The Northwest Passage in 2022

After a quiet couple of years due to the Covid-19 pandemic there are numerous cruises through the Northwest Passage planned for the summer of 2022. Some (very!) small vessels are also currently scheduled to attempt that perilous journey. First of all let’s take a look at a map of the assorted routes through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago:

plus another map which includes a few more place names:

Next comes news of the expeditions planned by a variety of intrepid adventurers. According to Karl Kruger’s web site :

In 2022, Karl will attempt to become the first human to paddle 1,900 miles of the Northwest Passage on a standup paddleboard.

The article at the link is undated, but suggests that Karl initially intended to set off for Pond Inlet from Tuktoyaktuk in July 2019, but postponed the trip until the summer of 2020. By then Covid restrictions were in place, so next month provides the first opportunity for him to attempt the journey once again.

Another previously postponed trip is planned for this summer by the Arctic Cowboys, paddling in kayaks:

Until Roald Amundsen made the first successful sea crossing of the Northwest Passage (1903 – 06), this labyrinth of ice took hundreds of lives as explorers attempted to break through the icy barriers, hull crushing rocks and violent arctic storms to make the journey across the top of the world.

Since then, many sailboats and ships have successfully plied the Passage, though modern sailors still fall prey to the desolate elements. A handful of kayakers have attempted the journey and completed parts of the route in multi-year attempts, going over land and over ice, but no kayaker has made the journey in one single season and without portaging over land.

This is the goal for the Arctic Cowboys.

1900 miles in 60 days, across the top of North America.

Also relying on muscle power will be the Northwest Passage Expedition. According to the expedition web site:

In 2022 an international team of adventurers and ocean rowers will attempt to row the Northwest Passage, the arctic route between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans considered the Last Great First. This expedition is only possible because the regions climate is changing, and the sea ice is retreating each year gradually opening the route from July to September.

The expedition will follow the 3,700km arctic route from Baffin Island, Canada, to Point Barrow, Alaska and will draw attention to the changing environment, collecting meaningful data for climate scientists at New York University and Big Blue Ocean Cleanup.

However earlier this month it was announced on the expedition’s blog that:

We are postponing the expedition until next summer (2023). We have had reports that the ice is not favourable this year and also we have had several supply line issues and are still waiting on kit ordered before Christmas in some instances.

I don’t know where those reports of unfavourable ice conditions came from, but to start our coverage of the Northwest Passage in 2022 here are the most recent Canadian Ice Service sea ice type maps:

There is currently no “old ice” near routes 5 and 6 via Bellot Strait. For more insight into the thickness of the “thick first year ice” en route here is the Alfred Wegener Institute’s CryoSat-2/SMOS merged thickness map from mid April:

Here too is the latest AMSR2 concentration map of the CAA:

All in all I currently see no reason why the passage won’t be open for “small vessels” later this summer. Whether it will be open for long enough to row or paddle through it is another matter entirely!

[Edit – June 25th]

Surface melt has now spread across almost the entire Northwest Passage:

“False colour” image of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago on June 24th from the MODIS instrument on the Aqua satellite

[Edit – July 5th]

The sea ice is disintegrating across Lancaster Sound and Prince Regent Inlet:

“False colour” image of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago on July 4th from the MODIS instrument on the Terra satellite

Amundsen’s route (number 6 on the map at the top) via Rae and Simpson Straits is also beginning to break up. Albeit not part of the passage itself, the same applies to the sea ice in the Queens Channel north of Cornwallis Island.

Here too is the current AMSR2 sea ice concentration map of the Northwest Passage:

[Edit – July 17th]

Several more traditional “small craft” are also attempting a voyage through the Northwest Passage this summer. First in the queue is Alberto “Beto” Pandiani in his catamaran “Igloo”. Beto has cut off a large section of the route by driving Igloo to Tuktoyaktuk behind a motor home. Here’s a picture of Igloo’s launch on July 1st via Beto’s Facebook page:

Igloo has already explored the local sea ice situation off Tuk:

However Beto is sensibly waiting for conditions to improve before setting out on the “Rota Polar” expedition proper. Here’s the current state of play in the CAA according to AMSR2:

[Edit – July 18th]

