68º27.90´ N, 110º32.30´ W
During our third day at sea, the fog lifted, the skies cleared and finally, we had sunshine! It is amazing how much the quality of life improves when you can see where you are going!
In the evenings, we watch in awe as the sun disappears behind the horizon and its rays paint the sky and the sea with the most astonishing colours. Although the sun stays behind the horizon a little longer every night, we still have nearly 24 hours daylight which is of great help when negotiating the narrow channels of the Passage.
We are presently motoring along Coronation Gulf between Victoria Island and the mainland. Since we left Tuktoyaktuk about four days ago, besides Sarema's crew, we have not seen another living creature in this godforsaken place, not in the sea, on its shores or on the radar. On both sides of the Passage, the land stretches away brown, rocky and desolate; it looks like a moonscape without the craters. There is not a tree or shrub to be seen. To describe the landscape, deserted, except that we doubt if anyone ever lived here, and barren are further adjectives that come to mind. It is difficult to imagine a place more lonely and empty than the Arctic.
Speaking of empty, the Arctic wildlife or actually the lack of it has been a huge disappointment, especially to Riitta who has been in constant readiness with her camera, and being an optimist, continues to be so. Our sightings so far, all seen from a distance, comprise birds; mainly seagulls and a few flocks of eiders, maybe two dozen seals; harbour and ringed seals, a total of two caribou, and a lone whale that we were unable to identify because we only saw its blow. All that put together amounts to less than what we often sighted in one single day while sailing in southwest Alaska. The truth is that here in the Polar Region, where there is ice, there is life, as strange as that may sound. Ice is a crucial element for the Arctic wildlife and every year, there seems to be less and less of that precious commodity!