Spitsbergen 2013

An online log of Atlantis' travels and adventures to Svalbard

Mull of Galloway

Posted by admin on May 19, 2013

Position Report:  54° 45.1N 005° 10.10W

The barometer is rising but the same cannot be said for the temperature!  After passing close to the Calf of Man late last night for a while it seemed that we might not see our Scottish landfall at all - the visibility has reduced to only a few miles, and less in places, so the radar is on and we are keeping a close lookout.  As the morning has progressed, the silhouette of the Mull of Galloway has appeared through the gloom and we are now making good progress with a fair tide through the North Channel between Scotland and Northern Ireland.  Shipping traffic is light; the occasional radar echo is the only reminder that we are not alone.

Dinner last night saw us consume the last of the fresh meat embarked in Plymouth - although we (rather I!) may have over-estimated our appetites by cooking just under a kilo of mince for the two of us.  The meal was well proportioned though as I similarly over-estimated the requirement for pasta.  The carb excess has nevertheless helped stave off the chill.

Holyhead Pit Stop

Posted by admin on May 19, 2013

Position Report: 53° 55.1N 004° 50.9W (19 miles south of the Isle of Man)

A complex series of low pressure systems sitting over the UK forced a choice; we could either plug away to windward for 12 hours with little prospect of real progress, or make a brief call into Holyhead and re-emerge into the tail end of a depression transitting, unusually, westward over the Irish Sea and be rewarded with a period of favourable southerly breeze to carry us north towards Scotland. Despite some reservations that it would interrupt the watch routine which has taken a while to settle into, it was not a difficult call.  

We have therefore topped up on fuel and water, and have taken the opportunity to address the inevitable eclectic jobs list which emerges during the opening days of a passage at sea.  Returning to shore with a seemingly rather eccentric shopping list we were successful in tracking down most items. High on the list of priorities was to address drips!  When water sluices over decks a small amount of it will always find its way below.  When this leads to drips above the crew's bunks it is a powerful incentive to seek out any possible route of ingress. We have added new rubber seals to forehatches and are confident that the results will justify the effort.  It would be remiss not to note, also, the helpful and friendly reception from the staff of Holyhead's small Marina,  

We were on our way again by 6pm and slipped into a grey and still chilly night heading north.  Now, approaching the Isle of Man, the sea and sky are devoid of references; the occasional passing ship's lights the only reassurance that there is anything out there at all.  We are making progress, however, with the expected more southerly wind direction providing a much more stable ride than the headwinds which have prevailed on the trip until now.  All remains well on board - and, so far, devoid of drips.     

Irish Sea

Posted by admin on May 17, 2013

Position Report: 52 35.5N 005 41.6W
Overall Distance Logged: 210NM 

If this is the temperature here, we can only guess how cold it is going to be in the Arctic!  After a relatively smooth passage across the Bristol Channel with the light northerly wind just off the bow, Milford Haven enticed with its lights as we passed in the dark last night.  A more promising forecast for Saturday, however, persuaded us to crack on north with an option for Holyhead if the forecast low proves more vigorous than expected.  

It seems there is no escaping the omnipotent network of the Royal Yacht Squadron!  An earlier visit from a Royal Navy Merlin helicopter from Culdrose led to a phone call to the Squadron that one of their yachts had been sighted.  Within a few minutes, photos taken from the flypast were with the staff at the Castle and forwarded on to us onboard.  Thank you to the Royal Navy for the thought, and the service you provide.  Thank you to Trisha and the team at the Castle, for forwarding news of the sighting.

With daylight on Day 3 the wind backed to the north and we have been making slow progress tacking backwards and forward across St George's Channel between Wales and Ireland.  In a short chop the air  temperature feels positively arctic; which is where it has come from of course.  A short break in Holyhead later tonight will position us well for the passing of a low pressure area destined to bring rain but new southwesterlies which should help us on our way towards Scotland (and perhaps bring some warmth back to the air?).

We are busying ourselves with the myriad of small tasks that emerge after a few days at sea, but all is well on board!



Posted by admin on May 16, 2013

11085 Comments Read full post »


Posted by admin on May 16, 2013

At 1530 on the 15th May, Atlantis slipped her moorings in Plymouth and we were off.  It is always something of a relief to have found the way through the muddles of stowage, victualling, last minute crises; all is now below, most things have a home and, one day, we may find them again.  

Pre departure day was a misery.  Incessant rain and strong squalls with mid~May snow falling not far away on Dartmoor.  Through all this we managed to keep most things dry as they disappeared below, although the same could not be said for the crew.  There are so many people to thank for helping to get us away on time I am bound to miss someone out.  Particular thanks, though, to all at the Mayflower Marina, to Inmarsat for granting me the time to pursue a dream and lending us the superb Sailor 250 FleetBroadband unit through which we will update this web blog, to Margaret in Hessenford for hand delivering lifejackets, to Betsy for the hand sewn Norwegian courtesy flag and, of course, to Ilana and Fiona for getting us both ready to go in every sense.


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