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Old 24-08-2013, 14:22   #31
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Re: Northwest Passage - Ice 2013

This is hairy suspense. It would be wise to run back me thinks. Where else to rest out?
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Old 24-08-2013, 19:06   #32
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Re: Northwest Passage - Ice 2013

Quick text update from DODO'S DELIGHT - coming from the west - "West of Cape Bathurst - there is a long line of ice. The radar is showing continuous ice as far as we have range running SE to NW. We are hove to for 2 hours now in daylight seeking a gap!!"

This is the ice block to the west of Cambridge bay I mentioned in the post above. It seems it might be even more complete a plug than the ice chart shows.

So as of now, the boats that are in the Cambridge bay/Peel sound area are trapped both to the east and to the west. Here is some text from today from one of the boats in this area: "According to a map of ice NOAA 5 am, a breakthrough show west of Peel Sound. We decided to try our luck.Unfortunately, the inventor of the ice maze forgot inserted in his notebook the last page with the solutions - the output does not exist! - That the dense ice in the southern South Peel, without passage for us. "But this time, says Anissa (8 years), this is not a game, but a labyrinth for real!" So here we are now on the way back to Willis Bay where we take shelter during 48 hours until the strong wind NW announced has passed. Snowing ..."

The two boats that turned away from Bellot strait a couple days ago have now escaped the plug that was above them (by sneaking along the eastern shore line) and are now free to return to Greenland or newfoundland.
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Old 25-08-2013, 20:15   #33
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Re: Northwest Passage - Ice 2013

A couple of stories come to mind.

1.. Karluk....Bob Baertlet and /Vilhjalmur_Stefansson

HMCS Karluk - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I've read a couple of books on this including Stefanssons Friendly Arctic and Bartletts own account. Interesting reading. Bartlett should be remembered over Shackelton. And even more so the Eskimo family, true damn grit!

2 final Voyage
Final Voyage: A Story of Arctic Disaster and One Fateful Whaling Season: Peter Nichols: 9780399156021: Amazon.com: Books

You need to read all the way to the end to get the true irony.
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Old 25-08-2013, 21:41   #34
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Re: Northwest Passage - Ice 2013

I dropped out of the cold reading after the Franklin Expedition.
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Old 26-08-2013, 05:01   #35
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Re: Northwest Passage - Ice 2013

The low pressure winds did push the ice around a bit, and have cleared a path to/around Cambridge bay.

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There is still an ice plug to the west at Cape Barthurst. For right now it is just passable: ice density of 1-3/10's at sea, and there is a clear 'back door' thru shallow water behind the islands. Two east bound boats, Dodo's Delight and POLAR BOUND, have just passed this point and are heading in toward Cambridge bay. But this plug will be tricky for the west bound boats if there is any significant northerly winds.

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The main route to Resolute was opened by the winds for a few hours but is closed again, while the Bellot strait back door is open for now, but has significant ice in it which could close it with any significant westerly winds.

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Old 26-08-2013, 17:03   #36
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Re: Northwest Passage - Ice 2013

Thanks for updates. Interesting.

I stumbled across this very slightly related article about rescuing Amundsens ship from Cambridge Bay next year, maybe.

Amundsen's ship to be towed home | Barentsobserver
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Old 28-08-2013, 06:15   #37
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Re: Northwest Passage - Ice 2013

All the west bound boats are in Cambridge bay doing a quick refueling, and all the east bound are also in the area. It is the big meeting grounds/cross roads of the NWP.

However, at the moment, both groups have ice plugs in front of them.

The west bound have a significant plug at Cape Barthurst (and then the thread of an additional one further along the Alaskan coast. At the moment this is 4-6/10's ice, which the yachts can't deal with. This plug even appears to block the shallow water 'back door' passage there. So it would appear they need a gale from the south or east to blow the ice away in order to make it thru.

For the east bound group, the main route to resolute continues to be solidly plugged. At the moment, the Bellot strait route has a 1-3/10's plug over it, which is passable with slow speed and some work pushing small flows around from the bow with ice poles. But there is a tongue of 9/10 ice pushing across the entrance and could close it if there is some westerly breeze.

