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ael

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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2013, 07:18:15 AM »
The Arctic's a ferocious place, and they'll have a lot to contend with--but if they do end up having to retreat, I'd be willing to bet that sea ice won't be one of their problems, or certainly not a major one.  Wasn't it last year that someone sailed through the passage in a yacht, or something along those lines?

Pmt111500

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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2013, 07:47:45 AM »
Ambitious. 31,5 km/day is plenty even in good weather. It's likely they have to navigate ice at Barrow Strait (270 km), this will diminish the daily distance by (an estimate) a factor of three so if 18 km/day for this section so it'll take some 15 days off the planned 80. Add the odd storms too rough for small boats taking some 10 days off the remaining time. So the remaining 2730 km should be traversed in 55 days making the daily distance of ~50 km. On a sea-worthy rowing boat with good rowers in good condition (think f.e. a bicycle tourer making 80 km/day) in fairly easy weather this takes at least 5 hours/day, so an estimate of 8-10 hours of rowing every day might be a good one. Then there's the extra weight from equipment for survival (or do they have a supporting vessel providing meals and such) so 12 hours/day might be a reasonable estimate. They will likely have to eat in the boat on many days. I'd say the success depends on the winds and currents helping them, and who knows which way they'll go. Hopefully none of them get sick (even a stomach-ache preventing rowing would be too much). Good equipment helps a lot in rowing in cold conditions, f.e. water-proof gloves/upper torso cover (for the moist cold wind) are  essential for health, so a very fit group with a support vessel should succeed. Don't know about this one though. In short, I think it's more the distance than the environment.

Oh, they're planning 24/7 rowing with shifts every 4 hours, haven't seen a proper image of the boat, hopefully they have more than two seats for rowing, on brisk head/sidewind two men on oars won't be enough. But at least three of them are physically fit for such an adventure.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2013, 08:56:22 AM by Pmt111500 »
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Jim Hunt

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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2013, 09:47:11 AM »
Haven't seen a proper image of the boat.

Have a look at the video on the expedition web site.

Note that their GPS "Trip Tracker" shows that the boat seems currently to be parked in North Vancouver. Presumably that will change real soon now!
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Pmt111500

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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2013, 11:59:36 AM »
oh, only two pairs of oars, but cabins for resting, hope there's a hammock in there ;-) ! and probably they've tested how it handles in a portside surf with the wind ahead from the other side, since there's at least one who's done ocean rowing. And practised escaping the vessel. Wouldn't still want to be resting inside in that case, in case of a roll over. Boat itself looks sleek enough for two rowers to get to even a brisk headwind, but the cabins might provide a bit too much wind resistance with sidewind on open sea. Hope they have also enough spare oars and oarlocks with them, and it wouldn't hurt to have some repair kit for the hull also, hitting an almost submerged ice floe full speed might do some damage to it!

I've never done more than a mile of rowing on the Baltic, and only on narrow channels so my knowledge is quite limited here.
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Jim Hunt

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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2013, 12:41:51 PM »
Their GPS and a picture on Facebook reveal that our intrepid adventurers have finally reached Inuvik.

Perhaps they deliberately delayed their arrival in order to avoid the hottest ever July 1st in Inuvik's history?
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Pmt111500

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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2013, 04:55:47 AM »
Might as well be couple of days late for the Beaufort is late in melting compared to last year. I had thought they'd have clear waters along the coastal leads until the choke points in NWP, but not so sure anymore. If there's a storm in style of GAC-2012 shortly passing off the coast of the Beaufort Sea, dispersing ice towards the shore, they might hit an impenetrable wall (without an ice breaker) of ice as early as Amundsen Gulf. I was a bit wondering if that is an ice worthy boat, but they do have ledges in the bow so they can spot any ice on route. They're also helpful in pushing the floes away if they get stuck on some aggregation. Of course the boat must be re-balanced for the times someone is spotting ice (move some cargo about). They do have a life raft with them, so they're likely to stay alive :-). Nice paint job on the boat. Hope they brought enough sunblock with them, when the waters are still or somewhat ice covered the refraction makes skin burn pretty fast.
Wishing good luck to them (a high pressure over northern CAA and mild low following their trail at safe distance)

