After the solo crossings of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, paddling and then by kiteboat and the two attempted kayak crossings of the Northwest passage, I’ve decided to attempt a solo and totally autonomous crossing of this mythical route, during the summer of 2017.
This journey of an impressive scale, but minimalist by its means can be attempted only during the brief Arctic summer,that is from June to September, when the ice-melt temporarily opens a route between the Beaufort Sea and the detroit of Lancaster. It requires very careful preparation as well as planning beyond any possible error. Regardless, the travel is hazardous as only the vagaries of the ice and unstable weather conditions determine the pace and route to be followed for weeks on end.
Upon leaving Tuktoyaktuk, a small Inuit village on the shores of the Beaufort Sea, in Canada’s Northwest territories, the 3500 kilometre route (2000 nautical miles) is, first and foremost an ambitious expedition, leaving no margin to the slightest error. It can be fatal. One must take advantage of every opportunity, analyse carefully any weather change and accept the unforeseen which occur invariably in this world of perpetual movement.
Beyond the “sport” aspect, this odyssey remains a human adventure which ebbs and flows between fascination and disappointment, peace of mind and perils. This contact with nature in all its disproportion demands considerably of the mind and aims at new targets for oneself.
A JOURNEY THROUGH TIME
The Northwest passage is a mythical route for mariners, adventurers and explorers. To link the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans has claimed its share of tragedies. In 1845, no one survived the Franklin expedition. Only in 1903, did Amundsen tackle this incredible undertaking and succeeded three years later, after two winterings. I hope to succeed cutting a route before the oceans iceover, knowing that the in previous years, the ice melted less, especially since 2007 and started closing in during the first days of September. I’ll have to, definitely adapt myself to the conditions.
A SCIENTIFIC APPROACH
Just above the water and the ice on a small prototype that will not endanger or disturb the environment, I’ll enjoy a spot reserved for privileged observers to watch the plankton bloom, when these organisms are freed from ice. The observations should be of the utmost importance as they are carried out in a totally unsullied biotope. The observations that were carried out so far are very few in the isolated regions as they are difficult to reach most of the year.