Going west, slowly
09 September 2010 | Beaufort Sea
Liz for Dermot
We are plugging away to windward. The wind is coming from the west- ie exactly where we want to go. As a result progress is slow and we are heading well north of the ice. Sailing to windward is not Young Larry's favourite, nor that of its crew. The wind isn't that strong so we aren't really complaining. In fact we have been pretty lucky not to have had too many headwinds. Unlike the Finnish boat Sarema who had head winds nearly all the way going west to east. Now they are in Baffin Bay but yesterday we heard that although the wind is now behind them, it was 50 knots!! That is a heck of a lot of wind.
According to today's forecast via Peter Semotiuk we should have slightly more favourable winds from tomorrow night.
When you are sailing into the wind it isn't that comfortable down below, so I predict a shorter blog today.
We are unequivocally into USA waters and flying the Stars and Stripes courtesy flag, not that there is anyone near us to notice. The ships clock has remained on Yukon time mainly because it is easier and there would be something not quite right about watch changes on odd as opposed to even hours.
We got some additional news from Peter Semotiuk yesterday on ship groundings in the Arctic. I have previously mentioned the Clipper Adventurer. The crew of Ariel IV knew him well and I gather he was very experienced and highly regarded. According to the news reports however the shoal that they it was known about and had been issued in the "Notices to Mariners". These are produced weekly and are updates to charts, list of lighthouse etc. They are all pretty turgid stuff but carry vital information and a big ship will receive little sympathy if they haven't taken notice of them. When you buy a chart it is supposed to be updated according to all latest notices. After that it is up the ship's master to ensure subsequent corrections are incorporated in the chart. There is going to be some soul searching going on somewhere. Depends when they brought their charts and who from. Interestingly when we were talking to the Hanseatic's navigation officer about this. Whilst they are at sea it is his job to incorporate updates to charts of places they are visiting. Every year they send all their charts away to be corrected. Navigation students often do this as a way of topping up their income. Also was nice to learn that all German ships use British Admiralty charts.
We also learnt that the Clipper Adventurer cruise chip is not the only one to have gone aground this season. A fuel barge is also stuck on a shoal near Gjoa Haven with 9 million litres of diesel, petrol and aviation fuel. Fortunately it isn't leaking any fuel and another barge is on its way to pump out its contents. Could play havoc with the communities it was supposed to be supplying who all rely on an annual delivery. Also once again shows the hazards of navigating big (and little) ships round here.
Not seen any ice yet, not even small growlers. Neither have we seen a Norwegian trimaran going in the opposite direction. They would be almost flying with this wind. In fact Peter tells us that we have passed each other without noticing.
I have finished reading David Mitchell's Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet which was great. Probably the best readof the journey but they have all been good. I don't ordinarily read enough at home so it is a pleasure to do some catching up. Now on the lighter Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, which is good passage making reading that doesn't require much intellectual investment
I was struggling to provide a picture given that we are 40 miles or more offshore and out of sight of even the big Alaskan mountain ranges. There really is not much to see out here. Sibeal then spotted that we had a stowaway who clearly has been blown a long way from where he should be.
Happy 50th birthday to Ed. Sorry will miss the party. Perhaps you can identify the bird hitching a lift when you have a moment!