Making our way to Bellot Strait

Virtually there is almost no way back, or at least, we have made our choice, we will proceed through Bellot Strait to Peel Sound in the coming days. Just not today.

We lingered a little longer in Neil’s Harbor or Port Neill and are now ready to cross towards Port Ross, or if the weather permits, maybe still visit Fury Beach. Making our way out of this perfect sheltered place we were met by some migrating Bowhead whales. It was a large pod, as we were under sail we tried to slow down and enjoy the view a little longer. In the end we were surrounded for about 25 minutes.

The Bowhead whale is a baleen whale, with a massive mouth. It is said to be almost one third of its body length. As we see them come up for air, they are a quiet and calm sort and do not play about to much. Their breathing is very loud and even if you could not see them, you would hear them (or smell them as their breath is quite bad).

Wikipedia tells us

The bowhead whale has a large, robust, dark-coloured body and a white chin/lower jaw. It has a massive triangular skull, which it uses to break through the Arctic ice to breathe. Inuit hunters have reported bowheads surfacing through 60 cm (24 in) of ice.[15] It also possesses a strongly bowed lower jaw and a narrow upper jaw. Its baleen is the longest of that of any whale, at 3 m (9.8 ft), and is used to strain tiny prey from the water. The bowhead whale has paired blowholes, at the highest point of the head, which can spout a blow 6.1 m (20 ft) high. The whale’s blubber is the thickest of that of any animal, with a maximum of 43–50 cm (17–20 in).[16] Unlike most cetaceans, the bowhead does not have a dorsal fin – an adaptation for spending much time under sea-surface ice.”

For tomorrow there are some stronger winds predicted. So we would like to be anchored at Fort Ross tucked away behind some of the islands. The wind will turn North West. Depending on the movement of the ice, we will have time on this side of Somerset Island to explore for a few days and wait for the wind to turn South again as it should on Thursday.

Yesterdays ice report shows that the ice is becoming less and less dense. The temperature has been around 8 to 10 degrees during the past days, but next week it will start to get colder again, with temperatures around 2 degrees. Hopefully the wind will help us out a little, with bashing up the ice and washing some waves over them to help melt some of the bigger parts. Sticking to the shore line after Bellot Strait already looks very good!

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