Heading East

Published on 21.07.2010 - The Northern Passage 2010

After a technical halt of a few days in order to put the finishing touches to the preparations, Borge Ousland and his crew have set out again towards the great North-East Passage adventure.

The week’s halt in Kirkenes was devoted to making final preparations for the great voyage. "Preparation means fine-tuning equipment, checking every inch and every feature of our boat, and preparing ourselves", writes Borge. "There is also paper work to be done: visas for entering Russia, health certificates for everyone, and a host of other documents.

"Yesterday was a good day. We tested the large drag anchor, which is launched from the bow of the boat and almost stops it completely in the water. That can be used when we encounter extremely poor weather, or wish to stay stationary and get some sleep. Afterwards we pulled our trimaran up on to the shore. The system of ropes and pulleys that we had made worked perfectly, and made it easy to haul the boat up on to a sandy beach just outside Kirkenes. We should be able to use this method in the Arctic, to pull the boat on to the ice – and it’s a relief that it worked so well. ..."

As Borge has worked as an oil industry diver in the past and as he still practises deep-sea diving today, he couldn’t resist the invitation that the local diving club gave him to go to tease so many giant crabs in this water to the north of Norway. Borge : "In the clear, cold sub-Arctic waters I picked up several large red king crabs (Paralithodes camtschaticus). Also called the Kamchatca crab, this species was introduced into the Barents Sea by the Russians – since then it has spread rapidly, like a pest. Every ten metres I could spot a new huge crab. They do, however, taste delicious, and dinner at the Johansen family was of course as much crab one could eat!"

21 July was the day of the second big departure. This time, heading East and for the neighbouring Russian waters. The first big leg: Murmansk.

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