Canada Pond Inlet Cape Hatt

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.

Richard

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Greenland Canada – Pond Inlet

Passage from Upernavik to Pond Inlet Canada was calm. Partly warm and sunny, partly foggy and minus one celcius. Entering Canada we anchored up in a small bay with a pebbled beach. Bengt and I took the dingy ashore. A family was tenting at the other side of a ridge from us so we went over ther to introduce ourselves. “Welcome to Canada” a young woman greeted us. She was there with her husband Alex, father in law Jacob, mother in law Philippa and thier two girls. The young womans grandmother was burried further up the hill where her grandparents had lived before they left for Pond Inlet. Now they were here for the weekend to relax fish and hunt. Jacob and Alex were putting out a net from the beach. Two guns were thrown in the boat among oars and ropes. It is obvious that guns are considered as any ordinary tool. We asked what they were hunting. Ringed seal and narwhale, Alex replied, we shoot them on shallow water if they sink.
We took a walk up the mount Herodies and drank water from one of the many creeks. The sun was setting behind the mountains of Bylot Island and Simirlik National Park. A thick fog was drifting along the oposite shore.
Pond Inlet – no harbour, just a beach. Houses on the slope, dirtroads, whole familys on fourwheelers driving at high speed with a dustcloud behind. We first went to the police office to do the entry formalities and register our gun.
At the hotel where Primitive Intertainment was staying we could do the laundry and connect to a extremly slow wifi. The crew from Primitive was delayed due to connection problems but according to David who has been here since friday, they will arrive this evening. Tomorrow they will do some filming with us.
6 th of august now. We have been doing some filming with Dax sailing in and out from Pond Inlet, filling diesel and getting a weld job done.
At the shore last night some young men were unloading a catch of several young ringed seal. I asked one of them – Do you shoot them in the head? He looked at me with a funny smile and replied – Well, you know is the only part visable above water. So not much to choose from, is there?
Todat PE was filming some kids at the basket ball ground. One was KID a rapper. John asked him to do some rapping in front of the camera and I was asked to make some beatboxback background. I think it was not up to his standards but I am shure it made some nice footage.
7th of august now. Primitive has left for Milne to camp with some scientists. We have been busy all day trying to fix things for the boat such as two long rods to use as ice putters and get the little dingy engine working. According to the guy att the Yamahashed it was old gasoline in the tank so we baought some new. To get fresh water to the boat is not an easy thing. First of all you need an account which you get at the hamlet. Then you order a tank truck down to the harbour for which they charge you 60 dollars. Since we only have two 10 liter cans it will be kind of awkward having the truck fill up two cans and then row out to the boat and back again and fill up another two. I tryed to obtain a bigger container to load from the truck and then fill, row, fill row but I had to cancel the opertion, it was to comlicated. So now we have to rely on that we find natural clean warrer from creeks further on.
Spirits for the Primus was impossible to find here also. So now we will have to measure each warming up portion of T-rod and be careful not to use too much since we only have a liter left.
We have fixed a fishing permit so we are hporful to catch some fresh fish along the way.
Richard

Greenland Upernavik

Arrived at Upernavik yesterday evening at 2300 and tied up outside a fishing boat. We had to climb over the messy deck where hooks, clothes, nets and ropes were spread. The usual cod hanging to dry viped our faces as we mounted the railing.
There are no floating docks and the harbour is open to the sea. Skinnarmos Explorer is here also they just had to move beacause an iceberg was drifting in on them. A guy in a ribboat pushed the iceberg away. At the same time we tock a test rowing tour with our rubber dingy. From the deck of a giant white luxoury yacht they laughed beacause they thought we would help to push the iceberg.
Upernavik really is the definition of a “Godforsaken place”. Houses are thrown on the hillside facing the open sea towards northwest.The clacier covered mountains are dramatically surrounding the village. They rise steep and shiny from the sea.
Tomorrow we plan , after we have had a shower at the sport hall, to leave for Canada and Pond Inlet. It seems like the winds are in our favour blowing from the south whith 15 to 30 knots.
The ice situation in Baffin Bay will probably force us to take a northerly curve to round it. We havE heard of vessels that have force to go back after enter the ice belt.
All for now.
Sorry no pictures this time – I’m in an internet café with no wifi.

