A cold, wet and miserable night with snow falling at times and poor visibility throughout has given way to a brighter, more hopeful day and it seems so far that our judgement has been vindicated with ice conditions much easier than expected with no more than a few bands of 2/10ths ice and open water between. With light winds and little ice we will not stop at Batty Bay and are now headed down towards Fury Beach, where we may stop briefly to go ashore before continuing on to Fort Ross.
We hope to get updated ice and weather information verbally from Fred and Doug, to confirm our view that the way is relatively clear down to Fort Ross and the entrance to the Bellot Strait, the Gateway to Peel Sound and beyond. Fingers crossed.
We made excellent progress down the coast of Somerset Island in relatively clear water. Conditions were such that we did not waste time stopping at Fury Beach (more on that later) but continued on overnight direct to Fort Ross. Initially the only difficulty we had was a few wide bands of packed ice stretching out from Fury Point and the back of Cresswell Bay until we hit the ice off Cape Clara that was thought to have dispersed. Not so....”come into my parlour said the spider to the fly”......and before we knew it we were surrounded by a huge area of 4 -6/10ths pack ice.
Once again Novara came into her own and we were able to barge our way through towards the east coast of Somerset Island some 10nm distant. Phil and Ding did a great job of navigating through the pack, picking out the small patches of open water and crunching through the thinner ice between. It took 4 hours before we managed to get into slightly clearer water and then close to shore where there was little ice and so on south to Depot Bay where we anchored just after 2.30am some 285nm and 45 hours after leaving Arctic Bay. An exciting couple of days!