Monday, December 14, 2015

Still Here

It's been months since I last wrote.  So much to say, but right now we are just trying to get AMARA out of Panama and on her way to Belize where Martin, John, Chris and Dunbar will be meeting Lily and me.

We are planning on taking her up the coast of Mexico and then on up to Ft. Lauderdale.

Here is a fun video that Chris posted of AMARA in Shelter Bay in Panama.

Martin at the top of the mast of AMARA.

We haven't been on AMARA for a year, so when Martin boarded her last week, he saw that there was much to do.  Finally they were able to pull her out and get going only to figure out 3 hours later that they had gotten bad fuel.  UGH!  So they had to turn around and head back to Shelter Bay. This seems to be the demise of AMARA.

I'll be sure to get back to this blog this week to update you on what has been going on these past few months.  Martin has been up to a lot getting ready for his sail across the Pacific in March.  Pretty exciting.  Right now, it's late and I have been up trying to get parts for AMARA that I will be bringing down with me when we meet Martin and crew in Belize.  Wish me luck!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Landfall Greenland!

This just in!  I got a text from Martin this morning and the boat is now docked and they are in Nuuk, Greenland!  They DID IT!  Time to celebrate!

Now to get him home...

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Arctic Circle? Check!

Aventura's route while crossing the Arctic Circle
Early this morning, Martin sent me a text saying that they had officially crossed the Arctic Circle.  This is important because many judge a Northwest Passage crossing to be successful, only if they have crossed the symbolic gateway.

They have officially sailed 3728 miles.  WOW!  That's a lot of miles.
See if you can make out an Iceberg (a rather large one) in this thick fog.
Martin called me often this past week saying that the fog was so thick that there was no way that one could be distracted while on watch because the fog was so soupy, making the crew stay on their toes while on lookout for icebergs.  After seeing the photo above, I can now understand why he was so concerned.

Martin relayed to me that there was lots of ice, flat seas and no wind.  Martin reported that these icebergs were quite large and at one point (and probably due to a little boredom) the crew started trying to make out what the shape of each iceberg looked like. Comparing them to animals and people.  I am sure it helped pass some time and make it a little lighter.  In spite of the light hearted conversation, there was still continual concern because they could only see a boat length in front of them.

It was reported in Jimmy Cornell's site, "that at one point, the air temperature dropped to -2 and the seas temperature was +1.5 and that is what cause the thick fog.  Lots of "anxious moments" making the night watch especially not fun."  The radar did help to a certain extent but only for the larger "proper icebergs".

This is especially cause for hair standing on end, because one bad chunk of an iceberg could cause serious damage even to a boat "as strongly built" as Aventura.
Martin filling the jugs with gas and admiring the icebergs.
Martin reported to me that they took many pictures of amazingly large icebergs.

Like us,  Jimmy also has a Parasailor spinnaker and they had asked that Jimmy send them some photos of these beautiful sails while hoisted.  No better time than this morning as there was finally some wind.
Martin and Jimmy in the dinghy taking the photos of
Aventura while Chris and Dunbar agreed to sail her past the Iceberg.
That is some iceberg!  Yikes!

Martin reported that while in the dinghy, the water bounced up and down in the swell and he said that he thought that this was the first dinghy to ever brave the Davis Strait.  Too funny.

The crew is now only 100 miles from Nuuk as of 4:09 pm MST.  They are almost there!  Once they arrive, Martin will leave having accomplished his goal and head home to us here in Utah.

We are counting the minutes until he arrives...


(Photo cred: jimmycornell

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Almost to Nuuk

photo cred:

I have been talking with Martin, on his satellite phone,  pretty much regularly lately.  One, because we can (although it costs us big time).  Two, because both of us are ready to get back to normal life and be with one another.  Every time Martin calls, he talks as if his mouth is half frozen shut.  In our conversations, he tells me about dodging large iceburgs, daily life on the boat and what his plans are for his next adventure... Yep! another adventure.
When Internet is available for Martin, this is what my
day looks like.  Skyping with Martin.  Yahoo!
Tonight we talked about the fact that after they had gone through the Bellot Strait, and reached the eastern Arctic, they still had 1400 nm to go to get to Nuuk, Greenland.  A daunting task.  However, tonight... TONIGHT they only had 40 miles to go.  Aventura was making amazing time and they were going to make it to Greenland by Monday.  We had originally planned that Martin wouldn't be home until mid-September, but because they have been "sailing" (pun intended) through the Passage, they have made record time.  So, I got on the phone with Delta and booked my man a flight and am going to have him home by 1:30 pm on Wednesday.  How amazing is that?