Both groups just have to proceed toward the plugs in front of them and hope the wind/ice movement cooperates. So far, patience has been rewarded, but time is now getting short before things refreeze.
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Old 28-08-2013, 06:34   #38
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Re: Northwest Passage - Ice 2013

Hi Evans,

I am not au fait with the North West Passage, never going there - nor can I make head nor tails out of your graphics... but can you tell me, in general, how much more icy the Passage is this year than the few previous years?

Was this expected for this year? Or is there a general cause for it (El Nino/La Nina etc)

(I'm not interested in starting global warming debates but its always good to get real location reports from people I trust.)

Thanks

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Old 28-08-2013, 08:46   #39
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Re: Northwest Passage - Ice 2013

Yes, I am surprised you are even here, I figured just reading the thread would make you too cold

This year compared to the last two is like chalk and cheese. Last year at this time there was essentially no ice at all in any of the channels we are talking about and for the first time in history boats were going thru even more northern channels. Last year "the season" was almost 2 months. This year it may be 2 weeks. There appears to be roughly twice as much polar ice coverage this summer vs last.

This year was forecast to have more ice, because last winter was cold. However, it's been rather worse than the forecast. For some unexplained reason the wAter is 5 degrees colder than normal, so there is much less melting than was expected. The interesting question is whether this is an outlier year and it will go back to trend next year, or if it is fundemental shift back to the 1990's environment. I can't answer that and have seen no good science on it.

Sorry you can't read the graphics. I usually post three, which follow the main route from east to west (resolute, maud, and Alaska). The towns of resolute and Cambridge bay are marked on the pic if you look closely. The color shows ice density. Only 1-3/10s is as stably by yacht.
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Old 28-08-2013, 08:57   #40
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Re: Northwest Passage - Ice 2013

Preferring to sail in warm weather places does not make me disinterested in this thread. You have given us a peek into a really risky side of sailing, and it is fascinating, at least to me. Thanks.

I am really wanting to see them all safe.

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Old 28-08-2013, 12:42   #41
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Re: Northwest Passage - Ice 2013

It's both going to be interesting to watch this year's situation sort itself out, and to see next year if this was a one year aberration in the steadily declining ice trend or an inflection point in a turn back to the 1990's ice situation.

Personally I think the two boats that made the decision to turn around and get out, made the right decision. Right now the boats that stuck with it have to depend either on luck (the wind blowing the ice away) or government help (ice breakers) or overwintering in the ice. I respect any boat that had prepared for the third option, but suspect not many of them have/are prepared to overwinter. I don't think high latitude skippers should (knowingly) put themselves in a position where the first two are their choices.

But that's just my personal 'sailing esthetic' . . . tenacity and patience are extremely important traits and the skippers in there are showing a lot of both - but again (imho) in the remote places, that needs to be weighted against risk.

I do wish the boats there the very best of luck. Napoleon apparently once said (something like) he preferred a lucky general to a smart one, and we can only hope that at least one of the skippers up there has the luck of the Irish.
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Old 28-08-2013, 12:53   #42
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Re: Northwest Passage - Ice 2013

Quote:
=...
I do wish the boats there the very best of luck. Napoleon apparently once said (something like) he preferred a lucky general to a smart one, and we can only hope that at least one of the skippers up there has the luck of the Irish.
Absolutely! Both skill and luck, for both of them!
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Old 28-08-2013, 12:56   #43
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Re: Northwest Passage - Ice 2013

Evans,

Will you accompany the lovely Beth to the Annapolis gam?

Perhaps do a recap on what occurred this year?
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Old 28-08-2013, 19:15   #44
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Re: Northwest Passage - Ice 2013

Hi Evans,

Thanks for the info.

As Ann says, I stay in the warmth but like watching television I like watching what the dills are up to!

I have not seen any media reports of more ice this year in the northern Hemisphere, only reports of more in the southern.


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Old 28-08-2013, 23:50   #45
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Re: Northwest Passage - Ice 2013

My wife works up on the arctic coast near the area in question. She said there was less snow last winter and this may account for thicker sea ice (snow is an excellent insulator).
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