Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Day 8 - uncharted waters

It took me simply ages to leave Raven's Death Campsite.  The thought of tidying, packing, loading and then paddling just zapped me everytime.  I realized, as I have always known, that I am best suited to camping with Jane or alone.  I don't think anyone else would put up with my tempo.  I just like being out there and not having to think about anything other than moving on and settling in before moving on again.  Ah, the simple life.  The problem is my simple life was way too simple and I needed a serious kick in the arse to get going again.

I was not completely idle in camp though.  Apart from copious cups of coffee I did fix the tent as I mentioned previously.  The fix was proving to be very reliable.  I was also perfecting my bannock-baking - although a few mishaps were tough to swallow - adopting the mantra "the kilos are better on the inside!".  Packing all my rubbish with me I never wanted to travel with waste food no matter how badly I had burned it. 

One thing I did leave behind was a fine fishing line on a wooden reel.  I had brought it along with the idea of fishing.  Lots of people fish when camping, but I have a confession ... I hate fishing.  Really, it is so monotonous!  A slim chance of reward for a whole lot of effort.  As my food supplies did not rely on me catching anything I placed the reel where I am sure some kids will find it.  A little offering in thanks for a great campsite.  (Anyone worried about kids finding a fishing line?  You have to remember these kids could fish before their grandparents were born!)

Of course, I didn't leave empty-handed.  I had an idea that I would take a raven claw with me.  After snapping off a single claw and placing it in my map case I suddenly realised that I could take the whole bloody foot if I wanted too.  My friend, the dead raven, was not going to need it and it would surely make little difference to a fox who had the whole body to snack on.  Armed with my Leatherman I returned to said raven, offered some words in thanks and clipped his foot off.  I have serious plans for this raven's foot - a bit like the plans I have for the pilot whale jaw hanging off the sledge on our terrace.  I just have to convince Jane that neither of them smell.

What you can't see in these photos is the fact that the wind was blowing north-east onto my port side, the waves were coming from both the port side and head on the bow, while icebergs were moving against the wind on my starboard side towards me.  I was in some choppy water and making little headway.  So much for idling about in camp, I was paying for it now.  I aimed for a small island - population twelve sledge dogs - and waited out the worst of the wind and tide for the next hour and a half.  I then took to the water again and paddle directly upwind towards the island of Agpat before catching the waves along the shore and hanging a left into the Torssukátak fjord.

I succeeded in besting the wind and waves and then ran right into the midnight sun.  Couldn't see a thing.  I only realised how spectacular and barren it was when I looked at the photos later. 

Instead of paddling along the coastline of Agpat towards the old marble mine I decided to blast across the fjord and camp in what I hoped would be a suitable spot.  On the map it looked like a little cove with a natural harbour.  I was to be rewarded with one of the best campsites of the entire journey.

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