The ice egg code
08 August 2013 | Dundas, Devon Island
We're downloading ice charts on a daily basis now. The winter in the Canadian arctic was quite cold so there is more ice than usual and it broke about 1-2 weeks later than in the last few years. But since there is not much multi-year pack ice left, but mostly first year ice (>1.2m thick) we hope that it will melt soon. This will of course depend on water and air temperatures, as well as winds.
The attached chart of the Canadian Ice Service shows the most difficult part of the NW Passage, namely the part between Resolute and Gjoa, that is Peel Sound, Franklin Strait, James Ross Strait, and Rae Strait. The colors reflect the concentration of the ice. Basically, with our catamaran we can go up to 4/10 or maybe 5/10, but not more. Hence blue and green are ok, while yellow is very difficult, and orange and red impossible. Currently, it is still mostly red, so we will need to wait.
On the left side there are 'ice eggs'. They state ice concentration, thickness, size of the floes, and many other things. Ice research is a whole science in itself. But we are very fortunate and happy to have all this information available to us. We just can't imagine how the early explorers sailed through here without knowing that there is a passage, without maps, without compass and without any kind of ice information - they were absolutely crazy...