Ice forces global adventurer Adrian Flanagan to take drastic steps on global expedition 3/9/07
Forty-six-year-old Adrian Flanagan who resumed his Alpha Global Expedition to sail solo round the world on the ‘vertical’ route in mid July has come to a standstill. Flanagan left the port of Nome and reached Provideniya in Russia on Sunday 22 July. But the ice on the north-eastern side of the Tyrmyr peninsular is now blocking the eastern approaches to Proliv Vil’kitskogo which means he has had to revert to Plan B – to have Barrabas hoisted onto the deck of an ice-breaker and be transported to the western side of Proliv Vil’kitskogo.
Here’s Flanagan’s latest log?
West Marine Operations has advised me that there is a 60 per cent chance of southerly winds clearing the ice which is currently stuck fast to the north-eastern side of the Tyrmyr peninsular and blocking the eastern approaches to Proliv Vil’kitskogo.
Unofficially, my chances of making it through under my own power are put at 40 per cent. I am less optimistic.
The knub of ice in the northen Laptev Sea which is causing the obstruction is over 200 miles wide. Only a strong and persistent south-west wind is going to clear it. The temperature at my position has plummeted in recent days. I woke up this morning to find Ostrov Preobrazheniya coated in a dusting of frost.? Hail and snow have been falling steadily all day. The re-freeze could begin any time.
Where I am at the moment is analogous to being at Everest’s Camp 5, just below the summit, waiting for the weather to clear to make the summit push. The ice is at 70 per cent cover. For a small yacht it is, at present an impenetrable obstacle. It might just as well be a mountain range. So, in discussion with Louise [shore manager], we have decided to investigate Plan B. That is, to have Barrabas hoisted onto the deck of an ice-breaker and be transported to the western side of Proliv Vil’kitskogo, to the west of longitude 95 degrees east.
This would put me clear of the ice and drift. I would have open water to make Murmansk and then the UK. But time is not on my side. With the re-freeze imminent, there is much need for haste. These proposals will be put to the Murmansk Shipping Company which operates the western Arctic’s fleet of ice-breakers. As to the integrity of the voyage of the Alpha Global Expedition, I am happy with this solution. It is afterall little different to yachts making transits of the Panama and Suez canals – they are effectively being carried through what would otherwise be impenetrable land masses.