It will be so nice to have Martin home soon that I can barely breathe.

More updates to come.


Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Bellot Strait

Lady luck has been on Martin's side.   Yesterday, Aventura was able to pass through the Bellot Strait. It was sticky up to the point of crossing through because the ice reports were confirming lots of ice!
Aventura's Route (in Blue) through the Bellot Strait.  
In fact, I got an email from Jimmy.  In his email to me, he explained that making it through the Bellot Strait is, in comparison, much like the elation one would feel in reaching the summit of Everest.  Not an easy feat to say the least.  After crossing through the Strait, Aventura came out into the Eastern Arctic with little to no more obstacles in their path while heading for Greenland.  They are making great time and will be to Greenland in no time!
Ice patches throughout the Strait.
From the photo above, you can see the sporadic and rather large patches of ice that Aventura had to navigate through while doing her crossing.
More ice.
The Bellot Strait, as explained by Jimmy, it is only "negotiated on a favorable tide, so we timed our arrival at it's western end to coincide with low water at the start of the ebb."  There was still lots of ice to navigate through it but they got through it smoothly without much complication.

According to Jimmy's blog, he said that, "...As they approached the eastern end of the Strait, the current reached 8 knots and Aventura was able to do the crossing in 90 minutes."  A great time to get through one of the most complicated waterways in the North West Passage.

I am so happy this part of the trip is over with.  Before Martin left, he studied and studied the maps and ice charts worried that this area could cause them to have to turn the boat around and head back from where they came.  He is so relived that this part of the trip is behind them.

More updates to follow.


(Photo creds: jimmycornell

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Emails from the Edge

The Magnetic North Pole.
I got an email from Martin today that I thought I would just post.

"...We are now north of Matty Island and continuing north.  Basically we are now somewhere close to the magnetic North Pole and very very north of eastern Texas.  In 130 miles, we will have to decide if we can turn east again and go through the Bellot Strait, or if we should continue north to Peel Sound for another 150 miles beyond Bellot—and then turn east.  It all depends on how the ice, wind and currents all play into the game.

Last night we had very rough weather, and because the boat was leaning so far over, the engine couldn't get any cooling water, so it overheated and cut out.  Fortunately this morning we got it going again.

After days of fog and rain, today it is finally sunny, but still very cold.  I can see my breath in the cabin, and my fingers can barely type.

Having fun in spite of the challenges.



Martin later reported in a text to me that because they are so close to the magnetic North Pole, their compass is useless for navigation.  So they can't depend on charts or a compass!  Now it's good ol' winging it for now.

I got another interesting email from Martin about the effects of global warming and how its impact on the current climate.

It says:
Danny Aaluk - Artist in Goja Haven 
"...Danny Aaluk, who is a local artist in Goja Haven, was interviewed on 8/12/2015.  He said that the arctic is warming.  Ice is usually clearing earlier in the year, except for this year.

He first saw some bats in Goja Haven about 5 years ago.  One was caught by his nephew and turned over to fish and game.

Grizzly Bears started coming to Goja Haven in about 2009, and are showing up now with a lot more frequency.

They are also seeing some new types of bugs they have never seen before.

Mosquitos are changing - They used to just have the small ones that didn’t bother them so much when they were bitten.  Now the ones with the worse bite are coming up from the south.   They are much bigger mosquitos.


Let's hope they make it through the Strait without too many complications.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Ice Maps and the Bellot Strait

Midnight sunset.  Cambridge Bay

Martin and the crew of Aventura left Cambridge Bay on Sunday.  On Tuesday, he called me from a small town about 200 nm east of Cambridge Bay and had me check the ice charts (Side note:  I have NO IDEA how to read ice charts).  Their internet connection was sketchy and he wasn't able to pull down the files himself without taking down the internet in his area.  So, it was up to me to talk him through the map.
Now imagine me trying to explain the
ice situation to Martin over the phone.
So after a few hours of me twerking my neck from left to right and saying to him, "ummm... it looks pretty clear."  He gave up on me and contacted Harry Stern at the Polar Ice Center and had him give him a more educated and thorough report of the ice between Goja Haven and the Bellot Strait.

