"Egret" N4674 - Scott and Mary Flanders
Ed. note: On February 10, 2011, Scott and Mary Flanders, on board their Nordhavn 46, Egret, arrived in the Canary Islands. In doing so, Egret became the eighth Nordhavn to circumnavigate the globe. It had been four years, five months since the couple departed Gran Canaria, intent on seeing as much of the earth as possible, although not necessarily with an end goal to circle the globe. Voyage of Egret do cuments the Flanders’ entire trip, an endless adventure that has put them in touch with the most fabulous places and interesting people. Much route planning and forecasting was required in order to get to some of their ports of call. But the days of detailed planning are over…for now.“Egret” is now back in Fort Lauderdale, the place the couple called home for so many years, and, ironically, the starting point of their world wide cruising escapade that began with the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally in 2004. They currently travel hither and yon, sometimes by boat, sometimes not. Here, the latest update from the Flanders as they keep us continually apprised.
August 29, 2013
Position: 66 04.22N 2307.48W Isafjordur, West Fjords, Iceland
Hello mis amigos, the Egret crew has been exploring the south coasts of Iceland. Roger and Joan, formerly from N55 New Paige stopped by for a visit after dropping their daughter Paige off in Germany for a semester of school. The first day was a catch up on sleep day and putz around Reykjavik day in the drizzle. However, the next two days were special beyond special. We rented a SUV large enough for the five of us and off we went early in the morning misting rain heading for the wild, windswept south east coast.
Looking at the 3D post card photograph of Iceland (Island to locals) you can see the rugged coasts, its mountains, treeless interior plains and ice caps. Looking at it loosely it appears to be a dragon with the dragons head in the northwest fjord area of Vestifiroir; south of the West Fjords is the Snaefellsjoekull Peninsula dragons arm, and south of that is the Reykjanes Peninsula – dragons leg - where Reykjavik (Capitol of Iceland) is located. Iceland is the only country in Europe to have ice caps and you can see their scattered locations on the card.
If you had to describe Iceland in a single word it would be, volcanic. The entire landscape revolves around different ages of volcanoes. There are minor tremors every day of the year and every few years there is an eruption, like in 2010 when volcanic ash stopped North Atlantic air travel for a while. Some of the coastal mountains are cone type and others are worn variants of that. Some are carpeted in green and others are grey skree slopes with no vegetation. One of the first phenomenon’s we ran in to were chunks of volcanic lava that was thrown into the air in pieces from the size of a basketball to a wheelbarrow. It appears the bits were flash cooled in the air and landed in a carpet of razor sharp jumble of rock. In time those became carpeted in green moss.
We visited the small ice cap of Myrdalsjoekull on the SE corner and traveled inland on what the locals call the Golden Loop. This trip could be described as waterfalls and ice. During the 12 hour driving day we had just a bit of time to visit the Myrdalsjoekull Ice Cap and didn’t have time to visit the largest, Vatnajokull, another hour away. There was a gravel road and then a hike to the closest point of the ice cap that was covered in dirty ice from a retreating glacier. Still, Joan and Roger enjoyed the view.
The waterfalls were something from a trickle to large and majestic as well as one that was a bit different and one very special. The first waterfall is something different because you can walk behind the waterfall. Mary took this killer interior shot from behind the waterfall before her lens was fogged with water droplets.
The majestic waterfall was, well, majestic. Quite something. The volume of water flowing over the fall is really something. It rains a lot in Iceland and the water has to go somewhere but still, this waterfall must drain quite a large area of the interior. We’re seen winter photographs of the partially frozen waterfall and it is ………..you pick the words.
OK, so what’s wrong with this waterfall? A waterfall that isn’t falling? Here’s the deal. When we said the east coast is windy……it is. Big time windy in places. The water is being blown back up the fall. We saw this quite a bit in Chile but not this volume of water.
And now the last and most special waterfall photograph. Have you heard that at the end of the rainbow there is a pot of gold? There is. At the end of this small rainbow is a big pot of gold. Or at least my gold standard. Of course it is MS - My Sweetie.
So went the east coast drive between waterfalls, the ice cap and even a small geyser in a town named Geyser. Imagine that? The farming areas were held to hardy low crops because of the wind. However, there are famous Icelandic horses everywhere. In fact, there are 150,000 Icelandic horses in Iceland and many of those run wild in the interior. We met an American woman on a sailboat in Reykjavik who is a horse person. She said the Icelandic horses have a 5th gait that rides like a limousine because one hoof is always on the ground and the horse just glides along. The short and stocky Icelandic horses have a heavy flowing main, a long tail and during the winter, a heavy coat. In one area there were horses sheltering from the wind stacked up like a wind vane behind a single isolated rock.
The west coast is different. There is little wind and more rain. So far, the rain we experienced in Iceland isn’t a hard downpour but more of a steady light drizzle with a few heavier rains but overall it is just a heavy mist. It doesn’t slow down locals or European tourists nor the Egret crew. There is a lot of farming on the west coast during the short summer season. Fat Icelandic sheep are everywhere as well along with a few cattle and milk cows. Icelandic sheep are super prolific. New Zealand sheep for example typically have two lambs per birthing. Icelandic sheep have up to 6. Amazing, eh? Another interesting tidbit is they shear the sheep twice a year; once in the spring and once before winter. The sheep are kept inside during the winter but it is cold so they grow new wool asap to keep warm and Then the ^^%$#@^& farmers cut their winter’s work in the spring so it begins again. The wool is grown in two layers; a long heavy outer coat and a fine inner coat. It’s why when you come to Iceland someday in your own precious you have to buy Icelandic wool products.
The west coast is surrounded by jagged black cliffs with black volcanic sand beaches and a relentless swell from the southwest. As a boater it is not a place to go ashore by choice. Because of the weather and the black volcanic topography we made this photograph an ominous black and white, sorta like the coastline. However, this image represents more than a rugged coastline of basalt rock waiting to eat your precious. White of course represents good. Water is your friend. Black rocks are not. So I suppose you could say it is the difference between good and evil, right and wrong, living The Life of freedom and adventure or the Boring Usual, Boy Boat or Girl Boat, and so on. You get the picture.
Early on the west coast highway is a perfect example of an explosion volcano’s circular rim. We could have trekked inland for miles to see it closer. Are you mad? Why? 200 mm is close enough. At lunchtime we stopped at a traditional sod roofed restaurant for lunch. Part of the roof was peeled away by the weather exposing the first layer of used fish net to hold the dirt. Most of the folks ordered the traditional Icelandic stew of lamb, potatoes and vegetables. The rooster and his ladies in the photograph must supply the restaurant with eggs. Or perhaps the menu. Hummmm.
Obviously there is tons more information we would like to show in photographs to explain the story but we are limited so there will be more next time.
So let’s go offshore for a minute. The overnighter from Reykjavik to Isafjoerdur in the west fjord area was supposed to be a calm weather affair with no winds more than 15 knots and diminishing on arrival. It wasn’t. There are two interesting details worth mentioning. The first is a profusion of magnetic anomalies en-route. I suppose these are heavy iron areas that aren’t compass friendly. The first we encountered was a trip……literally. Egret was splashing along in 30 knots or so and all of a sudden she did a crazy Ivan and began turning to port big time. Like on a turntable big time. I was on watch and jumped up and hit the standby button on the Simrad autopilot to hand steer. Dick was in the salon reading and he ran to the pilothouse. Mary was down below sleeping and she came up as well. It took 20 minutes to get past the magnetic anomaly area marked on the chart and re-engage the autopilot. This was the most vivid of the anomalies but in large areas the heading was swinging 3 degrees at a time which is very rare; in fact, a first. Normally when you put in a waypoint, you turn the autopilot to the course on the gps, hit nav twice and the autopilot calculates set and drift over a few minutes. During this time the autopilot adjusts a degree at a time, not 3 degrees at a pop. So the boat was swinging wildly at times so our choice was to put up with it or hand steer. We’re lazy so we swung. So what?
The second detail was localized weather. OCENS grib files (http://www.ocens.com/) are usually accurate, particularly in the short term. Ocens called for light inland wind of a northerly component and offshore winds from the southwest. The southwest winds were to diminish overnight. That was fairy tale city. The 4 knots from the south west forecast at 1300 on Sunday was gusting up to 35 knots from the north. How can this be????? Water was going everywhere as Egret punched thru headseas at 3.8 to 4.5 knots. However, it was pretty cool. Dickiedoo had his girl camera pressed to the pilothouse glass taking videos of heavy spray bordering on Aquarium Glass for his mates back home. He got some great footage. So here’s the deal. There is a small ice cap at the tip of the Snaefellsjoekull Peninsula (dragons arm). The cold air flowing off the cap pulls the cold interior wind with it and flings it offshore. Yup, up to 35 knot gusts and at a steady 28-32 knots. We had this for hours creeping along trying to get past the ^%#@$^&* peninsula. In time she did and then we caught the current And tide and blasted along up to 9.1 knots to make up the difference. And then the wind fell as forecast so all was well.
Now its 0810 and we are rounding the peninsula into the Isafjardardjup Fjord and shortly we’ll be in the fishing village of Isafjordur. “Isafjordur is the principal trading and administrative centre for the Vestfirdir (West Fjords), with excellent facilities and communications, including an airport. Visiting yachts are recommended to go around into the inner harbour (Pollur) and berth in the NE corner alongside the tyre wall or a fishing boat, with permission. It is possible to anchor anywhere in Pollur clear of shipping. There are two or three hotels, a hospital, a swimming pool, museum, good shops and an excellent supermarket”*. So we’ll see in a bit.
*RCC Faroe, Iceland, Greenland guide by Willie Ker. ISBN 0 85288 765 5
Oh my, is Isafjordur way cool or what? First off we met Dori who took Egret’s lines on the short floating dock inside the inner harbor. Once we got Egret settled in we heard Dori’s story. He has a heavy, 48’ tough Taiwanese built ketch moored across the dock. An older Irish sailor sailed into Isafjordur, fell in love with the area and said “I’m going to spend the rest of my life here” and sold his boat to Dori three weeks ago. We told Dori we planned to stay here a while then move on to Akureyri for the winter as planned for over a year. Then he started selling Isafjordur. We listen to everyone’s enthusiasm, but we listen. It’s how we learn.
Later. OK, so here’s the deal. I’m going to cut off this VofE here because a lot has happened since we met Dori 3 days ago and his hard sell. We have tons more information and a few interesting photographs. But you’ll have to wait to hear about Petur, the wild and crazy trip to Akureyri by rental car, the Austrian and Swedish boats and the rest.
August 19, 2013
Position: 64 09.06N 21 56.01W Reykjavik Sailing Club, Brokey, Reykjavik , Iceland
Hello mis amigos, after arriving at the Brokey’s Yacht Club’s visitor pontoon and clearing customs, we were able to get a berth on the single YC pontoon so we have shore power (16amp - 240V – 50 cycle) and water. The charges are nominal for Iceland ; $2 - 1.5EU/meter per day for up to 6 days and $1.65 – 1.25EU for a longer stay. Electric is roughly $8.35 - 6.25EU/day. There are rest rooms, showers and free washers and dryers. Dick got the drier going after hours of trying to dry his clothes.
It rained the first two days in Reykjavik so we got caught up on boat chores and laundry. There was an American couple on s/v Exodus berthed next to Egret and typical of cruisers, they gave us the quick low down on town. They left a couple days later for Kinsdale , Ireland for the winter.
Then the exploring began. Is Reykjavik great or what? The tourist portion of the town is located near the waterfront which makes sense because it is the older part of town. Much of the waterfront is reclaimed land and it is much larger and more protected than it’s beginnings.
“ Iceland was first settled from Norway in the days of Harald Fairhair, son of Haldfan the Black. Ingolfur was a Norse man, who is truly said to have been the first to go from there to Iceland , when Harald Fairhair was sixteen winters old, and for the second time a few winters later he made his home in the south, at Reykjavik ”.
This information was written by Ari Porgilsson the Learned. Book of Icelanders, c. 1125 AD.
In one museum we ran across a copy of an early Norse alphabet called Rune. The lines were straight so they may be scratched in stone. Say, you could get a swell tattoo with your name carved and pigmented into your skin in ancient Norse. Or even name your new boat in Rune script. That would be fun on the VHF and with customs.
There are three main tourist streets. Close to the waterfront there are also a number of shops to relieve tourists from their pesos like this indoor flea market selling all types of stuff from el junko to new and used clothes and even food. This display shows new and used clothes.
I’ll try to mention this once and be done with it. Iceland is crazy expensive. Lunch the other day at a downscale bistro for 3 was $85USP. That’s steep for a couple hamburgers, fries, a bowl of fish chowder, 3 coffees and two sweets. Gasoline is $8.35U.S.P./gallon. It is what it is and if we want to be here, and we do very much, we just have to pay. However, according to the excellent Brandt Iceland Guide, the season is rapidly ending and pricing will drop to something more reasonable. End of subject.
One big tourist item is Icelandic sweaters. They are unique and are made in-country from Icelandic wool. Icelandic sheep have two unique layers; a very fine under layer and a coarse, long hair outer layer. I suspect before we leave Iceland we will have a couple. They come lined and unlined. We’ll get the lined windbreaker type.
One iconic Reykjavik attraction is the Solfar or Sun Voyager on the waterfront. The artist designed an abstract version of a Viking ship framing out of solid stainless steel. It is absolutely stunning when you see it in soft evening light. Mary and I have made multiple trips to try and capture the essence of the sculpture in a photograph. So far I’m finding that the typical busy, colorful sunset background takes away from the sculpture. Plain background seems to work best on a color shot and a dramatic sky on a black and white shot. Two versions are here.
