In a recent post (here) I sketched out 2014 Northwest Passage Stats and where I thought Arctic Tern fit in. Here are a few more data points, this time focused on our particular experience. (What follows is from my log and is presented here for interest’s sake only.) Mileages and Days 4167: Miles Arctic Tern sailed between Nuuk,, Read More

  A request in the comments of a recent post, “What’s it like to be back?” resulted in a response worthy of its on post. The requests from Douglas Pohl, who authors Northwest Passage 2014: “1) Please detail your NWP expenses. 2) If you were to go again – what would you seek out to make, Read More

The most frequent questions I get now that I’m  home from the Northwest Passage are: What’s it like to be back? Would you go again? The answer to the second of these is unequivocal, but the first is nuanced and requires some explaining. The Northwest Passage was a domestic affair, from a certain perspective., Read More

It’s a funny thing about habits: they’re environment-specific. Take bananas for example. When at home, I eat a banana each morning. I’ve convinced myself that eating fruit every day is healthy. But many fruits are temperamental—are delicate or seasonal, difficult to peal or too strong in flavor to eat regularly and next to which, Read More

By way of setting some context for Arctic Tern’s accomplishment, below are a few statistics regarding her 2014 attempt and the Northwest Passage generally. (See also Northwest Passage Statistics, II) A Hint at the Difficulty of the Northwest Passage 1497: The year John Cabot, at the behest of King Henry VII, sets out on, Read More

Sept 18 We had not seen land since Tuk. For two weeks Arctic Tern pushed west, making her way over Canada, passing Herschel Island and Demarcation Point; then over Alaska to Point Barrow and south, and all the while we saw only gray water and gray sky accented by nothing but the very occasional, Read More

Arctic Tern arrived Nome, Alaska, at 7PM local, September 18, thus completing her 2014 Northwest Passage. There before us was our traveling companion, Novara, and after quick greetings we escorted each other to the nearest (there are several, we hear) establishment for a celebratory dinner generously lubricated with honest, unapologetic American beer! None of us, Read More

Sept 15 Wind: NE 10-15 Sea: 1 meter Sky: occluded, high ceiling, light rain occasional Temp: Air, 5C; Sea, 2.7 to 4.5 to 7.5C as we head south Bar: 1001 – 998 Approaching Point Hope, the most northerly position achieved by Captain Cook. Distances Remaining 190 miles to the Arctic Circle 280 miles to, Read More

The Arctic Pilot says that with the rounding of Point Barrow east to west, a vessel transiting these waters completes the Northwest Passage. We aboard Arctic Tern are not sure why this would be, as it’s commonly held that the passage is at least Arctic Circle to Arctic Circle, if not Atlantic to Pacific., Read More

Sept 12 Wind: East 15 Sea: 1 Meter Sky: occluded, high ceiling, no rain/snow Temp: Air, 6C and dropping; Sea, 3.5C and dropping Bar: 1018 and dropping At 141 degrees west longitude our world changes. It comes back into focus. At least that’s the case if you ask our chart plotter. Much of the, Read More

Today is September 10, and Pt Barrow is 600 miles west. At 1PM local we rounded Cape Bathurst’s Baillie Island, a low dark line, and with it we have transitioned from a passage dominated by close sounds, inlets, and straits. We have exited Amundsen Gulf and are entering the vast and open Beaufort Sea., Read More

Sept 6-9 We had waited patiently in Byron Bay for better weather, and thinking headwinds had moderated, we put back into Dease Strait early on Sept 6. Snow covered the low, bleak hills of south Victoria Island and no wildlife could be seen. Still no birds in and about the water, a condition that, Read More

Sept 5 Departed Cambridge Bay early on Sept 4th for an anchorage in Edinburgh Islands, 141 miles west in Dease Strait. Forecast called for NW winds increasing to gale force some several hours after our estimated arrival at Edinburgh; our timing looked good. A misty fog in Cambridge Bay changed to light NW winds, Read More

It’s been ages since we’ve had internet “strong” enough to post photos, so this slug of images captures some events experienced on Arctic Tern between her stay in Graham Harbor for the penultimate and then ultimate time and her arrival in Gjoa and then Cambridge Bay. All events are referenced in the intervening blog posts., Read More

Sept 1-2 Wind: Calm to S 10 Sky: Solid Occlusion, fog early, no rain, then clear. Temp: Air 8 to 10C, Sea4.4 to 5.3C Sea: Calm, light wind chop Bar: 1005 Departed Gjoa Haven early for Cambridge Bay. Hurry is the name of our game now. Sept 10 at Barrow looms large. Bought 40, Read More

After our return to Depot Bay on Tuesday, August 25th, I received an email from my wife saying that my father had died at 4:30pm the previous day. He was 93 years old. At that time we on Arctic Tern had just arrived at our most remote location to date. The closest airport was, Read More

Aug 29 Wind: NE 20 Sky: Solid occlusion, rain last hour Temp: Air: 4C; Sea, -1C Sea: slop to 1 meter in Franklin Bar: 1003 Onward to Gjoa Haven. At 6am (local) we departed Depot Bay for an attempt at Bellot, targeting our entrance into the strait for the last two hours of the, Read More

After a long nap and a bit of much needed washing, we descended upon Novara. We had been invited for cocktails, an event not to be missed even if the cabin were on fire. Brit Steve Brown, Novara’s owner, and crew of three climbing friends had come to the Northwest Passage after a long, Read More

Port Leopold. A few bergy bits growled disinterestedly against the hull overnight. Six hours of deep sleep and then Les rousted his crew for a conference. Given the sustained northwesterlies and a forecast calling for more, Les believed the already weakening pack south of our location would open a lane along eastern Regent all, Read More

Aug 17: Departed Arctic Bay for Port Bowen in Prince Regent Sound. After a week of waiting, ice in Regent showed signs of opening to Bellot, even if Peel continued as a solid block of impenetrable ice. At the head of Admiralty, we moved slowly through a line of dispersed pack ice several miles, Read More

Our neighbor in Arctic Bay, a lovely aluminum cutter named Gjoa (previously Taonui, Tony and Coryn Gooch), developed propeller problems on the passage from Greenland. Given the paucity of travel lifts in this part of the world and the general absence of divers (water temp in the bay, 2.5C), a way of getting at, Read More

This is day four in Arctic Bay, the fourth day of a stay we thought, upon arrival, might extend to two. We hurried our fueling (the right choice as that day was bright and clear) and we hurried our internetting (also correct as that day was asoak with slushy rain). But we are still, Read More

Time enough to download images of Arctic Bay while waiting for laundry to dry, and to note some interesting tidbits about this hamlet, more or less at random: Laundry cost: $50. Access is the one hotel’s laundry facility. No load limit; just wash till you’re done. No access to showers though. I washed my, Read More