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Eshamy's Northern Passage
Satellites, Australia and The Cure?
09/11/2011, Arctic

Are there any satellites above here? Seems all our different instruments are taking turns losing satellite signals but at least they aren't all losing them at once! I did see a satellite the other night when the sky was clear overhead for an hour (a rare happening). We are north of Australia at the moment, almost directly north of Melbourne, so I guess we are in the same time zone now too..a big hello to Australia :-). So lost as to what day of the week it is and what time it should be, aware that September is flying by and we need to be pressing on! We've done ~730 nm in the past 5 days though and have only really used the engine to charge the batteries in that time. The wind eased a bit after the other day, enough for us to put the main up again, and the sea has been a little calmer. It's turned more to the north again though and last night we had some more snow! It got very calm earlier today (the sun even came out for an hour!!!) and then rapidly picked up bringing our favourite choppy sea again. Saw an almost all white gull the size of an albatross this afternoon, for a moment I thought it was an albatross, hopefully we'll see one again and can get a picture. Would be nice one evening to have a clear night with no clouds, so then we can see the stars or moon again. No other critters to report, perhaps we'll see a walrus or polar bear in the next week but hopefully no ice. Saw another boat at dawn today. Seem to always have songs by The Cure stuck in my head for some reason! Must be missing listening to music..the sounds of the boat, wind and sea aren't quite the same.

09/13/2011 | tini
Still following avidly from comfort of armchair.Sailing in snow must be something else--mind you Hartlepool has its fair share. You sound to be eating well.Has cooking been difficult at times when high seas?Suppose you resort to something easy then. We STILL have no photo of first mate. Come on Jeffrey wrestle the camera from her and post the result;we know how rough you will be looking by now!!
09/13/2011 | Em
"Why are you so far away?" hehehehe :) That's amazing you are directly north from me. Where's the next port? Hanging for a Skype catch up, but I'm sure not as much as you're hanging for a decent wash & clean clothes! Happy sailing crew, keep warm & safe
Green Brown Lumpy Sea!
09/09/2011, Arctic

So much for our dull's been another eventful 24 hours on board Eshamy! The wind has been blowing strong for about 24 hours, started off slow then rapidly increased so we dropped the main (already had 3 reefs) in the early evening last night and have been scooting along with just the stay sail. Why can't we have a nice gentle but steady breeze rather than no wind or wind wind wind!! At least this time the wind is from the south east so it's not as cold. Forecasts aren't the most accurate up here either! The sea is lumpy too (and rather shallower) making life pretty uncomfortable but we're managing to keep upright and not fall out our bunks. We had some odd jobs on yesterday and a few repairs to make so that kept us busy the earlier part of the day. Just saw our first big ship in a very long time, can't actually remember the last ship we saw! Must make pancakes when the wind eases that'll be a treat or maybe banana cake :-) Looks like we've a few more windy days ahead of us though, but it is meant to be easing later today which will be good. All's well otherwise, clothes probably need a wash but they'll never dry so smelly they must stay. Our log from Reykjavik Iceland is 5277 nm, and I remember thinking the passage from Faroe Islands to Iceland was a long way! The sunshine, t-shirt weather and ice creams we enjoyed in Greenland feel a very long time ago now. Next adventure might have to be to warmer climates, perhaps Hawaii or the Galapagos Islands? I really think we missed a turn somewhere!

Eshamy and the Iceberg

No we weren't actually that close! Photo taken by the crew on Issuma in Baffin Bay, they gave us the pictures in Cambridge Bay. Thanks guys :-)

Date with the Dateline
09/07/2011, Arctic!

