Nine days at sea without any land contact is more than I ever have experienced on a small vessel like the DAX, but now we are safely moored in the little Greenland village of Nanortalik. The colour of the houses here makes me think that they painted the village with whatever colours were available in the store at that moment. I look around and wonder why in the world anyone would want to settle here in this monumental wilderness, but I feel a lively, easygoing, and pleasant atmosphere to the place.
Our plan was to spend two days in Nanortalik but locals said the inlet could be blocked by massive ice and unless we want to spend weeks here we must leave immediately. We went quickly into the harbor, where Martin, Bengt and I did our own errands. There is more than enough socializing on board and it can be difficult to always be in a good mood when you are jammed together in the small space of the DAX, especially because a lot has happened in the past few days.
We reached a truly frightening storm as we rounded the southern tip of Greenland and now it is cold and damp in the cabin. The mood is not very positive. The cockpit filled up with water several times and large tall waves rocked the DAX back and forth. Everything that was not attached in the cabin was thrown about, including Martin’s computer. One of our cameras, which was tied to the mast, has also loosened and is now dangling by its cables. The wind tore up the jib and we’ve realized that we only have one working jib (the furling jib was destroyed earlier). A jib is one of the main types of headsail on a modern boat. It is a triangular sail, whose most crucial function is to increase performance and stability by reducing turbulence to the main sail.
“All the problems came to us at the same time. It was noisy and rough, it felt like we were in a tumbler. I thought to myself, ‘Is this the way it’s going to end?'”
Also, when we started the engine, there was a sinister burnt smell. The engine temperature was too high so we turned it off and realized that the oil was too low. We found that the circulation pump for the freshwater cooling was broken, so we installed Martin’s reserve one. At the same time, we found a great deal of oil in the coolant, which we cleaned out. All the problems came to us at the same time. It was noisy and rough, it felt like we were in a tumbler. I thought to myself, “Is this the way it’s going to end?” The wind continues to blow hard now and everyone is tired. I still feel very small and somewhat scared. It occurs to me that we could actually have so many problems that we might not be able to solve. One comfort, however, is our contact with Impulse. We mutually report our position, course and speed and make possible adjustments.
Although I am scared, I do like this way of travelling in general: stepping out of your comfort zone. I’m not the kind of person that enjoys sunny vacations with drinks on the beach. It’s not for me. I like mobility and the exploration of nature. If everything happens seamlessly and there are no problems, you won’t create any memories, things will pass right through you. Troubles give you friction so the experience sticks in your memory.