7th of September, by Meret and Dario:
Here a summary:
“Congratulation on officially finishing Northwest Passage by crossing Arctic Circle of lat. 66d33’N southbound and closing the transit. You have started on Aug. 5, 2016 by crossing Arctic Circle in Chukchi Sea. That’s 34 days. You are also the first sail boat to make modified route 7 of Northwest Passage ever. Many hugs and Cheers, Victor”
We are the first sailing boat to sail the Northwest Passage going through Fury and Hecla Strait into Hudson Bay taking the shortest path, covering 3076nm in 34 days. Technically the distance would be shorter, but we had to tack against the wind from time to time.
We used all kinds of sail: from the genaker sail in light winds to the storm sail in a steady 50 knots blow.
Our autopilot stopped working in Nome Alaska, so we had to helm through the NWP exposed to the weather and cold. We hope we get a refurbished one in Newfoundland.
We were challenged by sea ice only at Cape Barrow and the Fury&Hecla Strait. It is a totally different environment than to Sir Franklin’s time.
We used 700l of fresh water since we were able to get water last time in Nome, Alaska.34 days with 10 people on board, that makes 2.0l per person per day for drinking, cooking and washing up. We also used one liter of diesel per day and person mainly for heating and maneuvers in anchorages. This was possible, because we used mainly sea water for all the washing up and put extra layers of clothing on to keep warm.
We did most of our food provisioning in Hawaii, 2.5 months ago. Here a little overview of the fresh food we still have on board:
– 1 basil plant (with us since San Diego & alive due to its prime spot in the crew’s heads) – 4 lemons
– 10 limes
– 1 orange (these fruits all survived due to being wrapped in aluminum) – 2 apples
– 2 cabbages (kept in the dark so they keep long)
– 1 coconut
We met 1200 students in the Arctic with our TOPtoTOP program to inspire young people for sport and the environment. On the way we collected impacts of climate change, good climate solutions and data for the IPRC and the ASC.
We have many new friends in the Arctic, who adopted us in their families.
8 month old Mia might be the youngest sailor to transit the Nordwest Passage?!
We saw a total of 11 polar bears. The closest was 10 m from the boat. We saw a lot of wildlife, manly belugas, gray whales, bowhead whales and different seals, such as ring seals and birds from guillemots to Arctic terns to fulmars to jaegers to name but a select few.
We are the 1st Swiss sailing boat to do the Northwest Passage from West to East.
We crossed the Arctic Circle in the Chukchi Sea at N066.33 W168.21 going North on the 5th of August 2016 and crossed it again going South on the 7th of September 2016 at N66.33 W079.28.
Since our last major stop in Hawaii, we did 6376nm, which took us 80 days, 61 of those days were at sea. The other 19 days we spent on land, mainly to visit schools in remote villages in the Arctic.
Our most southerly point so far this year was 18S on the crossing from Mexico to Hawaii. Our most Northerly point was at Fort Ross at 72N.
So far ,we covered 10’000nm in about 5 months in 2016.
A goodbye in all its Arctic glory:
We were a few nautical miles from the end of the NW Passage, the Arctic circle at N66.33. It had been a windy day and that was going to be the highlight. But the Arctic night had a different idea, it had one last present for us. “As if the Arctic hadn’t given us enough over the past few months.” Sabine says afterwards.
It was 10pm, watch changeover. The stars were out, it was the first clear night in a long time. Cornelia was just explaining everything, when I saw a weird cloud. I looked back a few seconds later and it had completely changed shape and was moving. “NORTHERN LIGHTS! Everyone northern lights! Salina, Andri wake up!!” Within minutes everyone was on deck, it was the first time most of us were seeing northern lights. For almost an hour we stood there mesmerized, watching the green lights swirl across the stary night sky. Sometimes they moved so fast and were so intense the edges turned pink or even purple. “It almost seems like a dream, such a magical spectacle.” Sabine said as all of us looked up at the sky directly above Pachamama. As Andri stood there looking up, he whispered to me: “I think this may be the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”
Dark clouds once again covered the sky, as we crossed the Arctic circle a little later with big smiles on our faces. We had made it! Congratulations to Pachamama and all her crew!
A big thank you to all family, friends and supporters. Special thanks to Victor, Jan, Rob, Steven, Peter, Gabi and our main supporter Victorinox.
Picture taken after a safety drill.