Leaving Tuktoyaktuk - eventually
05 September 2010 | The rather splendidly named Beluga Bay- despite its absence of said whales so far
Liz for Dermot
The man with a promise of a cylinder of propane in a red truck never materialised. No more baking by Maire until we get some more. Disaster.
We joined Sister Fay and the community in the Catholic Church for their Sunday service. Daryl has done a great job putting it back together. The wood burner had been cleaned out and had made a big difference in drying it out and warming it up. Next week they plan to jack it up three feet to bolster its surroundings on the sinking permafrost. Hope that goes well and it doesn't break in two. It was a lovely service and Sister Fay gave an excellent sermon of the theme of wisdom. I have to say I was very impressed with Sister Fay and as an example was the way she very effectively dealt with a pair of bickering kids- making them tell each other that want to make the other one happy and not listening to wo started it.
Afterward we were made incredibly welcome in her house with bread, cheese, fish and baked beans. It was a privilege to be so invited into their community. very interesting to hear their insights interchanges in their community. As an example the next generation had kept their taste for caribou but lost it for seal. Apparently one has to start early to get a terse for whale/maqtaaq. Clearly and advantage of my getting older is that I need not preserver in trying! Daryl had also constructed a new see-saw for the kids or a 'teeter-totter' as they call it. Just as we were leaving an eagle was spotted pestering the gulls for some fish that had been washed ashore. Impressive sight.
We then found Tuk's only taxi to see a woman carver, Mary-Ann, who lived some way out of town. Before getting back on board I managed to get a very brief sniff of internet access and it was lovely to have a chat online with my new fiancee, Liz. She has sent me an email form the captain of the Hanseatic with copies of pictures of Young Larry they took. I also found out in a text that I had lost out to daughter Eleanor in our monthly competition for pinch-punch with mutual sense of humour failures when we lose. Taking advantage of my lack of internet access (and a time-zone delay) isn't playing fair. I would never stoop that low. An important ritual, even though we are both are old enough to know better.
After all this, we were a bit after our intended departure time. We weighed anchor and washed copious quantities of mud off the chain and anchor. We set off through the narrower and shallower western entrance.
Sister Fay and two of the local kids, Marcus and Dominic, came out to the point to wave us off. In order to really lay on a show we chose a nice patch of shallow ground very close to the point to go hard aground on a falling tide!
We were well and truly stuck and it was soon clear that we were not going to be able to motor ourselves off. We launched the dinghy and with some struggle managed to lay a kedge anchor. The aim of this is to put out an anchor in the deep water (actually only metres from our well wishers on the point) and use the anchor winch to pull our bow round and into deep water. This actually worked a treat and we were on our way. Some loss of face but Sister Fay was there to help us afloat. She might have some excellent photographic evidence of our embarrassment but at least we managed to get off under our own steam.
We have just had a clear chat with Peter Semotiuk updating us on the weather forecast, which is currently favourable. We are reaching along beautifully at 7.5 knots.
We are bound for Herschel Island, which we should reach tomorrow afternoon. There is an abandoned community there as apparently a small museum. There is another shallow-water short cut called Workman's Passage. Not sure if we will be brave enough (or daft enough) to try it after today's little escapades!
Local knowledge tells us that we should start being able to see the northern lights (or Aurora Borealis which is a phrase that my speech impediment renders impossible for me to pronounce!) any night now. Apparently the best chances are on a clear, still night-so not tonight with reasonably strong easterly winds.