Where Ancestors Have Gone Before

Published on 13.08.2010 - The Northern Passage 2010

Map of their progression

Map of their progression

© IPF (International Polar Foundation)

Borge and his two shipmates have just crossed 90 degrees longitude East.They’re sailing along the Tamir coast and are going to encounter places that some of their famous predecessors have made legendary.

The last days of sailing have been especially marked by truly unfavourable weather conditions. Indeed, since 8 August, either the trimaran has been blocked because of zero or too little wind, or it has had to cope with headwinds. Extracts from the expedition report : “A strong high-pressure zone is still covering Taymyr -and for the second day we have hardly any wind. That’s rather frustrating. The “Northern Passage” is sailing along at a meagre 1-2 knots. To make matters worse, what little wind there is is blowing right in our faces, forcing us to tack east then north, east and north, to make any progress whatsoever. ..."

90° Degrees Longitude East

Another striking fact of the voyage: the expeditionaries have just crossed the line of the 90 degrees longitude East. Extracts from the logbook : "We have now reached 90 degrees longitude. It is amusing to note that this is the same longitude as Bangkok, Thailand -although I can assure you it is not as warm here. At the moment our thermometer indicates a single degree above zero, but it’s nice and sunny. There is still a high-pressure zone in the area, which dampens the activity of the wind. We are still tacking back and forth to make progress along the vast coast of the Taymyr Peninsula."

Legendary Places

Lastly, there is the discovery of the maps and, inevitably, some legendary places that have been walked upon by famous explorers or marked by a page of history. Belucha Island, for example, was the theatre of a memorable drama when a German submarine sank a Russian ship in 1942; each vessel that passes by there has to blow its foghorn in memory of the brave Russian sailors who lost their lives in that shipwreck. There is also Cape Chelyuskin (named after a famous Russian explorer), which furthermore marks the limit of what is commonly called Eurasia, or the Nordenskjöld Archipelago, named after another famous polar explorer - Norwegian, this time.

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