Dark skies, black clouds and a rising wind… Not a good omen for a peaceful return after our successful dive along the impressive LLULISSAT glacier. Rain for sure. What about a good blow with the wind on the nose? To pay a just tribute to the local spirits that we disturbed with our aquatic gymnastics around the glacier.
Luckily, the wind started from the south, light at first. That made the ice barrier crossing much easier this time. This wind pushed away all the ice and growlers we met on our way up.
As soon as we reached the open waters, I pulled out the full gib to take advantage of these following winds. Not for long. As the wind was getting stronger and stronger, the jib was getting smaller and smaller. With the wind now around 35 knots with stronger gusts, the jib was no more than a handkerchief. With this wind, the seas around us were also rising, badly shaped and with powerful waves. We were due for a good bashing. Nothing that old “Breskell” cannot manage easily with her wide beam and good form stability. Not so easy for some of her crew members maybe! Luckily, we did not have many miles to sail: five to six hours at the most.
Soon, we approached my first waypoint and the wind from the islands around protected us. Without so much wind, the seas went down also. To reach my next waypoint, we needed to point more up wind. The jib had to go in.
Here was my last electronic buoy before my last alignments to pass safely between the rocks guarding the entrance. My computer running its electronic charts allowed for a very precise navigation. An inestimable help in these foggy and treacherous waters.
As a modern mariner sailing a modern boat, I was in awe with the abilities of our ancestors to navigate these waters with the scarce information they relayed on combined with their boats without engine and of dubious marine agility. We were again in known territory in a safe harbor. I aimed for the town dock, tightened Breskell , shut down the engine. Time to relax and socialize with our neighbors. There were two other foreign sailboats in the harbor.
One was Italian, the other French. I was first invited on board “FLAGRANCE“ the Italian boat. Guess what stories offshore sailors tell between themselves when they meet ? About their boat ( and how to charge batteries); about theirs adventures (out of the beaten track) and about their friends (from far-away harbors). The owner of “FLAGRANCE ” bought his boat cheaply. Then he started to rebuild it. A nice job and a beautiful result. We sailors are like birds, we congregate within the limits of our own species. Like the familiar partridge, the grass rooted sailors know every marinas, bays and anchorages in the 20 miles radius of his native territory. He parties happily with friends of his own marina.
Then we have the blue heron sailor. This migrating mariner follows the sun and expands his territory between summer grounds and winter refuges, never far away from land. With the albatross as emblem, the last group belongs to the pelagic sailors of the world. They enjoy being offshore. Weeks at sea don’t bother them. Crossing oceans is part of their sailing life. With « FLAGRANCE », « BRESKELL » belongs to this category. Members of this very exclusive club know each other. It’s a small world out there. Very quickly we found we had several other pelagic friends in common….Oleg and his wife Sophie on “KOTIC 2” were characters of their own. Can you believe that once they sailed not stop from their Antarctic summer anchorages right to one particular boatyard in the deep of the Chesapeake bay just to say hello to a good friend of them… who happened to be… “ROI SOLEIL” …
KOTIC and ROI SOLEIL met during their first long trip done around Africa. At that time, Oleg and his wife were making major upgrades on their boat. As it happens often, each pelagic sailor went their own way. KOTIC to Antarctica, Roi Soleil around Africa and beyond.
This captain/wife team even took the helm of SEPHA VOLLARS a polish three-masted 150 feet polish sailboat. A ten months adventure around Tahiti to Malaysia
Much later they met again in the Chesapeake.
Amazing how small our world is and how beautiful experiences it contain for those sailors willing to explore and enjoy it. Later, if you remind me, I will tell you about my last uneventful solitary crossing between Brittany and the new world. I sailed with a whole good local cured french ham and my beautiful cat. On the other side I had no more ham, and sadly no more cat. The ham, I ate it and my beloved cat I lost in a blow. To this day, this loss makes me always feel sad…
I asked the french captain what he was doing with all these big boxes loaded into his boat? Chartered by scientists making underwater topographic researches, he was sailing farther North.
All the sea encounters are ephemeral. Onboard Breskell , the stay of the nice people from « Ocean Imaging » was coming to an end. They were leaving today. Kingsley flew back to Australia, Stephan and Kiki back to London.
They seem very happy with their sailing adventures in the ice-fields of Greenland and with their diving experiences around the icebergs . They were returning home with exceptional images. To all of you, thanks for your visit on Breskell and that with a special thought to our “ice mermaid ».