13 Aug 22.00 UTC (local time 14 Aug 0500) N76 33 E112 01 Anchored in an estuary, Outside temp 12 degrees and forecast 14 later – Honest !! Water temp 3.8 with 40 knot winds forecast with gusts of 50
Well running out of superlatives, what a mixed bag we had today. Late last night the ice charts were depressing, all went to sleep wishing we had not read them. Early this morning at 01.00 the boat drifted away from our Stamukha, so we were lucky we had an anchor watch. First thing today the water was so calm, it was like a mirror, similar to when we left Murmansk, very different to the previous 12 hours. No wind, we didn’t think the ice would have moved overnight. So we we retraced our boat track from last night, always expecting to come back. We passed the old Polar Station for the third time, slowly creeping up, and then we found the ice about 3/10. We put Dennis up the mast, the drone doesn’t work in the rain ! So it was the mark one eyeball. For simple reasons, as trying to get the Russian translation has just taken 30 mins, left a bit, right a bit . STOP, B******t. Dennis shouting to his Comrade at the helm.
Amazingly, to our collective excitement, we managed to get past Andreya Island. Amazingly, it had a little red flashing light on top of a metal structure. The first real sign of man since leaving the Cape. Quite a comfort. We slowly progressed, and again squeezed past the headland that the ice charts said were solid, then our last headland we failed by literally 50 m. With the keel up, it was measuring – 0.2 on the depth meter. At one point grounding. Clear water was in front of us. Tantalisingly close.
We have had to go and find shelter tonight. A huge storm on the way, and high wind, in shallow waters with masses of ice driving your way, is no place to hang around to see what might happen.
So, now at anchor, all tired, excited after today, and looking forward to the next hurdle – I think! As I write, the wind is gusting 30 knots, so clever to run for shelter.