With the full crew re-united aboard Belzebub we left Ilulissat into the iceberg clogged waters of Disko Bay. In some places as much as 30 to 40 percent of the bay was covered in ice. This meant slow moving for us as we snaked our way through and in some places pushed our way through the dense ice but the hypnotizing shape, forms and colors of the ice in the glare of the midnight sun made it a spectacular experience. For over 120 nautical miles we were surrounded by these massive and ancient structures which calved, rolled and cracked periodically around us releasing massive explosions which echoed off the towering mountain walls as we cruised by.
We were on our way to Uummannaq to deliver Rana where he would once again leave us to chase his parrel story to the expedition. As we rounded into the fjord containing the towering mountain island where Uummannaq is situated, a wind and sea started to develop against us hindering our good progress. The fjord was also full of icebergs and their smaller debris and with a flowing tide against us, mounting winds and increasing unstable ice masses around us we began to second guess our decision to go to Uummannaq to drop Rana off. After hours of battling these conditions and making nearly no headway a downloaded weather report sealed the fate of the endeavor indicating deteriorating conditions persisting for an extended period, Uummannaq was not to be.
It was with disappointment that we informed Rana we couldn’t make it to his desired destination and that mother nature was taking him prisoner aboard Belzebub but more pressing we needed to head out to sea immediately away from the ice and icebergs to safety navigate the building weather. Soon the surrounding waters were in a froth with short 5 to 6 foot breaking waves and 30 knot winds. This wind and short chop camouflaged large pieces of ice floating in the surrounding water and we were forced to reduce sail to a few square feet to run slowly with the waves out of the fjord as not to collide with the icebergs and their bits which seemed to magically appear meters from the boat out of the white frothed waves.
It was our first experience of actually sailing in considerable weather among so much ice. We learned alot about how the ice moves in these conditions and how we should navigate in their presence as well as the true meaning of what it means to be on watch!