Beto has announced on his Facebook feed that he’s intending to depart tomorrow:

Heading out Tuesday afternoon for favorable wind conditions, but as far as the ice we already know we won’t be sluggish on our way to Paulatuk. We expect to arrive between 4-5 days

Auto Translated From the original Portuguese

It’s unlikely that he intends to take either of these two routes, but here’s a fairly clear view of the ice breaking up in the McClure and Prince of Wales Straits:

“False colour” image of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago on July 17th from the MODIS instrument on the Aqua satellite

Here’s hoping Beto manages to squeeze past Cape Bathurst successfully, since that area is not yet covered by the Canadian Ice Service:

[Edit – July 22nd]

Igloo has successfully rounded Cape Bathurst and entered the Amundsen Gulf:

Not without encountering ice and fog en route however!

Meanwhile “passenger vessels” and “pleasure craft” are queuing up on the other side of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago:

The Marine Traffic map reveals that National Geographic Resolution has just entered Lancaster Sound.

[Edit – July 28th]

Canadian icebreaker CCGS Des Groseilliers has emerged into Baffin Bay after a voyage through the eastern Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Here are visualisations of both water and air temperatures measured along the way:

[Edit – August 1st]

There was a clear satellite view of route 1 through the Northwest Passage via the Parry Channel yesterday. Click the image for a (much!) closer view:

“False colour” image of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago on July 31st from the MODIS instrument on the Aqua satellite

Much of “Amundsen’s” route 6 was also visible. The troublesome patch of ice near Cape Bathurst is visible in the top left, but after that the way is clear as far as Gjoa Haven and beyond. And beyond that if you’re an ice hardened cruise ship!

[Edit – August 2nd]

There is still no CIS coverage of Peel Sound, but the clouds parted over Bellot Strait yesterday:

Here too is the official chart for further south:

It looks as though the Northwest Passage will be “open” for “small craft” in the not too distant future, possibly via a variety of routes!

Meanwhile here are some recent pictures from the midst of Baffin Bay:

The sea ice in Baffin Bay has been replenished from the Central Arctic all winter, because the usual ice arches never formed in the Nares Strait this year. Here’s what it looks like bobbing about en route from Greenland to Pond Inlet:

[Edit – August 3rd]

The Arctic Cowboys are on the move! After a variety of trials and tribulations Jeff, Rebekah and West are now paddling their kayaks through the Northwest Passage. According to their blog yesterday:

The Arctic Cowboys had a nice day of paddling with the wind at their backs. Final distance was about 13.7 miles. Heading out early in the morning after a little re-working of gear weight distribution.

[Edit – August 4th]

Here’s a largely cloud free view of the central CAA from on high today:

“True colour” image of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago on August 4th from the MODIS instrument on the Terra satellite

The Bellot Strait is still the fly in the <= 6/10 concentration ointment. Nevertheless an adventurous “pleasure craft” is going to investigate:


The CIS started coverage of Peel Sound this evening (UTC):

It’s a tight squeeze, but using the <= 6/10 concentration criterion the Northwest Passage is open for small craft unusually early this year:

Mind you, here is a very recent example of allegedly 2/10 ice on routes 3/4:

[Edit – August 7th]

Noorderzon is the first “pleasure craft” to transit Bellot Strait this year. It has done so remarkably early, and is now heading down Franklin Strait:

Meanwhile the flood of cruise ships is starting in earnest, with two nearing Pond Inlet as we speak:

SV Draco is already there, and no doubt currently plotting their own course through the central CAA.

[Edit – August 10th]

The GFS model is predicting a 978 hPa minimum MSLP cyclone over the Canadian Arctic Archipelago on Friday morning (UTC):

There will be plenty of wind and rain, so several “small craft” are already finding shelter from the forthcoming storm. See below!