Richard

Greenland Nuuk – Ilulissat

We are now for the sixth day in Illulissat and our plan is to leave today or tomorrow morning. There are some problems with the cooling system of the engine and this makes it difficult to run the engine to load the batteries while this makes it impossible to run the heather, the head an other electrically runned systems. There is always something that needs to be repared  and this makes Martin a bit frustrated. Anyway he is a skilled mechanic and likes pratcical challenges but he thinks it a bit to much right now. Bengt and I try to conribute as much as we can but Martin has specific ideas of how to do things and he knows the boat as his own pocket.

The stay in the inner harbour of Ilulissat was a special experience – first of all there were no places reserved for visiting vessels and order was not apparent. Small boats scattered everywhere like the debree that floats in the water. Initially we were squeezed in between fishingboats of which some appered to be ready for the dump. They did not seem to bother how they were tied up beacause all boats were constantly moving and rubbing us. It was not possible to put out fenders everywhere for protection beacause most of our neighbours were much higher. To end up this litania the moore and the qay were oily and fitlthy so after moving Dax to the outer harbour we spent half a day of cleaning the deck, carpets, fenders and tieropes.

Now to more positive matters – most of our stay in Ilulissat has been sunny and warm and filming with Primitive Entertainment was half sunny an half cloudy. One evening they presented us to a young chef who was cooking fantastic food in front of us. Some dishes was stunning and I just sat silent with wet eyes looking at the dessert of bluebells, honey marsh mellows and chocolate curles exposed on a round smooth rock. This chef uses flowers, herbes and weeds freshly picked in the mountains the same day. Fresh halibut, seal and muskox are also included.

A positive experience was meeting Olivier Francis and Gilbert Klein. They are scientist from The University of Luxembourg and studying the changes in gravitation around the world. They had their instruments at the airport and in the church. We had lots of fun together during our stay in Ilulissat.

Ilulissat  is a Unesco World Heritage site and seeing the Kangia icefjord you understand why. 20 miljon tons of ice is released into the fjord from the glacier – every day. It takes about two years for the ice to travel from its calving into the Disco Bay. A distance of three kilometers. As the icebergs reach the opening of the fjord they hit the bottom, since it is shallower here, and they can get stuck there for up to 10 months after continuing on thier yourney. They are awsome. When an icberg calves from the glacier is causes a tsunami which can result waves with periode of 6 minutes. This swaying corresponds with the self resonance of the inner harbour an causes the water to move a lot but it is hardly visible since it is so slow.

Entering Ilulissat we had to motor through an icebelt of aprox 6 Nm. It gave a taste of what is to come in the Northwest Passage. You need to take it real neat not to run into any bigger iceblocks. Sometimes the way ahead is blocked and you have to make a detour. A great help would be steps fixed to the mast but we dont have them – yet. Though we saw some fishing boats going with good speed between the blocks. We did not dare go that fast.

Creatures which is much present in Ilulissat  are the sledge dogs. On all open spaces between the houses dogs are tied up. You can hear them howling. Theese dogs are kept ouside all year around and they are more wild than tame. When they are fed the howling gets hysterically intense.

As soon as we have fixed the mecanical problems we will continue towards Upernavik and from there cross Baffin Bay to reach Pond Inlet, Canada. Lets hope the inlet is not clogged with ice. We will meet up with Primitive Entertainment in Pond Inlet.

Richard

A dessert created by the chef Innonoaq at Hotel Arctic i Ilulissat

A dessert created by the chef Innonoaq at Hotel Arctic i Ilulissat

Kangia, the icefjord in Ilulissat

Kangia, the icefjord in Ilulissat

Richard, Bengt and Martin outside Ilulissat

Richard, Bengt and Martin outside Ilulissat

Cameraman John and sound man Sanjay onboard Dax in the icefjord o Ilulissat

Cameraman John and sound man Sanjay onboard Dax in the icefjord o Ilulissat

Squeezed in Dax

Squeezed in Dax

Grounded iceberg in the icefjord

Grounded iceberg in the icefjord

Igloo inspiration in Nuuk

Igloo inspiration in Nuuk

Perfect site for houses in Sisimiut

Perfect site for houses in Sisimiut

Richard

Iceland – Greenland

Nine days at sea without any land contact is more than I ever have experienced on a small vessel like Dax but now we are safely moored in the little Greenland village named Nanortalik. The first mainpart of our transit was calm and we went a lot by engine. Old sea made me seasick in the beginning and I had to sit in cockpit for 18 hours before I felt ok going below deck. We also have had some quite rough weather south of Greenland and I must admit you feel pretty small in what feels like a nutshell in the waves. And no land in sight. On top of rough sea and heavy wind we ran in to additional problems. First the top camera which Primitive Entertainment mounted in the mast came loose and was swaying wildly back and forth hanging in its connection cables. It was beating the Windex which finally broke. Almost at the same time our jib broke and had to be replaced imediately. Martin went out on deck to do this while Bengt and I terrified looked at the camera which was about to drop any moment. What would happen if it came down in Martins head? During this operation we had to start the engine to manouver the boat and doing that we noticed a awkward smell from the engine. A glance at the temerature meter showed overheating. The problem was solved with adding more oil. A bit further on, this would show not to be the only problem with the engine.

Our track from Iceland to Greenland was dictaded by weather forecasts and ice reports. We set off from Iceland at a moment which would be appropraite for the winds which was connected to avoiding the lowpressure centers. We also had to take into account the accurance of icebergs outside Greenland which forced us to take a detour aproximately 250 nm south. But on the whole the transit was pleasent. On some parts we had company by a huge herd of small whales. The seemed qurious and closed in on us in what seemed to be family by family. The followed us for about one hour and were beautyful to see. You hear there blownoices before you see them and suddenly they are just beside the boat and keeping the same speed. Respect to theese graceful creatures of the sea. During the whole passage we have had company with the norvegian yacht Impulse and their crew Martin, Teresa, Rebecka and Christian. They have recieved weather forecasts over satellite and shared them with us over VHF and to correspond about the next move, our mutual positions, speed and tracks. Sometimes we were so close we could talk to eachother. Once they tossedd us some freshly baked cinnamon buns which was much apriciated.

Before entering Nanortalik we got ice reports from the lokal icecentral over VHF. They gave us the coordinates of the ice edge which we touched on our way in. Icebergs are fantastic creatures – they look like all kinds of shapes and coulors. A giant ship, a Bugatti car, a dog, a sfinx, a Princesstårta.

Entering Nanortalik you wonder – why in the world would anyone want to settle here in this monumental wilderness?

Richard

The net fences keep us from rolling out of the bunks while the sea is shaking the boat

The net fences keep us from rolling out of the bunks while the sea is shaking the boat

Baroque like heaven between Iceland and Greenland

Baroque like heaven between Iceland and Greenland

My turn in the cockpit

My turn in the cockpit

An eternal need of mending things.

An eternal need of mending things.

Bengt is relaxing

Bengt is relaxing

Our position at the digital map

Our position at the digital map

Calm sea

Calm sea

Small whales make us company

Small whales make us company

Mending the water pump

Mending the water pump

Our norwegian friends at Impuls during the transit.

Our norwegian friends at Impuls during the transit.

Greenland / Nanortalik – Nuuk

Nanortalik 60° 08,3’N. 45° 14,5’W is a small settlement with 1300 inhabitants. Entering Nanortalik serves a dramatic view of the dark and very sharp mountains, mintcoloured icebergs in the foreground add some contrast to the picture. Houses seem to be scattred in a random way along the slopes. Also the colour of the houses gives you the impression the choise was ruled by what was optainable in the store for the moment. It gives a lively, easygoing and pleasent atmosphere to the place. Though the harbour area is quite trashy with stained engines, piles of nets in which dandelion is growing, someone left a childerns bicycle at the shore which is drowned by the flood. Broken plastic boats rest sadly beside the road.

One of the first things you want to have sorted out when you enter a new harbour is where to find electricity since you have stopped your engine and possiblilyties to charge the batteries disappeare. I plunged in to the Royal Artic office and asked if we could use their connection box at the moore. A friendly man named Prien helped us to install the cables. Soon after we arrived Impulse tied up to our port side. They were all wet, tired and happy. And we were happy to see them.

A hot shower at Hotel Kap Farvel felt wonderful but not as wonderful as you would expect after all that time at sea without possibilyties to wash yourself properly. It seems like you get acustomed to your smelling body and cleaning yourself like you do at home is not an important question.

