When the ice takes over the world

Would you like to be right smack in the middle, or skirting along the edges.. well, we know now! We love being on the outside, along the edge, living on the edge, taking a different path, finding our own way, through the ice… What a 36 hours it has been! From a quiet anchorage to being surrounded by ice, not seeing the way out, but eventually finding a path back to the coast. We have ploughed through the ice, making our own way by gently pushing the ice off and booming it away from the ship with a 7 meter long wooden pole. It has been hard work for the watches, but they did well and did it with a smile! Because it has also been immensely beautiful! Ice as far as the eye could see, ice flows as big as islands, but low to the water. Any color between white and turquoise blue, submerged ice, cracked ice, snow ice. So many shapes and forms, it would take your breath away every now and then.

When we left the anchorage, we thought that the exploring group on shore had seen open water in the middle of Peel Sound, and so we made for that. We made our way out of the coast, away from a (pretty fast) flow of ice. But as we went out, the density of the ice became bigger and bigger. From one lead to another, until there where no more leads, and we just saw ice. Still going ahead, with only steer speed of 0,7 knots, backing up, turning left, then right, almost staying in the same spot, covering less then 1 mile an hour average for over 24 hours. But when we found our way back to the coastline and found a slightly less dens path there, we did not hesitate and are now making our way along the edge, between land and big packages of ice. According to the latest ice reports we have had to make our way through yellow or orange bits in Peel Sound, making the ice density between 5 to 7 out of 10. Had we not been forced out of our anchorage due to ice, we would have stayed tugged away to wait it out!

In between the ice, we have not just seen amazing colors and shapes, but also a variety of wild life! We have spotted ringed seals, bearded seals, something that looked like a hooded seal (although they normally are more open water sort of seals) and when there are seals, there must be a polar bear. But after the one yesterday when we left the anchorage, we have not seen many of them. Many fulmars, glaucous gulls, some kittywake and even a long tailed skua have been reported.

On board all is well. Down below after the watch, even up to two hours after the 20:00 to 00:00 hours watch, you will find someone downstairs, listening to a quit bit of music, rummaging through their pictures of the day or just reading a book with a glass of wine. During the day, when the sun comes out and the fog abates, the deck is filled with sun adorers. Soaking up some rays, peeling off some layers of clothing. The record low has been reported at 3 degrees, but with chill factor even below 0 degrees. But when the sun comes out, it can get up to 15 degrees in the sunshine!!

The lack of wind in Peel Sound was very welcome. Had we had wind, the ice pressure might have build up, making our passage through even more challenging. Last night, some sailing was done along the edge, doing 3,5 knots with just mizzen and staysail. But now the wind has died out again, edging along the Boothia Peninsula. Making our way south.

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