Tag Archives: beechey island

Friday 22nd April 2022 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… miserable, depressing day today when nothing seemed to go according to plan and I’ve no idea why not either.

Nothing to do with the fact that I was rather later than intended going to bed last night. I ought to ba able to cope with 7.5 hours of sleep. And even so, I managed to haul myself out of bed before the second alarm went off, so that’s progress of some sort, I suppose.

Not that you might think so because it still took me a good while to bring myself into the land of the living and start work today.

First job was to listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. And I had actually been with TOTGA for part of it, somewhere in the UK. I was as usual trying to get my hands on her … “no surprise there” – ed. We were having a discussion about a few different things and the topic of acting came up. She said that I’d appeared in a play somewhere but I couldn’t remember where it was. She mentioned something about somewhere in the East Midlands. I remembered then that there had been a play but I had a walk-on minor role in it. I was sure that that wasn’t what she had in mind but it was the only thing that I could recall at the time when I’d actually been in a play.

Later on I was going to be doing some building work or woodwork and I needed some tools. I made out a list of what I wanted and asked Terry about it. Of course he’s not here so the list was passed on to someone else but I didn’t hear anything. Nothing ever changed. Someone else turned up who also knew Terry. We were chatting about the job. I was talking about the mix-up and it turned out that this wasn’t the chap to whom Terry had given the information. Of course we had to start all over again as he was there on the spot but I couldn’t remember what it was that I had ordered. I didn’t have a copy of the list. I was really stranded about ordering the stuff that I needed for this job and not knowing what I wanted.

Somewhere in the middle of this was a girl who was a football referee. We’d all had new facilities on board this ship. There were several ships that were fishing boats but they were quite small. However they all had had new facilities and with this woman being our skipper as well we asked her whether she had private facilities or whether she had to kick the crew out of this one and use the communal ones. She said that because she was an official referee she had her own private facilities. That made us wonder about what happened about the other women skippers in this fleet who weren’t football referees. While we were talking she said that she wanted me and would I be free the next afternoon.? I had one or two things to do but I told her that I could fit her in for what it was that she wanted if she would let me know.

And then we were back in the Middle Ages. There was some old man who was living his life quite rough, impolite, rude, and had incurred the King’s displeasure. The King had sent someone down to arrest him and bring him back. It turned out to be this guy’s son. Theyw ere having some kind of emotional struggle – the son had to take him before the king but he wanted his son to let him go. This went on for quite some time with all kinds of recriminations etc

There was also something about my tax return. I had to complete it but I didn’t have all the papers. I had to find the papers but there was a time limit. I had to apply for nationality but I’d been there 11 years so I had to take 11 steps on this stepping-stone footpath but even then I couldn’t apply because the downward path from there was so steep and there was nowhere to hold on to. It was something that was getting out of hand. And that reminds me that I have my own tax return to do sometime when I come back from my travels.

Actually, part of me is looking forward to my next journey at the end of next week, but part of me isn’t. That’s because there is going to be something of a showdown where something on which I’ve been working for 30 years might come to fruition, if I’m extremely lucky.

On the other hand, it could lead to a major disappointment. And knowing how things usually pan out when I’m involved, that’s more likely the case.

Most of the day I’ve been working on the photos from the High Arctic again and I’ve finally made it, after a couple of years of attempts, to land on Beechey Island.

Just now I’ve been to visit THE THREE GRAVES of members of Sir John Franklin’s doomed expedition to discover the North-West Passage and having had an encounter with a gyrfalcon, I’m now picking my way through some mid-19th Century “Goldners” tin cans towards the remains of “Northumberland House”, the wooden shack that Pullen’s expedition erected in 1852-53 in case any of Franklin’s men should struggle back to Lancaster Sound.

It’s probably all of this that’s making me so depressed at the moment.

A few years ago I had an interesting discussion with a couple of Polar explorers about the Arctic, and I recalled a quote from someone called Judge Malone who had gone to search for the last resting place of his friend Leonidas Hubbard “I never had that feeling before on leaving the wilderness, but this country has exerted a peculiar fascination upon me. I understand what it was now that drew you … on and would not let you turn back”.

Yes, I have the bougeotte again, as they say around here, haven’t I? But there’s little prospect of that happening right now, the way everything is.

