Adventure with Waterfall

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Below is another attempt at sending a blog post from the middle of nowhere, via satellite, and at 160 characters per message.

August 8 and we are still anchored Cummings Inlet–fourth day. Either our fuel stops, like Arctic Bay, are iced in or we are weather bound. Right now it’s the latter. As I write an east wind to 40 knots howls in Lancaster Sound. In our bay, winds come racing down the mountain ice cap from the northeast, and the rigging moans. We are boat bound.

Except for an invitation to pancakes this morning. In the calm before the storm we three rowed over for breakfast with DRINA, a 50 ft ketch also pursuing the Northwest Passage that pulled in last evening.

Two hours later and after much pleasant conversation there was so much wind we couldn’t row back, though it was but eight miles that separated us from Arctic Tern. Kindly, DRINA offered a tow in their dinghy (plus outboard). The chop drenched us all.

We hung our wet clothes in the cabin to dry, but gusts coming down the flu put the heater flame out until we built a guard over the exit. Then we made a pot of coffee and grabbed our books, there being not much else to do in such weather. I’m reading THE ICE MASTER, about the 1913 Arctic Expedition disaster aboard Karluk, a questionable choice given current pursuit.

Yesterday Ali went for a row to the falls on the other side of the bay for the exercise and to fetch some excellent local water, this while Les and I busied ourselves with our books. Two hours later and she had not returned. Les scanned with binoculars and saw that Ali was some ways between us and the fall and making slow way. When we rang her on the radio, she said all was well though the oarlock had parted. She was forced to paddle the dinghy as if it were a canoe, not quick work with an inflatable and 20 gallons of water aboard. Also, the occasional Walrus inspection tended to be distracting, she said. But she insisted she did not need help.

We weighed anchor and effected a rescue anyway, for the pleasure of the distraction.

While we had Arctic Tern near the waterfall, Les decided to anchor and top off all our tanks.

Devon Island. Imagine a Grand Canyon by the sea or a Lake Powell with glaciers. Such desolate, arid land looks unlikely to host such torrents of water. Yet here it is. Glacier melt. Pouring off icy-cold, diamond-clear, and so pure it tastes like snow flakes.

All afternoon I rowed our jerry cans back and forth between bubbling stream and boat until our tanks overlfowed with the best drinking water yet invented, which I rated very satisfying work.

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