[Edit – August 14th]

SV Draco has become the second “pleasure craft” to successfully transit Bellot Strait from east to west this summer. Here’s an extract from Draco’s tracking map:

[Edit – August 27th]

There is much speculation about the possibility of Route 1 through McClure Strait being “open” this year. That may happen, but it hasn’t happened yet. Here’s Sentinel 1A’s view of things yesterday afternoon:

[Edit – August 31st]

Hanseatic Nature is currently following CCGS Pierre Radisson through the remaining sea ice near the northern entrance to Victoria Strait:

Here’s a recent snapshot from Nature’s webcam:

This allows comparison with other data, first of all last night’s CIS ice concentration chart:

This classifies area H as mostly 2/10 concentration thick first year ice,

Another view of the area comes via the University of Hamburg’s high resolution AMSR2 concentration map:

This shows no sea ice at Hanseatic Nature’s current location, although part of the band of 7-8/10 ice on the CIS map is visible further south-west. The AMSR2 map also suggests that there is now a clear path along route 1 through the McClure Strait. More on that topic later.

[Edit – August 31st 21:15 UTC]

Hanseatic Nature now looks to be crossing the band of 7/10 concentration ice in the Victoria Strait:

By way of additional information here is the latest CIS chart:

plus the view from Terra earlier in the day:

“True colour” image of Larsen Sound on August 31st from the MODIS instrument on the Terra satellite

Unfortunately the view of the thickest ice is obscured by the clouds visible in the webcam image above.

[Edit – September 7th]

The weekly Canadian Ice Service concentration chart reveals that route 1 through the Northwest Passage was “open” on September 5th, with a way through possible without encountering > 3/10 concentration sea ice:

[Edit – September 17th]

Ex Typhoon Merbok is currently barrelling its way towards the Bering Strait generating huge waves and a large storm surge. See the September open thread and the comments below for further details, but this morning Mark Synnott in Polar Sun reports from the Chukchi Sea:

Storm of the Decade

This was the headline from the National Weather Service that someone just sent us. I guess information is power, but I think in this case I might have preferred not to hear every detail as to how serious a storm we are currently weathering…

The funny (or not so funny) thing was that the story actually mentioned Point Hope, where we are currently at anchor on the north side of the spit. Yesterday when we got here we nosed in as close to shore as we could get and anchored in about 20 feet of water. We have some protection from the southeast beneath a 20-foot bluff of crumbling permafrost, but I have never had to ride out a storm this big with so little shelter.

Currently we’re seeing gusts over 30 and the snubber, to which I just added another layer of chafing gear, is creaking and groaning and generally letting it be known that it is under a tremendous strain…

The good news is that if we do drag, which I think is unlikely at this point, there is nothing but open sea downwind. And we pre rigged the third reef in the main so that if we lose our anchor, our plan is to heave to on the port tack and let this thing blow us out to sea…

It’s warm and cozy down here in the cabin and the motion aboard, which is not exactly mellow, is tolerable, at least for now. In a little while, I’ll check the snubber again and do another tour around the deck to make sure everything is properly buttoned up. Storm is supposed to peak tonight and tomorrow morning, so send us some good vibes, if you are so inclined.

[Edit – September 25th]

Le Commandant Charcot has caused a problem for the Scott Polar Research Institute. He has taken a route through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago that is not numbered on their map!

Voyaging from east to west he started on route 7, took an unusual northerly excursion, and then exited the CAA using route 1 through McClure Strait:

[Edit – September 27th]

There is also another novelty for the Scott Polar Research Institute to record this year. Here is a picture of downtown Vancouver, kindly provided by Maiwenn Beadle who is the captain of the “pleasure craft” Noorderzon:

As far as I can ascertain Maiwenn is the first ever professional female captain of a vessel that has successfully negotiated the Northwest Passage. What’s more Noorderzon was the first “small craft” to achieve the feat in 2022!

Maiwenn assures me that she couldn’t have done it without the assistance of her amazing crew. She is now looking forward to a nice rest before deciding on her next adventure.

Watch this space!

91 thoughts on “The Northwest Passage in 2022

  1. It’s good to know that ‘climate change’ over the past 119 years has enabled small boats to once again make the Northwest Passage. Per Canadian Geographic:
    “On September 9, 1903, Amundsen sailed into Simpson Strait, south of King William Island in Canada’s central Arctic. The strait was free of ice to the west, and while he could have continued through the Northwest Passage in only one season, he was looking for a good wintering place, having decided to stay for two years to take continuous readings of the North Magnetic Pole”.

    His ship was 47 tons, crew of 6, considerably larger than these rowing expeditions, and they are benefiting from even shallower draft than the one meter draft of his vessel. Funny how much has changed in that 119 years, right?

    1. These days “small boats” can circumnavigate the entire Arctic in one summer!

      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.

      A slightly different interpretation of Gjøa’s voyage from the Fram Museum:

      “It seems possible that the Gjøa could have sailed through the Northwest Passage in one season, because Simpson Strait was free from ice when the eastern entrance was reached on the 9th September.”

      Not to mention:

      “As early as September 2 [1905] progress was stopped at King Point, near Herschel Island, and within a week it was evident that another winter had to be spent in the Arctic. This time the Gjøa had much company because no fewer than 12 ships had been caught at Herschel Island.”

      Would you care to play “Spot the difference”?

      1. I’ll take “Spot the Difference” for $200, Alex (Tribute to ‘Jeopardy’).
        Answer (as a question): “What is Summer of 1903, when the passage was open westward, and Summer 1905, when cooler, icier conditions closed the passage?”

        In other words, by stopping to conduct his geomagnetic studies that winter of 1903-4, he missed the chance to go straight through. That’s climate variability for you. Maybe his climate models said it’s getting warmer every year, so he just assumed he could go anytime he wanted. Wouldn’t be the first person to be fooled by model results…/sarc

      2. Oh, and BTW, Jim. I’m sure you remember that the Polar Ocean Challenge made that voyage in Summer 2016, a year that was famous for another event: the last Super El Niño. Lucky timing, that. We’ll see if anybody repeats the feat this year…

          1. Excellent question, Jim. After a bit of searching and reading accounts, I can’t find a story about who was second to cross straight through, as Amundsen did. Lots of references to 2012 and 2016, when folks thought it would be routine. I’ll keep looking, but if you know the answer, please point me to it.

          2. Wow, thanks for the reference. I note with special interest:
            “ …first vessel to make a return trip through the Northwest Passage, traversing the more northerly route considered the true Northwest Passage, and was also the first to navigate the passage in a single season.”
            So 1944 after the late 30’s-early 40’s global temperature rise, was the first known season since 1903 when a single-season transit was possible. Interesting that the ‘northern route’ was open – there must have been considerably less ice that year than recently, or wind patterns and the Beaufort Gyre weren’t operating as they do now. I’ll do a bit more digging…

          3. The “more northerly route” taken by St. Roch was actually route 2 via Prince of Wales Strait.

            In case you’ve forgotten, last year USCGC Healy sailed through the Prince of Wales Strait where sea ice was conspicuous by its absence and water temperatures were over 3 °C the whole way. What’s more CCGS Amundsen took quite a while to locate some sea ice in McClure Strait later in the season:

            And your suggestion that “a single-season transit was possible” in 1903 is speculative to say the least!

  2. I don’t blame Beto for hauling his boat to Tuktoyaktuk to “start” the Northwest Passage journey. Per some maps, there’s considerable amounts of thick ice near shore west of that point. His boat may get through if the eastward lower routes open up, but given the current ice conditions, it can hardly be called making the real Northwest Passage journey. Time will tell, I suppose.

  3. Beto and Igor in Igloo has departed Tuktoyaktuk heading east. Here’s their current live tracking map:

    It seems that when the wind drops Igloo possesses an auxiliary pedal propulsion system:

    Meanwhile the CIS have still not initiated coverage of the Cape Bathurst area!

  4. Igloo is nearing Cape Bathurst:

    The CIS have still not initiated coverage of the Cape Bathurst area, but this slightly out of date RAMMB image suggests that there will be room to spare between the cape and the ice:

  5. Igloo has reached Paulatuk:

    According to Beto’s latest log entry:

    Thursday night into Friday was long, with light and round winds, and very difficult waves.
    A sailboat does not sail against the wind, it can go 45 degrees against it. That is, if your goal is well ahead, you increase course by 40% and time at least 3 times. Hence the expression stern wind, wind in favor.

    After 20 hours of squeaking we arrived at Cape Parry to finally descend to Paulatuk.

