Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Just a headbaangin' in the rain..

Or turning the pear in gritty Nome…0800 and just back from a run around the edge of metropolitan Nome on the dirt track with Megan – hard gravel, potholed, wet, muddy, in thick misty rain – we squished past some dog team kennels set back from the track on a low rise almost invisible in the cloudbase – howling dogs and eerie shivers – perfect Dartmoor and The Hound for anyone who has read the book.

Yesterday, I went to talk to the Met people at the airport - a mile or so out of town, downwind outbound to get there, sandy, gritty muddy puddles followed by sandy gritty muddy road followed by ... and then seriously upwind inbound with the extra attraction of windblown sludge from the passing trucks (they mostly are trucks and big pickups here) so my eyelids still feel like sandpaper. Pat's bike works, so at least I had some gears to play with but the derailleur gets choked with grot and misbehaves and so do the changers on the handlebars. The Scottish wildlands indeed! And, as it turned out, all for nothing. They had no more information out there that we can get ourselves. Strong southerlies with heavy rain till about Saturday then a chance of a short change then back to the same. Still looks like northerlies beyond the Strait by the weekend and easterlies along the north coast. Uggly.

Today's ice report shows Barrow with about 3 tenths ice with offshore drift. It moves back in when the wind drops so still a bit too early for Berri – I think we will be in Nome for a few more days and then it will be time to go and have a look. The ice is still fast in the narrow Straits to the east and past Cambridge. If it still shows no sign of breakup when we eventually do get to Barrow, I think it will be a potential showstopper. The wind here has dropped, so the water level in the harbour will also drop and I must go and check Berri's mooring lines.

PMcQ – Eric the Red and his offsiders leapfrogged all the way up the west coast of Greenland, I suppose in open boats – there's hope for us yet! The Eskimo were there first in their open boats – interesting to know whether they were able to co-exist.

Steve – still wish we'd seen Okmok blow. The vis was so bad when we sailed past that we didn't see the island at all.

The photos are looking SW from Pat's window. The Port of Nome has been remodelled over the last few years – the Snake River mouth used to be just outside the window, but now filled in and the river diverted to the west. Two new breakwaters forming an outer harbour have been built to the west with the river flowing out between them. The crane is finishing part of the breakwater and there is an inner harbour along part of the old river course which is mostly a construction site.