Last leg on the Kara Sea

Published 14.08 in category Northern Passage - 2010

Position update 03.32: 76.44826 N, 97.9149 E – Off Vostochnyye Islands.

Position update 14.25: 76.68866 N, 99.58184 E
.

Icy waters
© Børge Ouland, Northern Passage 2010 Expedition
.

Expedition report, 20.29:
“We had a windstill night, but are once again sailing northeastward along the coast of the vast Taymyr Peninsula. It’s a headwind, of course, so we’re still tacking. The Kara Sea has been quite a challenge – actually we’ve been battling a headwind ever since we rounded the Yamal Peninsula. I have never sailed that long or that far against the wind!

Nonetheless, the “Northern Passage” is right on schedule. We are expecting to pass Cape Chelyuskin sometime tomorrow. As soon as we pass through the Vilkitsky Strait, there is a new challenge waiting for us: a massive belt of pack ice, which appears almost solid starting at about 110˚E.

Southerly winds are expected to move that ice somewhat, starting Monday–Tuesday. We are hoping that a passage opens and that we can wriggle our way through.

The next three or four days should be exciting!”

Best regards,
Børge

.
Note – An ice forecast from Neven:
Neven has contributed a number of fascinating comments about ice condition. His blog is well worth a visit, containing extensive data, diagrams and analysis. Permit me to quote from today’s entry, which is highly relevant for our three friends on the Taymyr coast:

“Speaking of big winds: another thing I’ve noticed is the forming of a very big low-pressure area over the Kara Sea. This cyclone might wreak havoc and kickstart the Transpolar Drift Stream, enabling the transport of sea ice through Fram Strait. It will also push the last narrow band of ice away from the Siberian coast that is blocking the Northern Sea Route, allowing our Norwegian friends Børge Ousland and Thorleif Thorleifsson to push forward towards the Northwest Passage that should also be officially announced to be ice-free and navigable soon.”
.

NASA Cape Chelyuskin
Clouds and ice near Cape Chelyuskin. The red “map pin” indicates the position of “Northern Passage” as of
14.25 CEST. The yellow line drawn by Neven indicates the shore of Taymyr Peninsula and Bolshevik Island
(southernmost island of Severnaya Zemlya archipelago), which bound the Vilkitsky Strait. See Neven’s own
blog for a more detailed explanation
. (Photo courtesy of NASA and Neven)



12 comments to Last leg on the Kara Sea12

  • Reply

    Neven  /  August 14, 2010

    Olav, I have just published a new Sea Ice Extent update, the second half of which is about weather forecasts for the coming week. With regards to ice blocking the Northern Sea Route things are looking good for Stas, Børge and Thorleif.


  • Reply

    Olav Grinde  /  August 14, 2010

    Hi Neven,

    That is fascinating reading, indeed! I have taken the liberty of quoting from your blog entry today, with a link.

    Best regards,
    Olav


  • Reply

    Neven  /  August 14, 2010

    Thanks a lot, Olav.

    There’s a relatively very clear satellite image today of the narrow ice barrier blocking the Northern Sea Route.


  • Reply

    Neven  /  August 14, 2010

    And thanks also for the position updates. It will be interesting to try and pinpoint their position on satellite images and sea ice concentration maps after the weekend, as soon as they reach that narrow band of ice. But first I have to think of a way to do so.


  • Reply

    Olav Grinde  /  August 14, 2010

    That would be interesting! Especially if it shows their “planned route”, as well as their route sailed so far.


  • Reply

    Henk Lankamp  /  August 14, 2010

    The nuclear icebreaker Taimyr (call sign UEMM) is in that ice barrier. Yesterday they mentioned a weak southerly wind, but today (18Z) a NE wind 4 kt, fog and temperature -1,7°. Position: 77°00’N 114°42’E.


  • Reply

    Patrick Lockerby  /  August 14, 2010

    Olav: I wish the whole team every success, fair winds and a safe haven.

    That is a great photo of negative freeboard ice. With your permission I would like to copy it to my blog – with full credit of course.

    I would be very interested to know – as would very many people – what size are the biggest floes seen during the voyage and how much ice is negative freeboard. That swamped ice probably fools the satellite sensors.

    Thanks.

    Hi, Neven! I followed you here from your blog. 🙂


  • Reply

    Olav Grinde  /  August 14, 2010

    Hi Patrick, Go ahead and use the photo on your blog.
    (Please put a © on it, as that particular photo may soon find a PR use.)

    My impression is that the “Northern Passage” has not encountered massively large ice floes in the Kara Sea. However, it is possible they saw large floes before that, at the entrance to the Kara Strait, which was blocked – hence their detour to the Yugorsky Strait.

    I am afraid I’m no expert on ice. By “negative” freeboard ice, do you mean submerged, heavier than water?

    There is a good chance that Nick Hughes (the ice expert), Marc de Keyser or Neven may have better information for you about the ice.

    Best regards,
    Olav


  • Reply

    Neven  /  August 14, 2010

    Olav, I have written a blog post with their position drawn into the satellite image. You can use the image if you want.


  • Reply

    Olav Grinde  /  August 14, 2010

    Thanks, Neven! That was much more illustrative.
    I how you don’t mind that I inserted that photo instead, with a longer caption, into today’s entry. 🙂


  • Reply

    Neven  /  August 14, 2010

    It’s my pleasure, Olav. The Northern Passage ought to get as much attention as possible.

    There is a good chance that Nick Hughes (the ice expert),

    Bring him in, please!


  • Reply

    Tobias Thorleifsson  /  August 15, 2010

    Good luck during the next couple of days! Thanks Neven for the satelite image with their position. Stå på fattern!
    Tobias


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