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ocean voyaging







Islands, Scotland, Ireland, the fog alternately descended
intensified, making the shore- 

U.K. and Portugal. Migration and lifted, while light rain line — which was no more 

was built specifically for high- sprinkled the windshield. Yet, than 75 yards away — for

latitude and cold-weather in spite of the late hour, it the most part invisible. Still, 

cruising, and has served her remained bright — albeit in determined to get some fresh 
owners well.
ethereal shades of gray.
air and stretch our weary feet with winds a scant 5 to ing off snow-capped peaks cast off by the glacier. During 

Our voyage north started limbs, Migration’s master and 15 knots.
and a trio of nearby coastal the night we felt Migration Above, the 

at Tromsø in Norway. We Tough run to Bear Island
I launched the smaller of her Neptune got the last word glaciers, which represent a rock periodically, the result lower section 

slipped our lines at 2330 and After 43 hours and 256 nm, two tenders and cruised the on this leg, however. The small sampling of Svalbard’s of calving ice falling into the of a growler, 

moved into the Tromsø ship we made landfall at Bjørnøya, cove. We motored along cliffs final few hours had winds up 2,200 rivers of ice, including bay.
an iridescent 
channel. Located well above
or Bear Island. The passage
festooned with nesting ful- to 47 knots, the sea boiled the world’s third largest.
After two nights there,
blue through 

qualified as one of the mars and puffins; the water and visibility dropped to a we departed Hornsund. The the clear 

most miserable I’ve around us was filled with few hundred yards in mist Protection from the ice
vistas grew more enchant-
Arctic waters, 

ever undertaken: 8- to bobbing birds. Most weren’t and spume. Waves broke After entering Hornsund ing with each passing mile
exemplifies 
shy — some swam within
over Migration’s bow, the fjord, the wind finally abated. as Migration plied her way 
12-foot short-period how much
waves on the bow and, a foot or two of Migration’s spray pelting the windscreen We completed a slow cruise further north. Swirling mist ice remains 

contrary to the fore- swim platform, a portent
relentlessly, until we were at along the face of the Hans- enveloped moss-covered hill- below the sur- 

cast, a steady 25 knots of things to come. We were last in the lee of Svalbard’s bukta glacier, at the end of sides and an impossibly rug- face. Below, 

of wind. Although her careful, though, not to lose Vesle Svartkuven peninsula. which we opted for a diminu- ged and unforgiving coastline the cold, com- 
bow periodically disap- sight of the mothership for In spite of making the lee
tive anchorage called Kamavi- as sprawling glaciers, one 
paratively dry, 
peared in a pearlescent
fear of not being able to find of the mainland and moun- ka. It was barely large enough after the other, filled our low-bacteria 

explosion of seawater, Migra- our way back — or worse, tains, Migration encountered to allow Migration adequate starboard-side bridge win- environment the Arctic Circle on Norway’s 

tion took it in stride. All drifting out to sea.
katabatic gusts in excess of 55 swinging room but it afford- dows. Clutches of black guil- preserves One of far northern coast, Tromsø

systems performed well and We were afforded little knots. Thankfully, the wind ed us protection from both lemots and the occasional wooden struc- nature’s own is a center for the Norwegian 
there were no failures — her time to lick our wounds, as did offer some respite, blow- waves and a sea of growlers eider duck dotted the glassy ice sculptures. fishing fleet and the last rest- 
tures.
crew on the other hand was we had a weather window ing out the fog and cloud and bergy bits — plus SUV- calm surface as we slipped by. Due to numer- ing place of the German bat- 

laid low for much of the jour- that called for our departure cover to reveal an azure sky and truck-sized chunks of
The air had a scrubbed crisp ous calving tleship Tirpitz, sunk nearby 

ney. There was one saving in just a few hours. And so, and brilliant sunshine reflect-
ice — that were continuously
scent, a mixture of cold sea glaciers, float- by RAF bombers in 1944. 
salt and pristine land far from 
grace: Because of our high with deep regret, we departed ing ice is com- We departed at that late
latitude it never got dark, without going ashore. We the effects of civilization. The mon around hour in order to make a per- 

which meant while we could took hot showers — never cycle of three or four days of the Svalbard ceived but somewhat tenuous 

do little to avoid them, we underestimate the restorative heavy winds, rain and fog — archipelago.
weather window; winds were 

could see and prepare for power of a steamy shower
the price to be paid for one forecast to be light, however 
every oncoming wave.
— ate for the first time in or two days of magnificently wave heights at times could 

Upon our arrival at two days, and caught up
clear weather and placid seas be significant — as much as 

Bjørnøya we sought shelter
on chores before weighing — would repeat over the next 9 feet. The forecast thereaf- 

in Sørhamna, located on the anchor and getting underway 25 days. Because they repre- ter only deteriorated and we 

southeast tip of the island. It once again.
sented a minority, we came opted to proceed, a decision 
would be generous to call it a Migration raised Sørkap- to savor the calm blue-sky we’d soon regret.

cove; it’s more an indentation pøya, the southernmost tip of days.
Migration was soon in the 

in the lee of northerly winds. Svalbard, 24 hours and 174 Migration’s circum- Langsundkjeften channel, an 

It was foggy and a cool 37° nm after departing Bjørnøya. navigation of the archi- inshore passage between the 

F, compared to 53°F when Mercifully, the conditions pelago included more than mainland and outlying islands 
departing Tromsø. Shortly were far better than the first 20 anchorages, each one that leads to the Barents Sea. 

after we arrived, the fog
leg. Waves were just 4 to 5
of which afforded her crew
During the five-hour trek,



28 OCEAN NAVIGATOR
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017
www.oceannavigator.com
www.oceannavigator.com
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017
OCEAN NAVIGATOR 29


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