At the moment, the only way to deal with the bougeotte is to go for a walk around the headland and after the heady excitement of the last couple of days, even that was a disappointment today with nothing whatever out of the ordinary going on.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022The tape that was tied across the front of the building had gone today so I headed straight for the wall at the end of the car park to have a look down onto the beach.

And with the weather being so nice today, there were crowds of people down there this afternoon making the most of it. But that was no surprise really because the car park was packed with cars this afternoon.

Everyone was hemmed in pretty much close to the cliffs today because the tide hadn’t gone all that far out when I was out having a prowl around. They’ll have a couple of hours now to spread out before it comes back in.

repointing medieval city wall place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But here’s a big surprise!

By the looks of things they have finished all that they intend to do with repairing the medieval city walls at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux and they have now moved the scaffolding further along the wall.

But I don’t like the look of that one little bit. There were a couple of mega-cracks in the wall and they don’t look as if they have done that much towards repairing them. I know when I was repointing my house back 10 years ago I wouldn’t have been very happy leaving any cracks like that in the wall.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022While I was there I was also having a good look around out at sea.

Yesterday we saw a couple of fishing boats out on the Baie de Granville and as you can see, there’s one out there this afternoon. And you can tell by his wake that he’s just done a “U-turn” out there in the ocean.

The marker buoys for the lobster pots are still out there too but he’s a long way away from where they are.

And so dodging the crowds this afternoon I headed off down the path towards the lighthouse.

people on bench cabanon vauban pointe ru roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022The car park by the lighthouse was full to so I was expecting there to be crowds down there as well.

And this afternoon we had a couple more people on the bench by the cabanon vauban enjoying the sun. And that’s all that they were doing because there were no boats out there, and no fishermen on the rocks either.

Plenty of people on the lower path too having a stroll around but I wasn’t intending to join them. I’m having issues with the steps, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

Instead, I headed off towards the port.

people on sea wall joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And there was quite a crowd over at the ferry terminal as well.

At first I was wondering whether they might have been queuing up to go for a sail on the Joly France ferry that’s over there. But in actual fact I noticed that the crane is working, with a few heavy bags dangling from its hook.

It’s probably a reasonable form of entertainment for the people over there watching the action.

And there will be more action going on over there as of the 5th May (when I am of course away on my travels) because I have it on good authority that the sailings to the Channel Islands are to resume on that date.

We shall see.

cleaning pontoon chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And there’s yet another change of occupant over at the chantier naval.

Le Roc A la Mauve III is still there in what must surely be one of the longest-ever stays that I have ever seen, but she’s now been joined by one of the little harbour pontoons that float around in there.

She’s having a good pressure-washing right now and the guy in charge loos as if he’s having an enormous amount of fun doing it too.

It’s the kind of thing that will keep him out of mischief for a while.

ch714399 l'iris de suse port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And the game of musical ships over at the Fish Processing Plant has taken a new twist today.

Neither Briscard nor L’Omerta is there today. The place is occupied by another inshore shell-fishing boat.

And thanks to her registration number being visible and the index of fishing boats that I found a while ago, I can tell you that she’s called L’Iris de Suse, whatever that is supposed to mean.

So what’s the betting for who will be moored there tomorrow? It’s a toss-up, I reckon, between Titanic and the Mary Celeste.

spirit of conrad charles marie anakena la grande ancre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But at the moment there are croowds of boats over there in the inner harbour.

There are a few that I don’t recognise but those that I do include Spirit of Conrad, Charles Marie, Anakena and la Grande Ancre.

Back here I had a coffee and then I had a few things to do. It had been a miserable day today with having fought off sleep for much of the morning only to have crashed out completely and definitively for an hour or so before going for a walk..

Nothing is ever going to be done if I don’t get a move on.

Tea was my sausage, beans and chips. And the chips were rather hit-and-miss. I think that I’m not shaking them up enough to move them around in the air fryer half-way through so a few are overcooked and a few others are undercooked. But I’ll keep on persevering.

However, generic French baked Beans are awful. I tried a different lot today and they were just as bad as the last lot. I’ll have to buy the bullet and buy full-price branded stuff.

But that’s tomorrow when I go shopping I reckon. Not that I need much because I’m off on my travels next weekend. Judgement Day is approaching rather rapidly.

