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The Rock-itt : October 2011
Chris Bray and partner, Jessica Taunton, are on another adventure sailing their 29ft yacht, Teleport, on a voyage from Canada to Australia. Last month we followed Chris and Jess from Canada along the Northwest passage to Newfoundland and then onto Greenland. We continue to follow their exciting journey to Teleport’s resting place for winter. Our days now left aboard are numbered, we've just anchored in a little bay on the SE coast of Victoria Island – and we're very proud, relieved and excited to be here, almost at the end of our final leg for this season. W e've only a mere 90 miles left along the coast until we reach Cambridge Bay, our final destination where we'll be leaving Teleport for the winter. Leaving Victoria Island, sailed to the disconcertingly uncharted but very beautiful Anderson Bay, our second last stop. We cautiously nestled close in to the windward shore, and dropped the anchor through 15 feet of crystal clear water onto blue-white sand. It was already getting late, but we quickly flipped our dingy over the side and rowed ashore to explore at sunset. Next morning we woke to find ice all over the deck and filling the crevices in our sail cover - definitely time to get a move on. It was a short, cold, and rather foggy sail from Anderson Bay to the final cape, but as we rounded it into Cambridge Bay the fog gradually lifted and the tight clutter of houses shimmered into view through the mirage. It was a long convoluted path in, through countless leads and marker buoys, giving us plenty of time to get excited about finally reaching the end of this year's adventure! Cambridge Bay is like my second home - I've been here five times now, and with so many good friends to see, and to introduce Jess too, we could hardly wait. We awoke one morning to urgent Russian voices, and peeping blearily through our window, we saw what appeared to be a makeshift castaway's raft, tying up to the wharf beside us. It was made of what looked like bamboo poles, lashed with string and duct- tape, two diesel engines m ounted on the back, with a small tent underneath a precarious A-frame structure in the middle. On top of this hung a shabby sail and a ... a radar dome. With absolutely no idea what to make of it, I hurried out to help take the lines of these poor shipwreck survivors. It turned out, amazingly, that these guys were actually in the process of circum navigating the arctic in stages onboard this crazy raft, and had al ready succ essf ully nav igat ed the Northeast passage above Russia sev eral years ago, had now just about done the Northwest passage, and were just a few weeks away from continuing on to Alaska and ultimately back to Russia. Just awesome! And we thought we were doing it tough aboard our little boat! These guys don't even have a heater! They stayed only long enough to refuel and enjoy a hearty steak dinner at the local Elks here (a kinda membership-based, non-for- profit pub that opens here some Fridays, raising money for various causes.) The food was amazing, and afterwards, it just so happened that the town was hav ing something called a 'Beer Dance'! Our mate Wilf managed to drum us up some tickets, and boy did we have a good time – There's been a constant parade of cargo and tanker ships resupplying Cambridge Bay these past two weeks, and onboard one Brent took delivery of a little 17 foot sailing/rowing boat which Jess and I helped him rig. I then went out with him on its maiden voyage (drys uited up), and the following day helped him sail it the 9 miles around to his great little cabin out of town. Clara, the wonderfully friendly girl at the local visitors centre here kindly lent us two bikes, and so by cycling and sailing and even the odd jog, we'v e been trying to burn off some of the calories we've accumulated while being stuck aboard Teleport these past mont hs. Jess and I spent several days on our own constructing the epic cradle for Teleport, following the measurements I took from Teleport's cradle back in Halifax I recorded before we left. With the help of a brand new chainsaw kindly organised for us, we transformed the huge pile of lumber (8x8 inch beams, 10x2 inch planks etc) into all the pieces we needed. Our mate good ol' Rene Laserich (Adlair Aviation pilot and son of the legendary bush pilot Willie Laserich who picked Clark and I up in 2005) lent us his impact-driver from the hangar, and a friend gave us hundreds of good strong bolts to hold it all together Cambridge Bay