July 6, 2013

The Arctic Joule Races Towards the Beaufort Sea

I first met Kevin Vallely in a rather unusual location for both of us. The British Ambassador's residence in Oslo! We were both holding a small glass of red wine, and started talking about Arctic sea ice. We agreed it was disappearing quickly, and Kevin assured me that he "wasn't crazy enough to try and walk to the North Pole" this year. He did however explain to me a bit more about his plan to row through the Northwest Passage, which he had earlier explained to the delegates attending the Economist Arctic Summit. He assured me that he and three companions would attempt to row through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago in "the last world first!". They were planning to start on July 1st 2013, rowing in teams of two for 24 hours a day, for about 75 days.

Slightly later than planned back in March, that no doubt arduous and dangerous journey has now started. You can follow the progress of Kevin and his companions on the expedition web site and/or on their Facebook page. Here's how their first day on the water has progressed so far:

The MainStream Last First Expedition's position at lunchtime on Day 1 (UK time)

The MainStream Last First Expedition's position at lunchtime on Day 1 (UK time)

Note that currently they are racing at a considerable rate of knots down one branch of the Mackenzie River delta, and have reached the big bend where it turns Northeast for the first time. At this rate it looks as though they'll be in the Beaufort Sea before their first day is over.

The main sponsor of the expedition is Mainstream Renewable Power. As you can see from this video of the team in training, their watercraft (christened the Arctic Joule)  is duly plastered in solar panels which charge up their batteries during the (very long!) Arctic day:

Aerial footage from Mainstream Last First on Vimeo.

According to their initial press release:

Four modern-day explorers from Vancouver will attempt a world first by rowing the 3,000 km Northwest Passage in a specially commissioned boat by human power alone in a single season..a feat only possible now due to the melting ice in the Arctic. Global wind and solar company Mainstream Renewable Power is sponsoring the expedition to bring awareness to the profound effects climate change is having on the environment.

Here at econnexus.org.uk we'll be following their progress with much interest over the next three months, looking at how they're getting along with the raising of awareness as well as with the rowing. We'll also be taking a good look at the state of the ice they will be navigating amongst. In the meantime here's a map showing the Arctic Joule's position in real time:

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Comments on The Arctic Joule Races Towards the Beaufort Sea »

July 7, 2013

Jim Jim @ 6:13 am

After a so far unexplained gap in communications, the Arctic Joule eventually reported that it was well into the Beaufort Sea by 00:45 UTC this morning.

July 8, 2013

Jim Jim @ 8:30 am

After more long gaps in transmissions, their GPS suggests that 9 hours ago the Arctic Joule crew were on (or very close to) dry land at 69.3892 N, 133.37218 W

Reggie, sponsored by Brawndo @ 12:25 pm

The second dumbest man on the internet, Steven Goddard, is once again in a state of WAR (wingnut alternative reality) against facts.

Today he is once again showing a photo of ice he claims is trapping the rowers. What is wrong with the photo you ask? The ice he claims is trapping the rowers is actually located almost 200km from the rowers current location

Back in the reality based universe, Environment Canada is reporting strong headwinds today with gust in excess of 35kmh, and is forecasting north east winds tomorrows of 40kmh gusting to 60kmh.

Jim Jim @ 1:52 pm

That struck me as being the likeliest explanation too Reggie.

I now note the Wunderground historical weather reports for Tuktoyaktuk seem to default to Inuvik instead. Do you know anywhere that keeps historical records for that bit of coast? I expect it's a bit breezier there!

Reggie, sponsored by Brawndo @ 2:57 pm

Jim Jim @ 3:34 pm

Thanks Reggie. I can't help but think that rowing into a headwind gusting up to 46 km/h is not a totally trivial task.

July 9, 2013

Jim Jim @ 8:33 am

Headwinds or not, the Arctic Joule reported in the small hours (UTC) that it had covered half the remaining distance to Tuktoyaktuk, and reached 69.39767 N, 133.17516 W. A safe harbour?

Storm bound in the cabin!

