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Sunday, 7 August 2016

Heading South

The disturbances of the nigh meant that we delayed our departure by 8 hours to make sure we were well rested and prepared for the 70 mile passage to Turner Sound. Sally and I slipped ashore to buy onions and bananas as the village had been re-supplied from Denmark during the week we had been in Milne Land. This meant that we could have our now customary hot dogs and onions as our much loved passage food. Curiously we never eat hot dogs at home!

As I write this blog we are yet again motoring but this time heading south. We are half way between Kaps Tobin and Brewster passing only the occasional iceberg and cluster of growlers. The sad survivors of the legions of gleaming icy soldiers that have marched their way 180 miles down this massive fjord system. A sad procession that inevitably ends in decay and dissolution as they drift away from their glacier origins nearer towards the Denmark Strait.

Behind, lit up by the afternoon sun under blue sky, lie the mountains of Liverpool Land. These mountains still carry some of their snow from summit to sea even at the height of the Arctic Summer. Ahead lies the brooding, black Kap Brewster still guarded by 3 big bergs whose position has not change since we passed them 9 days ago. Patchy sunlight picks out the glaciers of the ranges that form the southern edge of the Sound and stretch out sixty miles to the horizon.

Time then to reflect on Scoresby Sound as we head south to the Blosseville Coast with a plan to cross back to Iceland in a few days time. What an adventure this has been. Moments of acute anxiety and adrenaline will punctuate our memories of towering peaks, sparkling fjords choked with ice, mighty walls and glaciers and the wonderful Arctic tundra. The grounding at Harefjord, the early morning escape from the lee shore at Sydkap and the ferocious catabatic winds at our last anchorage. The memory I will carry home is of a perfect sunny evening, sitting at anchor, under the red mountains with rivers of ice drifting seawards. I will remember the call of the Great Northern Diver when he visited us at that perfect anchorage and I will remember his purposeful flight, fish in bill, homeward.

It has been an adventure that has challenged us and has, in many ways, surpassed our expectations. But all is not over yet. Though heading south we still have sixty miles of Greenland's remotest coast to explore followed by another crossing of the Denmark Strait and a cruise down Iceland's rugged west coast. I am sure there will be many more adventures before this trip is done.
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