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Thursday, 4 August 2016

Today Shimshal found her limits

On a picture perfect day we left Harefjord having maintained an anchor watch overnight. We motored south into Rodofjord under the spectacularly eroded Red Mountain. A lot of ice lay ahead but for the first 20 miles the navigation was easy in ice of less 1/10.

We always knew that today was going to be the crux as ice, visible from space, fanned out from 2 massive calving glaciers apparently blocking the narrowest part of the sound. We motored tentatively up to it with mounting anxiety. Gradually the ice became denser with an increasing number of growlers between the bigger bergs. These growlers seemed our worst enemy as they are harder to spot and could inflict significant damage on us especially to the prop.

We were now dodging ice every few seconds but the way ahead was disappearing. As we got closer it became apparent that the jumbled mass of bergs , large and small, were floating in a soup of brash ice. The wind freshened and cooled as it plunged down the massive glacier to our west and I knew it was time for a decision.

Sally, on the foredeck, was looking anxious and I was certainly feeling nervous. We were all unanimous that what lay ahead was not suitable for a plastic boat with an unprotected prop. So we turned down wind and away from the pack knowing that we would enjoy the retreat.