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September 13 2005

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September 13th, 2005

Hurray, Hurray, Hurray!

Finally through the Bellot Strait, the last big obstacle, on the way to Greenland and hopefully warmer waters.

September 13, 2005 our lucky day. SWL called at 07:30 to say the Strait is open and we are going. The larger Ice Breaker, 'Louis St Laurent' (Louis) came in Sept 11 on way from Cambridge to Labrador so he is going to come and help assure safe passage. The day went well with all boats in single file, Louis, SWL, FT in tow. C9, YA and us in the back. Only 5 kts because this is maximum for some boats. Tides not running in our favor and we were the only boat not in tow that hadn't been through here before. I was hesitant to go through at night, but we did and we had some fierce currents at and near Magpie Rock, a notorious place. We passed the most northerly place in continental North America, Zenith Point at 21:30 and exited Bellot Strait at 22:30. We are all very pleased and excited. The other boats all anchor at Depot Bay but we continue on. Two men per watch, clear night and we could spot bergs and evade them. Sept 14 good visibility but winds expected to 35 kts. We had based our plan of going into the ice on sound information of ice conditions, how the ice was changing and a favorable weather forecast. In hind sight we think there was a good likelihood of making it through unassisted, but it would have been foolhardy to turn down the offer of help. And from a rescuers position it is better to be early than late. We thank the Captain and crew of the 'Sir Wilfred Laurier', they were very competent and professional and provided congeniality far beyond their duty.