Crossed the dateline at 19:20 (boat time) 5th September so we should add a day to the date but that makes it later in September so we might ignore that! One of the instruments added 7250 nm to our log...will have to sort that one out, don't think we can get away with saying we sailed that many miles. The wind has eased and the sea is calmer now but the fog has descended. Occasionally the sun is shining through though and it's nowhere near as cold as it has been. Its 15 days now since we last set foot on land and will probably be a while until we do so again. Looking forward to going for a long walk! Might settle for a pint, whisky and shower instead :-) but it's a bit early to be thinking about all that! Also looking forward to phoning everyone (checking emails) and catching up on what has been happening in the world while we've been in our small little one aboard Eshamy. Really appreciate your texts/emails to the sat phone just remember its 160 characters only. Not much else to report feeling a long way from home at the moment..will try and upload some small pictures to blog as it's been a while since we have, not sure the connection will like it though. Saw some more interesting seabirds yesterday but there are none about today. Haven't been able to identify them as our bird book is not the best for seabirds and only really covers the birds found near the UK! Seeing lots of phosphorescence in the waves at night and even saw some stars last night. Perhaps we'll see the Aurora Borealis sometime. Hope all is well in your comfy warm homes :-) On the boat menu today is fried potatoes for lunch, tinned fish and vegetable pasta for dinner with fruit, biscuits, nuts and chocolate for snacks! And the usual probably excessive amounts of tea, coffee and hot chocolate.

09/07/2011 | Louise Allison
We're all thinking about you. All the time at the moment! Good luck and be safe. Love you Dad. Louise xx
09/11/2011 | Catherine Millar
ditto Louise. Lots of vibes being sent your way. Hope the sailing is smooth xxx
Snow already!

Well unfortunately this part of the adventure has already been eventful with strong winds, relatively big seas and snow! Yes snow! Got to love these northerly winds..well actually can't say I'm enjoying them at the moment. The nights are very dark now too and we haven't seen the sun in a while for the clouds. Was quite something to be out on deck putting a reef in the main when the snow started. Struggling to get blog up this past week, the connection just doesn't seem to want to work. But we are keeping warm and eating well, sadly the fresh vegetables are almost gone :-( Heading south of Wrangel Island (well outside the 12 nautical mile territorial limit) hoping the ice stays far far north and the refreeze is not for some time yet. We'll see what weather the next few days bring and what the ice charts show..

09/06/2011 | Catherine
You're so brave! Can't imagine sailing in the snow. Hope you manage to keep warm, we'll think warm thoughts for you! (:
09/07/2011 | Emily
ooh! sounds spooky - keep safe. What a dramatic change in weather since I last spoke to you Katherine & you hadn't even pulled the thermals out! Good luck :)
Point Barrow and the Chukchi Sea
09/02/2011, Chukchi Sea

It's now Friday evening and we are in the Chukchi Sea, its dead calm and the flat glassy water and dark grey clouds are an amazing sight. You get some very interesting skies in the Arctic! Motor on for a bit, so today had the luxury of a quick shower (only one since Cambridge Bay and probably till next port) and even managed to dry my hair with the 110v hairdryer that has been lying dormant on Eshamy for probably a very long time. Wet hair is not good in cold wind so that was a real treat! It's been brilliantly clear since a few miles out of Point Barrow and we've seen flocks of hundreds of seabirds and the occasional small log drifting by. We left Point Barrow this morning after an unplanned and tiring 36 hour stop anchored off the town there. Didn't go ashore but managed to get some extra diesel and food brought out to us which was great and the people that brought it out were very nice. It was very foggy coming into Point Barrow on Wednesday afternoon and even seeing the shore was difficult when we were anchored only 0.3 nm from the beach! We saw many seabirds on the way in though (shearwaters mostly we think) and lots of orangey white jellyfish in the shallower waters. Jellyfish put me off going for the dip in the water which I'd been contemplating! The yacht Santa Maria Australis, who we'd seen in Cambridge Bay too, was also anchored at Point Barrow but departed a few hours after we arrived. It's been a lot colder the past week or so today pulled out the thermals but then the afternoon turned beautiful and sunny. We got to enjoy a few hours sitting in the sun which was nice before the clouds rolled in. This next part of the journey should be quite interesting (we're actually hoping it's very dull!) so we'll aim to keep you well updated via the blog.

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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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