Monday, February 28, 2011

SSN584 U.S.S. SEADRAGON First Submerged Northwest Passage 1960

ideo: Veteran Meteorologist Explains How a Warm Arctic is Disrupting Your Weather

Meteorologist Dave Eichorn, with the State University of New York (SUNY) College of Environmental Science and Forestry, explains how Arctic warming is disrupting weather patterns to the south, especially in Winter. 
"The notion that climate change is a good thing and that we are all going to be basking in warmer weather in the coming decades is most certainly a misunderstanding.  As the world continues to warm so unevenly, it seems very likely there are going to be additional disruptions in storm tracks and precipitation across the Northern Hemisphere.  Put simply, it probably means that most of us are going to end up with what used to be somebody else's weather," he concludes
Eichorn is veteran meteorologist with three decades of experience (see his biography here).  In an earlier video, A meteorologist on climate change, Eichorn explains climate change.  The videos are  components of a Global Climate Change Education project funded partly by NASA. House Republicans have approved sharp cuts in NASA's budget, with some arguing that funding for NASA's climate change research be cut even more, shifting funds instead to manned spaceflight.
The College of Environmental Science and Forestry also offers online courses, including the following in Spring 2011:
Online Resources:

How to dress for a Yukon winter, from head to toe

Want to dress warmly when visiting somewhere cold during the winter? Take your cue from the mushers of the Yukon Quest dogsled race.

Want to dress warmly when visiting somewhere cold during the winter? Take your cue from the mushers of the Yukon Quest dogsled race.

Photograph by: Mark Stachiew, Postmedia News

If you travel to the Yukon in winter, there is no need to bring a steamer trunk full of Arctic clothing. Tour operators there which will rent you the necessary cold-weather gear. In case you do want to outfit yourself, or just bring portions of your outfit, here’s our guide to keeping warm:
A good hat that will cover your ears is essential. If you have a balaclava, that is even better as there are times that you may have your face exposed to frostbite-worthy temperatures.
If you don’t have a balaclava, some sort of scarf or neck and face protector is needed to keep the wind off your skin.
Sunglasses won’t keep you warm, but they will protect your eyes from the glare of the sun which never gets very high in the sky during the coldest months.
Lip balm will keep your lips from cracking under the cold conditions.
It’s all about layers. Start with a thin shirt then layer over it a sweater, preferably one with a zipper so that you can open and close it if you get overheated or cool off. The outer layer should be a down-filled coat, preferably a parka with a hood that will help keep your head and neck warm.
Mittens are warmer than gloves, but for there are times you want to pull your hands out to manipulate something, like a camera. Wear thin gloves or glove liners in your mittens so that when you pull out your hands, they are not exposed to the cold.
For times that you can’t keep your fingers warm no matter how thick your gloves or mittens are, pop in a few chemical warmers. They will last for hours and you’ll be thankful for them.
Snow pants are essential if you are going to be tromping around the forest or on frozen waterways. Some come with suspenders and bibs that help keep your torso warm.
Wrap your feet in a pair of warm socks then stick them into thick, waterproof boots such as snowmobile boots so that your toes don’t fall off. Like your mittens, you can wear chemical heating packs in your boots to keep your feet from going numb.
You may feel like an astronaut wearing all of this gear, but keeping warm ensures that you will enjoy yourself for the many hours that you will want to be outside enjoying the activities that a Yukon winter has to offer.
Cold weather gear rental in Whitehorse is possible with MW Outfits,

Sunday, February 27, 2011

William Edward Parry - Winter Harbor - within a few hundred miles of completing the Northwest Passage in 1822

Journal of a Second Voyage for the Discovery of a North-West Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific; Performed in the Years 1821-22-23 in His Majesty’s Ships Fury and Hecla, under the Orders of Captain William Edward Parry, R. N., F. R. S. and Commander of the Expedition.

Parry, William Edward

London: John Murray, 1824. First edition (pp. xxx, 571, errata). Quarto (29.5cm), in modern three-quarter morocco over complimentary marbled boards, gilt titles to spine, red and black morocco labels, five raised bands; illustrated by 26 plates engraved from excellent drawings by George Lyon, commander of the Hecla; 5 ‘Eskimaux’ charts, 4 naval charts, and 4 horizon views, folded, in map pocket inside back cover as called for, also various tables, journals, and lunar observations, crew lists, Admiralty orders, etc.  This is the journal of Parry’s second expedition in search of a Northwest Passage. He barely had time to organize his affairs before setting out again on this, his longest, venture into the Arctic. In early May, 1821, he sailed for the eastern Arctic in the refitted vessels Fury and Hecla, accompanied by the supply ship Nautilus. The OED says, in part, “Passing through Hudson Strait and Foxe Channel., he examined Repulse Bay, proved the accuracy of the observations made by Christopher Middleton, passed one winter at Winter Island and another at Igloolik (enlivened by the presence of the local Inuit), and traced Fury and Hecla Strait to its western end. Through the summers of 1822 and 1823 this strait was blocked by ice, and, as symptoms of scurvy were beginning to appear, Parry judged it inadvisable to attempt a third winter in the ice. The ships returned to Britain and were paid off at Deptford on 14 November 1823. Parry had meantime been advanced to the rank of post captain (8 November 1821) and was now appointed acting hydrographer (1 December 1823).” Parry’s expeditions, and his reports on their findings, are remarkable for several reasons. His meticulous and far-sighted preparations. For example, he saw to it that his two vessels were for all practical purposes identical with interchangeable rigging, equipment, etc., rather than sailing with one large craft supported by a small sloop or similar small vessel; secured a supply of fresh water from snow by constructing a steel jacket around the ships’ stovepipes, a sort of kelly kettle, which produced, he says, over sixty gallons of fresh water at a time. The good care he took of the men in his command. He organized meaningful recreation for his crews, not one of whom, he says, returned from the expedition ‘unable to read his Bible’, and he redesigned their sleeping quarters to increase ventilation and prevent damp. His crew lists were over-subscribed, and many men served on both of these two expeditions. The interest he took in the Inuit. Sizeable parties were encountered and invited on board sometimes with comic results (Hosts and guests did not interpret table manners in quite the same way). Lyon’s drawings show details of native clothing and hunting methods, and include several especially good portraits of individuals and families-- the best is of a sled full of children having a grand time careering around behind a rather ill-disciplined dog-team (an arctic Krieghoff).


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Alaska tribe takes coal mine concerns to UN

Alaska's Chickaloon tribe is asking the United Nations to hear its concerns about a planned coal mine in the Mat Su Valley.
The Alaska Public Radio Network reports that the Athabascan community near Palmer is opposed to the project being developed by Usibelli Co. at a site called Wishbone Hill.
The tribe has filed a document to the United Nations' independent expert on water and sanitation. The issue is a test case in Alaska to see how the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples might be used to intervene in development projects.
The tribe contends the proposed mine site is where its members have traditionally hunted and fished. The tribe also says it could pollute Moose Creek, which has been restored for salmon spawning.

$13 spaghetti, $29 Cheez Whiz anger northerners PM on hot seat over subsidy change

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says his government could make changes to a controversial subsidy program blamed for skyrocketing food prices in Canada's Arctic.
The prime minister says his government hears people's complaints about the Nutrition North Canada food subsidy program.
Nutrition North Canada subsidizes healthy food such as fruit and vegetables. However, the program covers a smaller list of goods than the old food-mail program it replaced.
Items not covered by the subsidy have reportedly surged in price, resulting in things such as $13 for a bag of spaghetti, $29 for a jar of Cheez Whiz and $77 for a bag of breaded chicken.
"There are concerns," Harper said.
"Our position is to always listen. We will listen to the public on this and if it's necessary to make changes, we will make them."
The stated goal of the program is to help transport quality foods at cheaper prices, to a region with rampant health problems such as high rates of diabetes. It was also meant to replace an old mail subsidy system described by Ottawa as inefficient.
But the new system has become the subject of much skepticism, fuelled by media reports showing shocking sticker prices on everyday goods in northern grocery stores.
"It's an important priority for us that people in Arctic regions have access to quality foods at an affordable price," Harper said.
The new program officially kicks in on April 1 but the government began phasing out the old one in October, gradually removing subsidies on certain items considered unhealthy lsuch as Cheez Whiz and on household items such as toilet paper.
Retailers say they are paying more to fly items in to the remote communities and the higher prices faced by consumers are on recently delivered products.
Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq has defended the program and said northern retailers are to blame for the high prices, not the federal government.
She said Ottawa will discuss the situation with retailers.
Consumers have been venting their anger on various websites. One reacted furiously to the suggestion the old program had to be replaced because some people were using it to ship non-food items. "So this is why we have to starve?" wrote a poster on one northern news website,
"Cause someone abused the old program and instead of fixing the glitches and enforcing what was allowed and not allowed you had to screw all of Nunavut -- just make the poor poorer, eh."
-- The Canadian Press

Nautical auctioneering

Nautical auctioneering

Universalis Cosmographia’

‘Universalis Cosmographia’ (1507), the Waldseemüller wall map that first depicted the Americas

With the world’s super-wealthy flitting between multiple homes – and sometimes even multiple yachts – one aspect of collecting is thriving. Anything to do with travel is growing, apparently: from antique maps, atlases and globes to vintage trunks, binoculars, travel books and photographs.

Owners of private islands “love having a map with their island on it, and find irresistible the fact that it was already charted in the 16th century by, say, Mercator”, says Farhad Vladi, owner of the German-based Vladi Private Islands agency. “Even tiny islands were carefully documented,” he says.

