August 26, 2019
Total Miles: 34,464
Days at Sea: 269
Days since Departure: 331
The forecast calls for SW20, but the wind is highly dynamic all day, light to the Finlayson Islands, strong enough and far enough S thereafter to sail close hauled for a few hours, then light again as the day waned.
In the night and as we made approach to Byron Bay, a large thunderhead formed in the SW. It poured so much rain that the water top turned white. Mo got a drencher for ten minutes and then had to claw through very stiff SW winds for another ten.
The squall, something I’ve never seen in the Arctic before, seemed entirely out of place, like spotting a giraffe on the near headland. And so slow moving. An hour after anchoring, the towering black cloud was still making its unhurried way to the N. I thought I could see lightning over Victoria Island.
Byron Bay is a crescent shaped indentation in the coast 75 miles W and N of Cambridge Bay. It has good holding in 25ft black and red mud at 68 55N 108 30W. Good protection from N – SW. Open S – E. A gradual slope of the bottom from the beach means keel boats will anchor as much as a quarter mile off. Arctic Tern anchored here in 2014 to escape 40 knot W winds. For Mo, winds were SW15, and the anchorage was very comfortable.
Here only for sleep. We departed before breakfast for Edinburgh Island in Coronation Sound. We’re nibbling at our westing and waiting for the day when wind will go into a quarter not unremittingly dead ahead.
The terrain here is low and dreary, reddish dirt with as much differentiation mile after mile as that between infield and pitchers mound. Up close, the hills look neatly swept clean of life. Nothing sticks up higher than a medium sized rock. I think somewhere a giant groundsman is dragging his chain link fence across the land, readying the entire Arctic for the words, “Play ball!”