We left Cambridge Bay at 23:25 August 23
and arrived in Gjoa Haven Aug. 25 at 19:30. Beautiful harbor,
very small with a very narrow, long entrance. Radio reception
was very poor last night at our usual network call at 18:30. We
did learn that 'Fine Tolerance' will anchor at Gladman Point, 'Minke
1' at Hat Island and on the other side, 'Cloud Nine' an American
boat and Knut in 'Jotun Arctic' a Norwegian boat are at or near
Fort Ross which is the west entrance to Bellot Straight.
Ice was tight several times coming here.
It didn't stop us but we slowed and had numerous detours. Part
of the problem was that the Arctic is not well charted in many
places, so extreme caution is required if you are not on a
recommended route. Simpson Strait is particularly narrow and
rock filled. It does keep everyone alert and enjoying the
Last report we said 6 other boats but there
were 7 other boats, 4 of us from
the west and 4 from the east side.
'Pelagic Australis' a 79ft aluminum sailboat
skippered by Skip Novak decided to turn
back a while ago and now Graeme Kendall in 'Astral Express', a
New Zealand boat single handing and for reasons we will learn
later has decided to winter in Nuuk Greenland. On our side
'Arctic Wanderer' has decided to do his repairs and winter in
Cambridge Bay, which leaves 5 of us still trying.
We were spoiled bad in Cambridge, Wilf
Wilcox and his wife Ruth provided two barbeques with other
friends to meet, JR and his wife Bessie also over fed us,
Lindsey from the Dew Line invited us over for supper and a tour
and their cooks were very generous, Mark, the captain of the ice
breaker 'Sir Wilfred Laurier' picked us up, gave us a tour and
their great cooks laid a great table.
Phil and Liz from 'Fine Tolerance' an
Australian boat are great helpers as well as interesting people
and skilled sailors. They have been here since last year and
are a wealth of knowledge. Peter of 'Minke 1' is a serious
experienced sailor who has been here since 2003 trying to get
through. He has able seaman, First Mate Bob, whose humor is
always welcome. They are from Halifax.
Our friend Dorman Ditch had flown up from
Grande Prairie and enjoyed his vacation nearly as much as we
enjoyed his company.
We stayed in Cambridge longer than
expected and blamed it on the ice in Queen Maud Gulf, but maybe
it was the fun we were having. Jason and Troy
Fimrite had joined us and are enjoying it
all. Bobby Jo from Stettler, Alberta, the new Recreation
Director visited us and provided some interesting insight.
Rebecca Jerram a 3 year veteran of the Arctic from New Zealand
who works for the planning commission rewarded us with a
pleasant and thorough look at the life in Cambridge Bay.
We are now waiting for ice to open up
farther north. We get daily ice reports and will move up to the
edge of the ice when there is any indication
that it is softening. 30 day forecast
said warmer than usual for the first
2 weeks of September so we will hang in
until it starts to freeze. If we are not through when it starts
to freeze we will plan how we should winter the boat. Also a
serious question for us is, "if we have a chance to follow an
ice breaker through, should we accept or wait until next year?"
It's as exciting as our first ice
encounter in fog and high wind.
Cambridge Bay information
General Cambridge Bay information
August 20 - Got boat ready to sail after 3 weeks
waiting on transmission
parts. Ben went to Nanaimo on the 21, picked up Brother Dale,
Morris, and Greg Christensen and took to Shelter Island on
Dale had just returned after being away for 6 years and 2
months in the
South Pacific with their 41' sloop "Camelot V". Dale went
home on the bus.
John Laninga came down so he, Justin, Greg and Ben cruised
and fished the
river and Howe Sound for a while.
August 19, 2005
We fueled up in Tuktoyaktuk; the price has
gone from $0.89 to 1.09 per liter plus taxes while we were away
in Alaska. For 2,500 dollars we had gone 2260 nm or 4160 km.
Gary Ramos with Arctic Wanderer came into
Tuk late August 8. He had a collision with an iceberg which did
considerable damage to his rail and self steering wind vane. He
will fix what he can and do better repairs with new parts in
Cambridge Bay. He left Tuk August 11 also bound for Cambridge.
Tuk kids always at the boat so we gave a
couple tours. Mike Whittaker and Dan from the NTCL tug ‘Edgar
Kotokak’ came to visit and provided some interesting advice on
August 9. They will be heading to Spence bay a little later in
We left Tuktoyaktuk on the 10th at 13:30.
Wind 10 to 15 kts so the sea was nice and we made good time
until we came to solid ice at 09:45 on 12th.
Ice reports said north
(and east) side would be best but a problem getting there
without going west as well. We eventually found short openings
and in spite of often back tracking we made progress, 15 nm in
6.5 hours, then ice was better for a few miles. It is getting
darker at night now especially if cloudy or foggy so, we spotted
a nice bay, Falaise Bay at 69°16’N and 115°00’W and anchored for
6 hours. The water was very clear giving a good bottom view
through 33’ of depth.
Soon after we got going
in the morning things got tougher and places that appeared at
first to be closed would open up if we detoured enough. We were
at low rpm and reduce to 1 or 2 kts if we were hitting ice to
try to push through. Twice we pushed through short spans but
once nearly got stuck and had to back out. Backing up is
perilous because of potential rudder damage and little control
in reverse. Ever present cross winds complicate it further.
At 11:30 August 13 we
spotted the Canadian Coast Guard ice breaker, ‘Sir Wilfred
Laurier’, which was escorting an NTCL tug ‘Kitikmeot’ and 6
barges out of Bernard Harbour. We spoke to him on the radio,
they were going our direction, and had put up their helicopter
earlier. They were going slow, probably for the tug whose cort
nozzles around the propellers were plugging with ice, so, in
spite of having to detour frequently we were out of the ice well
ahead of them. Once 2 miles into Coronation Gulf we were free
from ice to Cambridge. We were very fortunate that visibility
was good except for a few showers and Kevin stayed up the whole
time to navigate. Kevin has monitored ice reports, charts, and
wind to provide us with the best information we can get. He
even climbs the mast to get a better view which has got us out
through ice jams more than once.
Once in Dease Strait
winds were up to 20 kts and the boat pounding so reduced to 6
kts from 7 and a marked difference in ride smoothness?
At Cambridge Bay we are 1755nm on our
around the world trip which started 15 miles south of Little
Diomede Island where we turned around in the Bering Strait. We
won’t be counting the 3260 NM we traveled down the rivers and to
the Bering Strait to get there in our around the world mileage
and everything will be in nautical miles (nm) unless stated
otherwise. Multiply knots (kts) by 1.15 to get statute miles
and by 1.84 to get kilometers.
At 18:30 every evening starting Aug 10
Peter Semotiuk of Cambridge Bay is hosting a sailor’s radio
network on 6224 kHz. He is very generously providing weather
and ice reports as well as giving us the opportunity to hear the
reports of the other 6 boats trying to travel the Northwest
Passage this year.
Jason and Troy Fimrite arrived on Tuesday
the 16th after a nice flight with First Air with 737 service
here. We hope to see Brian Peterson soon also.
Cambridge Bay has been an excellent place
to visit. JR Ings gave us a tour of the Amundsen’s ‘Maud’ ship
wreck that had been designed to get locked frozen into the ice
and drift through the NW passage. We also saw some other
historic sites near town. Wilf and Ruth Wilcox as well as JR
generously lent us a few quads and we were able to tour the
area. We saw muskox and several historic and informative sites
such as Mount Pelly.
The terrain here has been etched by
glaciers moving past and there are some small mountains. So
much of the ground is covered in lakes. Caribou are the most
common animal in the arctic eating lichens but here we have seen
small herds of muskox instead. Much of the ground is fractured
rock without much soil. The bay here gives good protection but
deep enough for tugs and barges to dock bringing fuel and any
supplies. Here like so many places in the north aviation plays
a primary role.
We are waiting for some of the ice sections
west and northwest of our position to open up. But with nice
calm weather it has been going slow. Windy conditions
accelerate melting from the wind and the water and the erosive
effect of the ice moving against itself. We hope to leave
Cambridge Bay on Saturday for Gjoa Haven then north to Bellot
Strait when conditions allow.
Canadian Coast Guard Ice Breakers