News , Aventura IV’s Logs

Blue Planet Odyssey mission in NW Passage continues successfully

An update on progress and some thoughts from Michael Thurston on Drina.

Michael Thurston and Jimmy Cornell aboard Drina

After being beset in ice at Port Leopold due to a wind contrary to the forecasted wind we returned briefly to Maxwell on Devon Is which was a backtrack of 50 miles. We only stayed there 5 hours as we got advice from Shore Support that Bellot was open and only 2/10 ice the other side in Franklin and on to Gjoa. We found quite a bit of ice down Prince Regent. At Fort Ross we met the tug ‘Tandberg Polar’ on its way to Cambridge Bay to float the wreck of the ‘Maud’ (once sailed by Amundsen) and return her home to Norway.

We found Bellot relatively clear on arrival yesterday (Saturday) so proceeded through. We found a ice band towards the exit and some leads but were halted for about two hours before it all shifted enough with the tidal flow and let us through. We also saw seals and two polar bears one of which we were able to witness swimming.

We had very calm conditions in Franklin so Emily’s trawl looking for any plastic etc was deployed for 4 hours. Happily no plastic was found which is fantastic for the Arctic. We had calm conditions during the night with the occasional floes about. We are now experiencing about 5 hours of semi darkness which seems to increase each day dramatically as we are moving south. Today has been flat calm no wind and we are motoring at 7 knots towards Gjoa Haven. We did pass through a few bands of ice but got through by closing the coast to the 20 metre line.

We expect to be in Gjoa Haven tomorrow. We only plan a short stop in Gjoa to clear Customs, stock up on fresh food and fuel. Our last fuel taken on was in Greenland and has held up well as we still have enough to get to Cambridge bay with a bit of reserve. We plan to now speed fast as possible to Cambridge Bay and on to Barrow as we have heard that the ice band there is 90 to 100 miles from the coast. So proceeding as fast as possible to avoid getting caught before the freeze-up is prudent.

Life on board is good, but still cold. We certainly have been enjoying having Emily from Aventura as extra crew. She has been cooking some wonderful meals and helping with the running of Drina.

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