08 - The next time I see ice, it'll be in a glass...
Tuesday 29th July
As I sit at the refuelling wharf in Nanortalik harbour, it's hard to believe what we've just come through in the last 12 or 15 hours. Here, although the air is cold enough for your breath to condense, the sun is warm and the sky blue. The town of brightly coloured wooden houses is surrounded by low-lying hills, peppered with patches of snow.
Last night we went through a number of changing sea patterns which brought us from being chased along smartly by a south-westerly, to hammering into a brisk northerly. The waves weren't big, but by golly were they painful.
We're all suffering a bit from various aches and pains, but the prize for the most original injury so far must surely go to me. I'm lying in my bunk in the early hours of the morning when all of a sudden I'm rudely awakened by the satphone clouting me over the head as it falls from the bracket on the wall above me.
Just as we expected, there's no sea ice here, but we have spotted a number of impressive icebergs. Unfortunately we were in fog as we came into Nanortalik, so we didn't see that deep glistening blue which characterises large lumps of ice.
The next stage of the voyage promises to be interesting. Weatherman Bertie says a huge depression is tracking across the Atlantic west to east, and we will run into it between here and Iceland. We could take the option to overnight here, but we probably wouldn't gain anything by doing that. So we've decided to press on. If we do run into bad weather, it'll slow us down for sure, and who knows, maybe we'll get the chance to accumulate a few more interesting bruises.
In the meantime, we're running somewhat behind schedule now as we investigate the subject of a pan-pan we heard on the radio on our way in - a yacht heading for Nanortalik, last heard from more than 24 hours ago. So we're making our way towards Cape Farewell, Greenland's most southerly point, but rather more slowly than we might in order to ensure we spot them if they're nearby.
© 2003 Clive Tully
Update transmitted by Stratos Iridium satellite phone.
Jolly Sailor refuelling in Nanortalik, Greenland: