So near. And yet so far?
11 September 2010 | 25 miles east of Point Barrow
We are making very good progress. Motoring-sailing, with a light SE wind from behind us to push us along to Barrow at a respectable 6 knots. At the current rate of progress we should get there about midnight or soon after.
It all then becomes a matter of if I can get off safely. Obviously if it stays like this I could. This morning╒s forecast is pretty similar to last night╒s. 25-knot winds rather than 30-knots but still in an onshore direction. I suppose it all depends upon when the change happens.
All in all makes us all a little nervous. Me, because I have to get off. Also however, Andre, Maire and Sibeal will have to deal with whatever winds are sent their way. At the moment it is looking pretty unpleasant heading towards the Bering Strait with headwinds forecast. The trouble is that it is coming to the end of the season and there is a limit to how long a boat can hang around waiting for better winds. Not only that, but on this coast there aren╒t really any decent ports of refuge where one could wait, even if you chose to.
I do feel bad at having to leave them, but I have no choice. Losing a quarter of the crew strength will impose a bigger burden on those remaining.
We did come across a very short band of ice, exactly where he Canadians had forecast and Andrew had plotted on the chart. Nothing to trouble us though.
As well as the potential difficulties in getting me ashore, we also have to negotiate with the US Customs and Immigration people to allow me to enter the country. Barrow is not an official port of entry. We are thinking about how best to approach this issue. The original plan was for us all enter the country in Nome but I now have to leave the boat in Barrow. One apparently can pay for a customs person to make a special trip from Fairbanks but that seems a little excessive.