Aluminium versus Ice


17 December 2007

Since the debacle this week and after a night of total calm, a ruthless struggle seems to have begun between Tara and the ice. Today and particularly now as I am writing, the walls of my cabin are resonating with huge continuous pressure. Attacks are following one another, the whole cabin is shaking and Tara is moving at the same time. It is really impressive and I am weighing my words. The whole boat’s structure is squashed and is shaking everywhere. Keep steady Tara ! All off a sudden, all is still. And then we hear creaks. The ice, really cool, is warning us before its next assault. And then it lashes out with huge power. It seems as if it wants to crush everything, to show off its power whatever the price. The ice is the only boss here. A lord on his land. We are clearly intruders. Visitors. But how lucky of us to witness all of this.

Hervé Bourmaud, Tara’s captain is doing his rounds, checking that there are no water leaks. In these times, one has the impression that everything could happen. Part of one’s mind starts to imagine the worst. One has to master one’s fear and not to panic. But these pressure ridges are harrowing and very frightening. One realizes the strength that surrounds us. It ices the blood. I have the impression that after the calm of these past months, our meeting point with the elements has just begun.

In any case, we are now in the Fram Strait and the extreme adventure that the polar specialists had predicted for us if we followed the Greenland coast seems to have begun.
Yesterday, we were comparing these scraping noises to the barking of a dog, to the creaking of a door shutting slowly or to the rubbing of a boat against a quay. Today, we are under the impression of being caught in a gigantic stranglehold with huge powers.

Since the debacle and with the Eastern wind coming this morning, the ice has shut around Tara. The debacle is part of the past. But this is not the end. The ice will use its power up till the end. Is it a last-ditch struggle or the beginning of a sportive descent of the Greenland coast.

Wait and see!