FROM 2-2. Equator-Dutch Harbor

5144.02 17844.49 GARELOI!

Puffin © Dr Graeme Davis from his new book “Vikings in America

How can I begin to convey the beauty and the wonder of this. We’ve sailed a quarter of the way around the world, from semi tropical Sydney, through the squalls and nonsense along the way, headbanged the current, sweatd through the tropics, plugged our way north to Amchitka, whales, dolphins, puffins, albatrosses, flocks of little auks and then – Gareloi!

Slowly slowly, out of the murk, the slope got bigger and there was – snow! Of all the most unexpected and gobsmackingly amazing experiences, this rates pretty high. I woke McQ and we just bathed in it all. The most perfect volcanic peak gradually emerged into thin sunlight – patchy blue sky, the snow and ice at the top glowing white and merging into the cloud – lenticular cloud around the top, never actually saw the very top of the cone, but the shoulders were brilliant white gleaming iridescence. Greenish lichen type vegetation on the lower slopes, black cinder slopes above, streaky snow in the gullies – lots of little ice filled gullies – Berri’s first mini glaciers. Serene, lovely, indifferent and pure joy. Made all the rest fade away and filled the emotional space with happiness.

For a bit anyway! Now we’re almost back in the murk. Cape Horn did the same for Pete and me – the only patch of sunlight in weeks and it was ours. Same here, it seems. Heading for the north end of Tanaga, then Adak, perhaps tomoz. If I dare speculate. This short cut was one of the best decisions ever.

Anyone know when Gareloi last erupted? Was not sure but it looked as if there might have been steam mixing with the cloud at the top – certainly different colours. The only glimpse of part of the peak was of black cinders.

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