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Friday, 5 August 2016

Even Further North - Sydkap 71 17N

Having previously posted that we had past our most northerly point I now have to admit I got it wrong. 71 04N would have been our high point had we have succeeded in circumnavigating Milne Land. But the ice stopped us and we retreated along the sunlit Ofjord and enjoyed a glorious evening and Arctic twilight before arriving at Sydkap at 2am to seek out a bomb proof anchorage for a day of rest and recuperation. Sydkap is definitely our most northerly point on this voyage.

The anchorage, sadly, turned out to be our worst to date. Where we had hoped to find shelter we found none and where we had yearned for good holding for our anchor we found only rock and steeply shelving sea bed making it impossible to anchor in a manageable depth and avoid swinging into boulders. When we we did find a precarious perch we left the next morning when the wind veered and rose to 25 knots putting us on a dangerous lea shore.

Motoring off in a rising wind we scrambled around filling the main fuel tank from cans which was a job we had intended to do that day in the peace and quiet of a safe anchorage.

So where now? We have received reports that the Forbidden Coast is open for visitors this year. Richard has sent us stunning satellite images of the coast to the south of Kap Brester showing it to be completely free of sea ice. There are, of course, lots of icebergs around calved off glaciers but we have now grown desensitised to them. This state of affairs has never before existed since the Danes started producing ice charts 60 years ago.

We are, therefore, bound for the Forbidden Coast where the waters are uncharted and where the Polar Bear reigns supreme. We will take a rest day in Amdrup's Havn tomorrow and, if the weather forecast remains favourable, will begin heading south on Sunday.

The picture is of sunset at 23:15. It will be up again in an hour or two.
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