The trip down the Mackenzie River from Inuvik went a lot faster than I thought due to almost perfect weather conditions. There was plenty of sunshine to recharge Icade’s batteries, just enough headwind to chase away bloodthirsty mosquitoes and favourable currents easing our way… What more could you ask for! I’m making the most of it because I know the Beaufort Sea and Amundsen Gulf will be a whole different story.
The party is over and Icade and I will now get down to much more serious business. We got a little taste of this on Sunday night when I thought I would be able to set a course for Dalhousie. When I checked in with Peter Semotiuk for a weather report (he has routed my course since 2014 and has deep and invaluable knowledge of the Passage), a Northeast wind was expected, but nothing very serious…
But Icade and I ended up in sustained winds of 20 to 25 knots against a strong current with heavy seas that relentlessly crashed into the sandbanks lining the peninsula. In short, after two hours of battling it out, watching my batteries run dry before my eyes, I decided to turn back to the port. I got quite a scare thinking about the engine shutting down because of dead batteries, but despite getting broadsided by breaking waves which could have capsized us at any moment, we got back to Tuktoyaktuk and our lopsided moorings, which after all that seemed unbelievably beautiful and comfortable.
So now I’m back to playing the waiting game, hoping for the good weather to return. Good for me means at least two days of sunshine to be able to head up the Tuk peninsula without stopping, while continuing to recharge my batteries. For more than about one hundred kilometres, this landmass is protected from the thrashing Beaufort Sea by impressive sandbanks which seem to deliberately want to run us aground. The mere thought of it makes my blood run cold!
But I’m not there yet and I want to do everything I can to round Cape Bathurst which has tantalized me for the past four years.
Updates will be coming soon!