August 15, 2012

Leg 5: 9 - 13 August 2012: From Pond Inlet to the Dundas harbour on Lancaster Sound

We left Pond Inlet on 9th August to sail West and attempt to pass through Navy Board Inlet to get in the Lancaster sound. The experts tell us to wait but we see possibilities and we have a strong alloy boat after all.The latest ice chart still shows large area's with heavy ice in the sound but there might be a passage through. The alternative is going out to the east and all the way around the ice north east of Bylot Island. A detour of 235 nm. Weather conditions are ok. Wind from east so we try to stay in the windward side of the ice. Less dense and less risky if the wind decides to increase. Several times we have to track back. To find area's with less dense ice. Smaller ice we can push but where the cover is more than 5/10 we can not do anything. Full power on the engine but the ice hardly moves. So back out  to find a more open area.

11 August 2012

We manage to find more open water closer towards the eastern part of the Sound. The wind stays light and the water is without any swells. Fog comes down for shorter periods but never for long. When the water opens up a bit more we spot some whales and during Eirik's watch they spot a polar bear with a one year cub swimming across the Sound towards the ice. Their hunting grounds for seals no doubt. By the time we get the new ice chart in we are sailing in open to very open drift ice.
The chart shows a bit more but they are always late. We anchor at the end of the strait for a well deserved rest. It has been some long hours. A closer look at the ice charts over the last days shows the ice moving east at 25 miles a day. So the 5/10 ice to the west in Lancaster Sound will nicely block our way out of Navy Board Inlet tomorrow. We got to leave or stay for some days and get blocked in. As soon as we get out of the Navy Board Inlet the cold westerly winds blow right in our faces. One after another goes inside to put on some extra layers. On our track to Dundas harbour on the northern shore of the 55 nm wide sound shore we meet some ice belts at first. We can see the denser ice further out. We slalom through the ice for a while and get out in open water again, 25 knots of freezing winds blow right into our face. Half a day later we anchor in some great sand/mud bottom. perfect holding in perfect protection so time for an ankerdram before turning in.

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