Alex is receiving current weather reports so our daily calls are no longer critical. We will cut back. (Satellite phone time is very expensive)
The ice bergs on the ice maps are just the really big ones. These monsters leave a flotsam trail of smaller ice bergs that are still impressive. For every triangle on the map, I can only guess to the number of smaller ones. Its a lot.
Few will realize what the Berri just did. The NW passage has been crossed by only a small hand full of small boats. 25 according to Gary Ramos of the Arctic Wonderer. It includes Amundson's Gjoa and the RCMP schooner St. Roch. Bockstoce, my brother and I went through in an umiak (32' open skin boat) in the late 70s and later my mother went through in style in Bockstoce's Belvedere. (She was the first woman to go W to E)
(During the umiak passage 3 of our crew were killed in unrelated off trip accidents and one went insane). Most boats survive whither they make the passage or not, though they do get beat up really badly, or left behind? The coast guard does patrol for supple ships and frequently make rescues. Berri got through without a scratch...not out of the woods yet- knock on wood, cross fingers.
I have gotten many calls from different adventures wanting to make the NW crossing or the Bering Strait crossing. For most I strongly advise them to stay away. We have to risk our lives to save theirs and we don't like it. One has to have the correct mind set. This is not an adventure, it's a dangerous trip to the unprepared glorie seeker, oh- trust me... some are so unprepared. A perfect crossing will have no story to tell at the end. No problems. No issues. No disasters. All ice openings are taken advantage of. The weather is not an issue. It makes a really boring book. The exciting stories are about what they see and who they meet. Arctic explorer, Vilhjalmur Stefansson used to say "adventure is a sign of incompetence".
Alex is one of the most unassuming and competent I have ever seen. It was a privilege to be a part of his effort.
I am off the Germany for a week, with no email. I can't wait to see the blog on my return.
Good luck and Gods speed.
PS. This is my second attempt to post. I hope it does not post twice.