12th September 2016 @ N062.48W071.12, by Meret:
Ice bergs and kelp are two things you want to avoid sailing into. One because it breaks your boat, the other because it gets wrapped around rudder and keel and slows you down by up to two knot. Today we got to slalom around both.
Islands of kelp were scattered all across our path. Sometimes it turned into an impossible maze, where you keep running into walls. At one point we went right into one of these walls and were instantly much slower. To not lose to much time and speed, we did a few loop-die loops to get rid of it again. In the kelp islands we saw more dead birds. We also saw our first two pieces of marine debris, a plastic bag and a plastic wrapper, since the North Pacific on the way to Dutch Harbor. Noé even spotted a ctenophore float by.
Though there weren’t any ice bergs in our way there were many visible in the distance so we picked the biggest one and set our course straight for it. It looked huge from far away and was exactly that when we got closer. We felt quite small next to it! Layers of ice were visible along what looked like a chunk that had been bitten out of it. The white and the blue mixed in with the fog that was closing in made for a very wintery atmosphere. To one side of the berg trails of floating ice pieces, that had fallen off the giant from Greenland, marked its track.
Sabine always dedicated to getting good footage, took to the dingy with Christina and Cornelia. They looked tiny as they floated away to get pictures of Pachamama in front of the ice berg. But then the catastrophe happened and Christina was in tears: She dropped her camera, the best tele lens we had on board for photographing animals and with it all the great pictures she had taken, because she hasn’t had time to safe them for a while. Maybe somebody knows a camera manufacturer who is willing to donate a new one?
How big must this ice berg have been when it split from the glacier!? Now, it has travelled at least 1000nm and it still 500 meters, means 1500 feet long.
As soon as we had passed one ice berg the next appeared even bigger and more spectacular than the previous one. And if one wasn’t big it made up for the lack in size by having the most intriguing shape. Each ice berg we saw today was a beautiful sculpture, sculpted by the ocean and its wind and waves. The biggest one we saw must have been several hundred meters in length, we seemed to be going by it for ages.
Northern fulmars have been circling our boat again. But today we also saw some other birds. We had read that Arctic jaegers steal food from other birds and today we got to witness how two attacked a kittiwake. Noé who has named them Arctic bullets was cheering his favorite bird on. Did it actually get a fish from the kittiwake? We don’t know, Noé was sure it did.