According to Wikipedia...
The Bellot Strait is a passage of water in Nunavut separating Somerset Island on the north from the Boothia Peninsula on the south. At its eastern end is the Murchison Promontory, the northernmost part of mainland North America.

Here was Harry's reply:

"...OK, I guess you're going west to east.  From Gjoa Haven heading north, it looks like there is some ice between Matty Island and the Boothia Peninsula.  It may be passable, can't tell from the 3-km grid size of AMSR2. Beyond that, it's clear to Bellot Strait. There is a blob of ice in Larsen Sound, but it doesn't reach all the way to the coast of the Boothia Peninsula, so you can avoid it. Peel Sound is clear up to its northern end, and it may even be passable there too if the concentration is low enough.

I am so grateful to everyone that is willing to help Aventura's success.  It looks like they are going for it and going to pass through the Bellot Strait on Friday!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Cambridge Bay

A man on a mission
This just in!  Martin and crew just arrived at Cambridge Bay.  Once again, ahead of schedule.  I have more to write but will have to do it tomorrow since it's late and I have a busy day tomorrow.   Martin has had great internet since he arrived and we have been burning up the internet talking to one another--so I will make sure to write a proper post later.  For now, I just wanted you all to know that they are winding their way through the Northwest Passage with great success.   Luck is definitely on their side.
An update to where Martin is at the moment, not super clear, but at least you can see how far they have come—Cambridge Bay (photo cred: Jimmy Cornell,

Until then, here are a few great pics of Martin's adventure so far...
Martin conversing with the local Inuits... 

Catching up on their movies while aboard Aventura
Fellow crew member, Dunbar, sizing up a Polar Bear
Hanging out.
I am so glad that Aventura is ahead of schedule and I am crossing my fingers that it means an earlier arrival to Nuuk (the final destination).

Until then, fingers crossed the ice is in their favor.


Friday, July 31, 2015

Life in Tuk

It really has been wonderful to have Martin in Tuk.  He was able to get internet access as well as get a local to do their laundry.  All is right in the world again.

In our discussions, Martin said that on the island of Tuk, the climate change has really affected the natural wildlife as well as the way of life for the Inuit village.  Ice is a lot more fragile meaning that a lot of the animals that walk out on the ice fall through it because it hasn't built up like it has in past years.  Also, where there were once beautiful formations of ice, they are now diminished to small blocks of ice.

In the picture below, you can see the permafrost melting...

Melting permafrost layer that is causing the out gassing of carbon onto the landscape.
While in Tuk, Martin was also able to send me some photos of the people and land.  I thought they would be interesting to share.
Traditional Inuit Sod Hut
Old Whaling Icehouse
Old Graves
Musk Ox Skulls 
Bear Skin being dried
Inuit children playing
Martin and his crew should be taking off in a short while and heading to Holeman where they will eventually try and work their way up to Cambridge Bay to wait out the ice.  I hope to hear from him once he arrives in Holeman.

Thursday, July 30, 2015


Aventura arrived in "Tuk" last night and I got a whole collection of photos from Martin of the island.  Of course, this photo was my favorite.  More updates to follow... Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Ice, Ice Baby

I just got this picture from Martin.  The ice situation does not look good.  As Aventura heads to Cambridge Bay, it looks like the ice is thick and deep.  Meaning, they are going to have to make a few stops to wait out the ice, curtailing a straight shot to Cambridge Bay.  Here's to hoping that it breaks apart for them helping them to reach their next destination without delay.
Lot's of white means lot's of ice.  YIKES!
This could slow things down dramatically.

Oh Canada!

Martin catching up on tales of the Northwest Passage.  (Photo cred: (
So far Aventura and crew have sailed a total of 1650 miles.
Navigating through ice.
The second week of the trip required a lot of navigating through ice.  In fact, so concentrated at times that the crew had to have 1-hour watch periods because it required so much concentration to power through the ice.  I would text Martin often, and he would reply back, "Can't talk, ICE!"

Finally, the ice seemed to dissipate and Aventura crossed the demarcation line between the US and Canada.

