Our first video release from our four month epic! We’ve entered it into the Local is Lekker Film Competition which runs alongside the Reelrock tour. We’ll release the full 40 minute feature online once we’ve completed our presentations for the Mountain Club of South Africa.
Come support us if you can! We’ll post dates here shortly.
(Update via Sat Phone)
Yeehah! Today we passed through the Beiring Straight, thus finishing the North West Passage (by all accounts). We’re holding off on celebrations though until we hit the port of Nome tonight (watch out Nome!) As a side note, the town of Nome received its name from a cartographer who miscopied the lable “Name?” that a previous map-maker had scrawled on an early chart..
The last 24 hours aboard Dodo’s Delight have been eventful. It started out with a resounding whack to the stern of the boat. Andrew, who was at the helm at the time got an unexpected splash over him, felt the whack to the boat, and looked out just in time to see a whale swimming away. Ouch, and sorry whale. Dodo’s Delight seems to have come through okay, allthough Bob did go out on deck to check the life raft.
Yesterday, after 84 days in the Arctic, we crossed southwards over the Arctic Circle line (66.6 degrees North). No palm trees or cocktail drinks yet though – instead we were greeted with strong tail winds, miserable rain and generally stormy weather. Yesterday the winds were strong enough to tear a giant hole in our main sail (about 2 metres across). Luckily, the rip was low down so the sail can still be used with two reefs. At one point the storm nearly pushed us all the way into tomorrow as we skirted the international date line that runs through the Beiring Strait.
Our #3 sail also jammed and was flapping around, so we removed it and stowed it in Dave’s cabin. Things are getting a little tight in there!
As mentioned, we are now on the final stretch and should make it into Nome tonight. (The final tin of rice pudding has been set as a prize for the person who correctly estimates our ETA) Here we will check into Alaska, and will attempt to winter Dodo’s Delight.
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Yesterday morning we passed Point Barrow, the Northern-most point of Alaska. By some definitions, it marks the end of the North-West Passage and in this case it provided a good excuse for celebrations aboard the fair S/V Dodo’s Delight.
Of course the gods of the Arctic ocean don’t give up too easily. Although after a week the passage from Tuktoyaktuk to Nome is well underway, we’ve encountered several days of strong headwinds, rough seas and generally uncomfortable sailing. On a good day we can make 120 Nautical miles and more, but on bad days we’ve recorded less than a quarter of that. Yuk! Right now we’ve just survived a night running on bare poles (no sails) with a 40 knot wind pushing us along at 6 knots. Everything is wet!
For the time being we’re affected by a strong low pressure that is predicted to continue giving us 30-40 knot winds from astern, and we’re holding thumbs, stroking rabbits feet and donning lucky underwear to ensure that it won’t shift in front of us.
The nights are getting longer, and this week we were lucky to get a patch of clear sky where we could see the famous Aurora Borealis – some might say a ‘high light’ of the trip. It looked a bit like the Milky way, although tinged green and slowly undulating. Combined with the luminescent jellys in the water, it was quite an ethereal moment.
Wish us luck!
A timelapse of Dave (and Clinton in the background) setting up our portaledges on day 7 on Impossible Wall. The ledge is the Cliff Cabana from Black Diamond.
Congratulations Andrew for his feature in SA Mountain. Almost forgot that we climbed something on the trip it’s been so long!
Here is an excerpt of the article from their website
Below me are 29 pitches of free climbing on a new route on the so-called ‘Impossible Wall’ in Greenland. We are on day nine of our push up the wall. Above lies a wet, mossy chimney capped by a large wet roof. Dave Glass and Clinton Martinengo are hauling below – we have packed our portaledges for a final push to the summit. Steve Bradshaw had put it really nicely as I started the lead, ‘This one’s for the team, Andrew.’
I shuffle my way up the mossy wetness, trying to stick the foot smears, and struggling to stick hand jams in a perfect-sized crack. The roof gets closer, and I see a wet traverse under it leading to the left. It will involve underclings on wet rock to exit onto a small grassy ledge. I cannot see it, but I know that the ledge will home a nesting seagull, ready to protect its young with warm fish puke aimed at my face (at this point virtually all of our gear reeks of semi-digested tuna). Read more...
COVER IMAGE: Steve on the upper flake pitch belayed by Dave. Photo Andrew Porter
INSET IMAGE: Andrew in his element on the offwidth pitch. Photo Clinton Martinengo
Welcome to the Dodo’s Delight, our very special home base for the last few months.
The boat is 10m in length and sleeps 5 comfortably (well, fairly comfortably). We have a lot of climbing junk that is stashed in the forepeak next to Dave’s berth. Several months of food is stored in big lockers below the beds.
We have both solar and wind power, although on most occasions the engine is needed to give the batteries a good charge. We have three separate GPS plotters (all with slightly different roles and charts) and a few portable spares.
The stove is gimballed so you can cook in rough seas and runs on propane fed from a tank at the aft of the boat. It has a nice grill for toasting sandwiches along with a convection oven to bake bread. Clean water feeds from a tank at the fore, although we use bottles which we refill to keep track of stores. Washing up and some cooking is done with sea water to conserve our fresh supply.
In short, the Dodo is a well-worn but sturdy little vessel that packs some charm for its size. Perfect for a little adventure.
We have been privileged to base ourselves out of the Hunters B&B while here in Tuk this week. It’s nothing short of an oasis compared to the hotels and guesthouses we’ve been through over the last few months so we’d like to give them a quick bit of promotion.
So, if you’re looking for a remote spot on the northern coastline of Canada look them up. (The manager Patsy can be reached at email@example.com)
Beach bonfire made from the endless driftwood brought in by the Mackensie river
Tuk is a cute little town at the end of the Mackensie river. Local attractions include fishing and hunting, ice caves (used for refrigerated storage), beach bonfires and hiking trails on the tundra.
At present there is an airport and a winter ice-road that connect to the rest of Canada (featured in Ice Truckers), but there is also a year-round highway project underway that should be ready in about five years time.