Archive for the ‘Animals’ Category

Whale Tail slapping

Friday, September 12th, 2008

Another good day…We left Dolgoi Island at 8:00 am, the last boat to leave the anchorage. We had a squall come through at 1:30 – 2:30am. I woke up to hard rain and staggered back to the cockpit to take a look. It was an interesting site with the bright floods of the fishing boats lit up and the rain pouring down. Walt woke up around 2:30am as the swells came in and rocked us a bit and Ed slept through everything… again.

The seas were were very pleasant and we saw two whales early on and they treated us to nice tale shots, but we missed the photos. We snuck through Unga Strait at slack tide which kept our average knots up. We saw another unusual Humpback whale behavior. We spotted a large tail slapping the water over and over. We believe there were two whales, one larger than the other. The larger whale kept slapping his tale on the water, sometimes lifting the back third of his body clear before slamming it down.

In total we saw six whales today, a nice treat but we weren’t done. Making one fairly open passage I spotted something breaching the water while we were in some fairly heavy seas. It was startling but we got quite excited as Walt recognized the Dahl Porpoise. At least one made a few passes at our bow and came at us from the starboard side briefly breaching in the trough of a wave. We slowed but they did not continue their fun, but it was a great new experience.

We saw many fishing boats today, many our size which brings a good level of comfort as they know the waters better than us. The fog lifted at times and we saw the ruggedness of the land here. It is hard to describe as the jagged rocks rise at least 400 feet (the fog ceiling limit) with shards at the points. The hills are covered with a green blanket streaked by white falls in the gullies, it is a beautiful and treacherous place. We safely anchored between, Jacob Island and Paul Island in Kupreanof Harbor.



Moving West (Part II)

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

The morning was sunny and glorious with tons of birds everywhere. About 3:30 PM it grew grey and rainy. Pat noticed that when the fresh water rain drops hit the salt water ocean, they stay as a little pearl on the top of the water for a few seconds before disappearing. We are motoring along the north side of Lancaster Sound and the seas are calm and views of land good. We have been making bread nearly every day and today’s was cracked wheat with walnuts, onion and dill! We make a huge loaf in a big glass bowl and it is fun for us all to watch the rising, smell the baking, suffer through the cooling before we plunge in! Geraldine is running so well and we’ve all showered finally thanks to the full water tanks. Everyone is ready to do laundry in Resolute. We haven’t done it on the boat to conserve water and we are O-U-T! We have hatch and window covers that snap on. I made some black felt pieces that fit in under the covers to make the bedrooms dark so we can sleep during our shift. Since it is light all the time we need them all the time.

We saw a pack of seals herding fish today which was really neat. There were probably at least 20 seals popping up “waist high” and swimming with a dolphin like motion. We passed a glacier at water’s edge and got very close, but saw no calving. Then we came around a corner to see three polar bears on the shore! A mother and two large cubs. Wow! Pictures are so cool from today! Some have asked about the total eclipse 8/1 and if we saw it. It was totally cloud covered that morning and we were south of the total eclipse track so we missed it. There were many tourists in Iqaluit to see it who were disappointed.

Pillar of fire

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

(6:15 PM 71 deg 20′ N, 065 deg 55′ W) Another day cruising up the coast of Baffin Island. It feels like it has taken us a long time to get here and that we are not making much progress West, however when we reach Pond Inlet (early Friday) we’ll be at 80* west longitude, over Pittsburgh. At 1:00 am or so we saw a vertical pillar that resembled the Exodus pillar of fire. We don’t believe it was a coincidence that Walt had prayed that morning we would be guided by a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, wait until we can upload these pictures!! The Sun sets around 11:30 pm and rises around 2:30 am, but it doesn’t drop much beyond the horizon so we do have close to 24 hours of daylight with a few hours of bright dusk. The weather was beautiful and the seas were calm all day, no big surprises. We continue to have gulls and other birds that swoop around us all day keeping us company. We did have a whale sighting 100 yards off the bow. We watched as the whale spouted a few times and gave a us a nice tale shot before it disappeared. We believe it was some whale other than a humpback with an all grey tale, perhaps a grey Whale. P.S. it is nice to report that my dad, Pat, is the lowest ranking crew member. Someone snapped a shot of the Chief Engineer brushing his teeth, however they missed the “other” crew member scrubbing the deck with his toothbrush, electric I may add, no wonder we don’t have any more storage space!! P.S.S. We did have a new experience this evening Sea Ice. It doesn’t show on the radar yet it was all around us, compounded with 1/8th of a mile or less visibility in fog. I spent 2 hours in the flybridge on the intercom as we picked our way through. A few times we ran into a corner and had to spin around and head back, if ever there was steaming by braile this was it. Our experiences before have prepared us for times such as these. You have to move through it believing you’ll find a way out as we could not see very far. It was a great team effort and we pushed through and were treated with chicken and dumplings once we were clear.

Sunshine and a walrus

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008
Kathy Robertson reporting on a phone call from Pat:
Pat called at 2:20 this afternoon and wanted me to give you a report on their progress. He said they are sailing under beautiful blue skies. They have the coast of Baffin Island to their left and sheet ice and bergs on the right at a distance. The course provided by the Canadian Ice Service is wonderful. He said that even with the short shifts, they are getting enough rest. They have meals together and if it’s not your shift, you must be resting—there had been concern expressed about adequate sleep and rest. He sounded very upbeat and positive. He said that even traveling day and night that it will take at least two more days to Pond Inlet.
From Kip:
Hi to you all: Our days are all running together since we started this round the clock journey Saturday. Walt and I got up at 4:30 am and the sun was up and the water like glass. To the left we could see the mountains of Baffin Island peeking out of fog. Then we saw what I’ll call a white rainbow; there was a white arc in the sky against the fog which was mirrored in the perfectly calm water. Another meaning to arctic circle. As we went we could see with binoculars an infinite number of icebergs to the right which we think was sourced from Disko Island, Ilulissat, Greenland. We thought we could see a mass of ice on the horizon to the east. Then we saw two massive ice bergs that dwarfed anything we had seen, coming to starboard. The closest one was probably 600 feet in height. At its base we saw a huge walrus resting which Pat caught with his telephoto. It is 58 degrees outside right now and the water temp is 44. We are at 68 deg 10.3’N, 062 deg 41.4’W at 3:00 pm EDT.
Shane made the bread for today and it is baking as I write. We have four huge frozen chickens and I have thawed the first one. We are having it roasted and stuffed like a turkey tonight for dinner with mashed potatoes and peas. None of us can wait!
The gulls continue to accompany us and fly past the bow from right and left; sometimes we think they will stop on the rails but none have. We are doing fine and very happy to have sunshine after the dense fog that accompanied us all day yesterday. We hope to post pictures in Pond Inlet and predict we will be there Friday. We are grateful for smooth seas, light winds, the sunshine, and each other as we press on. We praise God for His grace to us in this long passage as the boat motor keeps on purring (loudly!) Thank you for all the prayers; we are being carried by them. How we miss you all.
4:30 PM PS from Walt: Off to the right we can now see the miles of pack ice & bergs in the center of Baffin Bay/Davis Strait. No way could we get to Greenland from here! Right now it is clear to the north.
7:45 PM: Still waiting for the email to send, so I’ll update. We had chicken, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, peas, & homemade bread for dinner. Almost Thanksgiving Wow! Wow! Wow!

I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go — Genesis 28:15