Egret is berthed behind the Harpa, a cultural/convention center whose walls are made of linked glass panels that are double paned inside and out. In the first photo you can see Egret thru the glass and the window cleaners using mountain climbing gear to do their job. The inside and roof of the building are the same panels. I’ve never seen anything like it. Inside was an art exhibit of large replicas of ordinary tools from ye ol’ tymes. One pair of items are pastry stamps unearthed in Pompeii from the first century AD.
At the end of one tourist street is the Hallgrimskirkju, a modern church that is another Reykjavik icon. The statue to the side was presented in 1930 to the people of Iceland by the U.S. The inscription reads:
Hummmm, weren’t all Americans taught that Christobal Colon – Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492? I guess they forgot St Brendan too. Perhaps there really is a Tooth Fairy or an Easter Bunny, or…….
We got an e-mail the other day from Roger and Joan, formerly from N55 New Paige. We met Roger, Joan and Paige – 11 at the time – in Tahiti and were together to New Zealand . RJ&P also visited by helicopter during Egret’s winter cruise in Stewart Island , NZ. We last saw NP in Palma , Balearic Islands . Paige is entering school in Germany. R&J checked the VofE blog, saw we arrived in Reykjavik and fired off an e-mail asking if we were still here. We’ll stay so they are coming tomorrow night to visit for a few days before heading home to Canada . What a great surprise!!
So that’s early Egret exploring in Reykjavik . There is a lot more to come over the next weeks as we discover this great country. Incidentally, Iceland isn’t a small country. It is the size of Ireland but it only has 310,000 people. During the summer there are more tourists than locals. With just a minor amount of meandering between Reykjavik and Egret’s winter port of Akureyri , it is over 400nm.
August 15, 2013
Position: 60 03.40N 43 10.26W Meteorological station at the east end of Prince Christian Sound , Greenland .
This VofE posting is being sent from the weather station. They were kind enough to let us use their internet connection. Kudos to the Greenlanders and the Danish.
OK, we didn’t get to send this posting from the weather station. Long story, couldn’t get Yahoo to work on their wifi. It is being sent from Reykjavik , Iceland .
Hello mis amigos, geesh, where do we start? What a day, eh? So, first with the mundane. We checked internet fuel prices in Iceland and diesel is crazy expensive. So we did what squeakers do, filled two bladders plus refilled the little we burned in the port tank heading up and down the fjord. The savings is around $800 U.S.P., not bad for a minor inconvenience.
So after fueling we said goodbye to Nanortalik and headed along the coast for a short 18nm hop before entering the fjord system that will take Egret thru Prince Christian Sound to the east coast bypassing super dangerous Cape Farwell . The trip began in moderate fog with vis varying from 1/4nm to 1/2nm. Big Ice was EVERYWHERE. Not like before, but everywhere. During one patch of 1/2nm vis, Dick counted 51 bergs, some the size of small hospitals. A few were the size of a large hospital. Of course we kept two cameras blazing and couldn’t get enough. Each berg was even more special than the last. Nevertheless, our favorite ice shots came from the evening before at the dock during the last bit of daylight. The sun took turns lighting individual icebergs, each more spectacular than before.
Closing with the entrance of the fjord we began seeing patches of blue sky above the fog. Then a little more. And more. When the fog somewhat lifted at the entrance to the fjord, there is no place in Egret’s travels that was more spectacular. None. Anywhere. There isn’t any better cruising per day than here. However, it is a very short season with a big commitment and a long return to Europe or somewhere in North America with winterable weather. Patagonia still remains king only because you may stay as long as you wish without a weather penalty.
Once in the fjord we slowed to 1200 rpm so we wouldn’t miss a thing. There was no hurry. You don’t leave fish to find fish. And so on. There was no running to waypoints. It was all hand steering around the ice. Along the way there were two waterfalls with deep water right to the rocks. So we chose the smaller of the two, made a slow pass to make double sure there was no underwater rocks and went back into the middle of the fjord to drift and get ready. Mary and Dick strung all 6 big inflatable Aere fenders along the stbd side floating in the water. Then we rigged a small grapnel from the dinghy to throw ashore as a breast line to hold Egret tight to the rocks (there was no wind and little current). So we bumped in and out of gear and laid Egret gently against the rocks. Dick took the garden hose and a small funnel and climbed up the rocks, tied the hose off to a rock and set the funnel below a small waterfall. Water gushed out of the hose. It was magic. In no time the tank was full of crystal clear ice water and we even filled a 5 gallon pail for washing salt off the stainless if that comes to be. Did we need water? Yea, well sorta. We did it because we could. Was that cool or what?
Earlier that morning we received an e-mail from Rolf, the Swiss boater and climber saying he was at a tiny “romantic” Inuit village of Augpilagoq , part way into the fjord. So we headed in that direction. After taking on water and nearing the turn to the village we saw something unimaginable. A cruise ship anchored in the fjord across from the village!! Amazing. The small cruise ship Soleal with 175 aboard was returning tourists in rubber boats from the 100 person village to the cruise ship. It was a new ship, flagged French with a French crew that specializes in luxury adventure cruising. Tomorrow they head to Nuuk, Greenland to rotate passengers and then plan to transit the NW Passage.
Rolf was still at the dock, so after getting the lines and fenders ready in the fjord, we bumped in and out of gear into the very narrow entrance that opened into a small basin. 60 08.94N 44 17.27W There is room for a single boat at the dock so we rafted off Rolf and took a long separate line ashore behind the boat so we both could hang on it and take the strain off Rolf’s boat. (It was puffing in the low 20’s) Rolf and his climbing buddy Harald came over for a touch of red and we chatted away for a couple hours. Rolf and Harald climbed two rock faces today near the village. One was a short, sheer rock face with a slight outward bulge. The local kids knew a passageway thru a crevice and met them at the top.
One thing we are learning is how popular Greenland is with climbers. Apparently it is on most serious climbers’ to-do list. However, the best climbs with the fewest summits and even unclimbed peaks – every climbers dream – are only available by boat or helicopter* for the most part. We met an Irish adventure charter boat the other night and they had 6 aboard and earlier while farther up north, they had 10 on board. The remaining 6 consisted of the captain, a still photographer, a movie cameraperson, a geologist and two climbers. They have taken hours of ‘film’ and hope to produce a documentary.
*Helicopters are a way of life in Greenland because there are no roads between villages and much of the year the small high speed ferrys can’t run between villages because of weather or ice. There are even RPT – Regular Public Transport, helicopter routes with 6-8 person helicopters. Harald took a flight from a small village airport farther north to Nanortalik. The cost was only 120EU, quite nominal for a helicopter flight.
