Saturday, 28 August 2010

Arctic adventure to 78º 12' N

Sailing on the 101 year old Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Dolphin from Ornes to Svalbard was pretty amazing. It was a bit of a fast-paced mission though as Capps had a schedule to keep.  This meant that the overall pace of the journey was relentless and exhausting and there were times I just wished we could have spent longer in one place. We sailed approximately 900 nautical miles in total. 

Perhaps the strangest thing that I really never got used to was the 24 hour day light. This is a strange phenomenon that confused me more than once and I had to ask Rae, John or Capps if it was very early morning or mid afternoon. This confusion about whether it was day or night added to the overall other worldliness of the glacial, desolate and pristine wilderness that is Svalbard. 

It has been an absolute privilege to sail with Capps on Dolphin in the Arctic and I have met some truly remarkable people. The Arctic takes no prisoners and I have to be honest and say I am relieved that Rae and I returned in one piece.   

We worked pretty hard for the first 48 hours getting Dolphin ready for her adventure.

Midnight sun.

Torsvag, the last stop before crossing the Barents Sea.

When on land it is sensible to carry a gun in case the polar bear scarers fail to scare the bear. Happily we did not encounter a polar bear although we met a French couple who did. They, thankfully, were unhurt but their sea kayak is no longer sea worthy!

Whilst walking on this glacier we heard it boom twice in half an hour as the millions of tons of ice slowly moved seaward.