At 8th of August we left Pond Inlet. Our goal was a natural harbour further north in Navy Board Inlet called Tay Bay but due to winds and waves we changed to southwest and Cape Hatt wich showed to be a perfect harbour: sandy beaches 180 degrees around us and mountains framing the site. When we woke up the morning after it was a perfect sunny warm and windstill morning and we had breakfast in the cockpit. Bengt and I took the dingy ashore to go and look for water. Clear, fresh and good tasting clacier water was running in a little creek along one of the slopes where we filled our plastic containers. One 20 liter and two 10 liter took four turns with the dingy and our tank was filled. Between the turns we took a hike up the mountain. On the top a majestic view was served. Surrounded whith redtinted mountains and water dax looked so small in this scene. I myself also felt small but in a humble way.
At the shore there were signs set up by Environment Canada stating that this was “a scientific research area used for monitoring the fate of crude oil which has stranded on the shoreline”. Small sticks were put out to mark sectors that have been monitored. You could see small remains of oillumps which looked like grey stone but if you broke it there was no doubt that this was oil – the smell and colour of petroleum. The irony of this research is that the research station was left further in from the shore. There was nothing left of the buliding as a volume but all parts of the station were spread out over the ground. It gave the impression of an explosion beacause all parts were still there. I got the feeling similar to the Tarkovsky movie Stalker. Parts of sheetmetal walls culd be found far up the hillslopes. On a more concentrated area were a giant gassstove, smashed toiletseats, an amfibie vehicle, diesel barrels, gastubes and hundreds of sample bottels of glass and plastic. A wooden porch whithout any door . The refridgerator was laying at the beach 500 meters away from the camp. What do you say – the impacts on the invironment from the crude oil were hardly visable but the impact the smashed researchstation were much worse, as far as I could judge. I mentioned it to a scientist in Pond Inlet and he suggested that the locals smashed it.After talking to a guide he told me more about it. The reasearch was perfomed by pouring crude oil intentionally on the beach and on the ice and study the way it filtered through. after the research was done Environment Canada sold it to the hamlet for one dollar. And obviously they could not take care of it. But up here people don’t seem to bother so much about the littering.
And now more sad things and of a more personal matter. We have dicided to abort the northwestpassage trip with the Dax. This decision is based on the risk of going further into the passage with an engine that can not be trusted. At almost every harbour or anchorage Martin has plunged into the motor well to fix never ending problems. What trigged the decision at this point was when we left the anchorage at Cape Hatt the motor got overheated and we had stop and tug it back for five hours of rowing whith the dingy back to the anchorage since fixing a motor at open water is very tricky.
So now we are back in Pond Inlet saying hello to everybodey we sad goodbye to a couple of days ago. The engine is working at this moment but for how long is impossible to say but we will try to get Dax to Greenland and Nuuk and put her on the hard there. We have also dicided that Martin and Bengt will do this and I, Richard will continue on my own in Arctic Canada. So for all of you who want to continue following the Dax to its last harbour this year I refer to Martins facebookpage https://www.facebook.com/groups/364964136870242/
And for those who want to follow Richard in the Arctic a new blog will inform you more. Go to http://northwestpassagerichard2013.wordpress.com
So from now on no more posts will be published here.