ICEBEAR Offshore // Heading South Again

22 Aug

'19.07.10_Morning Upwind_2500.jpg

I’m writing from the little ‘stuga’ in Åland, sat in a grey living room chair with my feet propped up on the coffee table and the laptop, well, in my lap. The cabin belongs to Mia’s best friend Johanna’s dad, and is situated on a lovely little peninsula amongst pine trees and moss-covered forest, overlooking a small inlet which eventually, after myriad twists and turns, leads out to sea and into the Baltic.

We’ve got a lot of history here. Åland was the first place I visited outside of Sweden, when I first came to Sweden in 2007. We celebrated ...

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The Crux of the Matter, I

20 Aug

Aug 16th
Underway from Graham Harbor

All day the sea birds are flying the other way. They are headed out of the ice maze, out into Lancaster, back into Baffin and south. Winter migration has begun. All the while, Mo pushes further into the heart of it.

Last evening’s ice charts show improved conditions. Above Bellot, the ice is about 3/10ths for long stretches, but below there’s still a tongue of 7/10ths above Tasmania Islands.

And then there’s the difference between the report and actual. Alioth is a day ahead of Mo by now, and Vincent reports, “We just ...

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20 Aug

August 19, 2019
1845 local
70 32S  97 27W
Larsen Sound
The Arctic

Just a quick note to report that Mo is through the ice and sailing fast on a N wind for Cambridge Bay, 235 miles SW. 

I have been pushing to get to Alioth’s position for two days. She has a busted gear box and can’t make more than three knots under power. She has been hove to at the head of our last major ice plug waiting for an escort as she’d have to sail through, a tricky business. 

We’ve all been sweating bullets over this last ...

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While Mo and Randall navigate we’ll give you a quick update.

19 Aug

Hello fabulous followers of the Figure 8 Voyage.

If you’ve been following the voyage you’ll know that Mo and Randall are currently navigating a pretty tricky portion of the North West Passage. Like you, we’re all holding our breath here a little. Randall won’t be posting today as we want him watching for bergs and navigating so you’re going to hear from us.

Couple of quick updates:


If you’d like to watch an interview Randall made with another adventurer Greg Horner. Taken while Randall was up in St. John’s Newfoundland take a look below.


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Peel Sound, With Trepidation

18 Aug

August 16, 2019

Days at Sea: 262
Days Since Departure: 320

Noon Position: 74 20N  90 54W 
Course(t)/Speed(kts): WxS 6.5
Wind(t/tws): –
Sea(t/ft): –
Sky/10ths Cover: Clear 0 
Bar(mb): 1015, steady
On-deck Temp(f): 57
Cabin Temp(f): 68
Water Temp(f): 35 (note water temp is steadily dropping.)
Relative Humidity(%): 36
Magnetic Variation: -25./3

Sail: Under power with double reefed main as steadying sail 

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 45 from Graham
Miles since departure: 33,948

Miles to Gjoa Haven: 590

In bed by 11pm. Alarm set for 4am. Awake by 3am, wide-eyed. Underway for Peel Sound.

Over the last few ...

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Dundas Harbor to Graham Harbor

17 Aug

August 15, 2019

Days at Sea: 261
Days Since Departure: 319

Noon Position: 74 27N  85 02W
Course(t)/Speed(kts): W 6.5
Wind(t/tws): 0
Sea(t/ft): 0
Sky/10ths Cover: Clear/0 
Bar(mb): 1014, steady
On-deck Temp(f): 60
Cabin Temp(f): 63
Water Temp(f): 38
Relative Humidity(%): 43
Magnetic Variation: -34.4

Sail: Motoring under double reefed main

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 42 since departing Dundas
Miles since departure: 33,850

Anchor down Dundas Harbor by 9:30pm after a brisk, glorious beam reach across Lancaster. What joy, to sail! Mo makes a frothy eight knots while passing alabaster mountains, great bergs pushing their way up the sound. ...

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U.S. Navy destroyers without physical throttles?

17 Aug


Touchscreen throttles on US Navy Destroyer John S McCain
Section of NTSB report explaining touchscreen throttles used on USS John S McCain

Touchscreens work well for many tasks at a boat helm (and elsewhere), I think, but a touchscreen throttle never even occurred to me until I read about the Navy “reverting to physical throttles” on warships like the USS John S McCain. Holy cow! Why the heck did we deprive destroyer drivers of the excellent (electronic) control interface known as a throttle lever, and why is Wired magazine mispresenting the “reversion”?

Helm of USS Dewey with only the throttles seen on screen
Helm of USS Dewey (DDG-105) with the only throttles seen on screen

I’d be very ...

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Tay Bay to Impatience

16 Aug

Aug 14, 2014
Tay Bay

“Travel in the Arctic takes great patience and great determination,” said Tony Gooch in a recent note. Presuming those two qualities are applied at different moments of a journey, then it’s patience I need now. I itch to be moving. There are still so many miles. 

But Lancaster Sound blows a gale today. So, at calm and quiet Tay we stay. 

We are at the back of the pack now. One boat, Inook, is already S of Bellot Strait; my friends on yellow-hulled Breskell are in Peel Sound with Altego and Morgane and maybe others. ...

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To Tay Bay – Repost with Images

15 Aug

Yes -it’s the same one. But this time with photos.

Aug 11, 2019
From Tay Bay
Bylot Island
73 29 6N  80 45 5W

Departed Hatt Trick Harbor at 9am after a few more surveys of depths in the arms. I wanted to explore the mountains, the back country, to sit on the bluff and watch the snowy peaks on Bylot change colors as the sun circled. But that’s for another adventure. 

Next stop, Tay Bay, sixty miles up Navy Board Inlet.

For a time we sailed on E winds. And then we motor-sailed on W winds. But mostly Mo ...

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Hatt-Trick Harbor – Repost with Images

15 Aug

August 10, 2019

Yes -it’s the same one. But this time with photos.

Soon after departing Pond Inlet, Alioth and Mo become separated. Alioth is a sleek vessel with a lifting keel and a waterline length greater than Mo’s overall, which is to say she’s a knot faster without trying. And too, our agendas differ. Vincent wishes to sight the Narwals said to frequent the opening of Milne Inlet, and so for the night targets a cove on the back side of Ragged Island. I am more attracted to a little-explored bay just S and E of Cape Hatt. 

Wind ...

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