(checking the r05c02 modis tile it looks like they'll have at least 325 km of pretty smooth rowing ahead. Then at ~375 km is the Anderson river outlet from the bay, which maybe the first time to see ice. They should be there some time next week.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2013, 06:56:43 AM by Pmt111500 »
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Pmt111500

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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2013, 04:57:06 AM »
They're off! MacKenzie's spring flood has ended and the remaining fast current flies them to Beaufort Sea swiftly. 3 days to Tuktoyaktuk?
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Jim Hunt

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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2013, 11:01:03 AM »
3 days to Tuktoyaktuk?

They appear to be at least half way there already! However I expect their rate of knots will reduce considerably once they're out of the river and into the sea. My own personal take on the expedition:

http://econnexus.org/the-arctic-joule-races-towards-the-beaufort-sea/

Just to make it interesting, I'll put my money on 2 days!
« Last Edit: July 06, 2013, 04:34:47 PM by Jim Hunt »
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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2013, 11:17:24 AM »
Visibility permitting the crew of the Arctic Joule should now be in sight of Tuktoyaktuk.

I'm endeavouring to arrange an interview with them in a few days time. Any questions that you would like me to ask?
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Pmt111500

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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2013, 08:00:38 AM »
The first question that came to mind was somewhat unprintable, but after a while came up with some better questions:
Have you come by any ice yet (to confirm the satellite images)? If you have, are your oar'blades getting splintered hitting ice? How's the Kevlar-reinforced hull doing among the ice, any signs of wear and tear? How can you sleep in there, I'd imagine waves would make that very uncomfortable?  What your method for getting fresh water for food and to drink? Have you tried to fish, do you have fishing rods in the stern to make a world record in bait-trawling too? Are beluga whales and seals avoiding you for the paint job?
« Last Edit: July 08, 2013, 09:46:35 AM by Pmt111500 »
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Jim Hunt

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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2013, 12:49:29 PM »
I'll try and remember to ask about polar bears too!

Looks as though I lost my bet :( - GPS reporting is very patchy, but the last one seems to indicate they're on land but short of Tuk. Having difficulty making headway against the easterly winds?

Environment Canada weather records for Tuktoyaktuk

[Edit - Modified link. Tips hat to Reggie Perrin]
« Last Edit: July 08, 2013, 06:03:42 PM by Jim Hunt »
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Pmt111500

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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2013, 01:26:03 PM »
or hitting an ice field not visible in modis? The 24/7 with 4 hour shifts rythm might also be taking a toll, at least my army camp experience of 3 consecutive of days of constant action (with the possibility to sleep only 3-4 hours/day) made me somewhat delirious.
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Jim Hunt

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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2013, 02:43:08 PM »
They took many more days to reach Tuktoyaktuk, and reported suffering from "cabin fever" during the long wait.

I now find myself doing regular reports about the expedition on my blog, not least because I've been publicly challenged to a $1000 bet that neither the Arctic Joule nor Sébastien Roubinet's Babouchka will reach their intended destinations this year.
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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2013, 11:57:39 PM »
Are beluga whales and seals avoiding you for the paint job?

I had a long chat to Kevin Vallely earlier today, and asked all of your questions. Here's one or two of the answers:

http://econnexus.org/the-arctic-joule-calling/

It seems at least one beluga whale wasn't worried by the "Jaws"!
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Tor Bejnar

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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2013, 03:37:00 PM »
I knew where the NW Passage was on a world map, but I didn’t know quite where these rowers started or where exactly they’re headed.  So I looked at some Arctic Maps (http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,417.0.html). 

They started in Inuvik, Northwest Territories near the mouth of the McKenzie River (roughly 320 km or 200 miles east of the Alaskan border).  They rowed down the McKenzie into the Beaufort Sea and are now headed east-northeastward towards Banks Island (the westernmost large island of the Canadian Archipelago), but are currently rowing beside the Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula on the mainland.  They are less than 10% of their way to their destination, Pond Inlet.  Pond Inlet lies near the northern tip of Baffin Island, about 130 km (80 mi.) SE of the (eastern) northern tip of Baffin Island.  Baffin Island borders Baffin Bay, and Pond Inlet is about 600 km (375 mi.) SSW of Thule, Greenland (that is in turn south of Kane Basin & Nares Strait). 

