Friday, September 2, 2016

On the NW Passage

We’ve been on a little trip through the Northwest Passage from west to east on a boat. It has been amazing.

Stopped at Dutch Harbor and saw the fishing and crab boats and then off to Nome Alaska. Got a picture of ourselves in full on Thunder apparel for use at future Thunder game to hopefully get on the big screen.

Left Nome and then passed near the Diomede Islands. The small one, close to our passing, is US territory while the one 2.4 miles further west is Russian. This is the one place in the world where the two ‘super powers’ of the cold war can see each other. The international date line passes between so the US island is sometimes referred to as yesterday and the Russian island is called Tomorrow.  

As we passed it was in full on gale winds gusting to 71 miles per hour for a while. The boat was really rocking. Beth and I ran up to the top of the boat, which was probably not real safe, and took a poor quality selfie (not included) of ourselves with the islands in the background. 

Several more days sailing and two more stops in Canada and small villages where we were welcomed by the locals. Have sat in briefings and lectures on the Inuit, ice, climate change, whales, geology of the area, numerous lectures on the history of the NW Passage and its search, Canada sovereignty in the area and other topics. Lots of fascinating material. The boat has about 20 scientists and explorers on board who are doing all these lectures, who are on deck pointing out sights and who are around on the boat all day long. Several have joined us for dinner.

The boat stopped near some drift ice and we got on zodiacs to get close. Saw a polar bear on the ice and was able to get within about 200 yards of it.  We were near lots of year one drift ice. Later than day we saw probably 10 more polar bears as we headed east through Victoria Straight. We’ve been collecting some amazing pictures that others were able to get with telephoto lenses.

We passed through the narrowest passage on our journey through the Bellot Straight where the narrowest part is about 1 mile wide. We believe we are on the largest ship to ever pass through this passage.

Afterwards, the boat spotted large icebergs from Greenland ahead 20-30 miles and we went nearby. Amazing.

At our farthest point north on the trip, we were at Crocker Bay and saw a large glacier flow into the ocean.  We got out in zodiac boats and were able to get up close, but not too close.

And finally a bonus bear pic taken by one of our fellow passengers with a telephoto lens.

Global warming is real. It is affecting eco-systems, communities, people and animals. Change is happening.


  1. That is an awesome polar bear picture! Yes, sadly, we learned when we visited Glacier 2 years ago that many of these sights will be gone in 20-30 years!

  2. Awesome Polar bear photo!! :)

    Hi Mark :)