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Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Rules of thumb

Between us the crew of Shimshal has 8 thumbs which is just as well as, this morning at 9am, we were visited by Maik Brotzman our excellent land based ice and high latitude pilot. He showered us with pearls of wisdom and each was a "rule of thumb" which quickly meant that we were soon pretty short of any kind of digit with which to record his his rules. Discerning the malign or benign intent of polar bears, the signs of an approaching iceberg in the fog, polar lows, catabatic winds of mind boggling power and how to approach the ice pack. The rules just kept coming. We really did enjoy his visited and are delighted that he will be guiding us from afar but there was lots of nervous laughter abroad as is often the case when about to embark on a complicated and extremely remote adventure.

At noon we let go the lines and motored around to the fuel berth where we spent an hour fuelling the boat. It all took a lot longer than expected as the big new fuel tank was not not venting properly. Never before has Shimshal been loaded up like this for an off piste adventure. When we motored north from the fuel dock into an 18 knot northerly wind we had the following supplies on board:

Fuel:
600 litres of diesel in the converted tank below the saloon
250 litres of diesel in the main in built fuel tank
100 litres of diesel in the aft auxiliary tank
200 litres in a barrel lashed in the cockpit
140 litres in jerry cans.
In total 1300 litres of diesel!

Water:
600 litres in four separate tanks one of which is a 200 litre one that can be taken ashore and filled to refresh the in built ones.

Food:
Meals for four people for a month plus quite a bit to spare

Other bits of kit specific for these waters:

3 big anchors and a lot of chain and warps.

In addition to our normal tender we have a two man kayak in case a bear takes a fancy to our only means of getting from shore to boat.

A very powerful rifle and 25 rounds of ammunition in case we happen across a very angry bear. We also have complete pack of flares to scare the bears off first.

Diving gear to retrieve stuck anchors.

Spares and tools to fix things in huge quantities.

Never before has Shimshal laboured under such a load and yet she has swallowed the lot and, as I write, is carrying us to our first anchorage at the very north west tip of Iceland. An early start tomorrow will see us head north for 280 miles to a land of adventure and excitement.

Picture shows first meal at anchor - Lamb Balti.
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