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07 February 2017

Cape Prince of Wales

08 September 2011 | Bering Strait, Alaska
Sailing past Cape Prince of Wales with a delightfully favorable wind. Cape Prince of Wales is at the end of the Bering Strait. The Northwest Passage runs from Davis Strait in the east to Bering Strait in the west. While we have now completed the Northwest Passage, the difficult part is mostly still ahead--the trip south, late in the year.

We had had great northerly winds pretty much since Barrow (North tip of Alaska), which really helped us along our way down the Chukchi Sea and through the Bering Strait. We knew of a southerly gale coming, and hoped we could make it through the Bering Strait before it arrived. It was not at all clear that we could beat the southerly. I made plans for where we could go if the southerly gale arrived before we reached the end of the Bering Strait (most likely plan was to anchor off a low, sandy coast with a bit of protection, prepared to put to sea and heave-to or sail far east to Kotzebue Sound in the lee of the shore if the protection wasn't good enough).

In the end, the arrival of the southerly gale was delayed a bit, and we were fortunately able to get through Bering Strait and sail onto the anchor late in the day in the harbor of Port Clarence, to wait out the gale there. As described in the entry called "Update", the southerly gale lasted longer than expected, and we were really glad to be inside such a protected harbor, even if we did drag anchor a lot.
Vessel Name: Issuma
Vessel Make/Model: Damien II, 15m/50' steel staysail schooner with lifting keel
Extra: Designed for Antarctica. Built in France by META in 1981. Draft 1.3m/4.5' with keel up, 3.2m/10.5' with keel down. More details at
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Survey pictures taken of Shekin V
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Created 29 April 2008