For 500 years the North West Passage has maintained its place in the minds of seafarers and historians as an iconic, enigmatic, unpredictable and – potentially – an extremely dangerous maritime route.
And even when a route through the North West Passage was discovered, there was no guarantee of a safe passage for subsequent attempts – a fact that remains as true today as when, in 1845, Sir John Franklyn ‘joined the gap’ between previous east and westbound attempts, before he and his two ships disappeared with the loss of all hands. To this day less than 300 boats have successfully made it through this constantly changing maize of islands and floating ice, that can one day appear benign and welcoming, before closing its icy grip around one the next.
So it was not without a degree of trepidation that we accepted a once-in-a-lifetime invitation to join an explorer yacht on its eastbound attempt to transit the infamous North West Passage. Not surprisingly, the trip was quite extraordinary, full of drama, excitement, wonder, and a degree of danger. But thanks to meticulous planning, risk management, and an exceptional crew, we made it – adding the yachts name to a rollcall of successful attempts that remains shy of 300.
We hope you enjoy the story and, as our account of the voyage unfolds, we would welcome enquiries from anyone interested in joining such a voyage in the future.
More to follow . . . .