If they were flying like a proverbial crow, it would be a 2100 km (1300 mi.) trip.
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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2013, 06:25:24 AM »
Thanks Jim Hunt, so the wind is a problem. But good to hear the hull withstands minor bumps well, it gives confidence that it'll withstand the heavier ice also at their speed. Looks like they'll have one to two days before the first (minor) route choice, the straight route might well clear in two days. At Cape Bathurst they'll have to make the big decision of whether to go straight towards Banks Island hoping the north shore of Amundsen will clear soon or will they follow the Canadian mainland coast, which is likely safer but possibly takes much longer. The route north of Banks Island will still be closed for them when they'd get there, if they try that road the quest is over sooner than intended. They'll end up floe hopping and as they cross the floe, it'll have moved the same distance backwards (similar to a story I heard about a Gulf of Bothnia fisherman, the fisherman went out one day and spent 3 days coming back.) Looks like there's no way of avoiding ice after Bathurst, that'll give the test to the oars and the team for the later challenges on route.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2013, 10:16:04 AM by Pmt111500 »
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Jim Hunt

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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2013, 12:54:02 PM »
So the wind is a problem.

Far too much from the northeast so far, it seems. However it looks like some westerlies are now heading in their direction:
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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2013, 04:43:05 PM »
Ok, that'll take some courage to take advantage of. What I know of rowing, in heavy winds, keep the stern or bow to the wind, no matter what, if possible for the waves... The one crossing in Baltic I did in heavier wind over a 300m sound in breaking waves ended up some 150 m from where I intended, for believing I could just cross it keeping to bow to the destination. Sidewind swept me away in no time.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2013, 05:32:42 PM by Pmt111500 »
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Tor Bejnar

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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2013, 11:46:30 PM »
Weather reports for towns along the NW Passage available:  http://www.athropolis.com/map2.htm

The rowers are not too terribly far from Tuktoyaktuk with reported weather (as an example of what is available from this site):
Quote
Weather report as of 46 minutes ago (21:00 UTC):
The wind was blowing at a speed of 6.2 meters per second (13.8 miles per hour) from East/Northeast in Tuktoyaktuk, Canada. The temperature was 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit). Air pressure was 1,018 hPa (30.06 inHg). Relative humidity was 54.8%. There were a few clouds at a height of 213 meters (700 feet), a few clouds at a height of 2438 meters (8000 feet) and broken clouds at a height of 6706 meters (22000 feet). The visibility was 24.1 kilometers (15.0 miles).
The headwind continues.
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Tor Bejnar

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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #20 on: July 23, 2013, 03:19:48 PM »
Tailwind today:
Quote
Weather report as of 17 minutes ago (13:00 UTC):  The wind was blowing at a speed of 4.1 meters per second (9.2 miles per hour) from Southwest in Tuktoyaktuk, Canada. The temperature was 16 degrees Celsius (61 degrees Fahrenheit)....
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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #21 on: July 23, 2013, 04:13:01 PM »
They've successfully crossed Liverpool Bay now, but I fear the westerly winds will be freshening up considerably in the not too distant future.
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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #22 on: July 23, 2013, 06:06:14 PM »
They've successfully crossed Liverpool Bay now, but I fear the westerly winds will be freshening up considerably in the not too distant future.

This is when the two Royal Marines left Inuvik in 2009 to traverse the NW Passage in an open boat, they made it to Gjoa Havn by the first week of Sept.

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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #23 on: July 23, 2013, 06:39:59 PM »
Thanks for the heads up Phil. I wasn't familiar with the story:

http://www.oceannavigator.com/October-2009/Royal-Marines-nearly-navigate-Northwest-Passage/

It seems as though they had the benefit of sail, and also a few headwind problems!
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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #24 on: July 24, 2013, 01:45:35 PM »
It seems the Arctic Joule is getting closer to the ice:



Quote
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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #25 on: July 25, 2013, 12:18:03 AM »
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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #26 on: July 29, 2013, 07:35:44 PM »
The ice has caught up with the Arctic Joule:



According to their GPS they've just rounded Cape Parry. Previously....