  6. The Cruise Mapper map reveals that National Geographic Resolution has entered Prince Regent Inlet, and is now inspecting Jackson Inlet on the Brodeur Peninsula of Baffin Island:

    According to the latest Canadian Ice service chart that will have involved navigating through an area of 9/10 concentration ice:

  7. This evening’s CIS charts reveal fast ice still blocking the western entrance to Bellot Strait:

    Nevertheless National Geographic Resolution is still heading in that direction, and her sister ship National Geographic Endurance has now entered Lancaster Sound:

    And there is still no CIS coverage of Cape Bathurst and thereabouts!

  8. National Geographic Resolution is approaching the eastern entrance to Bellot Strait:

    Resolution’s destination is currently listed as Depot Bay, so presumably this is as far as she will get through the Northwest Passage until later in the season.

    Meanwhile further west Karl Kruger’s tracking map reveals that he has reached Inuvik:

  9. Despite my former supposition, National Geographic Resolution is currently exploring Bellot Strait:

    Meanwhile Karl Kruger is paddling out into the Beaufort Sea:

  10. National Geographic Resolution is now en route to Gjoa Haven:

    Karl Kruger appears to have parked his SUP on the beach north of Tuk, presumably in order to try and get some sleep:

    Meanwhile it seems as though the Arctic Cowboys team are still stuck in Ottowa trying to get themselves and their gear flown to Pond Inlet:

    With regards to our flight to Pond Inlet, while my contact at CNA was absolutely correct about the daily flights out of Ottawa, what I failed to ask and what she failed to mention was that the flights fill up quickly and the prices of the next available flights increase quite a bit (quite a bit). I phrased my question: “Are there flights readily available or should we book them a month in advance?” Lesson learned. Other than the financial hit, the delay in our flight hasn’t effected the expedition timeline, since the delivery of the kayaks/gear will take several days – due to the type of plane needed for the transport and the ice break up in Pond Inlet (which is proceeding nicely). In an ideal world, the kayaks/gear will land about the time we land in Pond Inlet and the ice will be clear enough for us to launch within a day or so.

  11. National Geographic Endurance is now exploring Depot Bay, and presumably Fort Ross as well:

    Meanwhile CCGS Des Groseilliers is heading north through the Gulf of Boothia.

  12. The Arctic Cowboys and their kayaks have finally all arrived in Pond Inlet:

    Tomorrow [i.e. Tuesday] we meet with Parks Canada to get our permits, notify the RCMP of our intentions/route, test our satellite communications, pick up our DG (dangerous goods) from the airport and start packing our kayaks for a Wednesday launch. Tonight, we get to try to sleep for the first time where the sun doesn’t set.

  13. National Geographic Resolution has reached Cambridge Bay, whilst Endurance is near Gjoa Haven:

    Travelling in the opposite direction the “small vessel” Jaca is about to enter Canadian waters for the first time on its trip east:

    1. Well, Jim, I should hope that Resolution got through! It’s a PC5 vessel: “PC 5: Year-round operation in medium first-year ice, which may include old ice inclusions”. In other words, fragmented ice should be no issue, since it can plow through medium first year ice even in winter. Far cry from the wooden ships of old, but a good idea for passenger safety. I’m sure other small boats will get through as well, since they can dodge any floating ice or hug the shore. NSIDC still gives the passage a reasonable possibility of opening in their August note, but doesn’t seem to be completely convinced.

      1. I fear my comment about “ice hardened cruise ships” wasn’t awfully prominent?!

        Perhaps the NSIDC were actually thinking of the “northern route” through McClure Strait? There is no doubt that the southern route will be open to all and sundry for quite some time this summer.

        Whether SUPers and kayakers make it through remains to be seen however.

  14. Jaca is still anchored in Demarcation Bay and Beto Pandiani’s “support boat” Fraternidade is making progress towards Canadian waters:

    Comments on Jaca’s tracking map suggest she will be upping anchor and heading east later today:

    We are anchored 7 miles West of Canada and tomorrow will head ‘back home’ with a 60 mile passage to Herschel Island.

