Plus Ça Change…AND Changes in Latitudes

Plus Ça Change…AND Changes in Latitudes

Self-portrait in Fog

And so it continues. More motoring, more autopilot. What has changed is that the wispy clouds that created such great light conditions last night have been replaced by denser cousins, making for a plain old gray day. There’s a breath more wind — maybe 8 knots true — but it’s right on the nose. If we really wanted to sail we could bear off a bit to the north and shut off the engine, but that would mean moving at about two knots as well as adding to the distance to our destination. Since this is a commercial venture and we have guests with plans to climb a mountain, that’s not going to happen.

But there IS enough of a breeze that it’s freakin’ cold out here. I’m layered up big-time: long johns and a thermal shirt, Polartec pants (liners for my fly-fishing waders) and a heavy wool shirt, down vest, foul-weather overalls and a wind- and waterproof shell. I’m also sporting my mushing hat — as in: dog mushing. I got it years ago when I volunteered for the Iditarod (back before they started charging you to volunteer; charging volunteers…WTF?!) and never really used it. But it has a waterproof shell with a fleece liner — and ear flaps that can either velcro out of the way on top of the hat or under your neck so the sides of your head are protected. I’m currently in the latter configuration. In order to type, my hands are bare, but I’m sitting by the hot-air exhaust from the engine so every now and then I shove my tootsies in there to heat ’em up a bit. The things I do to report home…

What kind of a fool spends his summer bundled up like this? The kind of fool who lives in the high latitudes, that’s who, where the summer is more light than heat.

And we’re now, with every passing minute, moving higher in latitude than I’ve ever been. We crossed 70 degrees while I slept last night, and depending upon where we anchor at Jan Mayen, we might reach 71 degrees. That parallel bisects the island, and while our time in Greenland (in Scoresby Sund) will also be spent above 70, we’ll be just slightly south of Jan Mayen. Therefore, Jan Mayen, at just about the latitude of Barrow, Alaska, is the northerly apex of my trip.

Would I like to go farther north? Sure. But as chilly as I am right now, I believe I’ll content myself with 71 degrees north latitude. Doing so gets me nearly into Ned Rozell territory and he’s a badass (for a Yankee fan). And isn’t that always the goal? To be a badass? Nah, didn’t think so either, but I’m gettin’ a little punchy here in this cold drizzle. Better put the keyboard down.

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