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.