Cambridge Bay, Almost

August 21, 2019

This log is out of order because I can’t keep up given current happenings. So, a short update now and a more thorough report in coming days.

Mo and I are still closing The Crux of the Matter chapter by an entry into Cambridge Bay. Here awaiting us are a few nights of consistent sleep, the replenishment of our fuel supplies, and hopefully a stroll through town. 

Sadly, hamlets in Arctic Canada contains no brew pubs, and though Cambridge Bay has taken a large step toward metropolitanization by the installation of two restaurants, the last I was here, its Kentucky Fried Chicken was out of chicken and the Pizza Hut had run out of dough. Recall that these communities survive largely on the supply from one barge a year, which arrives in late summer, often after the seafaring tourist has come and gone. 

We have been in company with Alioth since our Larsen Sound in-the-ice rendezvous. After exiting the last floes, we sailed due S towards the Clarence Islands so as to avoid an ice tongue stretching E from the McClintock Channel. Then we turned toward Icebreaker Channel, which separates Jenny Lind Island and the larger Victoria Island.

Sailing has been good until last night when wind died and the sea became greasy smooth. 

Certainly a sailboat can wait for a breeze, but in this case, we were faced with the prospect of strong heading winds from the S by morning followed by gale force winds from the SW if we couldn’t find a way under Victoria Island in a hurry.

So, after supper yesterday, Mo and her little red engine took big Alioth under tow. All night we made good if slow way to the S, and when S winds filled mid morning, we were in position to take them as an easy reach to the W.

As is their wont in these parts, winds gave out in the afternoon. Now Alioth is under tow again, but we are a mere two hours from port. 

The change in the land form here is stunning. Greenland, Bylot and Baffin Islands consist of sharp snowcapped mountains spilling glaciers, and the desert mesas of Devon Island, though low, are regal, imposing and bring to mind ancient days. But here, in this part of the Arctic, the land is…..just…..flat.

4 Comments on “Cambridge Bay, Almost

  1. Wow, Randall, now MO is a tugboat!!! Those on Alioth are lucky to have your little red engine, and you are lucky to have their company! I am still holding my breath with every log! Thank you for taking the time away from watches, steering, and badly needed sleep to keep us all right along with you!!

  2. Wow, Mo – you are a true hero, and so is Moli. What would Alioth have done without you! Glad you will have some good sleep, be able to refill the tanks, jerry cans, and ride out the coming gale. But Alioth is it too much to hope they can repair their gearbox at Cambridge Bay? Following your detailed tables of distances …Cambridge Bay to Tuktoyaktuk is 570 nm … Tuk to Nome 1500 …

  3. Under tow – amazing!!!! I wish I could tell my dad all about this one. Heck, maybe he’s watching it all play out first hand. Safe travels.

  4. Randall – kudos to you!!! Short on sleep, but abundant on consideration for others. Good thing you exiled Monte for a while, not sure if his highbrow would take Moli becoming the towboat. Monte must get extremely nervous when he sees a bridle approach the stern. Thanks for all the updages and glad that you made it to Cambridge safely after reading the 4 minute nap story.

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