Although the ice made my life a misery and even trapped me for several days making Icade and I its prisoners, I can’t bring myself to be completely happy about its slow demise. I have heard it crack, grind, groan, break up and sometimes topple into the sea over the last few days. I feel like I’m on a battlefield strewn with dismembered bodies. Everything happened so quickly. Last week there were icebergs everywhere with majestic chunks of ice floating aimlessly on the currents as far as the eye could see. But August is upon us and that spells the end of this great white desert at these latitudes. The surrounding landscape is changing… until next autumn.
Now I’ll have to figure out another way to find drinking water because until now I have been able to get it directly from the freshwater pools formed in the middle of the slabs of ice. This water is without a doubt both fresh and pure plus easy to access. Within days I’ll have to go ashore to find the small rivers which empty into the Passage. You have to use what Nature provides, there are no other alternatives.
Ever since the engine stalled out at sea, Icade has only been running on three batteries. So I had worried about crossing Darnley Bay and not having enough autonomy to get to the other side. I had waited for more or less favourable conditions and got a downwind start—a little extra help which was most welcome as it gently pushed us from behind. In the afternoon, an easterly wind unfortunately blew in, hitting us head-on. We hadn’t been going very fast but suddenly our speed was cut in half. I didn’t dare to accelerate and risk consuming too much of my remaining energy. So there I was trying to calculate how many nautical miles I still had to travel compared to my batteries’ remaining capacity. Not one ray of sunshine to recharge them while travelling… I told myself there would be enough… I was going to make it… maybe? And I made it, just barely but I had really made it! When I dropped anchor once I had arrived on the other side of the bay, I had a small feeling of triumph. Yes, sometimes happiness is just a small piece of land to walk on.
There are no more bays to cross in the days ahead. I will soon leave the Northwest Territories and cross the border into Nunavut, an independent Inuit territory formed in April 1999. Let’s hope the sun comes back soon because for the moment it has completely deserted us. A bracing 0°C this morning with light melted snow falling—summer in the Arctic is an invigorating experience!
I would like to take this opportunity to wholeheartedly thank all those at Icade who sent me words of encouragement following my engine problems (which turned out to be a faulty battery). Your thoughts and messages truly raised my spirits and will remain in my heart over the coming weeks. Kevin, I finished your Toblerone, Alain, your two pieces of Emmental are but a souvenir, Ronan, your salted butter caramels are a thing of the past… But how delicious they were! Véro, don’t worry, I still have your chocolate!