He has sold the Scottish island of Eigg twice: “I gave the first buyer an antique map of it as a present,” he says, “but now prices have gone up and sometimes the map is worth more than my commission!”

Buyers come from all over the world. “We had a Middle Eastern buyer recently who told us a map would suit his new yacht nicely,” says Sotheby’s specialist Catherine Slowther, who has 30 years’ experience in this field.

Prices at the top end of the map and atlas market can run into the millions – the world record is $10m for Waldseemüller’s world map, “Universalis Cosmographia”, the first to name “America”. But Slowther points out that there is a rich supply of interesting material at far lower price points. In Sotheby’s coming May sale there is group of maps of the eastern Mediterranean dating from the 16th-18th centuries, and estimated at £2,000-£2,500.

So what makes the difference between a million-dollar map, and one for a few hundred?

As in all collecting fields, rarity, provenance, condition, repute of the mapmaker and publisher and sheer beauty determine price. With maps, there are geo-economic forces at play as well. “There is often a correlation between GDP and the price of a map of the country,” says Daniel Crouch, who recently set up his own dealership in maps and atlases. Crouch is offering a set of Blaue maps of the continents for £500,000, but says that for individual examples, prices for America would be double or more those of Africa. And because of their aesthetic appeal – being surrounded with water – and national pride, there is a premium on maps of island nations such as Cyprus or Malta, says Slowther.

Historical events play their part, too. “Events make maps more interesting. For instance, the birth of America is a great story, traced by its maps.”

A smaller market is for atlases, where prices have been going up fast, according to Crouch because of the rarity factor. “Throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s people ripped up atlases for their maps, making good examples of complete books extremely scarce,” he says.

Globes, both terrestrial and celestial, have always been a rich man’s trophy. Butchoff Antiques is offering the only known example to record the 1837 to 1839 expedition in the Northwest Passage at a hefty £450,000, but less exceptional examples come in at far less stellar prices. Christie’s South Kensington sold a 19th-century terrestrial globe for £3,125 last November.

Another growing field is vintage luggage. Tim Bent of the specialist shop Bentley’s, in London, reports that the market for Louis Vuitton, Goyard or the British Peal & Co has been growing for at least 10 years.

“For Vuitton in particular, awareness of the brand is buoyed by the company’s enormous marketing budget,” he says. The trunks, which were made in a wide range of shapes and sizes to handle everything from hats to books are used as decorative pieces, as chests, coffee tables or end-tables. Good condition and exotic labels are a bonus but initials, unless they are those of the buyer, are less commercial. Prices for Vuitton vintage trunks start at £7,500 and can go up to £40,000, for a really rare example. But here again, less pricey examples can be found: a Mappin and Webb crocodile suitcase recently made £1,000, again at Christie’s South Kensington.

Dent also has customers for large-scale military binoculars, which were generally made in Japan during World War II. With 20x magnification, and often standing on tall tripods, the binoculars “really make a statement”, he says. Prices are from £10,000 to £39,000.

The market, say dealers, is likely to grow: “With globalisation and increased travel, you have the fuel for a buoyant market,” says Crouch.

Friday, February 25, 2011

IHOP March 1st 7-10am - National Pancake Day - free short-stack - generous donation to Childrens Hospital

IHOP National Pancake Day, March 1, 2011

Flip for Free Pancakes!

March 1, 2011

Join IHOP on Tuesday, March 1, 2011, 7 a.m. - 10 p.m., for National Pancake Day and receive one complimentary short stack!* In return for the free flapjacks, we ask you to consider leaving a little something behind for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and other designated local charities. Thanks to our guests' generosity, IHOP raised more than $2.1 million last year. IHOP began its National Pancake Day in 2006, and since then, has raised $5.35 million for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and other local charities and given away more than 10.1 million buttermilk pancakes.

Escapade- Alaska to Maine Overview - 12,700 miles voyage over 18 months

Welcome to, an online-based community of cruisers exploring the waterways of the Americas.  The “Big U” is a journey that can begin on the East or West coasts of the United States or Canada and takes voyagers through the Panama Canal en route to the other coast.  Along the way are countless historical ports, crystal-blue bays, and coastal communities that make this a voyage unlike any other!

Escapade- Alaska to Maine Overview
It was a wonderful, exciting and delightful voyage, filled with a few challenges and many rewards. In total, we sailed 12,700 miles but were never more than 100 miles offshore. It took nearly 18 months but we went around North and Central America and cruised most of the coast of the United States. It included the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans and the Caribbean and went from icebergs and bergy bits to tropical waters. We visited six foreign countries, but skipped several others. All told, it was a fabulous experience filled with many pleasurable adventures.

Escapade, our Oyster 55, has been the boat that opened the world to us for the past 10 years. We had previously circumnavigated the world and spent four years cruising the Mediterranean. Escapade had been positioned in 2004 to be in Vancouver, BC, Canada, so it was the perfect opportunity to go to Alaska in 2006 and then continue to Maine.

Our overall plan was determined by basic weather considerations, which were:
- Be in Alaska during June and July for the best weather.
- Leave Seattle southbound before early September, before the fall storms begin.
- Don’t leave San Diego southbound before November, so the hurricanes are over.
- Be in the Caribbean between January and April for the best weather.
- Be as far north as the Chesapeake Bay by mid June, before hurricane season starts.
- Be in Maine in August and early September for the best weather.

This plan worked well and we were blessed with good weather for the whole trip. The importance of this was underscored by the fact that a hurricane had damaged some of the towns in the Sea of Cortez a few months before we arrived and hurricanes hit Cabo San Lucas and Belize after we were there. So timing is everything.

In general, this was an easy voyage with many opportunities to make stops along the way. The longest passages were about five days, and they were between Seattle and San Francisco at 826 miles and between San Diego and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico at 750 miles. I concluded that we had to go directly to San Francisco as the ports along the west coast all had sand bars in the entrances and in case of bad weather these bars become nearly impassible. Thus, if bad weather developed, we could not enter any port, so whatever the weather, we had to go non-stop. That focuses ones thinking. For the San Diego to Cabo leg, there are places to stop but we wanted to stay ahead of the Baha Ha Ha, which is a cruisers rally, and which makes two stops. There were two passages slightly over 500 miles and one at 453 miles. All other legs were less than 355 miles.

There are many very good cruising grounds along the way. The hard part was to keep moving so as to stay on our time line. We could write articles, or even a book, on each of these cruising grounds and each one has it’s own special appeal and character. But I will summarize our feelings.

- Alaska, Glacier Bay and Tracy Arm in particular. This is a different type of cruising and our trip there was wonderful. The grandeur, the wilderness, the vastness, the desolation, and the areas devoid of human impact are overwhelming. It is a majestic wilderness that cannot be conquered by man. We saw dozens of humpback whales, orca whales, porpoises, seals, sea lions, sea otters, bald eagles, bears, and other wildlife. We stayed in anchorages with no other boats most of the time. So if you want remoteness and isolation, Alaska is the place. Suffice it to say we truly enjoyed Alaska and the unique experience it provides. We arrived in Glacier Bay National Park on July 4, 2006, and enjoyed it with some great weather.

- Puget Sound, Vancouver Island, the Bay Islands, and the San Juan Islands- A wonderful area to cruise, with many options in terms of anchorages, marinas, and towns and cities to visit, and the distances are short. Mostly protected waters, but not a lot of wind. For sailing the Strait of Georgia was the best. There is something for everyone and one could explore the area for years. Roche Harbor and Friday Harbor are great, and are good ports of entry to the USA. Roche Harbor has an outdoor sculpture park, Shakespeare under the stars, and fine dining, all in one stop. I liked the Canadian Bay Islands better than the San Juan Islands, and there are more of them with a larger variety of things to do. A circumnavigation of Vancouver Island is a quite nice little exploration and the northwest coast, on the Pacific side, is especially rugged and remote. In the inside passage there many interesting places like Desolation Sound, with several anchorages. It becomes more remote the farther north you go. The weather is nice during the summer and inside of Vancouver Island the microclimate is quite moderate. The city of Vancouver is a wonderful, modern city with many activities. The city of Victoria is a unique and special place to visit. The harbor is full of activity with floatplanes landing and taking off, small and large ferries, water taxies, and pleasure boats of all descriptions all moving about at the same time. Docking in front of the Empress Hotel is nice, and high tea at the hotel is not to be missed. Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island are world-renowned, the flowers change for every season, and they have a special boat entrance. We spent two summers in the Pacific Northwest and still did not get to see everything.

- San Francisco Bay- This overall area is relatively small and there are shallows in some corners. But there are consistent winds in the afternoons when the temperature in the valley rises, and that pulls air into the Bay through the Golden Gate. Often there is a layer of marine fog close to the ocean in the morning, which generally burns off by noon. Angel Island has several bays, one of which has mooring buoys. It is an easy island to explore by foot. We especially enjoyed Sausalito, Oakland and San Francisco itself. From Benicia we took a limousine tour of the vineyards in Napa Valley. It happened we were there during Fleet Week and that permitted us to anchor in the Bay near Alcatraz Island along with hundreds of other boats, and watch airplane races and the Blue Angles fly overhead. We enjoyed the Bay area, with relaxed and pleasant cruising and nice sails. There were more sailboats out sailing there than anywhere else in the US.

