The BBC Radio 4 Today programme broadcast another one of their regular updates on the progress of the Polar Ocean Challenge expedition. On this occasion they were able to interview David Hempleman-Adams, the leader of the expedition. That’s because David disembarked from the yacht Northabout at Upernavik in Greenland:
The Polar Ocean Challenge team issued a press release last night. This is what it said:
The Polar Ocean Challenge successfully completed their quest to sail the North East Passage and North West Passage in one season. The North West Passage was completed in an astonishing 14 days due to the fact that it was almost totally ice free. They encountered ice only twice in their 1800 mile NW Passage part of the voyage. This highlights an extraordinary loss of sea ice in the Arctic in the 30 years that David Hempleman-Adams has been coming to the area. He said, ‘whilst we are all delighted to have succeeded, it is extremely worrying to see this lack of ice so starkly‘ The objective of the expedition was to raise awareness of the change in the fragile climate in the Arctic. They left Lancaster Sound at the end of the NW Passage at 19.18 UTC on 12th September and are headed for Greenland.
After the briefest of stops in Elson Lagoon behind Point Barrow Northabout is on the move once again:
She’s currently heading out into the Beaufort Sea before following in the giant footsteps of the cruise liner Crystal Serenity in the direction of the Amundsen Gulf and the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Here’s the United States National Weather Service’s current ice chart for Alaskan waters:
David Scott Cowper in Polar Bound is currently approaching the eastern entrance to Bellot Strait in the heart of the Northwest Passage. There’s nothing unusual in that in this day and age, you may think, but take a look at how he got there:
We first mentioned the cruise ship Crystal Serenity in our initial musings about prospects for the Northwest Passage in 2016. Since then the sea ice has melted on a variety of the “southern” routes through the Northwest Passage, and the Crystal Serenity has now set sail for the Arctic. Amongst the over 1000 passengers there is even a blogger:
It’s time to open another chapter in the continuing adventures of Northabout. The Polar Ocean Challenge team have been plagued by sea ice along their route across the Laptev Sea, but currently they are hurrying towards the exit into the East Siberian Sea via the Dmitry Laptev Strait:
Having anchored against some land-fast ice overnight Northabout is on the move once again:
I had an interesting watch this morning. Just crawled out of bed, rocking and rolling getting ready. I even put my second thermals on, checked the log to see what was happening. clipped on before leaving the saloon, and clipped on behind the wheel.
According to the old saying “A change is as good as a rest”, so rather than plagiarise today’s title from a “skeptical” web site we’ve invented this one all by ourselves. Northabout is a small yacht with big ideas. (S)he wants to circumnavigate the North Pole in one summer season. However certain cryoblogospheric commenters are somewhat skeptical that this can be achieved this year. Take Tony Heller for example: