Baffin Bay (AKA Insomnia Bay)

After making good time and seeing my first icebergs the wind changed back to the north. I had two days of 15-20kts head winds with super think fog. I never have been a fan of the fog but when you are sailing blindly, surrounded by icebergs with no radar, things get a bit dodgy. Finally when the fog broke I looked around and saw five bergs within a mile of me. Since then the weather has been very nice, but very little wind. Over the trip the temperature has slowly dropped, to the point that in the fog the other day it was in the 30s. Yesterday it was 56 (13c) and today it was 60 degrees (15c)! 60 degrees at 71 1/2 North?! I’m thinking about heading to the beach and going for a swim (just kidding). Yes the skies are blue and the days are warm, but there is no wind and wind is what matters. It’s been slow going the last five days and I have a feeling that this is the way its going to be up here.
When you look at my PredictWind tracker you will see that I’ve been staying close to Greenland. The center of Baffin Bay is still covered in ice. Theres only a rather narrow corridor of ice free water up here and that corridor is off of Greenland. The warm weather should hasten the ice’s retreat. I should really say ice-less and not ice-free because there is still a bunch of bergs. I can deal with ice bergs but pack ice is something very different. Speaking of ice bergs I’ve seen more then I can count. From giant growlers the size of a large office building to bergy bits the size of a VW bug. The bergs are natures sculptures, each one unique and as they melt and break apart their beauty changes and evolves. Some are bleach white but most have a tint of blue or sometimes pink. The largest are both majestic and intimidating. Its worth sailing up here just to see them.
To every upside there is a downside. Icebergs are amazingly beautifully, but man is it hard to sleep when they’re around. Hitting a berg would be like running into a giant rock. The ice has no forgiveness and would sink my little boat in record time – and I’m seeing more ice every day. Yesterday I counted 17 bergs without moving my head – they seem to be everywhere. This is when it would be nice to have some crew. I didn’t sleep for 3 days and only got a couple hours sleep last night broken up in 20 minute intervals. Because the sun never sets up here my concept of time has been destroyed. I no longer know if its night or day. When I do look at a clock I’m always shocked “it’s 3am? But I thought it was 9!”. The good thing is when I get out off Baffin Bay I won’t have as many icebergs but in the North West passage I will be dealing with ice pack. At least by the end I will have seen many different types of ice. Outside of sleep deprivation, all is well. I just hope the wind picks up a bit, I still have 400 miles to the mouth of the NW passage.


15 thoughts on “Baffin Bay (AKA Insomnia Bay)”

  1. Matt, if you get a day with little breeze, maybe you could pull into a somewhat protected place along Greenland’s coast and take a well deserved sleep. I don’t know about the rest of your readers, but I certainly don’t have any fingernails left! All I can do is sit back and watch. At least, I have learned that you have an excellent support team who are monitoring and guiding your voyage. My thanks to Michael for running this site; to Simon who is knowledgeable about the seas beyond my comprehension; to the folks who provided and delivered the new water maker; to Don at Crab; to the dedicated men and women who provide us with the technology to know what the ice is doing.

    When Matt crossed the Atlantic solo the first time, he had very little outside help and the worst, stormy weather in a century. He certainly has experience dealing with rough seas.


  2. Thanx for addressing the question as to why you are so close to Greenland… that explains your trajectory… Anxious to see you make the turn toward the Northwest passage… Colorado is Pulling for you (at least those that know of your excursion)… WHen you get around toward alaska my son lives in Homer… wave at him for me!!!!

  3. I am in awe of you Matt – fog and icebergs – very little or no sleep and you can still appreciate the beauty and majesty of your surroundings. I can totally appreicate how it would be inspiring and intimidating at the same time. All the very best as you navigate your way to the NWP.

  4. Hey Matt, We can certainly see why you are sleeping with one eye open! Not sure if this will make you feel any better but it has been bloody hot on the east coast… hitting in the 100s. Mic put your blog on the West River Sailing club front page so that sailors and friends can keep track of you. Best to you! Charlene & Mic Osman

  5. Ditto on everything your Mom said. (Remind me NEVER to complain again about a “poor night’s sleep” !!). Found this website on ice conditions in NW passage … now trying to make sense of it.

    Also found the following quote that definitely spoke of you, dear nephew. Cheering you on with every nautical mile! Lots of love !

    “It is not the ship so much as the skillful sailing that assures the prosperous voyage.”
    George William Curtis

  6. Hey Matt, I love the pics of the glaciers you posted. I’m on a boat water skiing on lake Travis. As I sit here I have a high respect of what uou are enduring. Keep perservering nephew. Your amazing!

    Love , Amy

  7. Hi there Matt – we are BEST friends of your Aunt Paula & Uncle Pete and met you at Peter & Angela’s wedding last year. Anyway, just wanted you to know that we are following your journey and have told many other’s about your website. Praying for your success and safety during your great adventure. Icebergs are frightening when you think of trying to sleep but are the most beautiful thing on Earth (we saw some great icebergs on an Alaskan cruise). Happy sailing and keep your blog going.

  8. Yo brother just let me know and I’ll air drop in for a couple hrs if you need the sleep. We won’t tell anyone

  9. I am loving your blog. Thanks for the posts. Keep safe and rest when you can.

  10. Hello Matt,
    Lancaster Sound is WEST – not sure the website is showing your position accurately but if you plan on a near 30,000nm voyage its time to start navigating accurately and cutting days off of your near year voyage…

    Ice is clearing ahead – time to head WEST!!!

    Glad to see you leading everyone else into the NWP – keep up the great work.

    Smooth seas,

    M/V GREY GOOSE outfitting in Mobile Alabama for a 2012 NWPassage

  11. Hiya Matt,

    How appropriate for your voyage: FORTITUDINE VINCIMUS – “by endurance we conquer”. For those who may not know this was Shakleton’s motto and the reason he renamed Polaris to Endurance.

    As you battle sleep deprivation and approach your greatest challenge , here’s one for you Matt: VINCIT QUI SE VINCIT -“he conquers who conquers himself”.

    or as your friend put it: BLOOD AND BEER! :))

    Annapolis, MD

  12. Just a note, Matt, to tell you how much I admire your Mother, your other relatives and friends’ comments and concerns for your safety and success. You have a home team that must make you feel great when you read their advice and comments. Cheers for you, your loved ones, and your little sailboat!!

    Blessings be with you,

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