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Saturday August 16, 2014 (74o 44’No 91.47’W): Erebus and Terror Bay,

Path to Resolute (Not taken)
(90% ice blocked the path to Resolute)

We have now spent a week in Erebus and Terror Bay, hiking the surrounding hills, and waiting for access to the remote outpost of Resolute, described in the Yachtsmen Routing Guide NWP2  (by Victor Wejer, Toronto, Canada, Jan. 2014, ) as:

“Resolute Bay 74o41’N / 94o52.4’W – Barrow Str. Poor holding available for smaller vessels in open bay. Deeper vessels in open roadstead. Can be swamped with ice no notice. Advisable to enter on western side, for depth. Fuel and water from village. Airport.”

Erebus and Terror Bay is on the southwest corner of Devon Island and Resolute is on Cornwallis Island separated by Wellington Channel which runs north to south, dumping a steady stream of ice into Barrow Strait. Despite its poor reputation as an anchorage, Resolute is our nearest resupply point for food and fuel. It is also the nearest airport connection to the outside the world. 

Crew member Dave Johanson teaches high school math and needs to be back by the first day of classes, on the 27th of August. We have been hoping he would be able to travel with us as far as Cambridge Bay, or Gjoa Harbour, but that requires Franklin Strait to the south to be open. Unfortunately,  Franklin Strait is still 90 percent clogged with ice.   With Cambridge Bay, Gjoa Harbour, and Resolute inaccessible,  the remaining options for getting Dave to an airport in time are few. If the ice conditions around  Resolute  haven’t improved significantly according to the latest ice charts, we will head 175 miles to Arctic Bay, back to the southeast via Lancaster Sound and down Admiralty Sound, to Arctic Bay.

“Arctic Bay 73 01 N 85 07 W Excellent holding. Fuel, water from village. Airport.”

Geographically, Arctic Bay is a step backwards, but it offers several advantages over Resolute. The first is simply that it is immediately accessible via two days of sailing. Lancaster Sound and Admiralty Channel are both virtually free of ice. And, unlike Resolute, Arctic Bay is a secure harbor without the threat of having to leave due to being swamped with ice, providing the opportunity to stay and enjoy the amenities of civilization while waiting for the ice to the south to decide what it is going to do this year. Last report, the yachts Gjoa, Arctic Tern, Catheryn, and Revenge2 are doing just that.

One way or the other, Dave will be back at Oceanside High School East in time for the first day of classes.