see the big cruise liners! The afternoon brought very thick fog which cleared for a few hours (the wind picked up too) and then returned for half the night. Thick fog is not fun when you have to avoid numerous icebergs! But after a long and tiring night, we've passed the large section of ice in the middle of Baffin Bay (probably the cause of the fog and strange wind/weather) and its now sunny with clear skies and sea as far as one can see. We are sailing along nicely at about 5 knots heading southwest with a steady breeze from the west.
We've heard that the SPOT doesn't seem to be working? We've had it on everyday and from our end it appears to be fine, can anyone let us know when it last gave a position? Probably best to email 881621438446@msg.iridium.com or text 0088 1621438446 the sat phone. If emailing the sat ph remember its only 160 characters of text and don't include a subject. Our current position is 74°50.264 N, 70°58.750 W.

Upernavik, ice creams and sunshine
Katherine
08/09/2011

Left Upernavik in the early hours of this morning with a slight bit of breeze and an awful lot of sunshine, not a cloud in the sky! We headed through a clear passage to the northwest, admiring the sea of massive grounded icebergs around the islands to the north and northwest of Upernavik. I'd been a bit concerned when all I could see was white from the top of the hill in Upernavik, but fortunately it wasn't the way we were going. The sunshine is amazing and I'm wearing only trousers, a t-shirt and flip flops, feels colder in bed than on deck! Will try and remember this moment when the weather next gets bad. We're having to go further north than we'd like, rather than straight across Baffin Bay, due to a very large section of sea ice in the middle of the Bay. Another yacht heading for the same destination left yesterday afternoon after a brief stopover for diesel and supplies as well. Upernavik was a great little place to stop at and we found all the people were very friendly. A kind gentleman at the post office let us use his office and the internet, gave us a printer cord to keep (which he went home to get for us) and then gave us paper as well. It's great to have a nice working colour printer for the ice charts! He said there have been about 7 yachts stopping in at Upernavik so far this season, so we might just see some of them further down the track.

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Eshamy's Northern Passage
Who: Jeffrey Allison, Katherine Brownlie, Alex Taylor, James Allison, Paul Brossier, Martin Oakley, Chris Phillips, Tanya Hargreaves, Philip Schofield (Onshore Communications Officer)
Port: Hartlepool
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