Steve Goddard @ 1:32 pm

The ice blockage is right where the rowers need to be now in order to have any chance of completing their trip. It is July 9 and they haven't even made it into the Beaufort Sea yet.

James Anderson @ 1:43 pm

I hope you guys have an ice breaker with you.

Les Johnson @ 2:20 pm

They are in normal winds for this time of the year. Winds are usually gusting at 30-60 km through the summer, from the North east. This should come as no surprise. Even looking at Google, you can see the sand bars all run to the south west.

A pity that Reggie did not take my bet. Medicine San Frontiere would have benefited.

Jim Jim @ 9:59 pm

With all due respect Steve, they made it into the Beaufort Sea a couple of days ago.

We'll have to wait and see what progress they make against the "normal winds" and the "ice blockage". As of now their GPS reports that they've reached 69.40611 N, 133.11739 W

July 10, 2013

Reggie, sponsored by Brawndo @ 2:14 am

Jim, don't go confusing Steven Goddard, the second dumbest man on the internet, with things like facts. In the reality based universe, the rowers left the delta a couple days ago, but in his wingnut alternate reality, they are trapped by ice in the delta.

Did you know that in Goddard's bizzaro world, it snows dry ice in Antarctica, and Venus is hot because of atmospheric pressure? And just to prove to you he is definitely a wing-nut, Steve is a rabid birther suffering from a severe case of ODS.

Here is a photo that definitely shows they are no longer in the delta and certainly not trapped by ice.

Les Johnson @ 7:05 am

That's not a storm either, is it reggie?

They may had made it into the Beaufort, but they are still in the delta. They need to get past Tuk to get out of the Mackenzie delta.

Jim Jim @ 8:36 am

Lets's not debate how many angels can dance on the head of a pin Les.

The Arctic Joule's location is available (from time to time!) via GPS above. Weather history for Tuk is available here. The weather forecast for Tuk is available here. Clouds permitting, a historical view of the sea ice near Tuk is available here. The sea ice forecast (for the Arctic as a whole) is available here.

Do you by any chance have a link to a map showing that the Mackenzie River stops at Tuk?

Les Johnson @ 9:34 am

Not sure what you are on about. The rowers still have delta to the east, NE, west and NW of their position. They are still in the delta.


Tuk is on the eastern bank of the most eastern delta channel.

Not sure of why you posted that other information.

Jim Jim @ 10:21 am

Thanks for the interesting link Les. Here's a quote from it:

TUKTOYAKTUK, northeast of the delta (my emphasis), is the transfer point for river and ocean cargo; its harbour is open from July to late September.

Here's why I posted some of "That other information":

The Arctic Joule enters the Beaufort Sea

Note the link at bottom right if you wish to "Report a map error" to Google.

Les Johnson @ 11:32 am

Yes. I said that you needed to get past Tuk to get past the delta. I also said that its on the eastern bank of the eastern channel, which would put Tuk, at best, on the north eastern edge of the delta.

That screen shot shows the rowers SW of Tuk, still in the eastern channel.

If Tuk is NE of the delta, and the rowers are SW, that puts them still in the delta.

Whats your point?

Reggie, sponsored by Brawndo @ 2:13 pm

Pingo Canadian Landmark is in the geological structure called the Beaufort-Mackenzie Basin. For at least the last 100 million years, this area has received sediments from the Richardson Mountains and other more or less extinct landforms around the Mackenzie River. The bedrock in the Tuktoyaktuk area formed from these sediments and is made up of both sandstone and shale. The youngest bedrock is the so-called Beaufort Formation, which contains a range of material from gravel-sized particles to clay.
Above the bedrock lie thick deposits of sand, capped by mixed sediments left by the last glacial advance. The sands form two layers. The lower layer is a grey, well-sorted, medium-grained deposit – called the Kidluit Formation – which was probably deposited in a broad alluvial plain. Above these Kidluit sands is a brown, fine-grained layer called the Kittigazuit Formation. This formation is thought to be the deposits of a large delta, but also includes sand that was blown around in the cold, dry climate leading up to the last glaciation. These sands are exposed at Peninsula Point, where Kilutqusiaq Pingo has been cut and eroded by the ocean. They also underlie the massive icy beds found in the area.