So tomorrow we’ll visit downtown Augpilagtoq to see what’s whipping. We have already been told about the grocery store. They sell rifles, Iridium phones, groceries and whatever. Harald bought a rifle because he hasn’t been able to buy ammunition for the rifle he brought from Austria . They plan to climb around 150nm north up the east coast and polar bears are a very big issue, particularly this time of year when the ice has retreated and the bears are ashore. More to follow.
The grocery store was like a Greenlandic Target with a bit of everything like Rolf and Harald said. Rifles, ammunition, Iridium phones, groceries, clothes, household goods and so on. Later while walking the town we heard a helicopter. It turned out to be the mail andpassenger helicopter. Walking near the town dock for small skiffs and outboards, there is not a single boat here over 20’ – most are 16’ – 18’, We saw an exposure suit with a very rusty rifle lying on top. The heavy suit and rifle describes this village from the past to today. One person said it best; “polar bears are their cattle, seals are their sheep and fish are their chickens”. Well said and now we have learned more, very true. Near the dock was a fisherman with 3 fish in a plastic tub along with a hand scale and a knife. One fish was still moving which he held up for a photo. He said by pointing to his teeth they are toothfish. As you can see from the photo, the fish has a large head and a tapered body with a soft fin from behind its head to the tail, both top and bottom. If we had any Danish Kroner left we would have bought a filet to give it a try and to help him out. After we didn’t buy any he left so I hope he didn’t set up shop for our sake.
Later we met the local “temporary school teacher”. He spoke some English and when Dick asked how long was temporary, he said 1 year. We should have asked how many students he had but we didn’t think of it. The school is the size of 4-5 local homes.
As we walked around town the folks all nodded or said hie (hi) or hello. They are super friendly folks and the kids all seemed happy. So we walked the town twice during the day, bought oven fresh Danish pastries from the grocery store (we waited while they put icing on top) and those yummy goodies disappeared at morning coffee and afternoon tea. They take plastic here so perhaps tomorrow before we leave we’ll get another few. Well OK, perhaps more than a few.
The local ferry is supposed to arrive at 1920 this evening, about an hour and a half from now. There are pallets banded together on the dock along with empty beer bottles in crates and pallets of empty propane bottles. There is only one space on the dock with enough water. Rolf had a ferry raft next to him and the passengers climbed ashore over his boat. Hopefully it will be the same ferry and they will do the same and not a larger ferry to take the pallets of stuff. If that is the case we will have to move off and raft off them. Even that won’t be easy because there is a diagonal line with floats to help keep ice away from the small boats, and as wide as Egret is plus the ferry, there won’t be much room. Of course the sea breeze is puffing so anyhow, we’ll see soon. More to follow.
Later. When a group of men showed up at the dock near arrival time, we knew it wasn’t a small passenger ferry that could raft off. Previously we started the HLL (Happy Little Lugger) to put some heat in the engine, just in case. We asked one of the dock fellows if it was a big boat or a little boat. Big boat. So off we went with a long shore line and anchored across the way on a very short scope. Sure enough, in came an antique coastal freighter and an hour and a half later it was unloaded and on its way. The dock crew and offloading/loading crews were well choreographed and no motion was lost. Later we re-docked and all was well.
Egret departed Augpilagtoq after a quick trip to the grocery store for fresh bread and pastries; the bread was still warm but no pastries, and then headed for the weather station dock at the eastern end of Prince Christian Sound . After leaving, every mile was better than the last. There are glaciers on top of the mountains every little bit. So far none have come down to the water. Ice is moving at a slow walk in the current. It is spectacular.
A few minutes ago, Egret hit 3,280nm since leaving Ft Lauderdale last April. So it seems like a long way, eh? Let’s take a look at perspective. The trip began in FLL, offshore to the Mid Atlantic coast, into the Intracoastal Waterway to the Chesapeake, offshore to Block Island, Nantucket, Boston and then to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. After a bit more cruising Nova Scotia came the west coast of Newfoundland to the top then over to Labrador and up the Labrador coast a bit then over to Greenland and now nearly across the southern tip of Greenland . 3,280nm. Early September, 2010, Egret departed Fremantle , Western Australia for Mauritius , an island off the east coast of Madagascar . That trip was 3,365nm and took 23 days. So that’s perspective. That’s the size of the Indian Ocean . The world is so small at the top, looking at a map what appears to be a major voyage from Greenland to Iceland is just 4 ½ days. And 5 ½ days to Bergen , Norway next year from the east coast of Iceland .
Now let’s add a twist. Let’s look at risk. There is less risk on a voyage from Fremantle to Mauritius than from Labrador to Greenland to Norway even though the nautical miles are minimal in comparison. This is why I keep ragging on safety and putting in the miles before moving into Big Ice and Big Wind territory.
Some hours later. We have been running from the flybridge, but have returned to the pilothouse for lunch so I’ll pound out a few words from the past miles. The temps are in the mid 50’sF – 44C, the sun is out, no fog and few clouds. Just about perfect.
Never has it been more apparent how glaciers work. The entire fjord is a study in glacier ice erosion. The fjord is glacier dug. I would say its average depth is 700’ – 218m. One spot just ahead is 1414’ or 442m. How much ice would it take to scour a hole 1414’ deep in very solid rock? How many miles high would the ice have to be? Some of the mountains along the way have moraine debris on their Tops. On each side it is easy to see the trenches dug by more glaciers that retreated into the distance. (We are going by a glacier now that reaches the fjord. At the base is lotsa small bits of brash ice that is drifting along the edge heading east – Egret’s direction). One spot a couple miles back had 9 small glaciers on the same side within a half mile or so. Years ago, these small pockets of glacial ice would be one solid sheet of ice. The huge bergs in the fjord didn’t originate from inside the sound. These came from northern eastern Greenland and were swept by the wind or tide into the fjord and will ultimately melt here in the fjord.
The water temps are the coldest they have been so far on this trip. The only way we have to measure water temp is the backside of the Naiad cooling pump sea strainer. The head is bronze and we use a temp gun to measure the backside of the bronze head away from the engine. Of course I could lift a floorboard and measure the temp at the inlet seacox but I’m too lazy. Or of course I could Pay for a proper water temperature gauge but I’m too, let’s say – thrifty. Or I suppose you could say cheap and be done with it.
It appears we are back on track for Forum Questions – (n.com – VofE site). We received two the other day. (Forum questions were lost to spam for a year). If you would like to write in with a question we will send a reply. Write to: firstname.lastname@example.org and Jenny will forward it to Egret. Also, if you would like to write specifically to Mary, just say so and she will send a reply. Don’t think a question is too simple because we all start somewhere and there is no wrong question. Just remember, VofE is Boat Kid rated.
We are getting close to the time to make the crossing. We wrote OMNI Bob to keep an eye out for a good window to make the crossing. We have no schedule so we’ll wait until good weather then the little lady will beat feet northeast.