    Meanwhile Imaqa and Inook seem to be travelling in convoy, and have just rounded Point Barrow:

    The CIS still haven’t started coverage of Cape Bathurst, where all these “small vessels” are heading. However a bit further ahead Amundsen’s route round King William Island via Gjoa Haven is already looking eminently navigable:

    1. Hello,

      Where did you find the info that Fraternidade is our support boat. This info I’m not correct so I would like to know the source and ask for correction.

  15. The CIS covered Cape Bathurst last night (UTC)!

    Here’s what the assorted “small craft” heading in that direction will have to contend with:

  16. There are a number of “pleasure craft” currently cruising around the Pond Inlet vicinity, but none of them have yet taken the plunge and set sail for Bellot Strait:

  17. Karl Kruger has passed Cape Bathurst and is currently in a rather exposed position hugging the coast past the famous smoking hills:

    Igloo on the other hand has found a sheltered spot in the Coronation Gulf:

  18. National Geographic Resolution has passed Cape Bathurst and is heading west across the Beaufort Sea. Endurance is currently near Ulukhaktok on the west coast of Victoria Island:

  19. The CIS still hasn’t started coverage of Peel Sound!

    Things are looking tantalisingly close to opening up either side of Bellot Strait however:

  20. Robert Youens set off from Tuk yesterday and has reached Cape Bathurst:

    He reports that:

    Everything is going well. I am having a great time.

    At this rate he will quickly catch up with Karl Kruger on his SUP, but it will be quite a while before he meets up with the Arctic Cowboys.

  21. Karl Kruger is now ashore near Cape Parry:

    A recent article from ExplorersWeb reveals that:

    The early going has been slow, but steady. Kruger encountered “a strong headwind and lots of chop,” as he left Tuktoyaktuk. He is carrying three weeks’ worth of supplies on the SUP and his shore support estimates he is carrying roughly 70kg of kit, including a shotgun and bear fence to deter curious camp visitors. Kruger recently made two big crossings, of 88km and then 65km, but has a few issues with his board. There’s a minor leak (which adds weight as the board takes on water) and he is already on his reserve fin after the first broke.

  22. Amongst the other “small vessels” heading east Fraternidade is nearing Cambridge Bay:

    where Igloo remains after a multi-day stay:

    Meanwhile Jaca has rounded Cape Bathurst:

    and Inook and Imaqa are sheltering together at Herschel Island:

  23. Arrived in Nome this morning aboard the NG Resolution. Awesome trip and first passage of the season. Once we got in, Bellot was clear of ice and full of Narwhals. Drone proved very useful in finding leads thru the ice. More pics and commentary @

    [Added link – Mod]

    1. Thanks very much for the pictures Ken! And for your interesting web site.

      Do you mind if I post copies of the images on the Arctic Sea Ice Forum?

      1. Jim. I don’t mind you using the pictures. The NG Endurance arrived here in Nome this morning which I assume is the second transit of the season. They we following a day behind us. We got into Bellot Strait just before an ice floe moving north blocked it and they had to wait a day or two around Fort Ross before theygot thru. The Endurance is heading back thru the passage tonight. There is also a 60 m yacht Blue Moon that has been anchored outside the harbor since we arrived and I wonder if they are planning on following the Endurance can’t think of another reason they would be this far north.

        1. Looks like the yacht Blue Moon is heading to Cambridge Bay. They were in Nome when we arrived on the Resolution then entered the harbor to take on fuel after the Endurance left the pier and are now behind them.

  24. Somewhat belatedly I’ve just come across this report from Cabin Radio:

    Cruise ship skips Ulukhaktok over Covid-19 concern

    The National Geographic Resolution, voyaging between Greenland and Alaska, is no longer calling at the NWT community on Monday [August 1st]. Sister ship National Geographic Endurance is still expected in Ulukhaktok on Tuesday..

    Denise Okheena, Ulukhaktok’s economic development officer and corporate manager, said the ship had reported 14 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and was asked not to arrive in Ulukhaktok for the community’s safety.

  25. Beto reports that Igloo has met up with Fraternidade in Cambridge Bay:

    We are now waiting for a window of good weather to leave as we will be heading to the same destination over the next few days.

    We won’t be able to leave Cambridge Bay until Friday evening due to severe weather coming in.

    We’re going to have to move Igloo, because the direction of the wind is going to get us all the way. We should have winds up to 45 knots.

