27-29 July 2023: Passage to Illulisat via Aasiaat

We spent the first night and day tacking in 8-11kts of northerly breeze and relatively flat water. The sailing is pleasant and smooth.

After a quick stop in Aassiat to get more fuel filters, we settle once again in a watch routine of 3 on/6 off. At some point, the thermometer registers a temperature of 0.4 degrees and an additional wool layer is required. Petter is really struggling with the cold both on watch and inside the boat so we compromised in running the heater more than we normally would. I guess Calin and I are now reaping the rewards of the enduring cold while painting the deck this winter in England and we are both able to enjoy our watches on the open deck without feeling cold and feel quite cozy in 15 degrees inside.
Unfortunately, the wind didn’t last long and we find ourselves motoring for the rest of the way in thick fog. In these eery conditions of zero visibility, we rely a lot on our radar to spot icebergs, otherwise very difficult to see in the distance. The trickiest are those small growlers, with too little mass protruding above the water for the radar to pick up. Yet, they can cause drastic damage if hit at any speed. They pop up at the very last minute so it is critical to keep our eyes on the water, close to the wheel if the need arise to urgently swerve. With 100% focus at all time and the impossibility to go down below to make a hot drink or even for a wee, the end of the watch comes as a sweet reward. I find my watches thoroughly enjoyable though and usually time goes by quickly. Sometimes I listen to an audiobook, sometimes I just enjoy the here and now in the elements and I feel privileged to experience this part of the world that very few people do.

The fog is really thick as we approach Illulisat and all 3 of us are on deck, eyes peeled. Growlers and Icebergs are numerous and small fishing runabout boats with no AIS pop out of nowhere. Slow speed and attention is key. It is late afternoon, the sun is trying to burn through the fog but instead brings an surreal light to an already spooky setting. We idle for a while to get some fish and between Petter and I, the catch is highly successful – with the biggest cod I ever caught (a greedy one with 7 little fishes in its stomach!)

Leave a reply