Back to Prince Christian Sound . From a distance it appears bergs have blocked the fjord. I’m sure not. We’ll see in a bit.
Later. The pass thru the ice was no biggie and just beyond the Big Ice was a cut to the east with a giant glacier at its head. So we chugged in Very Slowly anticipating a moraine barrier but found no less than 425’ of water. We didn’t lay against the ice for a shot but it was spectacular with different fingers connecting to a common blue snout making its way into the water. The glacier was super blue near the water on the verticals and there were a number of ice caves under the overhangs. I will say, only a super dib bulb would try to get close to the ice.
Docking at the weather station – 60 03.40N 43 10.26W - at the eastern end of Prince Christian Sound is a lesson in believing the Willie Ker – RCC Guide. It says you MUST dock on the north facing dock. Youbetcha. One big advantage of a flybridge is cases like this. Mary and Dick were on the foredeck with lines and fenders ready. There is a set of range markers to guide boats in from the sound. You Must Have Patience before turning into the dock. The north facing dock is short, so the aft spring is the first line ashore. The approach has serious underwater rocks to port and the NW facing dock has boomies as well. So it is a One Boat deal unless there are two, sub 50’ sailboats. There is a bail out anchorage close by if the dock is ice bound that requires careful navigation and two shore lines.
So anyhow, Egret docked without issue and after shutting down we climbed the 286 steps plus the entrance ramp with the Greenlandic Air Force – giant mosquitoes – hurrying us along. Earlier, on the way in we called the weather station on VHF 09 and asked permission to dock and to come up to the station and meet the folks. Yes and yes. So up the steps we went and were met by a pack of barking dogs. OK, so I was in the lead and then a fellow appeared at the top and I sorta figured if we were to be dinner he would let us know. So the dogs retreated and up we went and met Lars and Lars.
Here’s a snapshot of the meteorological station details. There are 5 men normally stationed at the center that rotate on a 4 month on – 4 month off schedule: 2 technicians, one engineer to take care of the 8 generators, 2 maintenance men and 1 cook. The first Lars we met lives in Ankara , Turkey during his off time and others live in Greenland and some back in Denmark . At the time there happened to be 7 at the station and I don’t know what their duties are but they seem to being to set up more electrical stuff. None are meteorologists. The station serves several functions. One is an aviation repeater station for transatlantic flights and the second is for the Greenlandic repeater station for shipping. There are antenna farms everywhere and satellite dishes and domes and, and, etc. The majority of supplies including food come in twice a year by supply ship; once during the summer and in December. Crew changes and fresh food are via helicopter. Originally the base was built by the Americans after WWII.
Four weeks ago they had a polar bear on the dock, one of 4 this year that was sighted and there were more tracks. Last year they had one polar bear. We asked if they carry guns when working outside and they do. We saw the rifles lined up in a small room. Each year they have between 11 and 16 private boats stop by, either coming from Europe or heading to Europe or the east coast of Greenland . We recognized a few of the boat names in the visitor’s log going back to 2009. None we know personally except Rolf who left today, but we have heard of them.
OMNI Bob wrote right back and said that there may be a chance to leave for Iceland on Saturday. So we’ll see. In the meantime, Mary found a bomb proof anchorage at the head of Lindenow Fjord. We’ll head there tomorrow (Friday).
The next VofE will come from sea.
(So, if you are wondering why we are running the engine in gear at the dock right now its because we were attacked by an iceberg about the size of a house. It slowly drifted in last night with the wind and tide, grounded and at high tide early this morning it kept creeping closer. Of course it blocked the entire narrow channel to leave. The prop wash has moved the ice out of the way enough so we will leave after sending this posting. It isn’t always super easy. Ask Dick. He stood ice watch all night from the salon)
Later before leaving. We found we could actually steer the berg using the rudder to send prop wash one way or another. The berg was not a problem when leaving.
Egret the anchorage at 0345 local. There was Big Ice close to shore under way we reported previously from sea. The balance of the trip was a downhill ride with increasing winds the last day then relative calm before arrival.
Egret arrived Reykjavik , Iceland at 0500 Greenland local time – 0700 Iceland time. The trip took 4 days, one hour and fifteen minutes or 97.25 hours so the average speed was 6.54 knots and she got around 3.25nm/U.S.Gallon. We are berthed at the Brokey Yacht Club in downtown Reykjavik . We called Port Control on VHF12 and they called Customs. Customs came by and after filling a number of forms Egret is checked into Iceland for a year. No problem. Nice guys and very professional. Tomorrow the exploring begins.
August 13, 2013
Position: 63 46.37N 25 53.68W
Time: 1200 local - UTC-3 Actually this is the reporting time. Iceland is UTC-2 except during summer so it now UTC-1.
Seas: 2m swells with 2'- of wind chop on top.
Heading: 89 degrees M - 73 degrees T
Set & Drift: 5 degrees to port
Wind speed: 17.7 knots
Wind direction: SSE
Speed: 6.5 knots
NM Traveled: 526.9 nm
NM To Go: 108.2 nm
Hello mis amigos, it is 2130 Monday evening. The seas are still kind and the front OMNI Bob predicted hasn't overun us yet. So that's good. Egret has been running faster than predicted so we thought we would have to slow considerably Tuesday evening to make a daylight arrival on Wednesday. However, in the last few minutes the speed has dropped to 5.9 to 6.0 knots because of some current. The set and drift is only 6 degrees so it must be a current eddy of some type.
Tuesday noon., Arrival will be early Wed morning. The seas picked up as OMNI Bob forecast. However, they are on the beam and the Naiads are only turned less than half way to max. There is a fair amount of wave slap but no salt on the glass. It has been misting rain off and on which helps keep the boat clean. Speed has been all over the place with hours over 7 knots, times around 6 knots and now at 6.5 knots.
When we get internet access in Reykjavik, we'll send off the last posting with photos from Greenland and a little bit about arrival.
August 11, 2013
Position: 61 57.00N 37 03.24W
Time: 1200 local - UTC-3
Seas: 1 1/2 - 2m swells with very little chop.
Heading: 83 degrees M - 65 degrees T
Set & Drift: 7 degrees to port.
Wind speed: 1.2 knots variable
Wind direction: Variable
Speed: 6.7 knots
NM Traveled: 200.9 nm
NM To Go: 434.4nm
Hello mis amigos, today is Egret's second day at sea. The winds and seas diminished during the night and currently the swells are reduced to 1 1/2 - 2m. The wind chop is nearly gone to the point at times being slicked off. The wind is variable coming from here and there at less than 5 knots. There was persistant fog of varying density during the day and last night. The running lights have been on since leaving. This morning the fog abated and currently it is overcast with a light haze. The temps outside are probably in the mid 50'sF, around 44C. There has been no ice since relatively close to shore, no shipping, no more whales, only birds.
