Fine Tolerance and the North West Passage.
Just an update to let everyone know that Fine Tolerance is floating again. On Thursday the stern shifted just a little with the tide and for the first time since last October she sat for a short time on an even keel before once again settling back down again as the tide dropped to lie with her familiar list to starboard. On Friday the stern lifted slightly again but this time when settling down she started listed to port.
As you can see from the above photo if she suddenly released herself from the ice leaning into the wharf, not out, she could be quite seriously damaged by the wharf. Our normal waterline is right of the blue line so you can see how far she is out of the water and understand how far she would fall if she suddenly toppled over. We swung out on the boom in an attempt to get her to lean away from the wharf but to no avail so we quickly went below and started to move all the heavy items on board to the starboard side in an attempt to get her to lean away from danger when suddenly there was a great shudder, shake and splash. We rushed up on deck to find that the ice holding her had split /under her keel along her entire length and both pieces of ice had risen to the surface. Luckily we had her attached to the wharf with plenty of slack in the lines and the ice on the port side wedged itself between the wharf and Fine Tolerance.
Everything seemed in place. There was no water entering the hull anywhere and we were floating. We put some fenders on and attached spring lines. We were able to get back to the wharf by just walking over the piece of ice that had just popped up.
Even though we are now floating in our little corner of the world it will not be before the end of this month that Cambridge Bay will clear of ice and we would not expect, judging by the Canadian 2005 Seasonal Ice Report that was released last month, to be on our way eastward into the centre of the North West Passage until between the 23rd to 26th of August. The below photo shows us floating on our lines again but also all the ice that still has yet to melt.
So far the only damage due to ice that we have found is a split accumulator tank that is used to even out the fresh water pressure. We had considered removing it (it has no drain plug) but in the end decided that as it operates with a rubber diaphragm the water should have room to expand as it changed to ice. It was a wrong choice but we have contacted the manufactures in California and they are shipping us up a new one. We have tested the engine which started on the second revolution, the head is working after replacing a diaphragm in that system from spares we had on board, we have given her a good scrub down and removed the sails from the lazarette and given them a wash and thorough dry. When the Bay starts to clear of ice we will be able to go for a trial run and hoist the sails once again.
So until then, thank you one and all for all the emails, letters and care packages that we received through the winter months. The experience of being able to spend a full year in the Arctic, from 24 hr darkness to as it is now, 24 hr sunlight, has been rewarding beyond measure.
You may have noticed the sunny day in the photos above. Also that Liz is in capri pants and Phil is in shorts. The day was 14 degrees, the warmest day for 12 months. So before we go here's something to remind you of what it was like here only six weeks ago. I'm not too sure whether it is our age or not but the seasons sure seem to be going around faster and faster these days.
If you have any questions now is the time to email and ask. We have been slow in our replies for the past month and we do apologise. The volume has been steadily increasing and we have had to battle to keep up. Still we do thank you for them all. Every one has been encouraging. We hope we can soon send you an email from the other side. If wishing to send us a return email please use our email address email@example.com and not the reply button on your screen.
Phil and Liz