- Sea of Cortez- This is a unique area, which is generally desolate and arid. The scenery often consists of dry rock formations in a multitude of colors. These colors appear to change during the day from sunrise to sunset so it is a never-ending kaleidoscope. The sea life is overwhelming and the fish seethe beneath the surface, especially at night. In fact, they just about jump onto the boat. We did not see any whales, as I don’t think they had migrated from Alaska yet. There were very few cruisers around at the time we were there in November, but I believe that it is busier in the winter. Except for La Paz it is anchoring out, sometimes just behind a point of land like at Los Muertos. We liked Puerto Escondido, Bahia Santispac in Bahia Conception, Aqua Verde, and Isla Partida. There was good swimming and snorkeling. La Paz is a more typical Mexican town, unlike Cabo San Lucas that is touristy to the extreme. It was interesting to contrast the Sea of Cortez to Alaska as they were so different in physical appearance, but quite similar in the remoteness and isolation from civilization.

- West coast of Mexico and Central America- This is a long coast that changes from arid to tropical as you head south. We made stops at Mazatlan, Nuevo Vallarta, Laguna Navidad, Ixtapa, Zihuatanejo, Acapulco and Huatulco in Mexico. We also stopped in Bahia Jiquilisco in El Salvador and Golfito in Costa Rica. We choose to skip the countries of Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua primarily because of security concerns and the fact my insurance company would not cover us in those countries. The legs were between 95 and 521 nautical miles, so they were one to three night passages. In several of the stops we stayed at marinas associated with luxury hotels so we had the ability to use the hotels facilities including the beaches, swimming pools, restaurants etc. We left Escapade in Nuevo Vallarta for Christmas when we went home for a few weeks. In Acapulco we stayed at the Yacht Club, which has fine facilities located in a quiet part of the bay. In other stops we anchored off or stayed in marinas. The atmosphere was very much like a multi-stop holiday and we enjoyed the variety of towns and took inland excursions as well. In general, provisioning was good. One interesting stop was Isla Isabela, which is a bird sanctuary. It had the feeling of a Galapagos island with the ability to approach nesting birds closely. The entrance to the river at Bahia Jiquilisco was very threatening, as you must enter between a reef and a sand bar in a curved path between breaking waves. But the marina sent a boat out into the Pacific to guide you in so that removed much of the worry. All told, an interesting coast.

-Panama Canal- This was our second time through with Escapade, but this time we were going northbound. Although the transit is fraught with a high possibility of damage to the boat, we got through with no damage. By selecting an aggressive agent, we were able to transit on the day we specified and made it through in one day. Escapade was alone, with no other sailboats. We up-locked tied alongside a local small cruise ship and down-locked tied alongside a tug. That avoided the issues associated with center-locking, but we were glad we had rented covered tires to supplement our fenders. Even so, it is intimidating to be in such a tight space with the bow of a huge ship towering above you. It was dark by the time we reached the Panama Canal Yacht Club, where we returned the lines and tires to the agent, but we were very pleased with the experience. There is nothing quite like transiting the Panama Canal in your own boat, but if it is your first time be sure to learn and understand all the issues associated with the transit before you attempt it.

- San Blas Islands in Panama- It is 75 miles up wind in the Caribbean to get to the San Blas islands, which are east of the Panama Canal, so it took us three days, as we did not want to get beat up too badly. But the reward is great as the San Blas is a unique and special cruising area. It is filled with gorgeous, tiny, sandy and palm tree covered islands. They are the classic image of tropical islands with clear, calm water all around. Actually, many are at the edge of the archipelago so while you are anchored in a serene and calm anchorage, you can hear the Caribbean waves crashing on the outer edges of the reef. A bit unnerving, but you get used to it. The swimming is great and there is some good snorkeling. The whole area is picture perfect and wonderful. But what is especially delightful are the Kuna Indians, who still live in traditional fashion and get around in dugout canoes with sails. The women dress in their classic costumes of molas and beads. While at anchor, they come to you in the dugouts and offer for sale molas, fish, and other goods. We also went ashore and visited Kuna villages on the islands of Carti Sugtupu and Isla Tigre. They live in grass huts with no furniture, and only small hammocks in which to sit and sleep. The Kunas are not allowed to marry outsiders so the race is pure and they look like they just stepped out of a history book. This was my second visit to the San Blas and I would put it on a “must visit” list for all cruisers. But do not expect to find any provisions there.

- Western Caribbean- For us, this comprised Panama’s Bocas del Toro region, the Colombian Island of Isla Providencia, Belize, and Mexico’s Yucatan. We skipped the Rio Dulce in Guatamala because I was concerned about security, and the sand bar at the entrance seemed to be just too shallow for Escapade. This is an area less traveled than the eastern Caribbean but is interesting in it’s own right. Bocas del Toro seemed like a modern day version of the Wild West with a lot of growth and potential but still very rough and basic, which is an interesting blend. We visited a butterfly farm that had a huge netted enclosure with thousands of butterflies. Isla Providencia is off the beaten track and it was easy to tour the whole island in a few hours by taxi. We stayed well off shore as we rounded the corner of Honduras as the local rumor was the government impounded cruising boats that got too close to shore. Belize, from my viewpoint, was not as good as I expected for cruising. Many areas are very shallow. For example, if you wanted to anchor off Belize City you would be over a mile from shore. Other towns were not accessible without a lot of risk. So we skipped San Pedro on Ambergris Cay. But we did travel north through the country inside the barrier reef starting with Punta Gorda, which is an open roadstead, to Belize City, stopping at many Cays and Placencia, which does have a good anchorage. Most of the small islands, or Cays, are covered with mangroves. These often have bugs at dusk and no protected anchorage, and you cannot land on them due to the mangroves. There was good snorkeling on the barrier reef but we took a local dive boat out to the reef, as there are no anchorages at the reef. The reef is the second longest barrier reef in the world. We stopped at Puerto Aventuras in Mexico, which was a good decision. It is a good place from which to explore the region and we drove to Tulum, a Mayan ruin, and swam with dolphins, which was a treat. We also took a ferry to Cozumel as there are no good anchorages along the west coast of the island, and the whole area close to the town is covered with tourists, huge cruise ships, and many local snorkel tour boats. In short, it is bedlam. We toured the island by taxi and got a feel of the tourist hype. It was a quick sail to Isla Mujeres off the coast from Cancun. This is where cruisers stop, as there is not a good place in Cancun itself or on the coast north. We rented a car on the mainland, which is a short ferry ride away, and explored Cancun and the Yucatan including Chichén Itzá, a very large Mayan ruin. Our tour of Isla Mujeres was by golf cart and the sculpture park at the south tip was interesting.

- Florida Keys, and the Eastern Florida coast- It is 350 miles to Key West from Isla Mujeres, going west of Cuba. I believe that it is not wise for an American boat to go to Cuba, so we skipped Cuba again. It was nice to get back to the States, but make sure every non-American has a B1/B2 visa, otherwise the Immigration people get very uptight and a person without one will be deported. We were in Key West at the time of the reenactment of the Conch Republic war. It was all great fun with the Coast Guard participating in boat-to-boat water fights and bread throwing and airplanes dropping toilet roll “bombs”. This event remembers the time when Customs blocked the only road to Key West so the local business people decided to create the Conch Republic, succeed from the USA, declare war on USA, immediately surrender and then ask for reparations. They did not get any money but Customs removed the roadblock. It is pleasant to sail in the inside passage up to Miami as it is protected, but you must stay inside the channel or it gets shallow. This time, I decided to skip a lot of the ports I stopped at before and selected only the ones I really liked. So we stopped at Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, St. Augustine, Hilton, Head, Charleston, and Beaufort, NC before getting to the Chesapeake Bay. I enjoy Fort Lauderdale because it is one of the three major boating centers on the East Coast. Also, it is a good place to get anything repaired or replaced, as everything for boats is available. Any mast height above 65 feet requires sailing in the Atlantic Ocean as that is the controlling clearance on fixed bridges over the ICW (Inter Costal Waterway). There is one stretch that is passable on the ICW, as all the bridges open, and that is between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. We did that stretch for a change of pace and because it is impressive to see the homes lining the ICW. We spent one night at the Boca Raton Resort marina, which was delightful. West Palm Beach and Palm Beach are interesting, with a lot activities. St. Augustine is a great little place with a lot of history. As we came into the harbor we found that there was a temporary lift bridge over the route to the marina, which was not on the chart. After several quick radio calls to the bridge operator, we found we could get under it with a little bit of clearance. It was nice to be back in the USA, and we really enjoyed all the ports along this coast.

- Chesapeake Bay and Long Island Sound- These are the two biggest and best protected cruising grounds on the East Coast. You could spend a whole season, or lifetime, in each. The distances are small, the marina and anchorages are numerous and Annapolis and Newport are major yachting centers. Each has it’s own advantages but I like Long Island Sound as it has cleaner, deeper water and you don’t have to motor up tributaries to find anchorages or marinas. Connecting these is New York Harbor, with the Statue of Liberty, and the East River. Motoring around Manhattan is breathtaking and not to be missed as it is so dramatic and so different from the norm. One especially enjoyable stop was in Mystic, CT at the Mystic Seaport Museum. You can tie up at the Museum, and be immediately immersed into the recreated whaling seaport of the 19th century.

- The coast of Maine- This was new territory for me, and it was an interesting and pleasant area to cruise. We visited eight ports and spent two weeks in Maine and had only one day of fog, which was good. The main detraction is the numerous lobster trap floats. Often they are no more than 10 feet apart, requiring constant steering to avoid them. Frequently, there are several routes to choose from, including going outside. But constant attention to navigation is required due to the many rocks and shallows. And of course, when the fog descends, accurate electronic charts are required. But the reward is pretty scenery and protected waters. Our northern most point was Mt. Desert Island and liked the ports there, including Bar Harbor, Northeast Harbor, and Southwest Harbor, all of which had a rustic feeling as Acadia National Park is on the island. We arrived at Bar Harbor on August 27, 2007. Camden is the quintessential Maine port, and Portland and Rockland were interesting towns to visit.

