PROGRESS REPORT No. 11
Map relating to this progress report
We're on our way again, and much as we were glad to reach Tiksi, we're even more pleased to leave it behind. The couple of photos with this show the flavour. I don't even want to write about it---- it's pitiful, this once busy town, now virtually empty.
We took on water, diesel and some fresh food. We bought two buckets, for taking aboard sea-water for washing-up. The handle had pulled out of the last one.
In Tiksi we caught up with the Dutch boat 'Campina'. She had started last year on the Passage, but got no further. Her owner, Henk De Velde, spent the winter aboard. Campina also left today and we agreed to stay in radio contact.
Right now, it's a lovely night, bright of course, as we sail northwards, about 5 miles off the many mouths of the Lena river. The sky is a light grey and it's not too cold at about plus four degrees.
This afternoon Kevin cast a wreath, he had made from grass, on the sea and we said a prayer, for Jerome Collins.
Jerome Collins, Civil Engineer, emigrated from Cork to America in 1864. There he worked on railroad construction and later as a reporter for the New York Herald. It was in this capacity that he joined the expedition ship 'Jeanette', bound for the North Pole.
In September 1879, Jeanette, with 32 men aboard, was frozen in near Wrangel Island, north of our Mys Schmidt stopover.
All winter the ship drifted, caught in the ice, the men weakening. The following June the ship was crushed and sank. The men took to the ice. For a month they hauled 3 rowing boats over that rough ice, reaching the New Siberian Islands, bleak and uninhabited. In September the three boats began the 250- mile journey to the mouth of the Lena river.
A gale separated the boats. One landed near a settlement at the mouth of the river-they were saved. Collins boat landed 120 miles north in a delta wasteland. The third boat was lost.
On that barren coast Collins and his remaining companions froze and starved to death. The following spring, a search party found and buried them.
As for ourselves, we're now looking at a couple of days of ice free sailing, and then it appears, from the information that we have, that we'll be mixing it with the ice again.
Sunday Morning. 4 A.M
The above didn't go out yesterday because of poor radio atmospheric conditions.
We've moved along. The delta of the River Lena is behind us. It's a grey morning--aren't they all, but not bad, plus 2 degrees and no fog for now. Colm and myself are on watch until six, then its Micheal and Kevin. The wind is blowing Force four from our starboard bow, the north-west. We have the full headsail drawing , with the engine at medium revs, and are making 7 knots. There is occasional ice only, just enough to keep the helmsman alert. We now expect to meet the ice later today.
Rory has just got out of his bunk to make the radio connection with Brendan in Castlebar; to send this and pick up any emails that he has for us.
Motorbike on Mainstreet. Tiksi