Full load; 8 people on a 47-foot sailboat
After less than 24 hours to refuel, fill up with water, go grocery shopping and squeeze in a visit at the hospital to resupply our antibiotics, it was time to welcome onboard our next group from Ocean’s North. We hadn’t had time to do laundry or have a shower, nor really prepare to set a new record on Arctic Tern: we were going to be 8 people for the next week. I should probably now mention that there are only 7 bunks onboard. So 8 people on a 47-foot sailboat is a lot of people!
We put Chris and Gill in the forward cabin, on the port side. Crystal and Savanna on the starboard side (with a Spiderman sheet separating the boys from the girls). Kristin didn’t have her own bunk and had to sleep in the lounge, once everyone else had gone to bed. Surprisingly, this actually worked quite well, although a bit awkward when getting up in the morning and having to eat breakfast in silence, sitting inches away from a sleeping Kristin.
Once everyone had settled in, we headed West of Pond Inlet towards Milne Inlet. This is where thousands of Narwhal come during the summer. Young and old, male and female, they turn this entire area into a great playground for just a few weeks every year. And we were there, as we had been the previous year, just in time to witness these mythical creatures of the North. A hundred, probably more, were coming to the surface, breaking the glassy surface of the water in our anchorage.
We were surrounded by Narwhal. Kristin, Crystal and Savanna were looking in all directions, taking photos. Chris and Gill were at the bow, trying to film and also record the wide range of sounds that the whales were making. Meanwhile, Grant was giving Sam and I an elaborate imitation of the whales at the helm, making whistling and barking noises as we slowly drifted in the bay. We had a serious job, but laughing is always an important part of life on Tern. We even have a full-body monkey suit onboard!
The Arctic is a truly magical place. And the Arctic Tern has been a fantastic platform, providing us with many awe-inspiring moments and discoveries during the last 3 summers. That day was definitely another special one to add to our unforgettable memories of this fragile ecosystem.