During the cruise there were sailing challenges like rapids, reefs, the Panama Canal, fog, tides, and fiords to keep us on our toes. Each of these requires advance preparation and planning to get through safely. The most important things required were accurate electronic charts and tide and current tables along with local weather information. The rough spots were the Gulf of Tehuantepec, at the southern end of Mexico; the Gulf of Papagayo, off Costa Rica; the Gulf of Panama; and crossing the Gulf Stream between Mexico and Key West.

The Gulfs are challenging because of the northerly winds, which funnel between the Gulf of Mexico to the north and the Pacific over the relatively narrow necks of land. The winds can come up suddenly due to air pressure differentials in the two oceans and can reach over 55 knots. We tried to time our passage of the Gulf of Tehuantepec but were off by about four hours. We used the “one foot on land” strategy by sailing close to the shore to minimize the wave heights, but, of course, it does not reduce the wind. The plan was to go north to the head of the Gulf and then turn to southeast following the shore. The wind, which was predicted at 25 knots, rose to over 45 knots. So we struggled into it for four hours before getting relief when we turned to the east and then southeast. In the Gulf of Papagayo, we had to stay off shore due to the configuration of the land, and again the wind exceeded 45 knots on our aft port quarter. It was rollicking ride for 24 hours, but Escapade handled it well. I was concerned about the Gulf of Panama as you have to go north to the Panama Canal but the weather god was on our side this time and we were able to motor into relatively light winds.

We kept to our timetable the whole trip and achieved all of our goals. The main goal was to have an experience of a lifetime, which was fulfilled in wonderful measure. So you don’t have to cross-oceans to have an adventure filled with a wide range of sailing conditions and experiences.


Northwest Passage chatter on


The ice charts are at:
Canadian Ice Service

This site does a good job tracking everyone who is going thru each year:
Oceans News Explorersweb - the pioneers checkpoint

The two key harbours are Cambridge bay 69 6N 105 3W and Gjoa Haven 68 37N 95 92W. You can get fuel and repairs both places.

The ice at the key choke (just before and after Gjoa) point breaks open very consistently around August 20th for a couple weeks. So you need to do all your planning aorund that date.

I was waiting to see if anyone else who has made the passage would chime in - there are quite a few folks around who had now done it. If you get really serious about doing it PM me and I can give you a couple contacts and e-mail addresses.

A typical E to W route would include Nuuk, Sisimiut, Upernarvik (all in Greenland), Beechey Island, Resolute, Gjoa Haven, Cambridge Bay, Tuktoyaktuk, Nome, Dutch Harbor.

The equipment needed is the normal cold weather cruising gear, except:
(1) HF/SSB radio does not work very well at those latitudes and you really need an iridium phone (or other sat phone system) to get the ice reports.
(2) A 10' pole with spike is very useful for pushing ice away from the bow.

I wrote a thread weeks ago about a Bavaria 44 that sails the Northwest Passage last 2009…

What I 'd like to suggest you now is to order the issue of the french nautical journal 'Voiles et Voiliers" from March 2010.

Even if you do not read french, it will be very interesting (IMHO) because you have 20 pages about the Passage with the names of the 48 sailboats (from Gjea (1903) to Bagan in 2009 who did it. You will have the names of the 15 boats who did it in in 2008/2009 , the names of the sailors (different nationalities, of course), etc. So that you can do a research with google and find their Blogs and get a lot of informations.

I give you the links with these french publication

Voiles et Voiliers…e_picture/6062

Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
I was waiting to see if anyone else who has made the passage would chime in - there are quite a few folks around who had now done it. If you get really serious about doing it PM me and I can give you a couple contacts and e-mail addresses.

A typical E to W route would include Nuuk, Sisimiut, Upernarvik (all in Greenland), Beechey Island, Resolute, Gjoa Haven, Cambridge Bay, Tuktoyaktuk, Nome, Dutch Harbor.

The equipment needed is the normal cold weather cruising gear, except:
(1) HF/SSB radio does not work very well at those latitudes and you really need an iridium phone (or other sat phone system) to get the ice reports.
(2) A 10' pole with spike is very useful for pushing ice away from the bow.

The westsail 42 fiona recently did the NW passage (last year).

A good read here.

Yacht Fiona North West Passage Cruise - Newsletter 1

Fiona Completes the Northwest Passage.

Check it out. Eric Forsyth and Fiona just arrived in Alaska. 39 sailing days, 3440nm.

