The End of Internet
Written by Bradley in late July, published in early Aug when we once again have internet access. We will be posting several new updates soon (we hope!)
Just as we arrived in Nain, one of the northernmost towns in Labrador, we spied our new friends Novara at anchor. They had arrived the evening before. Nain has a population of less than 2000, but two competing stores, that sell everything one needs, kind of like the sears catalog circa early 1900’s. These last several stops have been in places where one can only arrive via boat or airplane. There are no roads connecting the towns. In the winter some make the hundreds of miles trips via snowmobile. We had 2 days of pouring rain.
This is most likely the last place we will have email for several weeks. On the morning of our departure George and I are sitting outside the local administrative building at 03:00 doing a final download of emails and weather. At least it was not raining.
We had a wonderful time in Nain. Some last minute provisioning of perishables, milk, heavy water proof gloves, and some specialized fishing lures, that will come in handy at our next stop. We had a breakfast at the local hotel Restaurant – the only eatery in town and most importantly, had happy hour on Migration with the 4 blokes from Novara. They would depart a day before us, but that would not be the last we hear from them.
After this we will head north while working with a weather router to select the time and place to cross over to Greenland. We have been cruising north behind a long string of islands that provide wonderful protection from ocean swell and waves. So the sea state has been very kind to us but, the weather has turned cooler – low 40’s with rain and fog – very much like a late fall day in VA. We are cruising in some old Valleys that a previous Ice age created, now filled with some of the cleanest salt water we have seen in the world. Sometimes we can almost reach out and touch the mountains from the boat as we pass them. With the water temperature in the high 40’s to very low 50’s the water is most likely too cold to swim in, but I have not been able to try because of the profusion of jelly fish up here. I am surprised.
The raw beauty of this coast is primordial. It captures your eyes and does not let them go – for hours each day. Yesterday we did a 103 mile passage from Hopedale to Nain. Actually we are 1 hour south of Nain in a well-protected anchorage. Just off our bow is an old abandoned mine operation opened up here in the early 2000’s. The Nain harbor is exposed to NE winds and as we anchored in this protected cove, the winds outside were blowing 20 to 25 knots.
We departed at 04:30 yesterday, just as the sun rose in plenty of light and arrived at 18:30. We spent most of the day captured by the beauty of mountains – some with even a little snow remaining and the sea with magnificent changes in depths of the water. We would go from several hundred meters deep to less than 3 meters, what we draw, and back within minutes. One had to keep a very good watch and tight course.
This summer is just like a winter day in Auckland. Rain, fog, Temps in mid single digits C (40’s F). The good news is that when it is like this, the flies are not out. They are big enough to carry one off, and have a ferocious bite. Other days temps are in high 20’s (60’s F) and one has to keep moving, wear bug spray and still end up donating a liter of blood to the local wildlife. It is getting dark after 22:00 at night and light again by 03:30, so we are down to less than 5.5 hours of darkness each night. What a wonderfully energizing way to live.
Our next stop is the Torngat National Park. It is a two day trip North along the Labrador coast, through a number of Tickles (narrow inside passages between the coast and islands), with magnificent scenery and calm waters. The weather started out benign, not raining or windy, but no blue skies. By late afternoon, as we started to think about anchoring options, the wind was up along with buckets of pouring rain. We had decided to stop at Anchorstock Bight (Sutherland Inlet) and who do you think was anchored – Novara. We extended an invitation to them to join us for after dinner drinks, but conditions were so bad, that even a two Brits, a Kiwi and a Scot decided to take a pass. I am sure many of our Aussie and Kiwi readers are rolling their eyes in disbelief.
It took us three tries to get the anchor to hold, and in the end, we took more chain than normally required to feel the anchor grip. During our first anchor attempts, we were cleaning major amounts of Kelp off, so we knew what the bottom looked like. Had the weather and our schedule been different, this would have been a lovely place to explore, as there is a large inland lake accessible by tender at high tide and two abandoned sites, a quarry and a mine. All equipment was just left and the sites closed. Very sad!