White whales and windstill

Published 08.08 in category Northern Passage - 2010

Position update 00.15: 74.59896 N, 84.19881 E – (green arrow, south of Vardroppera Island)

Position update 03.22: 74.65719 N, 84.39953 E

Position update 08.30: 74˚40’N, 84˚19’E.

Stas ready to rest
Stas looking forward to rest day.
(Photo received and added 10 August)


Expedition report 08.24
The weatherman’s forecast was right: there isn’t a single gust of wind this morning. We’re drifting leisurely on the fjord near an island called Ostrov Vardoppera – and are quite simply relaxing. It will be nice with a day of rest on the fjord. Thorleif is already asleep.

Given the lack of wind, we could fire up our outboard motor, but we feel no need to use petrol to move northeast. We have plenty of petrol left, a bit more than 150 litres, but would like to conserve that for dealing with the challenging pack ice near Cape Chelyuskin and beyond. We have plenty of water, too. Our method for gathering rain and condensation from fog on the mainsail is working like a dream.

The weather is grey, but we’re enjoying seeing white whales and seal cavort not far away.

Tomorrow the wind is expected to pick up, and we’ll move closer to the Vilkitsky Strait. But for now it’s a quiet day. We’re using the opportunity to check out the sails and rigging and our equipment, and to get some very welcome rest. It’s well deserved, really, given how much of a fight we’ve had with the headwind. That has been extremely exhausting.

PS. We have no coverage via Inmarsat satellite. We’ve been trying for days, but cannot access or send emails – which is why you haven’t been receiving any photographs recently. Things should improve once we have sailed beyond Cape Chelyuskin.

The only way to contact us at the moment is via Iridium text messages.

Inmarsat coverage

This Inmarsat Coverage Map explains it all! Courtesy of Håvard Wasbø, a systems developer for Telenor Maritim Radio, who has just added a post about the coverage limitations of the three satellites that comprise the Inmarsat system.

Telenor Maritim Radio is one of the sponsors of the Northern Passage 2010 Expedition, providing the Inmarsat terminal on board the trimaran, and the data traffic.

Position update 18.22: Almost unchanged (74.65653 N, 84.33833 E)

8 comments to White whales and windstill8

  • Reply

    Bengt  /  August 9, 2010

    Hallo, godt å se at dere er godt på vei.
    Kos dere videre på ferden.
    Hell og lykke…
    🙂 hilsen Bengt

  • Reply

    Gustave Brun-Lie  /  August 9, 2010

    Any further news about the ice?

  • Reply

    Olav Grinde  /  August 9, 2010

    Hi Gustave,

    As I understand it, ice conditions near Cape Chelyuskin, in the Vilkitsky Strait, and beyond in the westernmost part of the Laptev Sea, are still very difficult.

    However, I am told there is hope that changing winds (and especially southerly winds) may soon make the passage more navigable.

    Perhaps some of the readers here may have more updated information?

    Best regards,

  • Reply

    Paul Richards  /  August 10, 2010

    Hello Borge and Thorlief:

    Good luck on your circumnavigation! It looks like it is going to be a tough sail this year.

    Do you get your sea ice and temperature information from the DMI, or NSIDC? The web site http://www.wattsupwiththat.com has a compilation of many different charts and forecasts from different sources on their Sea Ice link.

    It appears you are reaching the region of freezing temperatures soon, which is forecast by DMI to last 2 more weeks.

    Just reread “Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage” again, so be careful out there, I would hate to see you trapped in the ice.

    Best Regards;

    Paul R>

  • Reply

    Neven  /  August 10, 2010

    Olav, there currently is a high-pressure system over the Beaufort sea. If it stays there for a week or more, the Beaufort Gyre might get kicked into action again. In other words, the central ice pack will start to turn again in a clockwise fashion (which it hasn’t for 6 weeks) and if a low-pressure system stays in place between the Laptev and Kara Seas, the Transpolar Drift Stream might start to transport the last ice that is blocking the Northern Sea Route away from the Siberian coast.

    Of course, there is some multi-year ice left in the East Siberian Sea, but that narrow band of sea ice behind the Vilkitsky Strait is the main obstacle for the circumnavigation. The Northwest Passage is practically open already! See my latest animation of the Canadian Archipelago.

    Paul Richards, you must be one of the few people over at WUWT who wish Børge and Thorleif good luck. Here’s a better collection of maps and graphs.

  • Reply

    Olav Grinde  /  August 10, 2010

    Hi Neven,
    Thank you for your informative post! 🙂
    I fixed your sentence.


  • Reply

    Paul Richards  /  August 11, 2010

    Hello Neven

    Thanks for the links. I picked up this adventure because of a post at WUWT and have been following their journey since then. Are you the expedition iceman? I’ve been trying to figure out what the ice is going to do, but am just an amateur with little time and minimal computer power.

    I spent some time in my younger years on expeditions with Phillipe Cousteau on his PBY aircraft and had a share of bad situations. (Phiippe ended up dying in the aircraft) I’m sure no one over at WUWT wishes the crew ill. I myself am a AGW sceptic, but wish the crew well. Be safe out there.

  • Reply

    Håvard  /  August 11, 2010

    As you can see from this article (http://maritimradio.no/index.php?pid=447 – with English text towards the end.), Northern Passage is outside Inmarsat’s coverage area between the European and Asian sectors.

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