Running slalom through the ice!

Published 13.08 in category Northern Passage - 2010

Expedition report, 20.40:
“It’s time for a new report. We have had an incredible day! And we have spent a large part of it running “slalom” between the ice floes here out on the fjord. Needless to say, the “Northern Passage” and her crew have met the challenge. We have had good visibility, little wind – and that, of course, has been a headwind. We have tacked back and forth between the ice floes. In some places the ice has been pretty pace, so we’ve sent a volunteer to the top of the mast, to examine sailing conditions up ahead.

For the overall view, we have relied on the Ice Service in Tromsø. Their reports have been excellent, providing an accurate idea of where the ice was worst. We have managed to wriggle through the Matisen Strait. Well, almost … Just as we reached the northeastern end of the strait, the wind died completely. There isn’t a single puff of wind to be felt!

Right now we are just drifting out here on the fjord. We are, however, expecting our meteorologist to keep his promise. The win should start blowing again soon – at least a little bit.

We have enjoyed a photo-op with an ice flow. However, it wasn’t all show-and-tell; we used the opportunity to replenish our freshwater supply, by pulling out the axe and chopping loose a good 20 kg from this two-year old ice. Our catch is sitting in a huge bucket on our deck. Our water reserves are full again. Fresh water is going to be the least of our problems. We have the raindrop collector along the boom under the mainsail – and I have a strong suspicion there will be plenty of opportunity to collect more ice in the weeks ahead.

We are on our last leg to Cape Chelyuskin, and then we’ll be finished with the Kara Sea. I guarantee you we are looking forward to that! This ocean has kept us in its grip far too long. It has been a struggle to cross it.

Right now we are just waiting for the wind, so we can get around the corner to our next goal: Cape Chelyuskin.”

– Børge

Børge harvesting ice
Børge sailing an ice floe. The larger and thicker ice floes
are a great source of freshwater.

Børge steering.
A bird’s eye view of Børge steering. (When you have to
climb the mast to scout the ice conditions up ahead, you
might as well bring a camera!)

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