Adrian Flanagan witnesses remote landscapes on his 'vertical' circumnavigation 01/08/07

British Yachtsman Adrian Flanagan, aboard his sloop Barrabas, plans to become the first person to sail single-handed ‘vertically’ around the world. His voyage has taking him into the Arctic Ocean and along Russia’s Northern Sea Route, where he has taken time to reflect on his remote surroundings:

“After sailing over 350 miles in following winds, fuel reserves are up and engine running time down. Staying close inshore following the designated shipping lanes, the land of this remote wilderness scrolls slowly by. Soft hills that slide gently to the sea, treeless and brown, mottled in places with snow – white flags that testify to this place’s surrender to the bitter winter cold.

“Stagnant falls of rock and scree are witness to a previous glacial age. Often my vista is obscured by sea mist, which can develop and settle in minutes blocking the sun. Yesterday, I passed close to a group of islands, the Ostrova Medvezh’i. I was two miles off Pushkovha Island sitting dough-like on a flat and shimmering sea (see left). The sea mist came with a low-pressure front. It has an icy look to it. I knew the land would be gone within minutes. The depression laid a mantle of thick cloud over this small part of the earth’s apex. The light dimmed to grey. The sea became slate. Winds shifted to the northwest and built. We’ve been pushing into this, fighting wind and current for 24 hours striking two precious miles off our track every hour.”

1st Aug 0001 UCT – Position 71.10.7 N 160.04.8 E