Above the sand layers is mixed sediment, called glacial till, which is a direct remnant of the last ice sheet to cover the region. The massive ice at Peninsula Point formed between the Kittigazuit sands and the glacial till. The top of the massive ice lies between one and ten metres below the ground surface.

Reggie, sponsored by Brawndo @ 2:18 pm

On a lighter note, the low information bloggers at Goddard's science fiction blog are referring to the Pingo National Landmark, where the rowers are currently taking refuge from the wind, as being a "bird sanctuary" Not one of the so called sceptics has pointed out the error.

Reggie, sponsored by Brawndo @ 2:56 pm

Wind storm – A storm marked by high wind with little or no precipitation

I imagine gale force winds qualify as being a wind storm


Les Johnson @ 2:57 pm

Reggie: Really? I did a search of Goddards site, and I can find no reference to "pingo", "sanctuary" or "bird" that relates to the rowers. You got an URL?

Les Johnson @ 5:32 pm

Reggie: 30 knots is hardly a windstorm, especially in the arctic. At best, they had a fresh gale (35 knots) for a few hours.

Going by the pictures? I have seen bigger waves in a pond. Literally.

And the smoke from their fire does not suggest much more than a gentle breeze.

But, they better get used to it. The wind usually blows in the arctic, and it will be in their face the entire way.

July 11, 2013

Les Johnson @ 9:57 am

And they are still in the delta. Forecast is for snow today.

Light winds yesterday and today. If they are not moving, its because they are worried about the ice being blown in with that wind.

Jim Jim @ 10:27 am

They're not "still in the delta" Les. They had left "the delta" by the early hours of July 7th. See my Google map above.

Their GPS does however suggest they're still stuck in what they describe as "semi-protected channels on the lee side of a series of sand beaches".

Here's another one of their recent snaps of the Arctic Joule, with the Pingo National Landmark in the background:

The Arctic Joule, pictured somewhere south-west of Tuk

Les Johnson @ 10:53 am

If they are not at Tuk, they are still in the eastern channel. If they are in the eastern channel, they are still in the delta.

Jim Jim @ 11:23 am

How many angels do you have up your sleeves Les?

Here's an official map of Beaufort Sea oil and gas prospects, including migratory bird sanctuaries. Please note that our intrepid adventurers have already passed through one of several Marine Protected Areas.

Les Johnson @ 11:42 am

An oil and gas map actually proves my point. Most deltas have oil and gas under them, as they have good permeability sands, and the weight of sediment causes faulting, which gives a flow path for oil and gas, to these sands.

Note that the licenses for exploration extend right to Tuk. And north and east of Tuk.

You seem to be under the misconception that the channel is not part of the delta. A delta is composed of both the sediments, and the channels that deposited those sediments.

Tuk is on the eastern bank of the eastern channel.

The rowers are still in the delta.

Les Johnson @ 11:48 am

Not sure what bird sanctuaries and Marine Protected Areas have to do with this discussion. Those are wholly political designations.

That should be "sediments", not "settlements" in the last post. I am pretty sure I don't like the autocorrect feature.

[I fixed that for you – Jim]

Les Johnson @ 12:07 pm

ahh, I get it. You think that a delta is the demarcation between land and sea. Its actually the interface, but not the boundary. Thats why I said in an earlier post, that while they are in the Beaufort, they are still in the delta. A delta can extend for 10s of km into the body of water, under the surface. The delta is determined by the sediments, the channels, and the distributary network bewteen the channels.

The BREA map you gave, is also purely political. Note that Inuvik and Aklavik, both on the river, are included in the BREA.

The rowers are still in the delta, and will be until they get past Tuk.

Les Johnson @ 12:21 pm

From this site, and they say exactly what I have said:


Tuktoyaktuk Landmarks
Visitors to Tuktoyaktuk, at the mouth of the East Channel of the Mackenzie Delta,

Les Johnson @ 12:39 pm

The NWT government also agrees with my geological assesment.

