First Ice

First Ice

Just came off the 6-10am watch. The monotony was broken up by periodic changes in the elements: drizzle for a few minutes, then dry for 20; a tiny bit of breeze for a bit, then dead calm; cold, down to freezing for half an hour; slighly warmer, mid-30s, for the next 30 minutes. But two interesting changes, in particular, appeared on this watch.

The first occurred around 10:45 when the surface of the ocean changed suddenly. We’d been motorsailing along in a calm surface that had a slight wind-generated ripple on it, when out in front of Polar Bear a line in the water appeared from horizon to horizon. Beyond the line: smooth-as-silk water with literally zero ripples. The wind gauges didn’t register any change on either side of the line. Where the change was noticeable was in the course-made-good gauge: we entered a westward-setting current when we crossed that line — to the tune of 20 degrees or more. A simple fix to that, but it was an impressively abrupt delineation in between two different parts of a single body of water.

The second big change occurred just before the end of our watch: ice. There, about a mile off the starboard beam, was a small bit of bright-white ice bobbing on the surface. I called below to Boogie and told him that I had a bergie bit in sight, and when he emerged on deck I pointed it out to him before remarking, “there’s another one.” This one, on the starboard bow and a few miles away, was much bigger. As soon as Boogie’s eyes picked that one out, he noticed a few others in the same general vicinity.

So we’ve entered the realm of ice. Here begins the Greenland adventure…

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