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The Rock-itt : August 2011
and so we had to empty and heave the entire flexible tank out and up onto the wharf, and slice open the 'protective' canvas outer cover and pull out the internal vinyl bladder. Amazingly, it had at least three sizeable puncture holes/tears in it - yet there was not even a scratch on the protective canvas cover, and we could find nothing sharp where the bag rested - more confusingly still, the holes were on the top of the bladder where there wouldn't have even been much force/pressure. Water tank finally fixed we were on our way again. As we crossed the invisible line on our ice chart showing we'd now entered the zone where there be icebergs, we decided that while we can at least, we may as well only sail during the day, and pull into the nearest harbour come 8:30-9PM each night when the sun goes down. So we've had lovely brief stop overs in several little fishing villages along the way, each time usually fielding a barrage of interested questions from as many as seven or eight locals who line up on the wharf beside Teleport the moment we dock. About six or seven days of decent weather was predicted, which although likely not enough tim e for us to cross the 800 miles to Nuuk (64 Deg N), should be enough to get us to some smaller ports or anchorages further south to hide in, near the bottom tip of Greenland, a mere 600 miles (6 days?) away. From there we'd pick the weather and sail up the coast to Nuuk, one day at a time. We aimed for Kap Desolation (61 Deg N) - s ounds welcoming, no? So not only did we decide to take this safer but less-direct route to Nuuk, but annoyingly, even though Greenland is basically due North from Newfoundland, we decided it also safest to head East for the first 24hrs to cut perpendicularly (the shortest route) through the 100 mile wide flow of icebergs drifting down the Newfoundland coast (see the iceberg chart image, the numbers count bergs in each area, and green is our proposed route), making our route even more dog-legged. We hit bad weather and it was like Teleport was a cork in a washing machine, I couldn't believe just how much we were bucked and smacked around like we were on a rodeo bull. It's a huge credit to the builder, Jim Creighton, that Teleport held together without a single thing breaking. I guess being a ‘North Atlantic 29' she's designed for this kinda stuff, but I have to admit that although busy reassuring Jess, I wasn't feeling 100% confident inside at the peak of the gale. And poor Jess was so sick that it was frightening, both for her and me. I've ever seen anyone that ill, ever. She couldn't even sit up without vomiting (or trying to, with nothing left inside), on average I'd say, about every 10 minutes, non- stop for days. She was wrecked and pushed way past where she'd given up, Already weak from 2 days of not eating previously, she was wrecked and didn't want to cope any more, but just had to. We survived, mercifully, and it took several days for the seas to ease after that, but eventually they did, and Jess started to feel better, and we found our course back towards Greenland, heading with all haste to Kap Desolation as planned – we just needed shelter to lick our wounds, calm down, sleep, clean and dry the boat, collect our thoughts, and get some water. We woke to a beautiful scene – the towering mountainous coastline of Greenland clearly visible on the horizon! "Land Ho!" Full of relief and excitement we motor sailed towards it. A few icebergs started looming in the distance, then more, and then, as I peered through the binoculars I thought I saw a thin white line extending as far as I could see in either direction. It couldn't be. No way. But 20 miles off, we found that it was – an endless heap of unseparated bergy-bits chocked the coastline as far as I could see. W e headed in as close as I dared, begging for an opening, but there was none. There was no way we could get into any of the anchorages we'd been promising ourselves. You can imagine the crushing disappointment and despair as I turned Teleport back around out to sea. W here would we go? We will be back in September with another instalment from Chris and Jess as they sail their boat “Teleport” against all kinds of hazards including taking her through the notorious North West Passage as they make their way home to Australia.