Landing on the island and batoning down the hatches

Eventually the hour long boat trip from Nain through rough, cold sea came to an end. We entered the bottle-shaped bay through the throat-passage and discovered an inner kingdom. We headed towards a series of low raised beach platforms skirted by patches of woodland and backed by low, rounded hills.

Our boatman approached the shore and stopped within ten metres, declaring he could go no further because of a sand and gravel barrier. We, my fellow adventurer and I, had to jump into waist-high sea and unload. Eventually the boat rose in the water and came ashore.

By the time we finished unloading the boat, icy rain was falling. The boatman decided he needed to “run before the storm” and get back to his family in Nain. He promised to return in the morning with the supplies we had left left on Nain pier as the boat was too full.

We put up our rigid-framed tent and then set-to with the cook tent; a bell-shaped structure with a central pole. We never did manage to erect the damn thing correctly, I think more than two people are needed to raise it properly. Nevertheless, it survived the next forty eight hours as the wind blew from the north and lashed the canvas.

Before retiring to our own tent we stashed all supplies under a tarpaulin and hammered it down with the biggest pegs we could find. It did the job, although much of the equipment got wet due to the rising flood water that threatened to turn the camp-site into an inland lake.

In our tent, we were suspended above the flood waters on iron bed-steads. I was still clad in my survival suit, inside a brand-new and expensive sleeping bag, and still cold. My companion and I watched the flood water rise to ankle-high, just a centimetre from touching the base of bedding. For several hours during the second night of the storm I was genuinely worried that we’d be forced out into the cook tent where we’d have to endure the rest of the storm sitting on boxes.

But the storm cleared sometime during that night and the stars appeared. In the morning there was a blue sky and a beautiful, crystal clear atmosphere. A warm breeze blew from the south and at last I began to defrost.

We sat waiting for our boatman to appear with the rest of the supplies. The blue waters of the bay were ruffled by gentle breezes. I took off the survival suit for the first time in forty eight hours.

The boat man never arrived.

We climbed a low mountain that allowed a clear view back to Nain. There was sea ice for as far as the eye could see. The small islands close to the coast protruded like peaks sticking out of cloud. We were trapped.