Martin got hoisted to the mast top to inspect the damages from the loose camera. The Windex, or what was left of it, was demounted. Scrutinizing the mast top Martin observed that the wire from the stern to the top was loosening at the endpiece. There are two wires to hold the mast and one will do the job. But soon enough it will have to be replaced.

Our plan was to stay for two days in Nanortalik but after talking to two locals at the moore it became obvious that we should leave imediately. They said the ice situation changed quickly now and by the day after the inlet could be blocked by massive ice which would force us to wait, maybe several weeks before we could leave the harbour. So off we went at 17. We were prepared for northeasterly winds up 8 m/s but it was calm all the way to Qaqortok. We went close to the coast to avoid the ice. Since there was not much wind we combined the mainsail and motor through a mystic and beautyful seascape of icebergs of which some were gigantic an hardly visable in the fog. My camera could not focus the icebergs due to poore contrast. They could be spotted at the radar first so you would know in what direction to look. This time I felt totally comfortable at the helm and experienced a meditative state alone in the cockpit with Martin and Bengt snoozing in their bunks below deck. A thermos of hot tea was my only company. At 22 Martin took over and I went to sleep and got up on Martins call 0400 when we where about to enter Qaqortoq. The village was asleep and not a movement could be traced. An iceberg was grounded in the middle of the bay. A huge gray coast patrol vessel had left its beamlight pointing in our direction.

Qarqortoq rests on the steep mountains and, besides the usual mess in the harbour, gives a sence of planned order. Found a laundry at the top of the village where we could get our dirty clothes done. When  the flood fills up  the creek young inuit boys try to catch the char that move up an down the stream. They throw a fishing line with a multi hook across the narrow water and pull the line to hook the fish. The mix of saline and sweetwater is clearly visable as curles similar to water from the ice in a whisky on the rocks.

Dinner at the excellent Thai restaurant at the little square. A very pleasant family runs the place. It is said to be the only restaurant in Qaqortoq worth a visit. We had a 5 coarse menu and left the place as last and satisfied guests. We also got invited to the local danish dentist for a chat and coffee one evening.

Arrived at Paamiut 13/7 2230. It is forgotten village which radiates hopelessness. The first one to greet us welcome was an incredible dunk greenlandic woman with a beerbottle in her hand. Lots of broken vandalised houses and very few people moving among the ad hoc scattered buildings. A sad place which lost its pride when the cod got scarse and they have never raised since that blow. People with hope left and , as it seems, the ones whithout hope stayed. In the harbour we found an old wooden house with broken roof and filled with rusty workout machines.

From Paamiut to Nuuk we went through a lot of fog again. When the visibility is not more then a boatlength you feel like you are moving along with a bubble dome of reatively free vision in a compact mass of dense fog. The radarplotter is what you have to rely on uner such circumstances. In Nuuk
we tied up along a swiss catamaran which we also met in Reykjavik. They are aslo planning to go the North West Passage.

We have had contact with Primitive Entertainment which will meet up in Illilusat to film us. Planned departure from Nuuk is 17/7 wednesday evening or 18/7 thursday morning.

At this writing moment the sun is shining and has been doing so the whole day. Martin, Bengt and I have been doing arrends on our own today. You certainly need time for yourself when in harbour. There is more than enough of socializing on board and it can be difficult to always have a good mood when you are jammed together in the small space of Dax.

In the fog the huge iceberg is hardly visable

In the fog the huge iceberg is hardly visable

The icebergs are clearly visable on the radar plotter. Each ring represents 1/4  Nm

The icebergs are clearly visable on the radar plotter. Each ring represents 1/4 Nm

Whale meat for sale in Qaqortoq harbour

Whale meat for sale in Qaqortoq harbour

Young boys fishing for char in the Creek running through Qaqortoq

Young boys fishing for char in the creek running through Qaqortoq

Qaqortoq graveyard with lupins overviewing the village

Qaqortoq graveyard with lupins overviewing the village

Qaqortoq panorama. The harbour where Dax is moored to the right

Qaqortoq panorama. The harbour where Dax is moored to the right

Icebergs, dark Mountains outside Qaqortoq

Icebergs, dark mountains outside Qaqortoq

Dogturn dark, damp and cold

Dogturn, dark, damp and cold

 

 

 

Iceland

We are now (28/6) for the fourth night in Keflavik waiting for the weather to get better in Denmark Straight. Lowpressure has not been to our favour lately and causing windspeeds around 25 m/s. Since we have a week to 10 days of sailing over open water we want to travel safe. Icebergs are to expect when we come closer to Greenland. We would like to go through prince Christian Sound but right now the inlet is clogged by ice. So here we are in a rainy and windy Keflavik. Though we can’t complain – the restaurants have exellent seafood and the local bathhouse offers a variety of pools in different temperatures from 29 to 43 degrees Celcius. Sitting in the steaming hot water with cold rain on your head and shoulders make your spirits jump for joy.

Reykjavik was a wonderful experience – nice scale with houses seldom more than three stories high. It reminds me of San Fransisco with steeep streets cutting a clear view to the water. People are friendly, easy going and shaggy in a nice way. They have a proud air around them. Young men often look like vikings with goatee and a ponytail. The landscape makes you feel newborn or just arriving to earth as the first human. And the language sound familiar and is like what you could imagine was spoken in Scandinavia 1000 years ago.

The marina where Dax moored was situated just outside the opera house Harpa. Quite a spectacular backdrop. At midsummer Eve Primitive Entertainment invited us all to a nearby fish restaurant. 18 people all together. A wonderful evening with singing swedish songs and getting to know each other. We had loads of wonderful seafood like lobstersoup, cod, halibut, whale and scallops.

Due to problems with the radar we didn’t leave on 23/6 as planned. Martin found a radar technician, Adrien who solved our difficulties. The crew from Primitive Entertainment was waiting patientely for things to get ready. They had hired an escort boat and a mini helicopter to get some exterior and arial shots on our way out. When we finally got ready to leave the schedule was delayed by aproximately 30 hours. But as usual everybody get happy when things get solved and the initial stress is forgotten.

Leaving Reykjavik 24/6 1730 John the camera man and Senjij, the sound guy was onboard Dax and producer Kevin and gaffer Scotty was on the escort boat. Producer Michael and director David had left earlier. The wind was not to strong so we only made a couple of knots this caused John to say – can we do some faster sailing now? We all laughed at this and told him we couldn’t do much about it.

Tomorrow we plan to leave Keflavik in company with a norwegian yacht wich is visiting a village on Greenland where Erik den Röde lived.

This last day we spent fixing several things on Dax. The diesel heater needed a last care to function. Martin has been working on it the last two days. You hear him grumping and swearing from the rear space. Sometimes his head pops up asking for some tool. Bengt hand him the screwdriver and he plunges back into the pit. Now finally the heater is installed. It is equippped with a muffler – on the outlet. The inblow sounds like a minor jet. Bengt an I set off to find some boards for a small platform in the cockpit. Luckily we found a lumber yard where they gave us some waste boards that suited just fine. We used their sawmachine to to cut the exact lengths. All free of charge. The board searching tour was combined with a detour to the swimminpool and we both agreed it was hard to get out of the lovely water. A final shopping before the takeoff at Netto. I cooked the first meal onboard – chickpees with tomatoes, cashewnuts and rice with cabbage/apple sallad. Also tried to bake in the funny oven that fits on top of the kerosene stove. It came out a little doughy. Next time will be better. We have also bought 160 liters of diesel.

Tomorrow we set off for Greenland. I will get back on the blog when we are connected again. Wish us good luck!

Richard Tegnér

At the Sea Baron. Primitive Crew and first an second crew with familys

At the Sea Baron. Primitive Crew and first and second crew with familys

John in full action. Bengt is trying to act busy

John in full action. Bengt is trying to act busy

Shopping

Shopping

Nice blues band at Bryggjan in Grindavik

Nice blues band at Bryggjan in Grindavik

Proud ownwers of Bryggjan in Grindavik. Their lobster soup is divine.

Proud owners of Bryggjan in Grindavik. Their lobster soup is divine.

Dax in front of Harpa

Dax in front of Harpa

Planning in the Harpa foyer.

Richar, Martin and Bengt planning in the Harpa foyer.

Radar technician Adrien in the wire swamp

Radar technician Adrien in the wire swamp

A 360 degrees Go Pro was mounted at the stern

A 360 degrees Go Pro was mounted at the stern

Technical crew at Primitive Entertainment. Scotty, Senjij and John

Technical crew at Primitive Entertainment.
Scotty, Senjij and John