Speed has been an up and down affair from a low of 5.6 knots and a rare 7.4 knots. As you can see from the set and drift numbers from yesterday to today - 12 degrees to port to 7 degrees to port - the southbound East Greenland Current is diminishing. Approaching Iceland there is a north bound current that should make up for any speed loss early on. I imagine we will average around 6.5 knots for the trip and getting a little over 3nm/U.S.Gallon.
We are taking short 3 hour watches because there are three of us so its like being on vacation from normal sea travel. Mary has been turning out her usual great meals and life is good.
By the way, when in different countries we begin VofE with the appropriate Hello.......mis amigos. However for Iceland it is impossible. Iceland has a different alphabet and the greeting is different between male and female. So anyhow, most Icelandic folks speak English as a second language so Hello mis amigos it is.
August 10, 2013
Position: 60 48.67N 41 46.73W
Time: 1200 local - UTC-3
Seas: 2m swells with a little chop. Quite comfortable over the stbd stern quarter.
Heading: 80 degrees M - 63 degrees T
Set & Drift: 10 degrees to port.
Wind speed: 6.2 knots
Wind direction: SSE
Speed: 6.4 knots
NM Traveled: 49nm
NM To Go: 586.9nm
Hello mis amigos, Egret is under way for Reykjavik, Iceland. The trip should take 4 1/2 days or less. Egret departed this morning (Sat) at 0345. In reality we had enough light to leave at 0315 but we slept in. Of course it was a beautiful sunrise, a few whales were feeding off to the stbd side and the seabirds including a flock of puffins were doing their deal. There was a fair amount of Big Ice - REAL Big Ice offshore but there were almost no smaller pieces once we left the fjord. So now its foggy with vis at 1/4nm. The seas you can read at the top and it is quite comfortable. Mary fixed a big breakfast of bacon, eggs and home made toast. She is sitting in the pilothouse with me and Dickiedoo is in the salon reading a Bruce Chatwin book about Patagonia. So all is well.
Now let's back up to what happened the past few days. Egret spent last night at a weather station at the eastern end of Prince Christian Sound. A lot happened there including an all night ice watch to make sure a house size berg didn't try to share Egret's space. Early Friday morning it was high tide and the berg was getting closer. Whether it hit the swim platform or not, when the tide swung it would grounded and block our retreat. So we started the main, put it in gear at 900rpm. The prop wash stopped the advance and in time the berg began to reverse course. Over the next hour we found we could actually steer the berg by using the rudder. Pretty cool and we were able to leave without incident.
The bad news is the folks at the weather station said we could use their internet. I spent a couple hours rewriting the VofE we were to send via the Iridium phone, and included photos. To make a very long story short, their wifi wouldn't let my yahoo account work. So we have a complete posting with lotsa stuff we'll send on arrival in Iceland.
The trip along the east coast of Greenland to tonight's anchorage was a rock and roll deal with large swells coming ashore from a storm out to sea. By now you are probably getting tired of my 'golly gee's' but golly gee, what another day at sea and the inland route to the anchorage. The bergs are even Larger. The inland passage was absolutely choked with bergs to the point we had to turn around and try another entrance to make it to the anchorage. 60 25.88N 43 19.22W (check it out - pretty cool) Even this entrance was full of bergs but fortunately it was deep and we could see rocks from the flybridge glowing light green so we could squeeze between the grounded ice and shore.
TK went down in 40' and we fired out 100' plus snubber. I know its a short scope but there is little room to swing, we could be attacked by ice and have to move, plus we laid the chain over a number of rocks. Fortunately the rocks here are smooth and won't snag the chain.
There are glaciers in every direction. The ice cap is just out the pilothouse windows. Golly gee.
So that's it about Greenland. More to follow.
To: Captain Flanders - M/Y EGRET 1
Fm: O.M.N.I./USA www.oceanmarinenav.com
1100UTC 09 AUG 2013
Captain, thanks for the update and request.
Currently the SE-E coast of Greenland is between two low pressure systems. The one low is expected to move toward Iceland today and gradually weaken as it moves east of the area. This leaves a ridge of high pressure extending N-NW toward the coast of Greenland.
To the west/south a new low pressure area is expected to begin organizing across the NE/U.S. today into Sat/am, then steadily gains stength as it moves NE across southern Labrador during Sat. However, this low should move more northward into the Labrador Sea rather than continue a NE heading toward southern Greenland through Sun and Mon where it stall. The low should remain in the southern to central Labrador Sea through Tue/13th while continuing to weaken.
With the low continuing to weaken, this should allow the high ridge that extends toward eastern Greenland to continue doing so through Sunday and into Monday. However the ridge will gradually weaken and drift eastward toward Iceland through Tue/1200UTC.
With the broad/weakening low center well to the west and high pressure riding moving eastward across the open waters between Greenland and Iceland, a mostly SSW-WSW wind/sea pattern should develop and prevail to Icleand during Sat-Wed.
Outlook data does suggest a new frontal system approaching from the west during Thu/0000UTC, but it should weaken before reaching western Iceland between Thur/1800UTC-Fri/0600UTC. Even if it does, the prevailing wind/sea pattern should remain aft of the beam to following.
Therefore, based on your expected/able departure from eastern Greenland Sat/11th-am direct to Iceland expect:
Wind: Improving and backing through the day: NW-SW 15-20kts to 10-15kts.
Sea: Tend to subside with the easing winds; 4-6ft early, 3-4ft during Sat/pm.
Swell: Lingering NNE-N swells 5-7ft to start, tending to subside and mix with a more SW-SSW swell through Sat/night; 4-6ft
Wind: WSW-SW 10-18kts. Winds could back more SW-S during Sun/pm.
Swell: Tening more WSW-SW 4-6ft during the day. Combined following seas upto 7-8ft possible during the day.
Wind: Range WSW-SSW 10-18kts
Swell: SW-SSW 5-7ft, upto to 6-8ft through the day, 8-10sec.
Wind: WSW-SW: 15-20kt, gusty at times.
Swell: SSW-SW 6-8ft 8-11sec period
Wed/14 (arrival early)
Wind: Continue to range WSW-SW 12-20kts
Swell: SSW-SW 6-8ft, 8-11sec period.
We will continue to watch this pattern closely and update. Please advise your departure including lat/long and daily position report/weather while underway. B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI
August 5, 2013
Position: 60 08.40N 45 14.25W Nanortalik, Greenland
Hello mis amigos, Greenland is really, really special. We have lotsa information from a number of sources we’ll pass along. First I would like to mention what is super important once again. I do this continually because what is NOT my goal is to encourage someone to go wherever when they are not ready and haven’t acquired the skills. Once you have a number of miles, including long stretches of coastal miles, the south and west coasts of Newfoundland are well within your ability. The east coast I would rate like Labrador’s skills. Weather forecasting from NOAA is accurate; the runs are short day hops except for an overnighter from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland. The south and west coast of Newfoundland are by far the easiest cruising. The Fjord coast in SE Newfoundland is really good and you can read the VofE information from Egret’s travels last August. This year you may follow the VofE’s as Egret marched up the west coast of Newfoundland.
