6th October by Dario:
Last night and today we are still crossing the Gulf of St. Lawrence and getting into Cabo Strait. There is a Strong Wind Warning, means good progress for us with a push of a South setting current.
Our children do home schooling with Christina and music lessons with Sabine. Sabine did another delicious meal with the cod fish we got from Lenard in Cook Harbor, Newfoundland.
Two thinks are remarkable:
First, air- and sea temperatures are getting warmer by the hour. We probably get out of the influence of the cold Labrador current and closer to the Gulf Stream. Scientists predict that Climate Change may change the Gulf Stream in the future. Imagine the impact for Northern Europe in a scenario where they get the climate of Labrador situated at the same latitude.
At the moment we watch carefully what Hurricane Matthew and Nicole is doing. Climatologists predict that hurricanes are getting more frequent and more violent, when our planet gets warmer, means more energy is captured in our atmosphere.
This is another reason for us to hopefully arrive tomorrow in Baddeck, where we find best shelter, kind of more inland, for whatsoever weather is coming in the next days.
Second, we notice that we are back in civilization. Suddenly there is so much more traffic, while we are crossing the shipping lines from the Atlantic to the Great Lakes. It feels wired, like you come from another planet with no regulations and no limits into a place where all is regulated or obligatory. The freedom of the Arctic is unique thanks to its remoteness.
But its freedom is very much in danger. The ice is melting fast, opening an attractive sea way as an alternative to the Panama Channel in the very near future.
But the price would be high for the fragile arctic environment and the small Inuit communities along the NWP. The survival of their culture depends very much on an intact natural environment. In our complex civilized world aboriginal cultures will become very important for our own survival. They are masters in survival based on sustainability and the wisdom of the importance of a profound relationship with nature, Mother Earth, in Inca language called Pachamama.
In September 2016 the ice in Fury&Hecla strait melted enough, so that the TOPtoTOP expedition sailboat Pachamama became the first boat transiting the NWP using the shortest route possible between the Northern metropolitans on the Pacific- and Atlantic side. This shorter and faster shipping route from Europe/US E-coast to China, will change the Arctic. With our sailing transit using the wind and solar most efficiently, we like to wake awareness about the alarming state of the ice melting.
In our crossing, we recognized already now two major impacts:
First, the “gold rush” already started to explore and claim the best sites for mining and for gas- and oil exploration. The faster the ice melt, the more opportunities opens for multinational companies. With less ice, the exploration and mining costs are dropping and their profits explode. The money flows in the shareholders pockets somewhere far away in warmer climates, ironically used also to pay the increasing costs for air conditioning. The few local jobs generated by these companies are taken mainly by specialized workers from outside the Arctic and are temporary anyway till the site is exploit.
Second, the cruise ship industry recovers the Artic. In September 2016 the first big luxury cruise ship with 1070 people on board escorted by an ice breaker made it in 32 days through the NWP from Anchorage, Alaska to New York.
Inuits in Cambridge Bay we met before the Cristal Serenity arrived, expressed their reservations having their small community overrun with hundreds of camera-clicking cruise-ship passengers who are known not spending their money in the tiny hamlets. Why to spend money on land when the organizer offers a variety of restaurants, casino, cinema, a spa, a driving range, two tennis courts, an outdoor lap pool and a shopping arcade with several shops on board, regards to an article in Meclean’s Magazin.
Polar bears are the main tourist attraction. Helicopters and Zodiacs are launched from the cruise ship to circle the sometimes swimming bears. Pictures are taken and the crew is ready to shoot them if they come to close and the wealthy tourists get too nervous. Polar bears have other problems then that. They struggle already enough to get food because of the missing ice to hunt seals and have to swim huge distances.
A penthouse suite for two people with veranda costs US 155 000 on the Cristal Serenity, excursions not included. It would be interesting to know how many thousands of tons of fossil fuel they burn to run the cruise ship, helicopters, zodiacs, the ice breaker and to fly in the 655 crew and 1070 passengers? Did Cristal Cruises offset their CO2 emissions? If not, we are more than happy to bring them in contact with our partner NGO “myclimate”.
It is time to get CO2 emissions under control to stop global warming and safe the Arctic and that means after all our wonderful planet earth. We have to change to make a change!
Best high resolution pictures: