Approaching Point Barrow
07 September 2013 | Beaufort Sea
What a beautiful white rainbow!
This year has been really trying for everyone. Of the 10 sailboats that attempted the North West Passage from east to west (ie Greenland to Alaska), there are only 5 left: Libellule and 4 boats a few days behind us, namely Acalèphe (CAN), Isatis (F), Belle Epoque (A) and (probably) Arktica (F). The boat that was ahead of us, Perd pas le Nord (B), apparently run aground on a sandbank off Barrow in a gale and its crew had to be rescued by helicopter. Traversay III (CAN) unfortunately had to give up in Tuk due to problems with their propeller shaft. DAX (S) had engine problems in Pond Inlet. And our dear friends on Tooluka (NL) and Arctic Tern (UK) turned around in Bellot Strait. Apparently, this year is equally difficult for boats doing it in the other direction: one of them gave up in Cambridge Bay due to engine problems. And the others are fighting with dense ice in Prince Regent Sound.
Let’s keep fingers crossed. So far we haven’t had any major problems, only minor things like damaged main haulyard, anchor windlass, malfunctioning VHF, alternator, 2 water pumps, dinghy davits roll and engine handle. Fortunately, we managed to replace or repair most of these.
The ice forecast for the coast of Alaska is very optimistic, as the sea ice is currently about 50 nm off Icey Cape. We continue to have nice 20 kn easterly winds (but a strange rough sea, probably due to the relatively shallow grounds here) and hope to circumvent Point Barrow tonight; and escape Beaufort Sea into Chukchi Sea heading south towards Bering Strait…