Qeqertasuaq, our next port of call, is about 40 miles from Aasiaat.
This evening, still in full daylight, we enjoy together a great meal. Everyone is ready and eager now to discover impressive Disko island, one of the many jewels of the north. it’s almost 10 PM when we leave the dock.
Out to the pass where we had to navigate carefully around the lighthouse to avoid many rocks lying around the exit. With the sun always above the horizon during the arctic summer, we enjoy a good visibility . Very convenient for a sailor needing careful bearings. It’s made navigational decisions easier ; a delight also for the crew enjoying so late in the evening this amazing landscape in full daylight.
We pass a few icebergs: a first for some crew members. They are in awe in front of those huge cathedrals of ice moving slowly south to their planned death . We all admire the rugged beauty of the place. Hard to describe. Words are inadequate. The pictures? Too reductive in front of all this vastness . This immensity… those eroded mountains of Disko in front and, on our back, the snowy summits of Aasiaat… Awesome! My guests take pictures after pictures and we all enjoy the ride. The weather is gorgeous, a very sunny day with a light wind from the West. We set sails and start running at 5 or 6 knots. A sailor dream with Breskell reaching sometime 7 knots on a flat sea. Perfect sailing is often a fugitive experience to remember later as a privilege. Protected by the island, the wind as expected died. And, closing to Disko, numerous icebergs appeared . They made for some crowded navigational hazards. More and more of them and now even bigger and bigger …. Now a lot of ice in front of us. Soon, we are slaloming cautiously around those moving islands, helped by computer and radar. In the early stage of exploration of those remote islands, how those early sailors were doing? I don’t know. A real challenge for us with all our modern navigational tools and updated maps.
Only 6 miles left to reach the harbor. In the middle of this icefield , I start wondering how to reach land safely . I keep this anxiety for myself and let my guests enjoy the cruise and the splendid summer light.
It’s around 1 AM and the sun is still bright on the horizon. Nothing to compare with a Seattle night. This Nordic light is gorgeous, meddling some orange with white, yellow and pink. A festival of colors mixed only for the pleasure of our eyes. At 3:00 AM, we are slowly getting closer with all our sails down and a careful look-out in front for some floating ice, the dangerous growlers. Those are the small kids born from the shedding of their huge iceberg mother. Not as big as their parents but still dangerous for a wooden boat. Being mostly underwater, they are very hard to detect with the radar. Another question starts nagging me. There is definitely more ice this year than the year before…
For sailing Breskell to Alaska and beyond and to achieve my North West Passage, I need some slack in this great wall of ice to slide across a narrow opening. Anyway, it’s too early to worry.
For now, let’s concentrate on the challenge in front of us. This particular harbor entrance is narrow and each side of the pass bordered by rocks. We need a careful alignment and some precise bearing. No mishap. Soon we are inside, docked against a fishing boat. We have other sailing partners here; some laying at anchor, others docked. By their flags, I recognize already one boat from Germany, one from Austria and another from Malta. Even a Russian sailor. An occasion to swap nice sea stories..Later!
At 4 AM , it’s sleeping time and we are all very tired. With the fading images of so much beauty, we are soon ready for some sweet dreams about our next adventures..