Dario reports on the 8.8.2016 @ N71.27 W154.36:

We are just E of Cape Barrow. It snows and there is fog and there are shallows and ice. Attached ice chart from NOAA shows the limits of the pack ice.
Luckily we made a bow protection in Nome in case we crash into ice. So we attached it and we will see if it does the job?

Cape Barrow is the most Northern point of Alaska. Coming from the West into the Northwest Passage has the advantage, that Cape Barrow is normally much earlier ice free than the East entrance. Like that, you make it through the passage early enough to avoid autumn storms going South exiting the passage.

Tough, this year it is just the opposite: The pack ice at Cape Barrow was blocking for weeks. Not because of colder temperatures- the ice retreated in the Arctic to new records this summer – more because frequent Northerly winds shifted the ice against the coast, where Southerlies would open a passage between the coast and the ice.

For us, this Northerly winds needed a lot of tacking since Nome, so much more work. That’s why we were super happy we made it. But now we have to speed up, so that we got out before storms, darker nights and colder temperatures…