FROM 2-7. Cambridge Bay-Baffin Bay

7355 09542 and a serious point at the end

And now we have ice – not too serious but a lot of it all around us. Blue, old ice in big lumps. Heading direct for Limestone Island – just visible 9 miles away in the murk.

Later – a warm coffee inside me and 10 miles or so closer to Falmouth – we have the entire north west coast of Somerset in sight and it's breathtaking, if you'll excuse the cliche. Gravel beaches, glaciers, shore ice Brownish white, bergy ice around us brilliant Pacific Ocean blue, hills in the background smooth snow. The cliffs and slopes behind the beaches are all ice and water eroded just like google earth showed me all those months ago. How ever did they fined a clear day for the google earth images?

As for clothing I thought a detailed list might be informative. On deck, I wear my brown fisherman's super tough wellies, aka Sitka Slippers, with sock liners and fleece socks. Glove liners and insulated industrial rubber gloves. From the skin out, a thermal vest with long sleeves, T shirt, no knickers or thermals over the nethers (because they promote the most agonising gunwale bum) so a fleece mid layer known as salopettes, with a fleece hoodie on top. Sometimes a balaclava and neck tube. On top of all that, a Mustang survival suit or a float coat and Henri pants if it's not too cold. Goggles if it's snowing or windy.

We are about 50 miles from Beechey, where Franklin spent 2 winters (I think) and where Torrington, Brayne and Hartnell are still. Sadly, there's no chance we will be going there – all the signs say get out of here as fast as possible.

More on this later, but we have been astoundingly lucky so far and I don't think we could have got through a day earlier. If all the six or seven boats that we know about get through this year, there will be a hundred trying next year. For their benefit, I think I should say loud and clear that it isn't as easy as it might look. It has been the most difficult thing I have ever done – makes Cape Horn look like a jolly by comparison – and we have done it in an easy year. If just a couple of things had gone the other way, we could have been in very serious trouble – and we're by no means on our way home yet.

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