Fiona News Network - Sailing Cruising Yacht

According to Tommy D Cook*, at least 8 ships are attempting the NorthWest Passage this summer.
➥ Arctic Solo Sail: Voyage through the northwest passage
➥ Arctic Solo Sail

Canadian Ice Service
Clinton Bolton
Nordhavn 57 (power)
Crew: 10
Northwest Passage Blog

David Scott Cowper
Polar Bound
Custom 48-foot trawler yacht (power)
Crew: 1
David Scott Cowper
David Scott Cowper - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cameron Dueck
Silent Sound
Amor 40 (sail)
Crew: 4

Eric Forsyth
Fiona (sail)
Crew: 2
Fiona News Network - Sailing Cruising Yacht

Mark Schrader
Ocean Watch
Custom 64-foot cutter (sail)
Crew: 4+
Around The Americas

Kevin Oliver and Tony Lancashire
NorseBoat 17.5? (open sail boat).
Crew: 2
2009 Arctic Mariner Expedition - The Northwest Passage in an Open Boat.

Philippe Poupon + family
Fleur Australe
Crew: 7 - Philippe Poupon (captain), Geraldine Danon (wife), Wolf (9), Nina (12), Laura (2), Marion (9 months), and Bety (dog)
Le blog de Fleur Australe
Gord May
~~_/)_~~ (Gord & Maggie - s/v"Southbound")
"If you didn't have time/$ to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

Custom Search CF ➥

 couple of guys did it in a hobie cat.

The Polar Passage Expedition

2006 adrian flanagan on his boat, barrabas, is attempting to get through right now.
go to the blog for the latest update.
he has had many setbacks in his goal for a 'verticle circumnavigation'.

The 57-foot George Buehler design is the first trawler
yacht to make the treacherous passage across the Canadian Arctic in a single season
Idlewild transits the Northwest Passage on Trawlers & Trawlering

PV, I had a partial interest in the Polar Passage expedition by Jeff MacInnis & Mike Beedell. The designer of their arctic clothing was Helmut Seipmann of Helm Designs. I still have my complete arctic outfit hand sewn by him. At the time the clothing was beyond state of the art. In fact I think he still owes me money!! *lol* I've been thinking of selling it on e-Bay cause after 20 yrs there's no way I'll fit into it again.

This is the extreme arctic jackets they wore. Multiple layers of Thinsulate. 100% Goretex outershell. Inner vest. Polyprop inner liner. You could get totally soaked in 32 deg water and drip dry in 5 mins in this clothing.
Lodesman, I was on the St. Roch II when it arrived in Prescott to meet the Govenor General. I'll post pics of that tomorrow as well.

I've been there a couple of times. First time I joined the Louis S. St-Laurent in Resolute and sailed back. Second time I joined the Louis in Iqualuit and we broke ice through the MacLure (sp) straight, first ship to do that. The arctic is an amazing place but no place for the faint of heart. There are no rescue or support facilities and the capable icebreakers are few and far between. You are truly on your own up there. The hydrography is sketchy and the ice can carry you aground as easily as crush your hull.
Yours Aye! Rick 

Originally Posted by Lodesman View Post
Not a private cruiser, but in 2000 the St Roch II re-traced the historic trek of the original St Roch, in just 100 days. The original took nearly 3 years. Not a huge boat, and certainly not an ice-breaker - guess global warming is good for something. St. Roch II Expedition

From today's 'Lectronic Latitude, come word of a successful passage completed last Sunday:

"The Northwest Passage Under Sail

September 12 - Nuussauq, Greenland
If this doesn't just take the cake. French sailors Sebastien Roubinet, Eric André, Boris Teisserenc and Anne-Lise Vacher-Morazzani arrived in Nuussuaq, Greenland on Sunday after a nearly four month transit of the fabled Northwest Passage."

For the full story, go to:

Latitude 38 - Northern California's Premier Sailing and Marine Magazine


Two Norwegian sailboats did it last August: The Cold Passage | 

The "Modern Viking" version of the two is downright embarrassing in my view, although some may find such personalities "fun/cool/daring/innovative" like a phenomenon discussed here before… 

This USCG history in connection with their own passage in 1957 is quite good: 

Article on territorial disputes and commercial shipping and environmental impact: Ice melts opening up Northwest Passage - Telegraph 

Nunavut Parks and Special Places

Map of Nunavut in North America

Nunavut's territorial parks, heritage rivers and special places offer numerous opportunities to explore, learn, be inspired, or simply to lay back and enjoy yourself. From feeling the sharp bite of ice on your face kicked up by enthusiastic sled dogs on the way to Qaummaarviit in the spring; watching in awe as the aurora borealis dances overhead in Ovayok where the sun disappears for days; following caribou and wolf tracks through the lush green valley of the Soper Heritage River; to tracing the route of Hearne, Back and Franklin on the Coppermine River to Kugluk/Bloody Falls Territorial Park. Get information here on each of our parks, and how to experience them your way.

COLREGs - Marine Rules of the Road

PDF file download:

Many other videos: