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Old 16-08-2013, 08:38   #16
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Re: Northwest Passage - Ice 2013

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Originally Posted by Panope View Post
Thanks Evans,

A trip through the NWP is becoming very interesting to me. Myself and my boat are really not up for the trip (although fuel range is probably adequate at 1000km) and I am very happy living on dirt raising a kiddo.

But who knows, maybe in 10 or 20 years the ice will be a non issue and one will be able to buy a cruising guide at West Marine that will tell you everything you need to know.

Oh dear, now I am envisioning droves of boats making it through every year. Maybe it will become the Baja Haha of North.

Let's hope the ice sticks around keeps this trip in the adventure/expedition category. And I can happily keep this trip as the fantasy that it is.

Steve
Some people are banking on that idea, and making real estate purchases in the area. Meltdown could put the Panama/Suez tours into the "alternative" category, as it would knock thousands of miles off of a Canadian's trip to say ... Japan.

Still, only twenty boats went last year, and that was a record. NWP is still not for faint of heart!
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Old 16-08-2013, 09:11   #17
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Re: Northwest Passage - Ice 2013

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Originally Posted by Sailor_Hutch View Post
Some people are banking on that idea, and making real estate purchases in the area. Meltdown could put the Panama/Suez tours into the "alternative" category, as it would knock thousands of miles off of a Canadian's trip to say ... Japan.

Still, only twenty boats went last year, and that was a record. NWP is still not for faint of heart!
Not so much west coast Canadians, but nice for east coast Canadians/U.S./Western Europe ...
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Old 18-08-2013, 05:32   #18
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Re: Northwest Passage - Ice 2013

Queen Maud area is just barely open - just a short bridge of 1/10-3/10 to cross.

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But there is still an ice plug just south of Resolute.

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Old 19-08-2013, 06:17   #19
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Re: Northwest Passage - Ice 2013

North winds have actually now made the ice plug to the south of Resolute much worse.

We have a forecast for (light) south winds on the 21st. That may blow the plug out. If not the folks up there are going to have to start considering 'plan B'.

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Old 19-08-2013, 06:33   #20
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Re: Northwest Passage - Ice 2013

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have to start considering 'plan B'.
whats plan 'B' , break open the drinks locker!
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Old 19-08-2013, 09:33   #21
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Re: Northwest Passage - Ice 2013

^^ Some hot rum would likely be welcome by all . . . . but plan B is to look at using a 'back door' into peal sound bypassing the ice plug south of Resolute, by entering thru through Bellot Strait (I have put an arrow on the ice chart below). Usually this has more ice than the normal route but this year it might (or might not) allow a way thru.

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Plan C is to turn around and give up for this year.
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Old 19-08-2013, 09:59   #22
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Re: Northwest Passage - Ice 2013

What is the clarity of passage on Gulf of Boothia / Foxe Basin route south of Baffin this time of year?
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Old 19-08-2013, 17:15   #23
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Re: Northwest Passage - Ice 2013

^^

This is today's Foxe basin chart

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There is a potential risk with the Bellot Strait option that you get in there and then the top closes off and you are blocked for going forward or back. Only the skippers up there can make that judgment call. A few of these boats are prepared to winter in the ice, but the majority are not. (-50C winter temps and 2m thick ice)
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Old 22-08-2013, 06:05   #24
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Re: Northwest Passage - Ice 2013

The ice plug just south of Resolute at the entry to the 'normal route' has not improved, and everyone has pretty much concluded it will not open this year.
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The 'plan B' route I mentioned above is a 'back door' into peel sound thru narrow Bellot Strait (I have marked with an arrow here). A couple days ago it looked like it would open, but it is now looking a bit more scary, because an ice plug may be starting to form to close off the entry while the exit is still too heavy ice for 'yachts'.
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And even if you make it thru this choke point, look at how close the pack ice edge already is to the coast further to the west. Any sort of northerly blow could well drive the ice south and trap you against a very hard coast line there.
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Only the skippers on-site can make the risk/reward decision, but to me it's looking really shaky right now, unless you are prepared to overwinter. There is some discussion if you overwinter how next year will look, but I think we simply don't and can't know that so the discussion is not very fruitful.
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Old 22-08-2013, 08:52   #25
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Have you seen Capt Rev. Bob Shepton and the DoDo's Delight?
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Old 22-08-2013, 15:08   #26
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Re: Northwest Passage - Ice 2013

We know Bob, but I have lost track of him on this trip. I am focused on the boats going east to west, and he is going west to east. He should be in Cambridge Bay by now, but since none of 'my gang' has gotten thru yet I have not heard who is there.
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Old 23-08-2013, 15:42   #27
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Re: Northwest Passage - Ice 2013

Two boats turned around and headed back out the NWP passage, while a Canadian Icebreaker smashed thru Bellot Strait opening it for a very short while and three other boats went thru. Those three still have an ice barrier in front of them, blocking the way to Cambridge bay. There is 40kts forecast which they all hope will blow the ice aside. If it does not, then I suspect the ice breaker will smash a path for them.
I know one of the boats that turned around did not want to utilize this sort (ice breaker) of 'outside assistance' to make the NWP (or any of their sailing). They have spent a lot of time in the south and the ethic there is to be self-reliant and not ask for help from government resources unless in a mayday situation.
As an aside - its quite tricky and somewhat dangerous to follow an ice breaker, as the ice pieces sweep in around and behind it quite quickly. You have to follow very closely, essentially in the prop wash, and there are still significant size bergy bits popping up all around you.
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Old 23-08-2013, 15:58   #28
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Re: Northwest Passage - Ice 2013

This is the most impressive thread I've read in a while.

Thank you estarzinger for bringing all of us this news as well as the education from the North.
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Old 24-08-2013, 04:27   #29
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Re: Northwest Passage - Ice 2013

Strong low pushing thru right now. Boats reporting 40kts.

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Boats on both sides of Bellot Strait are at sheltering at anchor. The boats on both sides have ice barriers in front of them that they are hoping this wind will blow away.
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Old 24-08-2013, 12:31   #30
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Re: Northwest Passage - Ice 2013

The boats coming from the east have all made their decisions . . . we will see how they play out.

Now it is time for the boats coming from the west to make decisions. These folks have already come 2000nm along the Alaskan and Canadian arctic coast and are most now just to the west of Cambridge Bay. It seems pretty clear the main route to the east will not open, and there is a high possibility that the Bellot Strait 'back door' will also not open without icebreaker help, AND the pack ice is moving down toward the coast causing concern for their escape route back west (see below). Nervous times - wait to see if the 'back door' east opens, or start now rushing back west to get by the pack ice.

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