Labrador takes different skills…….. much more seamanship skills, weather tolerance at sea, better equipment like a Big Anchor and shore lines. Cruising Labrador you must be even more cautious, particularly the farther north you travel. Charting becomes sketchy, ice is an issue and the winds are stronger.
Greenland is in an entirely different league. The skills you need in Greenland come only after more than a few years and a lot of miles, not just coastal miles. But when you have done the miles, learned the skills, Greenland is magic. Obviously we have little practical Greenland experience but we have talked to a few that have tremendous experience and we’ll pass along what we have heard. Labrador ice rides south on the Labrador Current. Greenland ice begins life on the east coast of Greenland, rides the current south then sweeps around Cape Farwell and heads north. This means SW Greenland where Egret is today just opened in the last week for example. Three Scandinavian sailboats were trapped 20nm from where Egret is today for a week in ice that blocked their exit from an anchorage they chose to sit out weather. Today the west coast of Greenland is clear quite a way north except for icebergs. Even the east coast is clear for a way north, which in normal years is super loaded with pack ice. The experienced Greenland cruisers head north first, usually to Disko Bay, Nuuk or the like during early season like June for example, then work their way south and depart roughly mid August back to Labrador, Newfoundland or east to Europe. Personally, I wouldn’t want to have any runs of any consequence after September, 1st. Day hops between systems are OK, just not at sea.
For the past couple days we have been exploring Nanortalik. One nice surprise was the cluster of museum buildings. After paying a nominal fee, our Inuit tour guide, David, took Mary, Dick and I on a tour. The buildings are stone from the 1800’s Danish contingent. Each building has a different theme; fishing, clothes, mineralogy, whaling, a bakery and a low winter hut that was occupied until 1978. The winter hut has a 5’ high entrance way, a very low ceiling to contain the heat, a long sleeping bench for around 10 folks and a small cast iron pan to hold coal with a single pot over the pan. In the corner there is a water barrel and pitcher and a chamber pot. David said the girls washed their hair from the chamber pot continents. Yuk!
Speaking of girls or women, here is how ladies fit into old tyme Inuit society. If a man gives his woman an angry stare and stays away for 2 days, the woman leaves with the children and doesn’t come back. If he wants another woman he just goes and gets one and drags her away kicking and screaming. The other folks stand by passively because a woman is supposed to put up a fuss. If he want another man’s wife and he’s bigger, he just takes her. Rumor has it, East Greenland women try to marry West Greenland men because if “hunger is with him” the East Greenland lady ends up in the pot. To protect herself, she keeps 3-4 men. So my dear Admirals, perhaps your man isn’t so bad after all if he forgets to pick up his socks, leaves the cap off the toothpaste and doesn’t try to stuff you into the cooking pot if there is nothing in the fridge.
After the different house tours, David showed us a silent film with a plot about as thick as water. Hummm, let’s see, Tough Guy Dude (TGD) does daring deeds (of course strutting and posturing the entire time), TGD chases a polar bear in his kayak, the polar bear climbs on different ice floes then TGD spears Nanuuk (polar bear) while it is swimming (you can actually see all this in the film), when Mr Bear is dispatched he ties it next to the kayak and paddles to some dude’s digs to trade the dead bear for a live woman. So after a communal feast of bear meat he chooses the heroine whose eyes are full of tears in one shot and not in the next, then tears, etc. Of course the heroine doesn’t want to go so he carries her kicking and screaming and ties her to the top of his sealskin kayak facing aft, climbs in and splits. A Bereaved Fellow follows TGD with his former woman, paddling his kayak like crazy to catch up. When BF gets close, he throws a spear which somehow ends up stuck in his own kayak and he disappears down to the Dark Place while TGD paddles away with his new woman. All the while, David is lapping all this up while the dramatic music score is blaring. Great fun.
Later in the afternoon, Egret had a visitor. Here is Dick pushing an uninvited guest away with an ice pole.
One evening we had the local Danish policeman and his girlfriend over after dinner. We heard quite a few stories, some of which were not good I won’t repeat*, but it was an interesting evening and also heard about police work back home in Denmark. We plan to visit Denmark during Egret’s clockwise tour of Scandinavia.
I will remark about her opinion of local education. She works as a social worker at the local clinic. She said the educational level is “shocking”. If a student begins to get behind in basic studies, they drop Danish and English. Only the brightest students go away to the big cities like Quqortoq (pop 3200), or Nuuk, the capitol. Once in the big city, they don’t return.
Two days ago we met a young Swiss single hander in an aluminum sailboat he raced in the OSTAR, a single handed race to Newport, and after finishing the race and catching his breath, he ran direct from Newport to Nanortalik (Greenland). Rolf has a friend that came today and they plan some climbing before leaving the boat in Iceland for the winter. We had Rolf over last night for dinner and just after dinner we were enjoying a touch of red when we saw running lights. A German boat with two aboard asked to raft off Egret so of course we offered them a splash of red as well so they joined the group and we talked way into the next morning. The Germans are on a 3 month whirlwind tour of SW Greenland before heading back to Germany.
Bernd, the owner of the German boat, left the boat farther north and flew to Disko Bay for a few days. He said he took a tour of a glacier that calves 50 meters – 160’, of glacier ice per day. That’s lotsa ice.
Egret fueled today. She took 1384 liters at 6.11 Kroner per liter (roughly 5K = 1 U.S.P.) plus we had to pay Niels at the Tourist Office, 5% to use his credit card. The fuel station only takes Danish cards. So, 1384 liters, 364.21 U.S. Gallons, cost around $4.64/U.S.G. +5% - $4.87. I’ll check on the internet to see the price of Iceland fuel and if it is hyper expensive, we may fill a couple bladders before we leave.
So today after fueling we left the dock together and went to the iceberg graveyard in Nanortalik’s outer harbor for some ice shots. Mary went with Rolf to photograph Egret and I was on Egret’s bow photographing the two boats while Dick ran the boat. Well, we got some really great shots of the sailboats, and Mary took this one of Egret. So that was fun. After, we went around the corner and cruised up super spectacular Tasermiut Fjord, previously called Ketils Fjord. The fjord is 33nm long reaching the Greenland Ice Cap at the end. The jagged mountains along the way have small glacier pockets here and there along with residual snow. We’ll visit that tomorrow. Tonight, Egret is anchored in a keyhole anchorage with a small farm growing whatever sheep eat during the winter. This time of year the lower hills and flats are green with short vegetation. In fact, there are Very long hair sheep feeding just a few hundred feet from Egret as she sits on anchor. There is a deep, green valley at the head and beyond that is a tiny sliver of forest with Greenland’s only trees growing in a narrow valley. Unfortunately, the ‘forest’ can’t be reached without a big hike for hours. We don’t need to see a tree that bad. At the head of the anchorage is a small Inuit village with well kept colorful houses.
While anchored in the keyhole, we made water while charging the batteries. Mary and Dick watched a silly girl movie so I didn’t bother. Of course that is good because this is where VofE’s come from. Anyhow, what I was trying to say is the water is the purest we have ever made anywhere. Dick said he could see two markers, 25’ between markers, down the anchor chain. The fjords are super deep. Even the keyhole is deep. It is up to 525’ in places and nearing shore it goes from around 400’ to 60’ in a very short distance. Mary dropped TK on a flat shelf at 40’, fired out a ton of chain and we swung into deep water. During the night the wind was less than 3 knots.
OK, so today was picture day. While Mary was raising TK some interesting clouds came over and we took this snap. Then around the corner we came across this baby berg. So we took another snap with my favorite model. Is she a beauty or what? Then along the way, running at a whopping 1200 rpm sipping fuel, we snapped a couple more approaching the end. At the end of the fjord was the Greenland Ice Cap. We were lucky enough to catch it early in the morning while the mist was still crossing the glacier in colorful layers. Was this special or what? The glacier that extended down from the ice cap is retreating but apparently it has only begun somewhat recently. There is no moraine barrier at the end, just solid rock. However, just before the Ice Cap on the stbd side is a glacier in full retreat. Egret is anchored off the moraine barrier at the end of the retreating glacier for the evening. This photo gives a sense of the bigness of Greenland. It also shows a classic glacier retreat. The retreat is so recent there is zero vegetation growing in the dirt deposited on the sides.
Bigness of Greenland can also be called perspective locally. The photo of the retreating glacier was taken from the other side of the fjord. As you can see, Egret is just a white speck in the distance. The dinghy ride across was another story. I thought I would just pop over and snap a few. It ended up being a major voyage across ‘just over there – be back in a minute’. In this shot you can clearly see how at one time the glacier filled the entire gap nearly top to bottom. Smooth rock tells the story. 60 31.25N 44 28.81W
So today was a good day. And tomorrow? Well, probably maybe chug back down the fjord I suppose but maybe not. Maybe we’ll hike more ashore and follow the glacier or try to climb up toward the Ice Cap. But who knows? You get the picture.
Well, OK, so later we had an incident. A minor incident but nevertheless we wuz stuck. Big time stuck, like on the bottom with the swim platform a foot and a half higher than when floating and the bow in deep water. So here’s the deal. It is Very Deep close to shore and it shelves steeply. So the bow can be in 90’ and the stern in 25’. We dropped in 45’ and Dick took a single line ashore. The stern was in 20’. Then the sea breeze slowed and the tide fell. Big time fell and in the end, between swinging from the lack of sea breeze and the tide fall, we wuz on the bottom. Big time. There was nothing we could do but retrieve the shoreline and Wait. So we did. By 0200 Egret was floating and had swung into 43’ of water and all was well. We left after first light and are now under way heading down the fjord in overcast skies and very little wind. More to follow.
Today was a putzing day. First we anchored off a point and took a line ashore. Previously I had climbed part way up the mountain to snap a few of Egret running by a giant tabular iceberg. The shots were OK, but not special so you won’t get to see them. However in the process I lost a pair sunglasses. So we re-anchored today to try to find them. We didn’t have any luck and nearly got carried away by the bugs. At least these bugs just wanted company and not meat or blood.
Later we puttered to a deep indentation between two mountains and Mary fired TK down in 40’. TK didn’t even begin to set which is pretty rare. I thought it was smooth rock but when TK came up there was a 4” ball of seaweed. It took Mary and Dickiedoo a while to clear the anchor. Then we went deeper in to the cove and dropped in 18’ in coarse sand and TK did his usual deal and set within the first inch. 60 12.46N 44 54.48W The mountain on the east side of the anchorage is Aniggoq, and to the west, Quvnerssuaq. There is a v shaped valley to the north with a small rocky stream.
Because we left at first light it was time for nap chores after anchoring so we took care of that after lunch. Later it was off on a hike to a valley stream to the SE where we drank the worlds cleanest water from the stream and enjoyed the wild flowers. In this super harsh environment it is really something that fragile little flowers can exist. Returning to the boat we dropped Mary off and headed off to collect more iceberg ice.
Of course now we are starting to specialize in iceberg ice. You know icemaker ice is sooooo boring. Ordinary. Common. Like everyone has icemaker ice. Whoop di do. Boring city. But then again, iceberg ice is soooo special. And then there are even specialties within iceberg ice. There is giant berg glacial ice which is too dangerous to harvest unless there are smaller pieces floating nearby. Small floating pieces and pieces of that have been our usual ice until today, but then again you can get that in Alaska which is pretty cool but not the coolest. Today we pulled the dinghy up to a stable Tabular Iceberg and Dick hacked a freezer full of Tabular Ice. Of course later we had to enjoy the Tabular Ice in Iceberg Vodka (St Johns, Newfoundland) that itself is brewed with iceberg ice. So they compliment each other when mixed with tonic water. Ho hum.
Of course our goal is to have those of you who dare to be different, put in the miles and then perhaps you may choose to enjoy cocktails with glacier ice instead of the dirt dwelling boring usual. You get the picture.
OK, so today we’ll return to Nanortalik to fire this VofE into space, check local weather and head out. The plan is to head out tomorrow (Tue) and explore more inland passages, a couple small villages then take the Prince Christian Sound passage thru the southernmost tip of Greenland and avoid super dangerous Cape Farwell. Prince Christian Sound cleared of ice just a week or so ago. Also, because the traditional East Coast Greenland ice has retreated north somewhat, it opens super remote Lindenow Fjord to exploring. Lindenow Fjord is not far north of the exit to Prince Christian Sound. The fjord is around 35nm deep and a local told us he was there 10 years ago on a research ship and it was spectacular.
The plan is to arrive in Iceland sometime near mid August. When we get close to leaving Greenland, we’ll give OMNI Bob a buzz and wait for a window. The trip from Greenland to Iceland is around 4 ½ days.
There won’t be any internet access until Egret reaches Iceland, so the coming short postings will be text only. Once in Iceland we’ll send a wrap up of the coming days in Greenland.
And one more thing. Tomorrow, August 6th, is the 12 year anniversary of Egret’s delivery to a couple early retiree mom and pops. What an adventure it has been. So how about a toast to the little white fiberglass ship who has brought so much to so many. Even if it is with ordinary icemaker ice.
Ed. Note - The glossary of Egretism terms will be posted on the Captain's Log home page for easy reference.