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Issuma
Cape Prince of Wales
Richard
Thu Sep 8 10:02:00 EDT 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.

Taking the Temperature
Richard
Tue Sep 6 19:55:29 EDT 2011, Chukchi Sea

Lin came up with the string on a tin can idea for taking the temperature of the sea water. This is better than trying to drag the thermometer in the sea (it tends to hit the hull on waves) or using a bucket to get the water (if someone makes a mistake and doesn't haul the bucket up properly the handle tends to break off from the pressure of being dragged behind the boat). Collecting water by throwing a tin can over the side is easy, simple, and if anything goes wrong, there are other tin cans that could be used :).

We've been taking the sea temperature hourly (for logbook entries) and anytime we are in poor visibility (often) and wondering if ice is nearby. As I see it, a safe speed for being underway is one in which you can avoid hitting any ice you may come across. This depends on visibility (how close the ice is before it is seen) and boat speed. We slow down in poor visibility if we suspect ice is about (in more congested waters than the Chukchi Sea, slowing down in poor visibility is also done to avoid collisions with other vessels).

-1 degrees C is the coldest water temperature we've seen (sea water freezes at about -1.8 degrees C depending on salinity)--0 degrees C and +1 degrees C have been much more common.


For those familiar with boat electronics, yes, a depthsounder with a transducer that measured the sea temperature certainly seems like it would be a nice thing when sailing in cold water :).

Fri Sep 23 14:23:22 EDT 2011 | george ray
You guys are pretty resourceful, it probably helps a lot were you have been.
Fri Sep 23 20:07:33 EDT 2011 | Richard Hudson
Thanks, George.
Sun Sep 25 18:14:14 EDT 2011 | Donathan
looks cold!
To a photo of your moored boat last year in NYC's 96th st boat basin. It looked ocean worthy. I was going through old photos today, (looking for a photo of some neighbor who died) and saw yours and looked you up. Looks like you guys go anywhere.
I was surprised to see so much sail with a centerboard. Beautiful boat.
What do you think of cats. I might go to the show in MD. Looking for a shoal keel or cat. Any suggestions by an ocean going skipper?
Mon Oct 3 15:22:24 EDT 2011 | Richard Hudson
Donathan, thanks for looking me up. I'd like to see that picture from NYC some day.

Issuma's centerboard is not a typical centerboard--it has 4.5 tons of lead and also acts as a 650 litre fuel tank. All the ballast in the boat is in the centerboard (or lifting keel), so when it is locked down, the weight is really low (10.5 foot sailing draft), so it can handle a lot of sail.

I think catamarans (production ones) are great tropical boats. I was quite impressed by how well a friend's Leopard cat worked for living at anchor in Brazil (and for travelling in the tropics). They sail really well if you keep them light.

Where I like to sail, I feel I need to carry extensive supplies, tools and repair materials, so I don't travel light. I also have more concerns about hitting uncharted rocks and ice than boats sailing in the tropics do, so for where I want to sail, I want a metal monohull. I thought my boat was much less well suited to tropical cruising than my friend's catamaran, though.

Beautiful Day in the Beaufort Sea
Richard
Mon Sep 5 9:46:37 EDT 2011, Beaufort Sea

A beautiful day downwind in the Beaufort Sea.

The Beaufort Sea is part of the Arctic Ocean, located north of the Northwest Territories, the Yukon, and Alaska and west of Canada's Arctic islands. The sea is named after British hydrographer Sir Francis Beaufort, who is best known for creating the Beaufort Wind Scale (when winds are described as Force 8, that means 8 on the Beaufort wind scale).

Watching the Traffic
Richard
Sun Sep 4 10:02:00 EDT 2011, Ulukhaktok (formerly Holman), Diamond Jenness Peninsula, Victoria

A contented-looking Husky watches the road.

Ulukhaktok Sailboat
Richard
Sat Sep 3 10:02:00 EDT 2011, Ulukhaktok (formerly Holman), Diamond Jenness Peninsula, Victoria

As we sailed in, we noticed what seemed to be a schooner on the beach. After walking into Ulukhaktok, we got a better look at it, and saw it was the ketch Nur. Built of steel plate to what looks like a dory hull design, and rigged with what seemed available locally, we were told the owner was a white man who built the boat here. The owner apparently lives on nearby Holman Island during the summer, so we never met him.

