63º03' N, 58º28' W
At the moment, Sarema is limping towards Nova Scotia due to the combination of 25 knot winds, approximately two meter swell and the Labrador Current, all coming from different directions. It is as if we were in a bowl of soup which somebody is constantly stirring. And the fact that our hydraulic pump is now in a continuous on-off mode does not help the situation any!
As I told you before, we have had major problems with the hydraulic pump that controls our autopilot. Our main pump broke before Cambridge Bay and we had to install a spare pump that is not working properly either. Pekka has tried to fix it but so far with little success. The best method to revive the pump we have come up with is, believe it or not, to hit it with a hammer! Every time the pump stops, which is almost every half an hour or so, Pekka dives into the aft cabin, opens the hatch and hits the pump with a hammer. He has to be extremely quick about it because Sarema starts to turn in the wrong direction immediately when there is no steering. In order to see the pump in the dark, Pekka is nowadays wearing a headlight night and day, and the hammer is also nearby at all times. Poor Pekka, besides looking absolutely ridiculous with the headlight on, in the present state of affairs, his good looks are also beginning to suffer from lack of sleep!
Except for the continuous pump revival episodes, the past several days have been rather dull. But, fortunately, the nights have not! We are sailing so far out at sea that during the day, the only things we see are the sky, the sea and an occasional seabird. But as the light of the day fades and night begins to fall, it is as if we entered another world altogether with billion stars twinkling above us, and Aurora Borealis glowing in the northern sky. It just takes your breath away!
Despite the magic of the star-lit nights, we are anxiously waiting for our arrival in Halifax. The other day when we were talking about it, we realized that we are actually returning to Halifax as we visited the city already in 2005. This again means that we have sailed around the Americas, i.e. North and Central Americas. The circumnavigation has taken a total of five years due to the three unforgettable summers spent in Alaska. So it has been quite a long tour but we have been in no hurry, until now!