Enough With The Northwest Passage, Already

A bull walrus lies on an ice floe north of Nordaustlandet.
North of Nordaustlandet, Svalbard, from “Morgan’s Cloud” in 2/10 ice. We were being very careful to follow the rules.

This whole transiting the Northwest Passage (The Passage) in a yacht is getting out of hand and many (maybe most) of the crews and boats trying it shouldn’t be anywhere near the place.

How can someone who has spent much of the last 20 years in the high latitudes in a yacht say that without being a hypocrite, you ask? Simple, the Northwest Passage is different from most other high latitude destinations normally visited by yachts. Read on for why.

Self-Study of Polar Bears

Phyllis has just completed a six month long self-assigned course on polar bears. In this post she shares what she has learned about this beautiful animal and the ways her new knowledge will affect our behavior when we go north. She also expresses deep concern about what we believe to be the badly flawed policies of Parks Canada.

Q&A: Atlantic Crossing, East To West, Via The Arctic

Question: We are toying with the idea of sailing the northern route [to North America from Scotland] with stops in Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland. Is that nuts? I know you have done it at least once if not more times. Our boats are sound, an Alden 48 and a Shannon 43, and we want to end up on the east coast rather than the Caribbean.

Q&A: Rounding Cape Farewell, Greenland

Question: We are planning to cross the North Atlantic east to west via the Arctic route in June on the way to an attempt to transit the North West Passage.

We plan to leave from Iceland on a passage to the west coast of Greenland and are wondering how close to round Cape Farewell [south tip of Greenland]? We are thinking that by waiting in Iceland for a good weather window we can get round as close as the ice will let us.

Q&A: Winter Boat Storage In The North

Question: We are thinking of buying a 70′, 55 ton, steel motorsailer which we want to fix up and cruise on for 4 months of the year. We would be starting out on the east coast of the US and are contemplating going via Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Greenland to Northern Europe. We would have to leave the boat in dry storage for the winters. Do you know if any of these northern areas could accommodate this?

Changed Plans And Superyachting 2006

Our last news letter described our circumnavigation of Newfoundland in the summer of 2005 and our return to Maine for the winter of 2005/06, with a plan to complete the refit of Morgan’s Cloud over the winter and move back aboard in the spring of 2006 to resume our cruising life. It was not to be.

Q&A: Sailing The Strait Of Belle Isle In July

Question: We plan to go through the Strait of Belle Isle about July 1st. Is this practical given ice conditions? I have been told that a northeast wind can choke the Strait with ice at that time of year. I also have been told that ice is less likely on the Newfoundland side of the Strait.

Q&A: Which Paper Charts For Iceland?

Question: The cruising guide for Iceland contains a list of Icelandic charts. Comparing that with the US chart catalog, the Icelandic coverage is much more extensive. Is it practical to expect to purchase charts in Reykjavik for the remainder of our Icelandic sailing? Are they in stock? Reasonable cost? Or would you recommend that I order all the coverage I need from the US catalog and add a few detail charts on arrival as I see fit?