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August 8 2005

Idlewild Log Entries

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Got to Tuk Aug 6 at 21:30.  Will wait for freight from home and then probably leave Tuesday.  We had more ice coming back from Barrow than when we went plus very dense fog much of the time.  We had met Gary from "Arctic Wanderer" in Barrow and caught up to him at Challenge Entrance near Flaxman Is.  He had been grounded a bit near where we had come close to being grounded on our way west.  The chart is out about 0.6 miles.  We found out later that 0.6 miles may be in any direction and maybe more error than .6 miles.  Gary had gotten off and then anchored when we came along.  We called him on the radio and he said he would follow us if we were going to continue.  This was the tightest ice (7 to 8 tenths) that we successfully went through and we throttled back and bumped often.  Gary is a capable, experienced guy with a steel boat.  His problem is being alone he has to stop to rest and when ice is bad, fog or no fog its nice to have an extra set of eyes.  He doesn't go as fast as us so when we got through the worst he said don't wait for him.  We continued on and planned to see him in Kaktovik but we went ashore walked about took pictures and had dinghy loaded and gone and he was still 5 miles back so hope to meet him again in Tuk. 

We got on the outside (deep water side about 75 to 110 feet) of continuous ice in the fog 8 hours after Herschel Is.  That was disconcerting in dense fog for 6 hours.  We weren’t sure if going north and east would get us through but it eventually did.  In fog or dark it’s a concern you can get trapped.  We were fortunate that the wind was only 10 to 15 kts and we persevered.

We are on our projected schedule and are reasonably confident that the ice in the eastern Arctic will continue to improve.

A lot of ice yet in the east but breaking fast so hope to be in Cambridge by Aug 15 if all goes well. 

Wind 30 kts from NW this morning so we'll be here until that subsides.

Barrow information  very good general site about Barrow

Wikipedia – Bering Strait reference info about Bering strait

 Arctic Wanderer Gary Ramos’ site

We only went past but I found one person’s perspective on Prudhoe Bay life.

Smithsonian – sea mammals

August 3, 2005

We had a brief stop in Barrow just long enough to get our e-mail, a few parts and bump into a fellow boater during supper.  It was great timing that we met some marine researchers both based locally and from other areas including some women from a Swedish research team that will be getting on the Swedish ice breaker when it arrives.  We also met Gary Ramos of the boat “Arctic Wanderer” who is attempting to circumnavigate the North Pole.

We continued south west to Bearing Strait, where we effectively start our round the world trip.  Going there now will save us coming up through ice to do it next year.  Saw many whales in the Chukchi Sea.  Fog is a constant companion although it did lift enough for us to see Asia and Alaska at the same time and to get some good pictures of the Diomede Islands on both sides of the Russia US border.  A lot of Russian chatter on channel 16, but no English and as usual up north it is often difficult to get weather information.

We were a long stones throw (7.5 km) from the Russian Island of Big Diomede. It has been foggy most of the time since Barrow so were lucky it lifted in the Strait to give us some pictures.

We have crossed the Arctic Circle twice on July 31 first at 2:00 AM then again coming back at 7:40 PM for the third time in 24 days. We had no sunset from July 7 to July 29 when we were heading south of Barrow. Barrow will have their first sunset in a while on Aug second which is 1 day before we get there so we won't see 24 hour sunlight again on this trip.

We made the trip of 965 nm from Barrow to the Bering Strait and back in excellent time of exactly 5 days with favorable conditions.   Went past Barrow last night at 22:30 but after turning the corner and heading east 5 miles our motor stopped and we changed fuel filter but then it didn't start so we anchored in 25' water and 1kt current.  One person stay on watch because plenty of ice moving.  In the morning we phoned the supplier in Vancouver and repaired our problem. 

The latest ice reports say the ice isn't as good as we had hoped from here to Tuk so we are taking time to stop again at Barrow and send emails. 

All is well on board.

Ben, Brad & Kevin      

NOAA ice

Beaufort Sea information