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Captain's journal

Five days!

15 September, 2012

These are five days, which will give us the answer for the question if we pass the Canadian straits and lock the Arctic circle. Or, sprinkling ashes upon our heads, we’ll have to go back to the Bering Strait or somewhere else, where it’s warm and no ice.

Ice forecasts, received from various sources, are controversial and indicate ice situation in the Victoria strait differently: ice consolidation along the route varies from 3-4 to 10 balls. We really hope that those charts with 3-4-ball consolidation don’t lie, and we’ll manage to “drag a camel through a needle hole”.


Perhaps, we shouldn’t have refused from attempts to pass Canada through the Parry Channel - it would be faster, 500-600 miles less. And again – there we could distinguish ourselves. But, from one hand, there wasn’t enough fuel and the prospective of wintering in ices without fuel didn’t delight us. From the other hand, all ice charts in one voice were confirming presence of ice of different concentration and thickness in those straits and, honestly speaking, we were already tired from ice. We just wished to have a relaxed passage through the Amundsen channel and open southern straits.


There’s a smell of coming winter in the air. In the morning the house is covered by ice crust; it’s cold, raw, and we have to hurry… So we are in a rush. Actually we try to “squeeze in a closing door”, and not the first time this year. Of course, fate has still been favorable to us, but is it worth continuing to try it?! I promise that we won’t tempt it anymore this year. Just give us a chance, dear, to pass those damn straits, - and I’m your debtor forever.


It has happened so that it has been tranquil sailing till the Bellot strait. The hardest are nights, really dark and autumn now, moreover – moonless. If at day we are able to see ice from distance and pass it safely, at night the only hope is for radar and the very same luck. Ice in the strait is heavy toros ice. Fortunately for us, there’re narrow passages, which give us chance to move forward. According to the pilot-book, there’s no time, when the Victoria Channel is free from ice. Only in the warmest years ice breaks and opens at the end of July. And new ice starts to form in the middle of September. As it was in the Chukchee Sea, we have found ourselves in the right place in the right time. After the Bellot strait we can’t lose the feeling that “the door has shut behind us” – most likely it is really like that. But there is no wish and energy to return and check.


Thus, the biggest part of straits is left behind. A short stop near the settlement Fort-Ross and further, to the Lancaster strait. That’s our last dash to the north, to 74˚ this year. After that we’ll head south, only south, to Greenland, dear to our hearts. We were a bit suspicious because of passing the Bellot strait on the 13th, but we didn’t have choice. We have to say that the channel is quite complicated for navigation: always ice, very strong swells, up to 8 knots, and also different dangers like sands and rocks. Despite the 13th, difficult navigation and black nights, we broke away into the Baffin Sea. From that moment only icebergs could stop us – in emergency case. And only storms could delay – at this time of the year in the Labrador Sea they rage 2-3 times a week


Excuse me, dear readers, for some confusion in my narration of those five days – I just learn to work in epistolary genre, to the best of my ability and possibility. In a word, as you understand right, the Canadian straits are left behind. There’s a long way to the south of Greenland in front of us: again through the rough Labrador Sea with icebergs, storms and dark nights. It’s very cold here and we want to finish our polar epic without breakages and emergencies, of course. And here an idea emerges – would be nice to check it out. As you remember, characters of the novel “Around the world in 80 days” by Jules Verne had driven, sailed, ridden aback the globe in those very 80 days.


Nowadays many aspire to improve that record this way or another: to drive, to swim, to run – all in all, to advance somehow around the Earth, to cross the whole 24 time belts. The same is in yachting: there’re enthusiasts, who strive to improve the achievement on different types of yachts. Sure, we are not able to race with trimarans, fast as wind, but in a class of mono-hull ships we can fairly count for another record for our long-lasting expedition, in case we’ll pass the rest of way in the nearest 8-10 days. If only we wouldn’t run into an iceberg at night and storms wouldn’t obstruct us. We don’t take short views but have to aspire.

 

25 October, 2012
Leaving these shores a year ago, we had a slight idea about what we’ll encounter, how hard it will be and at some times - almost impossible to accomplish what we had conceived.
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Sergei Nizovtsev
Life way of a human implies constant overcoming not only of external obstacles, but ageing forms of his own mind too, in order to resurrect on a higher level. This is the way of a human to maturity. THE Captain of the yacht "Scorpius" and leader of the first Russian-UKRAINIAN SAILING POLAR EXPEDITION Sergei Nizovtsev. Graduated Moscow State University of International Relations (MGIMO). Yachtsman. Qualified Yacht Master Ocean. Routes of his journeys – extremal sea tracks. Honoured Polar Explorer. Numerous times had been in Arctic and at the North Pole with skydiving and diving expeditions.
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The crew of “Scorpius”, depending on route, consists of 7-10 persons. Many of them have already had invaluable experience, necessary for this adventurous sailing. In front of others lays a hard way from novice to “sea wolf”.
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