First landfall in Canada was a small town called, Herschel Island.  Herschel Island used to be a busy whaling station but is now part of the... now let me get this spelled right... the Qikiqtaruk Territorial Park.
Herschel Island (Photo crew:
Once in Herschel Island, Martin and the rest of the crew were greeted by one of the two caretakers of the island, Peyton Lenny.  He reported that they are only visited by two or three yachts per year.

While on the island, there was an old sauna and the crew was able to convince them to fire it up so that he and the crew could warm up their bones in a warm sauna.
So much for warming up their bones.  After spending time in the sauna, Martin was introduced to a proper Arctic baptism.  FREEZING!

Now, Aventura and crew are headed to Tuktoyaktuk "Tuk", the largest Inuvialuit settlement in the area.  Hopefully, once they arrive, Martin will find internet access, because he is already half way through his satellite phone minutes, so our conversations are getting cut shorter and shorter.

More pictures to come!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Ice in all directions

Martin sailing through the ice. 
Aventura and crew have been navigating through ice for the past few days and at times very worried that they might get stuck in it and have to wait it out.  I was very excited for Martin to reach the next stop, Point Barrow, where he hoped to have cell coverage and the internet.  However, once they arrived, it was so shallow that the boat was hitting the bottom so they had to forgo the stop and sail on.

An email I received from the Jimmy Cornell:

"...we left Dutch Harbor 9 days ago, had a good sail north, through Bring Strait, crossed Arctic Circle, then we got caught in a large concentration of ice 30-40 miles off Cape Wainwright (from 8/10 to 3/10)  and spent about eight hours extricating ourselves.  We eventually made it to Point Barrow early this morning, Thursday.  As the ice forecast along the Alaskan coast looks quite favourable we decided to continue without stopping. There is still a lot of ice along the coast, sometimes quite concentrated. sometimes quite wide apart, so it is easy to slalom a course and generally keep to our desired course. Sunny and clear, took lots of photos, but only of ice as not much else, just a few birds around. Still, quite spectacular
scenery. So we are making steady progress."

(Photo cred:

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Official Gateway to the Northwest Passage

Today, while sitting in church, I got a message from Martin that Aventura was officially sailing through the Bering Strait and had crossed the Arctic Circle.  Two big accomplishments and marking the beginning of the Northwest Passage.

Here you can see on the ship's radar that Aventura is officially sailing past the Arctic Circle.  (photo Cred:
Once they passed the Arctic Circle, Jimmy Cornell makes a point of giving something special to the crew to make the moment memorable.  In this instance, each crew member got a giant-sized Hershey bar.  Not too shabby.
I am lucky this time around because Martin purchased a nifty gadget that enables him to bounce text messages off the nearest satellite.  It's like having him home.  I text him, he actually texts me right back (if he isn't working a line or his fingers aren't too cold).  Usually my text is, "Call me."  Which he is also able to do since he brought our satellite phone.  This all helps soften the blow that he'll be gone for the next few months while I manage things back home.  Which isn't a big deal since I've done this rodeo before.  However, I really enjoy being able to sync up with Martin and get updates from him.  In fact, he called me later today and I could tell he was cold since his words were a little more pronounced than usual.  He laughed because he said that he was freezing!  So glad that I passed on this adventure because he sounded COLD!

Looks like Aventura will arrive in Point Barrow on Wednesday where Martin will have a little more access to emails and internet  (Always a luxury when sailing).  I'll continue to keep you updated on this adventure.

Fair winds and smooth seas, Martin.


(photo cred:

Friday, July 17, 2015

Next Adventure: The Northwest Passage

Well, I bet you have been wondering what was next on Martin's bucket list?  I think that we have kept you wondering long enough.

On Saturday, July 11, Martin took off to Alaska to board Aventura, and set sail through the Northwest Passage.  The Northwest Passage is a route that goes through the Arctic Ocean, along the northern coast of North America via waterways that connect the Pacific and Atlantic ocean.
Different routes through the Northwest Passage
Martin arrived in Dutch Harbor, Alaska being greeted by the crew of Aventura.  This trip will be a little different since Martin will not be sailing on AMARA.  AMARA is not equipped to brave the climate or break up the ice with her hulls.  Boats that sail the Northwest Passage are specifically designed with large, heavy steel hulls that are able to cut through the ice as they make way through the Passage.  AMARA remains in Panama waiting for us to make up our minds where we are going to take her next.  We left her there to wait out hurricane season.