Tuk is set on the edge of the Mackenzie Delta on Canada's Arctic coast.


Jim Jim @ 4:34 pm

Blimey Les. You've been busy. Five angels!

So it seems you prefer a "geological" definition, whereas Google prefer a "political" definition? Who's right? That's a rhetorical question by the way! Feel free to report Google's error to them (see above), and let us know what they say.

In the meantime a reminder for you of the topics under discussion in this thread:

How [the crew of The Arctic Joule] are getting along with the raising of awareness as well as with the rowing. Also the state of the ice they will be navigating amongst.

July 12, 2013

Les Johnson @ 6:54 am

I was discussing how the crew is getting along. They have not yet left the delta, and have travelled less than 100 km since shoving off in Inuvik.

Jim Jim @ 9:08 am

Whilst Google insist they entered the Beaufort Sea on the 7th. At least we can agree they're going nowhere fast just the moment!

How about checking out how the Babouchka's attempt to sail across the North Pole is going instead? At least she's making progress of a sort.

Les Johnson @ 9:24 am

Jim: you are still confusing that the delta is NOT part of the Beaufort. The delta is part of the Beaufort. The rowers reached the Beaufort July 7, but they are still in the delta. I said this in one of my very first posts.

And Babouchka has made even less progress than the rowers, at 88 km.

Interesting concept though, using an ice cat.

Jim Jim @ 10:55 am

Les – No I'm not. I agree they are in the delta using your definition. Hence my prior link to a "geological" map. Using a "political" map they left "Mackenzie Delta" many days ago. We agree they were in the Beaufort Sea by the 7th, so let's move on. The Arctic Joule has now managed to do that!

Are you a betting man? Will the Babouchka reach Svalbard before the Arctic Joule reaches Pond Inlet? How much sea ice will they each travel across on their respective journeys, and how much water?

Les Johnson @ 11:13 am

Tuk is on the edge of the delta. They have not reached Tuk yet. And your use of a geological map was unintentional. You were hoping the political demarcations proved your point. The geology proved my point, however.

The Weather has been benign yesterday and today, with a wind at their backs. That means they are waiting on ice, but are reluctant to say so.

I am a betting man. I am willing to bet 1000 dollars that neither the ice cat nor the rowers reaches their destinations this year. Money from the loser to Medicin San Frontiere.

Jim Jim @ 11:34 am

Les – Please don't lecture me about the reasons why I type what I type.

You're on for that bet, as long as you agree that in the (unlikely?) event that you lose the money goes to Shelterbox. See the "Charity" link top right.

By the way, the correct spelling is "Médecins Sans Frontières"

Les Johnson @ 11:54 am

Yes, my spelling in French is terrible. As is my spelling in Farsi, Croatian and Yoruba, and of course English.

Thanks for pointing that out.

You are on. 1000 USD to Shelterbox, from the loser. I am declared the loser if either make their finish destination, via their intended mode of transport. (being towed by another boat or carried by helicopter is not the intended mode)

You are declared the loser if both teams do not make the destination by start of freeze up.

Jim Jim @ 12:10 pm

Hang on a minute Les. You originally stated "this year", not "start of freeze up"! Obviously we need to get this straight from the outset, since both teams' "intended mode of transport" involves some travelling over ice.

Starting to get cold feet?

Les Johnson @ 1:23 pm

Not at all. I will go to year end.

But if they are not there by freeze up, they won't make it at all.

Jim Jim @ 4:08 pm

OK – It's just that if it does end up being a close run thing "start of freeze up" is much harder to tie down than "year end".

Les Johnson @ 5:10 pm

Year is OK by me, but freeze up is quite easy to determine, down to the day. You can see it quite clearly, one or two weeks after it occurs, in any of the ice databases.

July 13, 2013

Jim Jim @ 12:01 pm

The Arctic Joule has left Tuktoyaktuk behind, and their GPS is reporting occasionally as well! This morning it reveals that the team have reached 69.53694 N, 133.01581 W.

