Tuesday 23rd August 2016, Høst Havn –           N69*15.9′, W24*47.4′

After 221 nm and 31h, we are anchored in Høst Havn, a narrow bay South of KapBarclay. The crew is looking forward to a nice dinner – grilled fish on the barbecue is on the menu – and then a restful night. 

We had a relatively swift passage from Isafjordur thanks to a jolly good north easterly breeze. Leaving the main fjord, we had an attempt at cod fishing but this one proved unsuccessful. 

Given our supplies, we rapidly decided to call it a day and press on. With one reef in the main and the staysail, we left behind us the Vestfjords, lightened up under the sun andthe blue sky. Ahead of us laid a band of grey low-lying clouds.

A preserve of chicken maringo prepared last year by my mother-in-law for the Spitzberg expedition was most welcome for the dinner. The night went through without major event, except the occasional bouts of mild sea-sickness. It went properly dark from midnight to 3am but we had nothing to worry about as there’s no fishing activity beyond the continental shelf and we would not expect icebergs before getting 50nm from the Greenland coast.

We spotted our first iceberg at mid-day 30nm from our landing waypoint.

Well, a first one, then a second, a third… and of proper size. A rapid trigonometry calculation gives us 30-meter height for a pinnacle iceberg and over 50 meters for a second. We approached carefully keeping on the windward to avoid the bergy bits and growlers. What a spectacle! The blue-veined ice is shining in the low light. One wonders how they can stand upright.

But we still had a long way before Høst Havn and no one had any appetite for an arrival in the dark. So we left these icebergs on their drifting destiny. Who knows how long they are going to last and where will be their last melting point.

Alas another pinnacle iceberg, drifting in front of Kap Ryder, was too tempting no to make a detour. This was was truly impressive with two peaks, cliffs and rounded bottom due to the sea erosion. Greg could not miss the opportunity to fly the drone despite Jenny’s wise advice to postpone until tomorrow once we are fresh and rested. I must admit that I did not have to be pushed by Greg too much. So after a quick re-read through the manual -these things are somewhat complicated for the neophyte – and a huge act of faith letting the drone in the water bobbing away from the boat, it took off, barely missed the forestay and flew away towards the iceberg. After 5 minutes of high adrenaline action trying to keep it steady in the light wind, we decided to land – crash was in fact more appropriate – into the water at a safe distance of Boreal. Hopefully its conspicuous orange colour made it visible and thanks to Greg’s agility, the drone is hooked at the first attempt.

Enough for today. We had all deserved a glass of wine.

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