Aiming at Disko bay, pilot whales and computer crash

August 22nd…  You like fairy-tale? I could tell you a nice one about pilot whales bringing Breskell back to some safe anchorage after a computer crash just before entering a difficult harbor..
Pilot whales we saw, a computer crash we had and a difficult entrance we managed. In this order. The rest was just that: a fairy tale !
Let’s start the real journey. After a day’s rest, we were returning to GODHAVN or QEQERTARSUAQ on the south of Disko island, 35 miles from AASIAAT. After some last calls to family and friend on Skype, it was almost midday when I started the engine, let go on  the lines freeing the boat from the dock. We left the harbor for the lighthouse, a land structure delimiting the last underlying rocky shores. Soon we were on open waters aiming for Disko.

Pilot whale playing with Breskell

And sure we saw pilot whales playing along Breskell’s hull. They never bothered to bring us anywhere and disappeared quickly. In fact, we saw more icebergs than whales on this journey!

  • In the fog

Too bad for our fairytale. The wind was NW, we motor-sailed with the gib out and run at seven to eight knots on a flat sea. The wind got even stronger and I loved it. Almost perfect except for the rumbling of the engine. You cannot have it all in one day!
We were now closing to the land and unfortunately my computer crashed. That’s it. The software didn’t work anymore. And what about our pilot whales?

Pilot whale enjoying themselves

They were enjoying themselves somewhere in the bay without giving a damn about the misery of us, poor sailors. I had to take the matter into my own hands and plot my position. Not an easy task but still better than using my sextant. A now forgotten skill that I learned and used a long time ago. In any case, I know that even without my electronic charts or my pilot whales, I can make it to Disco and up to Sisimiut.
Now the last part of the original fairy tale : the difficult harbor entrance ?

Paper charts a useful backup …

Nearing the shore, I consulted my charts and looked for the sixty-one degrees alignment recommended. Easy but with a very narrow entrance needing all the helmsman attention.

Close to the pass

And adding to the challenge there was even an iceberg close to the pass.  At around four thirty PM we tied to a local fishing boat.

A very beautiful harbor…

Surrounded by mountains, the harbor was absolutely gorgeous. It was deep and very well protected…. With the boat secure, every crew member jumped out and went to town. Alone on Breskell , I appreciated very much this solitary moment of relaxation after a challenging and beautiful navigation.