This trip, it will be Aventura that will be hopefully getting Martin to his stopping point in Greenland.  If all goes well (fingers crossed) Aventura and crew should arrive in Greenland somewhere around the first part of September.

While in Dutch Harbor, and getting Aventura provisioned and ready to set sail, Martin was tasked with the assignment of attaching Aventura's, Blue Planet numbered flag to the lifelines.  Of which, he promptly dropped into the arctic waters.  Luckily, last minute, Martin had decided to bring his dry suit, which he promptly put to use as he had to go in to the freezing waters and fish around the bottom for the flag.  With luck on his side (at least for this adventure) he was able to find the flag.
Martin enjoying a quick dip in the harbor in
Dutch Harbor, Alaska.
On Wednesday, Martin and the rest of the crew set sail to Point Barrow (which will take around 10 days).  This will put them just past the arctic circle and well on their way through the Bering Straight.
Aventura's route through the Northwest Passage
(photo courtesy of
I will continue to update the blog through this passage.  Be sure to check back to get updates about Martin's progress.

Monday, April 13, 2015


I have done a terrible job lately of updating the blog.  So much has happened.  So much to tell.

First, Martin had a wonderful trip to Antarctica.   So many beautiful photos.  I'll make sure to go back and post some so you can see that this is a trip that many should not miss out on, namely me.  I'm a little bummed after seeing all the beautiful pictures that I didn't go, but I didn't, and that's that.

Currently, Martin is in St. Martin.  He is aboard AMARA with plans to have left last week.  Alas, they are waiting on a boat part that was scheduled to arrive last Tuesday, yet it's now the following Monday and still no part.  I just called FedEx and they said there was a weather delay and that the boat part is supposed to be on the next flight out tonight.  Fingers crossed.

Since the part didn't arrive on time, John B. who sailed with Martin from Australia to Grenada had to go home.  John B. had waited over a week and nothing looked like it was going to happen.  So, he went back to Salt Lake City.  Martin didn't blame him, at least he still has two more crew members, Garry and Dale.  THANK HEAVENS!!  If that part doesn't come tomorrow though there may be a mutiny, so let's hope pray that it does!

Now that AMARA has sat around the dock longer than expected, we had to cancel our plans to have Martin and crew meet us in the Bahamas with Martin's brother, John, and his family along with Martin's mom, Charlotte.  Well, since the part has yet to arrive, so we had to scratch those plans and Martin is now trying to figure out where to sail AMARA to get her out of St. Martin before hurricane season.  I am completely sad about missing this trip.  I was so looking forward to seeing the family and relaxing in the Bahamas.

Martin can now either head towards the states or back over to Grenada then maybe over to Panama.  It's all still up in the air and will be decided once AMARA is ready for sail.  Hopefully, tomorrow.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
Martin wrote a post last week that I thought I should post.  It's always fun to get the lowdown in his words…

"Today was a great day!  The long lost part for the AMARA rigging has finally been located in the UK, and should be here sometime the middle of next week.  Garry, Dale and I fixed a bunch of things on the boat.  My brother John visited the Raymarine Headquarters and, because he is now best friends with the guy in the warranty department, John managed to not only get us a brand new Automatic Identification System, he even managed to get a new speaker for our VHF radio.

This evening we hosted a party on AMARA for the local church congregation to say goodbye to Elder and Sister Thomson a missionary couple that is going home on Tuesday.  See photos.  And then to top off the evening, we had a beach bonfire party were we met a bunch of new friends and I was asked to say a few words about our adventures.

LDS ward (congregation) fireside hosted by AMARA and crew
Saying Goodbye to the Thompsons
The only challenging part of today is the amount of sugar currently in my system from eating too much cake and cookies.…  ;)"
*  *  *  *  *  *  *
I'll make sure to keep everyone updated on what AMARA plans to do once this blasted part arrives.

Martin and crew went to church yesterday and were able to take a photo of the entire LDS ward/branch (congregation).  It has grown since we were here 2 years ago.  Amazing! 
The St. Martin LDS ward yesterday at church.