Thursday, 15 August 2013
Setback in Beechey
Unfortunately, we got turned back by ice and re-emerging wind. At 0730 we anchored back on Devon Island at Erebus and Terror Bay after passing Beechey Island in high winds and a snowstorm.
Beechey Island contains the memorial to a number of crew members from Franklin's ship who died here in the 1840s on their journey of exploration. We hope to honor their memory by a visit to their graves if more suitable weather prevails. Some years ago the remains of one of these explorers was sent back to Edmonton for testing. This furnished conclusive proof that lead poisoning was a contributing factor to the demise of these men.
We ourselves are eating well and our stores still include all food groups including not just tinned but also fresh veggies, meat and bread. Today will be another 'at home' day and we have various repairs underway. We can't repair the broken refrigerator - and with current temperatures we don't really need it. The men are now fixing a really annoying problem. An ear-splitting alarm sounds whenever water splashes up high on the side of the bilges. It's happened several times (mostly when one of us is sound asleep) because the shaft seal leaks whenever the propeller cavitates or we're in heavy waves. Claude has diagnosed the problem and Larry is currently trying to put more compression on the bellows which would stop the leak and silence this annoying alarm forever.
Good news came in from our friend Nicola on his red steel boat - 'Perd pas le Nord' - (sailing under a Belgian flag). He and his crew have surged forward to the south of Boothia Island and headed for Gjoa Haven. Nicola with his friend Alex and family (Veronique and their two pre-teen girls Emy and Elyse) are through the worst of the ice on this side. They have accomplished this miracle by crashing through REALLY thick ice - working very hard with one person high up the mast to check for possible routes, and with using their boat somewhat like an icebreaker …
We're going to continue to wait for better ice reports. We feel unable to use Traversay as an icebreaker … if the echo sounder on our hull were destroyed in really thick ice, it could let water in and we really don't need cold baths!no-footer