FROM 2-2. Equator-Dutch Harbor

In the Slough

Having a severe attack of the Desponds – sounds like something out of ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ – but it is 0300 and the time never to think about all the scary things in life. Circadian rhythms gang up on you at this time of day and make it all seem much worse. But it does seem to me that our actual chances of making this one stick are very slim indeed. We will need to be lucky in so many ways. The first decision point, if we get that far, will be at Dutch – do we go on? Will depend on ice predictions and local advice but almost certainly a ‘yes’ to that one. Then again at Nome and a ‘yes’ a bit less likely. The point of no return, it seems to me, will be at Barrow and the decision will depend, again, on ice reports, advice about the availability of diesel and other possible supplies if things start to go wrong further along the track. And we have to get around Point Barrow by the end of June, early July, at the latest, for us to be able to see the eclipse and get out at the other end and into a safe port.
So – current plan – go through Aleutian chain via Amukta pass @ 172W. Arrive dutch whenever – am compiling to-do list. Kimbra arrives 12th june, aim to depart by 14th. Then 700 odd nm to Nome which we could mostly motor as long as fuel in Nome. Then same again, roughly to Barrow – need to find out about faciities if any in Barrow. Does not appear to be a harbour or anything except anchor offshore…Thence – if reports favourable, to Point Barrow where the ice piles up and where we will have to make the big decision.

Stars from horizon to horizon – most unusual, rivettingly beautiful though still hazy and so slightly fuzzy. Hard to believe that this calm and beautiful night covers the scene of so much violence and destructive force – when was the last Noocular test? I expect that this bit of ocean is where the three Mutant Ninja Turtles originally mutated – and all the fish swim backwards to preserve their night vision.

Before we left, I bought a cheap and nasty 12v fan – the sort you plug into the socket in your car except had no plug, just leads. Wired it into Berri’s lighting circuit and it’s been a little gem – just circulating enough air at night to make sleep possible. It’s a noisy little beast and its stand has long since collapsed but life would have been hell without it.

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