    I assume this is what he has in mind:

  26. Jaca is passing through the Dolphin and Union Strait:

    According to their log from Bernard Harbour yesterday:

    Big winds from the North and West are forecast for tomorrow night, so our initial plan was to sit tight here tomorrow and proceed east on Thursday. However, close reading of our pilot guide reveals the following statement about the various coves which comprise Bernard Harbour: “Caution. — All anchorages are untenable in Northwest gales that funnel down the valley”. So, we will be weighing anchor first thing and heading down the coast to find better shelter from tomorrow nights big winds – which will be from the Northwest.

  27. As a variety of “pleasure craft” remain in safe harbours, the Canadian icebreaker CCGS Henry Larsen is crossing Victoria Strait:

    Meanwhile the latest CIS chart shows the western entrance to Bellot Strait is now free of 7/10 concentration sea ice:

    Hence route 6 is officially “open” at last!

  28. SV Draco has now entered Prince Regent Inlet, and is presumably heading for the eastern entrance to Bellot Strait:

    Meanwhile Imaqa and Inook are braving the winds and approaching Jaca at anchor:

  29. News about the first “commercial” voyage through the CAA this summer:

    Last year the first Royal Wagenborg vessel successfully made it through the CAA at the end of August:

  30. Draco has reached Gjoa Haven as the wind picks up again in Rae Strait:

    Meanwhile Polar Sun is the first “pleasure craft” of the summer to take the Peel Sound route south:

  31. Taya has also now passed through Bellot Strait heading west, and has caught up with Polar Sun at Pasley Bay:

    According to Mark Synnott on Polar Sun:

    Our plan was to push on for Gjoa, but after reviewing the weather forecast and the latest ice chart, we decided to hole up in Pasley Bay. Pasley Bay is where Henry Larsen spent the winter of 1941-42 aboard the St. Roch…

    Hopefully the southerly gale or near gale that is brewing will clear out the ice that is clogging James Ross Strait. Hat’s off to Draco for making it through two days ago. We just missed his window so will now need to wait for things to improve. Apparently there is a chance the storm will plug Pasley up with ice, so we opted for the south arm (Larsen anchored in the north arm) as we reckon it will give us the best protection and chance to get back out after the storm. Current plan is to try and get out of here on Friday.

    This is the current CIS ice concentration map for the area:

  32. Draco heading west has passed Jaca heading east in Simpson Strait today:

    Meanwhile Inook heading north managed to squeeze past the ice that drifted across the James Ross Strait:

  33. The cruise ships are coming!

    National Geographic Endurance has now returned to Pond Inlet via Peel Sound:

    Meanwhile Scenic Eclipse has just made it through Bellot Strait heading west:

  34. Several small craft heading east are still waiting at Gjoa Haven for better weather. Further ahead Inook has now exited the CAA via Pond Inlet, and is now crossing Baffin Bay.

    Draco is now making progress in a westerly direction:

    Meanwhile Mae West has successfully negotiated Peel Sound:

  35. Polar Sun and Taya have finally managed to extricate themselves from the ice in Pasley Bay:

    According to Polar Sun’s log:

    We awoke this morning to the most ice we’d seen yet in Pasley. It was well below freezing overnight and a thin sheen of ice covered all of the open water…

    It had been cold overnight, but the wind had finally died and the sun was shining. I decided to go ashore alone for a solo hike to stretch my legs and hopefully clear my head The dinghy made a strange rasping sound as I powered the oars through the skin of ice. When I got back to the boat in the afternoon, chunks of ice were breaking apart all around us sending mini tsunamis through ice boulder bay. Then the giant piece of ice to which we were tied to broke loose and the ice boulder itself appeared ready to topple. It was time to move.

    Taya set off first and we followed. At first, we were only looking for a new safe spot to tie up. But after muscling past two huge flows, which we hit so hard I thought we might crack the hull, we decided we should take our chances and see how far we could get. A light west wind was on our side, creating small leads along the shore that seemed to appear just when we needed them. Where there had been a glacial wall of ice the night before we found an opening. Luckily the shore was steep to. At one point Polar Sun was so close to land I could have almost steeped off onto the beach.

