Through the Bering Straits and across the Arctic Circle

Published on 06.07.2009 - Arctic Calling

The French sloop Baloum Gwen continues to sail gently eastwards and the expedition has just entered the famous Northwest Passage.

On 29th June, the crew of Baloum Gwen left the port of Nomé and headed for the Bering Straits. There are two small islands in the Straits, Little Diomede and Big Diomede, situated approximately midway between Siberia and Alaska. In Russia, these two islands are better known as the "Gvozdev Islands". The island on the Alaska side belongs to the United States, while the other is part of Russia. Although they wanted to, the members of the crew who disembarked on Little Diomede didn't dare venture into the Russian sector because two foreigners, including an Italian, languished for two weeks in a Russian gaol after entering this forbidden territory without a visa. The International Date Line also runs between the two islands. On 1st July, Baloum Gwen anchored just off the coast of Little Diomede (the island does not have a port); the following day, after a brief excursion on the island, the yacht resumed its route to the north.

On 5th July, after crossing the Arctic Circle safely on 30th June, Baloum Gwen arrived at Wainright, a small Inuit village with a population of some 400. From now on, the crew will have to contend with drifting ice and less pleasant temperatures. And whenever they go ashore, their hosts are likely to be inquisitive walruses.

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