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Monday, 8 August 2016

Henry Land

We crept into Romerfjord on the northern edge of Henry Land at 0400 this morning. As the anchor went down in 12 metres I became aware of the smell of festering toilets and my heart sank at the thought of another assault on the ships plumbing. But then we spotted that the beach was steaming and higher up there was a rash of acne like fumaroles steaming away and emitting stinking sulphur. Inadvertently we had chosen to anchor off a geothermal beach. We had the prospect of a hot bath ashore and, even more importantly, no battle with the plumbing was required!

We went ashore after mid-day brunch and found the hot pools simmering away gently surrounded by exotic green mosses. This was obviously a spot frequented by hunters who had built a rock pool at just the right temperature. What an amazing place to take a bath! Seated in the silty, near scalding water looking out over the boat at anchor in the dark fjord hemmed in by brown mountains rising steeply to 1,500 metres. A solitary iceberg as a reminder of our latitude. Just another extraordinary experience to add to the many on this trip.

Also ashore was the tiny hut frequented by hunters with its door nailed closed. For some strange reason they had gone to the trouble of building a narrow gravel track to their mooring strops on the basalt crags that formed the shore. They were obviously very successful as everywhere there were the stark bones of their prey. Whales and seals presumably? We combed the hillsides for polar bears and took the gun with us everywhere and saw none. Every now and then the harsh landscape was softened by wild flowers flourishing in the more sheltered spots.

We had fetched up in another delightful anchorage so completely different to all that had gone before. We decided to stay another night and leave in the small hours of tomorrow morning for Kap Barclay 40 miles south west.
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