Hopefully we can all now agree that the Mackenzie delta has been left behind too, whilst the Canadian Arctic Archipelago beckons far off into the distance:

Satellite image from the Mackenzie delta to the Amundsen Gulf, on July 10th 2013

Nasa Worldview image from the Mackenzie delta to the Amundsen Gulf, on July 10th 2013

Les Johnson @ 12:56 pm

Yes, finally out of the delta. Only 3000 km more.

July 15, 2013

Les Johnson @ 11:13 am

The good news? Babouchka is making good speed. It is travelling at nearly 8 km/hour.

The bad news? Its going in almost the exact opposite direction it needs to, to get across the pole to Svalsbard.

Reggie, sponsored by Brawndo @ 8:03 pm

Photo from Hcnry Stccn's Facebook page taken offshore of Tuk during the Canada Day holiday weekend showing the waters full of ice. (not)

Jim Jim @ 11:04 pm

Les – Please would you direct Babouchka specific comments to the appropriate thread.

August 4, 2013

Rob @ 6:36 pm

I just found this site a couple days ago. Looked like they were making good headway for awhile there but now I see they have reversed course and then made quite a number of course changes. It's almost like they are lost in fog. Do you know what's happening? Hope all is well with them.

August 5, 2013

Jim Jim @ 2:11 pm

Hi Rob,

I see what you mean. After leaving Paulatuk they reversed direction for some unexplained reason. They've blogged about navigating in poor visibility using GPS, so it seems unlikely that's the reason, and there's now hardly any sea ice in the vicinity either.

Whatever the reason for that diversion, they now seem to be making good progress again towards Cape Lyon.

Rob @ 4:54 pm

Yes, I seen that a few hours after I posted my message. Good to see them back on track.

August 18, 2013

Les Johnson @ 7:54 pm

This site is also tracking the Joule, and is calculating arrival in Ponds Inlet.

Right now, it looks to be late October.


Reggie @ 10:27 pm

@Les Johnson
Is it really appropriate to post a link to one of Goddard's climate denial minions?

August 19, 2013

Les Johnson @ 10:16 am

reggie: as its germane to the topic, yes, its appropiate.

But really? Minions?

Jim Jim @ 2:05 pm

It does at least admit to "occasional bits of science fiction" Reggie!

This site is also calculating their arrival in Pond Inlet, albeit in a slightly less sophisticated fashion:


Do you suppose the Arctic Joule might be able to make it by mid October? Winds, currents and ice permitting!

Still ice free last year by that time, from a distance at least.

Les Johnson @ 3:03 pm

That was last year. This year still has ice in the route of the Joule.


As temps are below freezing, and have been below average all summer, its unlikely that much more melting will occur.


Jim Jim @ 6:26 pm

I'll allow that your previous link was germane Les, but please do me a favour. Now you are merely regurgitating irrelevant Goddardisms. Did you even bother following my link?

1. What on Earth have air temperatures above 80 degrees north got to do with water temperatures below 75 degrees north? The air at Pond Inlet is currently at +6.7°C BTW.

2. Any significant quantities of ice that were on the route of the Arctic Joule have already melted. The question is will any of it have returned by the time they get to the last third of their journey, if they get to the last third of their journey!

Reggie @ 10:09 pm

They may be able to make decent progress along the south coast of Victoria Island, But once they round the corner and start heading north, currents and headwinds are going to make it an almost impossible task.
They are going to be fortunate if they can make it to Fort Ross in the remaining time before the ice returns.

Babouchka has an excellent chance successfully completing its journey. The closer they get to the end of their trip, the more open the water will be, well at least until the big freeze. If things keep up the way they've been going, they will be looking at mostly open water from the pole to their end point. They have sailed over 1700m, well past the halfway point.

August 20, 2013

Les Johnson @ 8:26 am

Jim: Right now, temps north of 80 don't mean much. It will though, when the freeze starts, as the ice will be much closer to 75 deg than if temps north of 80 were warmer. It will also probably mean that the freeze will start sooner, shortening the time they have.

