Wednesday, March 05, 2014

A Greenland Yarn: The Tow

In a flash I saw what had to be done and, using the tow rope, pulled the ship’s mate and me back to Aurora.

"Quick - launch that kayak" I cried and in moment I'd made a bowline with the end of the rope, wrapped it around myself and jumped into the sea kayak. There was no time even to put on the skirt for Aurora was rapidly approaching the tennis court sized 'berg.

At first my paddling made a lot of spray without much result, but I soon learnt to take short but frequent regular strokes to maximise our motion. It was touch and go - more touch than go to be honest and we scratched Aurora's side along that big berg, all of us wincing with every inch of contact.

There was time before the next one to begin to creep slowly forward in the right direction. Soon the cold forced the rest of the crew below, leaving only the helmsman on deck but out of my sight. I was effectively alone, paddling constantly, as if pinned to the water, like a running track in the gym where you run and run without moving a millimetre.

At least the exercise kept me warm, which was helpful as the water collecting inside the kayak was literally freezing cold. The air temperature was dropping too as the sun set for its short Arctic night. What I could see of the sunset was spectacular, fingers of light illuminating the sky above, painting Overhang Mountain an ominous red.

As we approached the sea the swell increased, causing ever greater strains on the tow line as I'd surge down each wave on my kayak only to be yanked back by the weight of the yacht.  But I paddled and paddled, focussing simply on the task at hand, to get the boat to safety, to do my part until the end.

To be continued...

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