Leaving Gjoa Haven
69º37.72' N, 95º26.09' W
All good is worth waiting for! At the moment, the ice situation looks good, the weather looks good, and the lunch looks good! We are presently motoring the ice-free waters of James Ross Strait in warm sunshine, enjoying delicious pizza in the cockpit, and listening to a young tenor singing Italian music (Thank you, Kathy!). In other words, everything is absolutely fabulous!
Just as I was writing that, our little autopilot suddenly decided to change our course turning Sarema back towards Gjoa Haven, and refused to be switched off. It now seems that we cannot use the Navigation mode at all, but fortunately the Heading mode is still functioning. We cannot think of any reason for this malfunction, maybe there was just too much asparagus on top of the pizza!
We left Gjoa Haven yesterday evening and, during our first night at sea, we had 15 knots headwind, almost a full moon, and beautiful starlit skies. We couldn't remember when we had last seen the stars. Until now, even at night, there has been a glow of light coming from behind the horizon that has faded the light from the stars and made them invisible to us. But with the approach of autumn, the days are becoming shorter and the nights longer and darker.
Dark autumn nights are wonderful if you want to admire the Milky Way, but when you need to negotiate a field of floe ice, they lose some of their charm. However, yesterday's ice chart looked promising; the area marked in blue (