|Iceberg off the starboard bow|
We’re finally on our way to Arctic Bay where the regional RCMP who perform Customs duties patiently await our arrival. Leaving Tay Bay we spotted two much larger male polar bears making their way along the barren mountains – the bears seem to have a routine and route which will allow the males to avoid each other. In the water alongside us, a solo seal kept coming up … watching us for some time from a safe distance before diving. A little later a much braver duo approached us from the front and lingered as we noisily approached (the motor was running) … finally ostentatiously making last-minute co-ordinated dives. Then didn’t an octet of seals materialize? This troupe performed an entertainment routine by slapping into the water in sequence. Just to make sure we noticed, they played it on the starboard side and repeated it at a safe distance on our portside.
My watch-keeping arrangements have had to change – I stay outside the entire time to watch for ice instead of zipping in and out at 10-minute intervals – I’m copying the men who find this a safer method. We’re still passing a fair number of icebergs (some of them disintegrating) and we’re also expecting to be in the sea ice soon.
Motoring along Admiralty Inlet during my 9 - midnight watch, I caught a few photos of the huge ramparts of variegated-coloured and textured rocks which form the Eastern shore. We’re heading towards the 800-person town of Arctic Bay where we’ll meet with the officials and be able to re-fuel. I’ve made some pressure-cooked bread and a soup for tomorrow because the men (making a number of trips back and forth with fuel jugs) may need to eat aboard. Meanwhile, I plan to stay at the Post office and write a number of cards. That is, if it’s open on a Saturday and if it’s possible to buy cards. I also have a small list of items to buy if they’re available and not too pricey. Although we can anchor in Arctic Bay, there’s still a lot of ice and we need to get out to a safer anchorage before the next gales strike – on Monday or Tuesday.