Quote
A peculiar rapping sound against the hull wakes me up. All four of us are asleep, the Arctic Joule held fast on the ground anchor in the midst of a heavy windstorm. I lie in such a way that I face out the cabin door, able to survey water conditions by just sitting up. I bolt upright with the banging noise but don’t see a churning sea like I expect. “Holy shit!!, I shout, “It’s ice!!”

http://mainstreamlastfirst.com/close-call-the-battle-of-the-ice/
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Pmt111500

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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #27 on: August 15, 2013, 04:18:33 AM »
they've found a buoy mesuring ocean currents :-)=   http://mainstreamlastfirst.com/treasures-of-the-northwest/
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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #28 on: August 16, 2013, 11:19:31 AM »
Wipneus has announced today that:

Quote
We can declare the NW passage (southern route) open, at least for ice watchers.

Presumably the same applies to rowing boats too? However according to my elementary calculations of distances (as the crow flies only), the Arctic Joule has so far covered just over 700 km, and has just over 1400 km to go. Is there any chance they can reach Pond Inlet before the Northwest Passage freezes over again? 
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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #29 on: August 16, 2013, 04:19:46 PM »
Wipneus has announced today that:

Quote
We can declare the NW passage (southern route) open, at least for ice watchers.

Presumably the same applies to rowing boats too? However according to my elementary calculations of distances (as the crow flies only), the Arctic Joule has so far covered just over 700 km, and has just over 1400 km to go. Is there any chance they can reach Pond Inlet before the Northwest Passage freezes over again?

They reported covering 120 km in 48 hrs, so they could cover the 1,400 km in 23 days, assuming open water, favorable wind etc..

Vergent

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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #30 on: August 19, 2013, 03:15:37 PM »
They could cover the 1,400 km in 23 days, assuming open water, favorable wind etc..

They're now reporting on the adverse effects of tides and currents on their forward progress. Despite that they seem to be managing around 50 km/day at the moment, and have crossed over the end of the Dolphin & Union Strait to the coast of Victoria Island.
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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #31 on: August 24, 2013, 04:11:33 PM »
A report in The Irish Times suggests the team in the Arctic Joule have given up all hope of reaching Pond Inlet before the freeze sets in.

Quote
It is now impossible for us to make our intended final destination of Pond Inlet. We knew we would need help from Mother Nature to pull this off, and the weather has not been favourable. We have less than five weeks before the ice begins to set in for the winter......

We will not make it to Pond Inlet. Though the reasons are beyond our control, it still hurts.
As I write, we are 550km from Cambridge Bay, which is only our halfway mark, and it could be the end of August before we get there. If so, this is where our expedition will finish.
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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #32 on: August 24, 2013, 05:12:07 PM »
It will be interesting to see what they do after stopping the row. Will they continue documenting the ice in the NWP as well as  taking water samples, by finishing the journey with another vessel under sail or motor power?


This is my first post at the forum, I am a long time lurker who has chosen to learn from others and up to now has had nothing meaningful to add to the forum. Thank you to everyone here for their excellent work.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2013, 09:32:02 PM by Reggie »

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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #33 on: August 27, 2013, 01:37:45 PM »
Welcome Reggie!

Will they continue documenting the ice in the NWP as well as  taking water samples, by finishing the journey with another vessel under sail or motor power?

Sounds as though some of the team at least are keen to get home ASAP now:

Quote
The novelty has now officially worn off being wet and cold…. The misery I spoke about before is now just miserable! The good news is that we are within reach of the end point where a warm shower and a bed are on the cards.
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Re: Tackling the Northwest Passage — in a rowboat
« Reply #34 on: September 05, 2013, 11:34:38 AM »
The Arctic Joule's journey did finish in Cambridge Bay. The crew have now flown back to Vancouver, and given a brief interview to CBC.

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