Finally in Gjoa Haven!

27 Août 2012 | Commentaire | Dernière publication

Finally in Gjoa Haven! Took 12 days instead of 5 we're almost running out of water and food and are definitely short in gas. What a weather here!


We leave Pond Inlet with good forecast, 4 hours later we're stopped by a sudden gale in the face. Two days later a strength 8 wind (or storm, whatever you call it) on the Beaufort scale, fortunately with us.

We won't hide, let's ride!

We are going way too fast with our 2m² sail among the icebergs and ice bits in the dark. It's still not full nights yet but it's still hard to distinguish ice bit in a foamy-wavy sea when snow or hail beats your face. Everything went great, I was super excited and learned a lot. It so great when you're not in charge and when it's not your boat. You just enjoy the storm, watch the elements unleashed, enjoying the show from a place you shouldn't be and where in fact you are pretty much alone. As I said it's scary when you realise there is ice all around you and you didn't see it, but it feels great to still use the wind and the sea, not only you float but you sail, you go where you want.

The day after the wind is gone we have to use to the engine all day. Then a stop at Fort-Ross, where there are still houses built by the Hudson Bay Company in 1937, full of messages of previous sailors and explorers. In the morning we see the coast and the boat covered in snow. It really feels like its true aspect. My first snow was on August 12th this year... 

Then, we meet a friend boat heading back in the amazing Bellot Straight, to hide from a coming storm. Nah, we won't hide! A day passes, the wind gets suddenly stronger, much stronger, this time we are stuck between the ice back and the shore and the wind is against us.


Ok, let's hide asap!

Our mooring sucks and we are still exposed to ice so we have to sail back a bit. Great sailing with the stormy wind for me but the tiny kilometre to reach the shore upwind with the motor is endless. Machine seem a bit powerless in such conditions. The gales went to strength 9-10. Good thing we hid!


We get stuck there for 2 days and then the wind disappears and engine again. It seems that there isn't ever a steady usable wind here, no wonder Inuits aren't sailors (that and the fact their sea is most often solid).

 

My impressions.

There is no one living here compared with Greenland, I don't think a place can be more desolated: it's almost purely mineral, split into pieces by the cold; no plant sticks out more than 10cm above the ground; you rarely see animals on land, just a few woodchucks and tracks/poop of polar bears. The live is at sea, with all the chars, the seals and the whales (we saw polar whales mating), and in the sky with all the migratory birds and the very lively clouds. With all the storms the clouds are changing and passing constantly with all shades or shiny white lenticular clouds to dark grey/blue rainy stratus. Sometimes you see that blue sky still exist behind but it soon disappears. You won't get it yet. When the evening comes (still pretty long lasting here), the moist air and the low sun create a powerful red shade that brings warmth to this desolated land. The sky is obscure, the water is blue green and the rocks, the coast is orange-redish.

In the end, this place, much like Mars which it resembles, is not really meant for sailing but what a land, what a beautiful desolation. I would really be curious to see how Inuits lived here. Humans impress me.

 

Yann

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