    Taya, which only draws three feet, was in front, calling back soundings. Two point two meters, said Alan on the radio. Polar Sun draws six feet – when she’s not massively overloaded. I hit the throttle. It was now or never. If we touched the bottom, we’d somehow just have to power through. Depth sounder showed 0.4’ but Polar Sun continued to float.

    As we proceeded north, the leads got bigger and bigger. Renan was up on the spreaders calling directions. Polar Sun took the lead. We could see open water ahead. No one could believe we were actually getting out.

  36. Jaca has successfully negotiated Bellot Strait heading east:

    Heading in the opposite direction Draco has rounded Cape Bathurst and reached the Beaufort Sea:

  37. Igloo has made it through the ice that has drifted across Larsen Sound:

    Auto translated from Beto Pandiani’s original Portuguese, here is his report from Larsen Sound:

    Around 1pm [on August 27th] we found the first ice barrier, and it was very quiet to cross because it was spread. The amazing thing is that you’ve already seen new ice forming. The sea is so cold as is the air that the Arctic Ocean is already in the process of freezing again. We need to get out of here ASAP.

    Shortly after the wind broke up again and the Sun gave its faces. Oh it feels so good to feel warm. It didn’t last long and a very cold downpour came, but it did bring a wind in the face.

    We were advancing slowly until we got to the second barrier of ice that stretches far away from the shore like a tongue. Behind her a frozen bay. Igor lifted the drone to be sure it could be contoured.

    At this very moment we’re getting ready for the second non stop night. Definitely the coldest night of the trip so far. Let’s take shorter shifts so we don’t get too much cold exposure.

  38. Igloo has followed in Jaca’s footsteps and successfully negotiated Bellot Strait heading east:

    Meanwhile Draco has reached Tuktoyaktuk heading west:

  39. Mae West has left Gjoa Haven and made it through Simpson Strait:

    Further north MS Fram is waiting in Depot Bay before heading west through Bellot Strait, with Hanseatic Nature not far behind:

  40. MS Fram is now safely through Bellot Strait. Hanseatic Nature is still in Depot Bay, with sister ship Hanseatic Inspiration heading in that direction:

  41. Mae West heading west has reached Cambridge Bay. Confirmed by this image from Hanseatic Nature’s webcam:

    Meanwhile SV Jaca has reached Pond Inlet heading east:

    Igloo is anchored at Port Leopold:

  42. Cruise ships are now flocking towards the Northwest Passage. L’Austral is currently heading west through Bellot Strait:

    Meanwhile Hanseatic Nature is now heading back east and has reached Pasley Bay, where Polar Sun and Taya were trapped in the ice a few days ago:

    Also heading east is Roald Amundsen, now anchored at Gjoa Haven:

  43. Another report by reveals that after Regina R. II suffered equipment failure Grzegorz Węgrzyn has returned to Pond Inlet after reaching Fort Ross:

    The reason is a failure of the engine starter. Almost two weeks of attempts to repair it ended in failure.

    Trying to seek help in repair, the Polish sailor reached Resolute, a settlement on Cornwallis Island in the Canadian province of Nunavut. The failure could not be repaired, despite the efforts of a mechanic and electrician from a Canadian Coast Guard ship.

    More details will be available soon, when the lonely sailor will have access to the Internet. Then we will probably find out what decisions he made regarding the continuation of the expedition.

  44. Draco has rounded Point Barrow and is now heading for the Bering Strait:

    Meanwhile Taya (pretty in pink) is nearing the Beaufort Sea:

    As indeed is Trinityborg (gorgeous in green) en route to Taiwan with a commercial cargo. Also currently heading west are Mae West:

    and Polar Sun:

  45. CruiseMapper reveals a selection of ships currently cruising the CAA:

    From south-west to north-east there is Silver Wind, L’Austral, Ocean Endeavour, Greg Mortimer passing Fram, Roald Amundsen, Hanseatic Nature and Quark Ultramarine.

  46. Draco has reached Nome, and hence become the second “pleasure craft” this year to complete an east to west transit of the Northwest Passage, including crossing the Arctic Circle twice:

Leave a Reply to Jim Hunt Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 8 MB. You can upload: image. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.