Map relating to this progress report
Map 3

It has been a very eventful couple of days in the Arctic. Since we got out of the thick ice, courtesy of the Russian tanker, and took a real hammering in the process, things took a nasty turn. When we checked the bilges (the bottom of the boat), we found that we had taken on a lot of water! We had a leak!!!!

We had to do an inspection, so all the floorboards came up, and a leak was spotted. It was coming from the depth gauge - only one of 2 designed holes in the hull (the other one is for the outlet for the loo!) During all the battering, the flange on the gauge got cracked, and was leaking. We were able to pump out the bilges, but it was not a good situation. We were so remote, and the chance was that maybe it would get worse. On top of all of that, the ice closed in on us the night before last, and we had to drop an anchor. Gloom set in, the worst possible thoughts were thought! All those disaster stories I had read about the various Arctic expeditions that had gone wrong, all of a sudden, didn't seem so far away! Even the weather forecast was going against us, telling us that we wouldn't be able to move for at least 3 days.

The next morning (remember we had seen the polar bear about 5 miles down the coast!) Mick, Jarlath and myself went ashore for a walk in the Tundra - cabin fever was setting in, and we wanted to stretch the legs. In the absence of a gun (we tried unsuccessfully to buy one in Anadyr), each one was given a hand-held flare. If a polar bear comes at you, you pull the cord, and the flare burns very brightly - you see them all the time at the soccer matches. I was delighted when I saw the expiry date on my flare as October 1990!!!!! In the other hand was the VHF, "Shore Party to Northabout, etc. etc." - anyway, the walk was great, and we climbed some cliffs that gave us a great view of the route ahead - and it was blocked solid. On the way back, we came upon a lovely lagoon, with a deep entrance and a smooth gravel bottom and steep sides. It was the ideal dry-dock (as designed by the Russians). The best men were put on the job - luckily I was the apprentice. We had to dry out the front of the boat, take out the depth gauge, put on a gasket, and then replace it. If we didn't dry out, then water would come pouring in, and we would not be able to replace the gauge. Calculations were done, and we went in at the top of the tide, drove the boat up on the shore, and waited for low water. While on shore, we gathered driftwood, built a bonfire and had the dinner outside - followed by a few beers. It is hard to relax, when you are looking over your shoulder for "the white fellas".

At eight o' clock this morning, Jarlath and myself were inside (with the floorboards up) and Paddy was outside in a wetsuit - digging in the mud. But we had no gasket - Jarlath cut two gaskets out of an old wellie! Anyway it worked - beautifully! The bilge is now dry, and we are on our way again - we are getting closer to Chelyuskin - but the ice is also getting thicker.

We are hoping to do the same as last week for the match - it starts at 1.00 am, and we will be all ears.

Reading and Listening Preferences

A frequently asked question is what do you do with your time-off (in between watches)? While it might seem like a lot of free time, when all the work around the boat is completed, cleaning, cooking, fixing, etc. - there is not actually that much free time. What time there is, is usually spent in the bunk reading or listening to music or both. We have compiled a list of what crewmembers have already read on the voyage, what they are currently reading, and their listening preferences.


Read So far

1. In the land of White Death - Alexander Albanov
2. The Gulag Archipelago - Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn
3. Gulag - Anne Applebaum
4. War & Peace (signed by Tolstoy's granddaughter at Moscow Airport) - Leo Tolstoy
5. Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
6. The Runaway Jury - John Grisham
7. The North East Passage - Helen Orlab
Currently reading - Songs of a Sourdough - Robert Service

Listening to - Connie Francis


Read So far

1. The Ice Master - Jennifer Nevin
2. Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
3. The North East Passage - Helen Orlab
4. 90 Degrees North - Fergus Fleming
Currently reading - Da Vinci Code - Ken Brown

Listening to - Paddy Casey, Damien Rice, Mundy, Paul Simon (great in the bad weather), Neil Young, and others


Read so far

1. In Siberia - Colin Thubron
2. The Gulag Archipelago - Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn
3. Gulag - Anne Applebaum
Currently reading - The Road to McCarthy - Pete McCarthy

Listening to - Traditional Irish Music, Everly Brothers, whatever is being played


Read so far -

1. Gulag - Anne Applebaum
2. The North East Passage - Helen Orlab
3. Fatal Passage, the story of John Rae - Ken McGoogan
Currently reading - The North East Passage - Helen Orlab

Listening to - Boccelli, Gorecki, George Michael, Van the Man, David Gray


Already read -

1. Gulag - Anne Applebaum
2. Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
3. The Road to McCarthy - Pete McCarthy
4. Fatal Passage, the story of John Rae - Ken McGoogan
5. The North East Passage - Helen Orlab
6. No One thinks of Greenland - John Griesemer
7. Transatlantic Triumph & Heroic Failure - Timothy Collins
8. The Cruellest Miles - Gay Salisbury
9. The Path Between the Seas - David McCullogh
10. To the Uttermost Parts of the Earth - Lucas Bridges
Currently reading - The voyages of Joshua Slocum - Walter Magnes Teller

Listening to - Traditional Irish music, Bob Dylan


Reading - The Compound English-Russian Maritime & Naval Dictionary
Always working on his crossword book

Listening to Ella Fitzgerald, Traditional Irish Music,


Gulag - Anne Applebaum
Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow - Peter Hoeg
The Blackwater Lightship - Colm Toibin
The Ice Master - Jennifer Nevin
Currently reading - Short Stories of Chekov

Listening to Arvo Part, Purcell Purcell, Maria Callas, Cambridge Singers and Cois Cladaigh


Read so far

1. Survive the Savage Sea - Robert Parsons
2. Book of the Weather - Philip Eden
3. The Runaway Jury - John Grisham
4. The Brethern - John Grisham
5. The Cruellest Miles - Gay Salisbury
6. The Path Between the Seas - David McCullogh
7. Fifty Years below Zero - Charlie Bower
8. Close to the Wind - Pete Goss
9. A Short History of Nearly Everything - Bill Bryson
10. Fatal Passage - Ken Mc Googan
11. Cherry - Sara Wheeler
12. The Beckoning Silence - Joe Simpson

Listening to - Dolores Keane (Solid Ground), Sharon Shannon (Diamond Hill Sessions), Sean Tyrell (Belladona), John Spillane (All the ways that you wander)

Boat Repairs Montage

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