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.