Whilst the Northern Sea Route has opened up early this year, it will be be quite some time before the Northwest Passage follows suit. Nevertheless our old friend Northabout is currently sailing in the direction of Baffin Bay, so now seems as good a time as any to start speculating about the prospects for the Summer of 2020. The passage through Lancaster Sound is already navigable:
Regular readers may recall our coverage of the plucky little yacht Northabout’s circumnavigation of the Arctic in 2016? We are delighted to be able to inform you that (s)he is intent on heading back to the Northwest Passage once again next year, intending to travel from east to west this time around.
Meanwhile this year the plan is to visit the west coast of Greenland before returning to Jersey for the winter. Here’s how the news was announced on the local television channel here in South West England:
According to the MOSAiC Expedition’s web site:
In September 2019, the German research icebreaker Polarstern will set sail from Tromsø, Norway, to spend a year drifting through the Arctic Ocean – trapped in ice. The goal of the MOSAiC expedition is to take the closest look ever at the Arctic as the epicenter of global warming and to gain fundamental insights that are key to better understand global climate change.
In essence Polarstern will be following in the illustrious footsteps of Tara and Fridtjof Nansen‘s Fram before her, but with vastly more scientists in attendance than previous transpolar drift expeditions.
It is perhaps rather early to start speculating about if, and when, the Northwest Passage will become navigable for the host of small vessels eager to traverse it this summer.
However one such vessel is already en route to the Arctic Circle, so why don’t we take a look at its live tracking map?
Our usual excuse for an article such as this is an attempt by a “pleasure craft” such as the plucky little yacht Northabout to journey past Russia’s northern shores. I’m not aware of any such plans for this year, but here is some interesting NSR 2018 news. According to Reuters:
Our regular reader(s) may recall our extensive coverage of the Swedish icebreaker Oden’s visit to the North Pole (AKA Santa’s secret summer swimming pool) in 2016?
We are now able to report that Oden has been back at the North Pole once again, this time somewhat earlier in the season:
After a voyage through the Northwest Passage untroubled by sea ice in 2016, the cruise liner Crystal Serenity has set sail for the Bering Strait and beyond once again. The SailWX tracking map shows her passing the Aleutian Islands:
Arctic explorer Pen Hadow trekked, and swam, from Ward Hunt Island to the North Pole in 2003. Solo and unsupported. He plans to return to the North Pole this summer, but on this occasion he’ll be sailing with a few companions. According to yesterday’s Sunday Times:
The time has come to start speculating about if, and when, the Northwest Passage will become navigable for the host of small vessels eager to traverse it this summer. The west and east entrances are clearing early this year. Lancaster Sound and Prince Regent inlet already reveal only a few area of white amongst the deep blue open water: