The following is posted under Cezar’s VY0O callsign on QRZ.com
We think it’s worth re-posting here:
I just returned home minutes before midnight after a fantastic adventure that was actually much closer than anyone could possibly imagine to a complete disaster. We first lost the main engine about 40 km away from the island, in the middle of the open water. Then, we lost the second, small engine, which luckily could be repaired on the water. At some point we were taking so much water that we were so very close to sinking. The water temp around the freezing point would not have allowed us to swim too far.
While I was bringing everything in the cabin to balance the boat at the captain’s orders, the rest of the crew was frantically throwing the water out with buckets, until they succeeded to plug some holes that appeared out of nowhere. I didn’t realize during that work that sulphuric acid poured out of the batteries on me until later next day. It was then when I realized that what was hurting me were first degree burns over the entire left arm, while all clothing I had on me was destroyed.
The above is ONLY ONE of the very intense moments. Just when we were in the final hour on the island and I was in the middle of the JA pile-up, a polar bear spotted us, stalked us, and decided to swim towards us! It was a very beautiful specimen, with a superb snow white like fur (unlike the normal yellow / grey colour during this season). My inuit crew successfully scared him away. It would have been a shame to have to be shot in order to protect ourselves.
No article that I can write can possibly describe all the intensity of this trip and pushed our adrenaline to the limit. Lot more space than that would be required. While on the island, we were virtually continuously in the middle of a terrible storm, with winds up to 80 km/h (according to the data on mainland) and fierce rainfall that seemed to never end. The tent leaked in many places, so I had to move the equipment around from time to time …
I didn’t expect that the fiber glass mast will withstand the wind, but I decided to leave it up, working as long as it resisted. Although it was brought down a few times, with a few breaks off the rocks, I patched it with electrical tape and it worked well until the end. The steady winds brought the temperature in the tent to the freezing point. All my crew was sleeping over night, while I wasn’t. It was unbelievely cold outside of a sleeping bag. The first time I slept was after exactly 52 hours. Most of this time was not spent on the radio, but preparing for the trip, navigating, dealing with various problems, etc. After that, I slept no more than 3 hours per day. However, during the last day I walked around the island for a couple of hours, as the weather improved, in order to see the majestic scenery close-by.
Although the crew fixed the engine temporarily, we never made it back to the shore on our own. The main engine died when the gear box broke about 47 km from the mainland. We were towed by another boat to shore.
Made a total of 3000 QSOs with stations on all continents. About 53% of the contacts were in CW, 47% in SSB.
Footnote. Before he left the mainland, Cezar VE3LYC had promised DX World of Ham Radio a few images of his trip to NA-230. Going by the above account, naturally, we look forward to publishing.