News , Aventura IV’s Logs

The Blue Planet Odyssey continued presence in the Northwest Passage

Michael Thurston (left) and Jimmy Cornell aboard Drina in Dundas Harbour, Devon Island

Despite the decisions by the captains of both Suilven and Aventura to  turn back east and not attempt the Northwest Passage, the Blue Planet Odyssey’s mission in the Arctic has been handed on to Michael Thurston  of the Australian yacht Drina, who took part in the Atlantic Odyssey  last year.

Although in many parts of the Northwest Passage the sea ice melted  earlier than normal, the crucial middle section remained iced up by the  middle of August. Both John Andrews of Suilven and Jimmy Cornell of  Aventura made their reluctant decision to turn back due to concerns  about arriving very late in the Pacific. Other yachts planning to  transit the Northwest Passage this summer have made the same decision.

If the ice does open in the next week or so, some of the few yachts  still waiting may only be able to transit at the end of August or early  September. ‘If necessary, I am prepared to over-winter in Cambridge  Bay,’ Michael Thurston said.

I can’t think of anyone more suited to represent the Blue Planet  Odyssey,’ said Jimmy Cornell. ‘Michael is a veteran sailor I’ve known  for over thirty years and for whom I have the greatest respect. He  strongly believes in the aims of the Blue Planet Odyssey and, in spite  of this summer’s weather, has no doubt that climate change in the Arctic
is a reality.

Michael has agreed to take Emily Penn on as crew, so that  she can continue to carry out her ocean plastics trawl. From the samples  collected while onboard Aventura, she was pleased to note that the  presence of plastic in these pristine waters is still very low. Emily  will also continue to take Secchi disk readings, which means that our  science program will continue in the north.’

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