In Gjoa Haven
68º37.68´ N, 95º52.88´ W
We dropped anchor in the protected harbour of Gjoa Haven on Sunday evening at ten to eight. Young Larry, the British sail boat that we knew from Peter's radio net was already there, but there was no sign of RX2. The following morning, we received an email from the Norwegian sailors explaining that they had continued past Gjoa Haven as the waters ahead were practically ice-free. They are in a hurry because they want to get across the North Atlantic before the autumn storms, on their way back to Norway. It was a pity as there was a memorial to be held in honour of Roald Amundsen later that day, and there were no Norwegian boats present.
At four o'clock in the afternoon, all the locals plus the crews of Young Larry and Sarema were gathered on the hill facing the hamlet. Speeches were given by both the Mayor of Gjoa Haven and the Norwegian Ambassador, the flags of both countries were raised on brand-new flagpoles, and a thousand photos were taken. As it was all about Roald Amundsen and Norway, and since we had promised RX2 to represent them during the festivities, we tried to look as Norwegian as possible. We think we did pretty well!
Later the same evening, on receiving the daily ice chart, we came face to face with the sombre reality. For some unforeseeable reason, the ice further north had shifted and blocked Franklin Strait. And in Larsen Sound, it had also moved eastward and was now less than fifteen miles off the shore. This will keep us in Gjoa Haven for a little longer but hopefully not for too long!