Tuesday 27th August 2019 – I HAVE SPENT …

… a very pleasant day in the company of those two two very pleasant young girls whom I have mentioned previously. I’m not sure quite why, but I seem to be Flavour Of The Month right now – a situation to which I’m not accustomed at all

When we saw the polar bear the other day the younger one of the two who was wandering around the deck on her own wasn’t able to pick it up with her camera very well To help her out, I put her memory card into my camera and let her take a few photos using the big zoom lens. No kid should ever go around being disappointed if there’s someone around who can lend a hand.

Unfortunately I had my camera set on RAW data rather than *.jpg so her camera couldn’t see it, as I came to realise afterwards. But I was working with the laptop in my little corner in the upper lounge today when they both came past, so I grabbed her memory card, edited the photos for her, converted it into *.jpg format and, for good measure, slipped her a photo of my walrus from yesterday as a little present.

We ended up having quite a chat, that started at about 15:00 this afternoon and went on until … errr … 00:30. And I’ll tell you something for nothing – and that is that they are far more intelligent and interesting and have much more to say for themselves than any of the adults on board The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour.

And that, unfortunately, is not saying very much either. To tell the truth, this is a pretty miserable lot of passengers on board the ship for this section of the voyage. There’s not even one of them with whom I’d choose to spend any of my spare time, and I’m pretty certain judging by the number of times that I’ve sat at a table and taken my meals all alone that the feeling is pretty much mutual.

Not that it bothers me at all though. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m much happier with my own company and It seems as if I’m condemned to prowl the deck of the ship totally on my own until all kinds of late hours until I fall overboard, rather like Joshua Slocum, which is par for the course these days.

Mind you, I don’t know how I do it because I had another dreadful night. Wide awake at 01:00 and then not going back to sleep at all. And I was feeling dreadful too – fearing a recurrence of my trouble of the other week.

I know what caused it though. Basically, I was in a totally foul mood and it was eating me up all yesterday evening.

Yesterday or the day before, I’d mentioned that we have someone from the Archaeological Service of Canada Parks on board and as a result things are being run “by the book” on board, to the total exclusion of everything else.

Consequently, even though I’ve travelled for 40 days and spent not far short of $40,000 over two years to travel to a certain point and to take a certain photograph, it’s been decided that I won’t be permitted to take it.

I was furious (to say the least) about the idea of missing out on the photo that I really wanted to take, and it was preying on my mind. But being wide-awake enabled me to have a good think and it gave me the opportunity to come up with a solution.

And so at breakfast I buttonholed Rachel the Archaeologist and bent her ear somewhat (poor girl), telling her of my utter dismay and disappointment. She replied that she would “take my concerns on board”.

It was snowing slightly outside and freezing cold, as you might expect up here in the High Arctic, but we all warmed ourselves up in our really warm expedition clothing and hit the zodiacs. 10 minutes later we were on Beechey Island. at last, after all of these years.

We visited the graves of the three sailors who died at the start of the Franklin expedition and I took the photos that I wanted. Permission had been obtained (although, I suspect, unofficially, and I thought it best not to make further enquiries). We then walked on through the rain and the howling wind past a passing gyrfalcon down to Northumberland House (or the remains thereof) built by William Pullen’s expedition to relieve Franklin should he still be alive (which he wasn’t)

The whole place is covered in old tin cans, barrel staves and barrel hoops from Franklin’s and the relief expeditions in the 1840s and 50s and that all adds to the mystery of the place. But at long last I have made it there and that was what I’ve come all this way to do.

But one thing that I couldn’t do was to deal with yet more of this red tape. There’s a shipwreck – the yacht Mary – dating from the 1850s on the island, and known since at least 1854. I was hoping to be able to visit that but because it didn’t form part of the permit that the company had obtained (apparently no-one thought that it would be of much interest to anyone) it had been taped off and an “unofficial excursion’ was out of the question with this official loitering around.

So instead, I cursed my bad luck.

The zodiac ride back was wild, totally wild. You’d pay good money for that in an adventure park. We were all soaked to the skin and frozen to the marrow, so when we returned I had a hot shower to warm myself up.

After lunch I was on deck for a while and then fell in with the girls. They are cousins apparently, both mad on music and keen players of the ukelele. So I’ve been having private ukelele lessons all evening.

There was a concert in fancy dress this evening. Strawberry Moose dressed up for it and won a prize.

Later on in the evening while I was chatting to the girls and learning to play the ukelele, two boys joined in. One of them was no mean guitarist and the other could sing really well and so we had a jam session until long after midnight, all five of us.

And as a result, a cunning plan is developing. But more of this anon. I’m off to bed.