Fri 08/07-2022 Day 687

Pos: 71.3542,-156.5532
Loc: northern spit
Acc: Hilleberg Keron 4 tent
Dist: 18,0 km
Start: 8:55 End: 17:50

We set the time to meet on the beach to seven o’clock. Peter and I got the tent down and our gear half packed, when Traci comes from the house with the rest of her belongings. Thankfully, we packed her kayak already the night before. Once everything fits inside, the rest of the waterbags need to go in front of the footrests in the cockpit and behind the seat. All boats are heavily loaded to the maximum.
We wave Carmen and her baby son good bye who gave us a base station with our tent close to her house for water, shower and electricity. Traci stayed there all the last nights.
Happy to be on the way, we all three try to find our paddling rhythm. A few ice floes make good pictures, but also one big ice shelf is still shore fast and we have to drag and push over two or three spots close to the sand. As to our imagination, the inner lagoon is ice free, I get out a few ties to scout the best narrow spot to haul the kayaks over. It is fully ice free as far as we can see, but have we not learned something from Peard Bay? There we did the same, with the same idea it would be more ice free than offshore, which was also wrong. Well, the haul over works allright with three people pushing, pulling and dragging the kayaks, one at a time, without completely unloading. Happy at the new shore, we have lunch before launching again. It looks like the iland shore would be fine, which soon turns out to be another mistake. We change direction, and hope to be able to pass along the inner side of the barrier islands. After padlding for maybe half an hour, it starts to be also blocked by shore fast ice shelfs. We haul over two smaller connections, but the look into the far distance in the rare minutes of a fog-free view is discouraging. It is ice allover. Hmmm…
We haul over to an inner sweetwater lagoon in the hope to have a shorter passage back to the outer sea, but this proves also not to be quite tempting as the hauling over distance is about four times the first distance. We will do it at the exact spot where we came in.
In the middle of our hard work, Carmen and Alex show up with ther truck, guided by Traci’s tracking device. Welcome help for carrying things! We set camp, well aware of possibly stranded polar bears,protected by even a double fence of a trip wire and electrical fence.
It is a different camp making with three people, and Traci has to to get used to the new situation. We decide to paddle out to the spit tomorrow, it is ice free on the ocean side, but are aware we likely cannot continue yet. The winter was the hardest here within a decade, but still milder than in the whole last century in average. It means also the spring and ice melting is late this year, wich we knew. We give it a try anyway, but when we have to wait longer, it is what it is!