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Sunday, 24 June 2012

Bjørnøya

.. or Bear Island ... but we haven't seen any bears.

On departure day from Meifjord, Sørøya, the forecasts promised 2 days of west wind. It all meant punching into the waves, but at least we would be able to hold our course under sail without the need for tacking.

As the second day arrived, the forecasts started to suggest that the approach to Spitsbergen would involve tacking an extra day into force 6 to 7 [25 to 30 knots] northwest wind. We and TRAVERSAY III have dealt with much worse but a) we have a guest aboard who was feeling the motion sailing close to a force 5 a trial and b) we had the choice in this convenient half-way island.

There is no harbor so we are anchored in the lee of the island in a shallow sand bottom bay. The open roadstead roll is just tolerable and the anchor is holding well in the gusts. For company, we have the high bleak snow-smeared hills on one side and some anchored fish factory ships on the other. The fish factory ships need a lee out of the ocean waves to load catches from a profusion of smaller fish boats that come alongside them - as in the attached photo.

We took our electronic compass down this morning to examine it for damage and perhaps find clues why it has been steering erratically of late. It displayed no damage but explained patiently to us that it doesn't like to travel quite so far north - being outside in the cold and wind. Oh well, not much farther and then it is sure to be happier when pointing south.

We will bide our time here for one or two nights until the whining in the rigging dies away a bit and the weather guessers offer a benign gentle onward way.

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