Ulukhaktok
Richard
Thu Sep 1 10:02:00 EDT 2011, Ulukhaktok (formerly Holman), Diamond Jenness Peninsula, Victoria

Most of the residents of Ulukhaktok (1986 population 303) seemed to be away somewhere when we were there. We talked to several people, but mostly there seemed to be few people walking around. Perhaps because the most common way of getting around is 4-wheelers (All Terrain Vehicles--the kind you sit on, not in, powered by small engines), so not so much time is spent walking around.

Victoria Island is the ancestral homeland of the Copper Inuit, and in the 1900s there were about 300 Inuit in the area, hunting on Bnks Island in the winter and on Victoria Island in the summer. The first Hudson's Bay Company post (now called the Northern store) in the area was established in 1923 on the north shore of Prince Albert Sound. The post moved to Holman in 1939. In 2006, the name of the hamlet was officially changed to the traditional name of Ulukhaktok.

Ulukhaktok
Richard
Wed Aug 31 10:02:00 EDT 2011, Ulukhaktok (formerly Holman), Diamond Jenness Peninsula, Victoria Island, Canada

We had a pleasant daysail from Freshwater Bay to Ulukhaktok (formerly Holman). The hamlet sits between two bays, King's Bay and Queen's Bay. We had planned to sail into King's Bay (as mentioned in the Sailing Directions) and anchor, but, on approach, considering that Queen's Bay was wider, and more feasible to tack into if necessary, we sailed into Queen's Bay instead. I was apprehensive coming in, as there were only occasional soundings on the chart (the Sailing Directions note that the approaches have not been fully sounded), and I wasn't sure the features of the land we were looking at matched the chart very well. Sailing onto the anchor went really well, we made it into the bay on one tack, furled all but the mainsail, rounded up into the wind and lowered the anchor, later backing the mainsail to set it. No one noticed us at first, later several people said it was rare to see a sailboat here (though cruise ships commonly visit).

Ulukhaktok
Richard
Wed Aug 31 10:02:00 EDT 2011, Ulukhaktok (formerly Holman), Diamond Jenness Peninsula, Victoria

We had a pleasant daysail from Freshwater Bay to Ulukhaktok (formerly Holman). The hamlet sits between two bays, King's Bay and Queen's Bay. We had planned to sail into King's Bay (as mentioned in the Sailing Directions) and anchor, but, on approach, considering that Queen's Bay was wider, and more feasible to tack into if necessary, we sailed into Queen's Bay instead. I was apprehensive coming in, as there were only occasional soundings on the chart (the Sailing Directions note that the approaches have not been fully sounded), and I wasn't sure the features of the land we were looking at matched the chart very well. Sailing onto the anchor went really well, we made it into the bay on one tack, furled all but the mainsail, rounded up into the wind and lowered the anchor, later backing the mainsail to set it. No one noticed us at first, later several people said it was rare to see a sailboat here (though cruise ships commonly visit).

Drinking Water
Richard
Tue Aug 30 10:02:00 EDT 2011, Freshwater Bay, Diamond Jenness Peninsula, Victoria Island, Canada

The Sailing Directions for Arctic Canada mention that Freshwater Creek at the head of Freshwater Bay is an excellent source of fresh water. So, as our drinking water supplies were running low, we anchored in Freshwater Bay and rowed the dinghy ashore with the blue water jug. We made several trips with the water jug to fill Issuma's freshwater tanks. We chlorinated the water (added bleach) to keep stuff from growing in it (a carbon filter near the faucet later removes most of that chlorine). The water does taste good.

Hull Inspection
Richard
Mon Aug 29 10:02:00 EDT 2011, Dolphin and Union Strait, Arctic

As we sailed slowly in light winds, this seal came over to inspect Issuma's hull.

Mon Sep 12 15:35:22 EDT 2011 | Amos
What a terrific picture. He looks very officious!

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