Yes, I followed your links. Your AMSR link still shows ice in the path of the Joule, between Somerset and Prince of Wales Island. Other data sources show ice even further south.

Not sure why you accused me of Goddardisms.

Les Johnson @ 8:42 am

reggie: I agree. Joule will do well to get 1/2 way to Pond Inlet.

Babouchka has actually only travelled about 950 km towards its destination. Thay started at 73.1 deg N, and are at 80 deg now.

Based on the progress so far (they have travelled 950 km in 44 days), it would take them 112 days to finish.

The cold north of 80 is already affecting them.

They still have the best chance of getting to their goal, though.

Jim Jim @ 10:49 am

Les – We're agreed then! Click your DMI link and it now shows "temps north of 80" pretty much back to "average". What does that prove, and how do you justify your "probably"? Whilst you dig out the relevant stats, why don't we look at something slightly more meaningful in the current context, such as DMI's chart of sea surface temperature anomalies?

The Arctic Joule's intended route doesn't go between Somerset and Prince of Wales Islands. They planned on cutting through Bellot Strait instead. Hence Reggie's reference to Fort Ross. You will note that much of their route currently has sea temperatures well above "normal", including the Fort Ross and Pond Inlet areas. Whether they get that far remains to be seen of course. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as always.

Les Johnson @ 11:13 am

DMI still shows temps below normal, and below freezing, north of 80. Its been below normal the entire summer, which should speed the re-freeze, with less heat to shed.

Ice is not currently the Joule's problem. The Joules windage is the problem now. In 3-4 weeks, ice will start to be the problem.

August 23, 2013

Les Johnson @ 10:07 am

The Joule is giving up. Once they get to Cambridge Bay, 550 km away, they will end the attempt.


Jim Jim @ 1:19 pm

That's not quite what they say Les. To be precise, Paul Gleeson admits that:

We will not make it to Pond Inlet

but goes on to say that:

As I write, we are 550 km from Cambridge Bay, which is only our halfway mark, and it could be the end of August before we get there. If so, this is where our expedition will finish.

According to my "as the crow flies" calculations they are currently racing along the coast of Victoria Island and are now a mere 150 km from Cambridge Bay. It's now clear they won't make their first objective. How do you reckon they've been doing with their second?

To draw attention to the topic of climate change.

Les Johnson @ 2:56 pm

The second objective is ad hoc. And not part of the bet.

Les Johnson @ 3:41 pm

The fact that they cannot reach the first objective, speaks volumes of the navigability of the North West Passage….which was the point of the exercise….

Jim Jim @ 5:58 pm

The second objective was stated from the start, and mentioned in my original post. It's no part of the bet though, so I guess discussion of that side of things should revert to the Babouchka thread.

The outcome for the Arctic Joule doesn't speak volumes about the navigability of the Northwest Passage in general however. Lots of other types of watercraft are attempting some or all of it this year, including 19 that have officially registered to do so.

August 24, 2013

Reggie @ 2:04 am

Jim I left a direct message for you at twitter. Please keep this prank offline for now, but feel free to share it with others by email. The more clicks it receives now, the stronger it will be against attempts to alter the results of the search terms by the "victim".
There is another one I am working on for Willard Watts. I am taking suggestions if you have anything funny.

Les Johnson @ 8:25 am

Jim: there has been navigation of the NWP for over 100 years.

The Joule was attempting to show that, due to global warming, even a row boat could do it.

They can't. While the reason they can't is poor design and planning, it does not help raise awareness when the stated goal is unattainable. And that they were blocked by ice, or the threat of ice in the early portion of the journey.

As for raising awareness? They have less than 200 signatures. A high school student on a Saturday afternoon in front of Tesco's could do that.

The group also censors any actual discussion of global warming on their website. And its dedicated to raising awareness on the issue?

Jim Jim @ 12:02 pm


There has been navigation of the NWP for over 100 years.

Not by dozens of vessels per annum of a variety of shapes and sizes there hasn't. The Gjøa took three years, not three months.

As for raising awareness? They have less than 200 signatures.

They've also generated a fair few column inches, even here in the UK!

The group also censors any actual discussion of global warming on their website.

There is no facility on their website for discussion. Last time I visited their Facebook page they'd removed some abusive messages. Today there's a message saying:

In an effort to tone down some of the "heat" on this page I would ask that, going forward, any posts do not include a link to any other content online unless it's to the http://mainstreamlastfirst.com/ website.

I posted a link anyway, since someone's currently peddling nonsense over there:

Ice is building up quickly between their last tracked position and Cambridge Bay

That just ain't so!

Les Johnson @ 1:28 pm

They banned me from the Facebook page, and I did not use abusive language.

As for news coverage? The average reader would take away that there is ice in the arctic, and that its cold, and that it is not yet possible to row the NWP.

Reggie @ 2:02 pm

Troll Central has been pushing the meme that the ice season is over and there is ice growing along the North West Passage.I believe thay are basing it on this…

There is some kind of shadow effect that creates ice along coasts that are ice free. The Great Lakes appear to have 100 percent ice along its shores.
There was a significant number of visitors from THE SECOND DUMBEST MAN ON THE INTERNET'S BLOG Watt's blog polluting many threads.
Les, they wanted the Facebook page to be about the rowers but trolls made that impossible.

Reggie @ 3:04 pm

oops. I need to correct a sentence from my comment above…

There was a significant number of visitors from THE SECOND DUMBEST MAN ON THE INTERNET'S BLOG, polluting many threads at facebook.

Les Johnson @ 4:50 pm

Reggie: If they don't want to discuss climate change, then they should not state "pulling together for climate change", plus other references to AGW.

Its not about the rowers. It was about the rowers attempting to demonstrate that AGW has made rowing the NWP possible. Which demonstrably, is not yet possible.

August 27, 2013

Jim Jim @ 11:51 am

Les – All my words (and links and images) of wisdom over on Facebook got deleted. Now Keith DeHavelle (op. cit.) has started prattling on about non existent ice. C'est la vie if you "want to discuss climate change"!

Regarding the impossibility of rowing the NWP, Rêve de Glace and Charles Hedrich currently still seem to be going strong. Charles does have some ice to contend with though. He's only just reached Tuk!

August 29, 2013

Les Johnson @ 10:56 am

Not really. Reve de Glace is also in Cambridge. They are also not rowers, but kayakers. Several thousand years of eskimo use has proven this craft in the arctic.

Hedrich will not make it to even Cambridge Bay this year.

The NWP is currently not rowable.

August 30, 2013

Les Johnson @ 6:19 am

And, it seems that all the attempts this year will not make it without an ice breaker. Sailing, rowing or under power, all are trapped or have turned back.


Jim Jim @ 11:56 am

That's not entirely true Les. Perhaps not surprisingly since your link rather gives the game away with their opening sentence! I quote:

The Northwest Passage after decades of so-called global warming has a dramatic 60% more Arctic ice this year than at the same time last year.

In fact David Scott Cowper in Polar Bound recently made it past Cape Bathurst heading east without the assistance of an icebreaker


Whether he can make it out of one the eastern exits remains to be seen! We'll also have to wait and see whether ice and/or an icebreaker are at hand when the variety of vessels heading west get to Cape Bathurst. There is something of a storm heading for the Amundsen Gulf at the moment, which might stir things up a bit in that vicinity.

Getting back to the Arctic Joule, you seem to want to have your cake and eat it. Was having the wrong tool for the job the reason for their early exit, or was it the adverse weather conditions?

September 2, 2013

Les Johnson @ 4:34 am

To answer your question, both poor design/planning and adverse weather.

Gives the game away? The are a sailing web site.

Its also demonstrable that ice extent is about 60% higher now, than the same day last year.

The fact that there are about 22 vessels trapped by the ice, at both ends of the NWP, indicates this data to be correct.

Jim Jim @ 8:47 am

"So called global warming"?

The article didn't mention the word "extent", and provided no evidence for the "60% higher" either. I studied physics many moons ago, and perhaps because of that I assume the "amount" of a solid to mean its mass. Can you demonstrate that ice mass and/or volume is 60% higher than the same day last year?

It seems David Scott Cowper has now reached Bellot Strait. He managed to get into "the trap" through all that ice without assistance. As I said, it remains to be seen whether he can get out of it without assistance too.

Les Johnson @ 1:56 pm

This site shows about 50% more ice than last year.


This site shows about 60% increase over last year. Actually, almost 100%, as last years minimum was just over 3 million sq km ice area, and this year it is still over 6 million.

Look for:

Monthly Sea Ice Area in the Arctic from merged SMMR and SSMI Data (NORSEX algorithm), Copyright: NERSC and NIERSC


Or go to the bottom and download the data.

Jim Jim @ 2:13 pm

Strangely enough I'm familiar with the sources you cite Les. They make no mention of "mass" or "volume" or "Northwest Passage". In what way do you suppose that they are relevant to the current discussion?

Les Johnson @ 4:03 pm

I never said 'mass' or 'volume', you did. I only said 'extent'. It matters not the ice thickness in regards to transit of the NWP via boats. Any ice is dangerous to conventional craft, regardless of the thickness.

I never said "NWP" in relation to ice, only 'arctic'. As relates to the NWP, if you recall, I said that ice would not hamper the Joule for '3-4 weeks', just last week. I was wrong. Ice has closed the NWP early this year. Though I did say that the cold summer and the YoY ice extent increase would mean ice would become a problem. It just happened earlier than I thought.

Jim Jim @ 5:31 pm

I never said you said those things Les. The article you linked to said, and I quote once again:

The Northwest Passage after decades of so-called global warming has a dramatic 60% more Arctic ice this year than at the same time last year.

Repeating myself yet again, I said:

Can you demonstrate that ice mass and/or volume is 60% higher than the same day last year?

Can I take it that your answer to that question is "No"?

September 3, 2013

Les Johnson @ 1:13 am

The arctic ice extent is 60% higher than last year at this time. I never said the mass/volume. The site you quoted never specified 'volume' or 'extent' or 'area'. The site in question only said '60%', which is probably referring to extent.

Only you said 'volume'. Or 'mass'. Now who is choreographing angels on a pin?

i would suggest you contact that site for a clarification.

And you owe ShleterBox $1000.

Jim Jim @ 9:24 am

Morning Les,

I agree with you that ice extent in the Northwest passage is relevant to a discussion about the Arctic Joule. Your first link was to a graph of ice area in the Central Arctic Basin. What's the relevance? Your other link was to graphs (and somewhat outdated data) of Arctic wide area and extent. What's the relevance?

Despite what he wrote in the article you linked to I suspect Doug was actually thinking of Arctic wide numbers, which is why I asked my question about mass/volume. You haven't answered it.

I just posted a comment on Doug's blog about his inaccurate reporting of the Babouchka story. Let's see if he approves it before I ask him any more difficult questions?

The word is ShelterBox.

Jim Jim @ 1:58 pm

Who'd have thunk it?

Doug now says "Errors in RFI reporting above have been removed or corrected" but he still hasn't approved my comment. I guess I shouldn't have included a link to some accurate reporting?

September 4, 2013

Jim Jim @ 12:01 pm

Both Traversay III and Libellule have now made it past Cape Bathurst without the aid of an icebreaker.

Meanwhile a second comment of mine about icebreakers has now been released from Doug's moderation queue! Still no sign of the first one though.

September 8, 2013

Les Johnson @ 1:11 am

And the jet skis could not make it. Too much ice.


So, less than 10% of the attempts to traverse the NWP were succesful.

Jim Jim @ 2:33 pm

I take it you're still not bothering to read any of my other posts Les?

Doug and I are now having a nice little chat about the weather!

March 28, 2016

Reginald Perrin @ 12:17 am

Reggie took care of Willard Watts and it took only four comments….

Game over…. Willard is so in trouble for a couple of antisemitic comments towards Dr Mann on Easter Sunday that his blog moderator saw as perfectly acceptable.


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