Around The Americas Update: Into Barrow!

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A few weeks back I posted about an adventure that had just gotten underway called the Around The Americas Expeidtion. The plan is for the four-person crew to pilot the 64-foot sailing vessel the Ocean Watch, on a journey that has never been attempted before. If all goes as planned, the ship will become the first ever to circumnavigate North and South America. The entire journey is expected to take 13-months to complete, beginning and ending in Seattle.

The Ocean Watch and her crew have completed the first major leg of their journey, having reached Barrow, Alaska, one of the most remote and northerly towns in the world. The ship set sail from Seattle back on May 31st and has slowly made it’s way up the coast of Canada and around Alaska, reaching Barrow on July 13th. The current plan is to take on supplies, as well as a new crew member in the form of educator Zeta Strickland, while exploring the navigability of the North West Passage, which is just now opening up for ship traffic.

This entire journey wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for global climate change causing the ice above Canada to melt, and open the fabled North West Passage. Although explorers searched for it for years, the Passage didn’t become fully accessible until last year. Now, there are a number of cruises and exploratory ships making their way through the area, but it remains quite dangerous, especially this early in the summer. Once the crew hears that the passage is fully navigable, they will resume their journey heading east.

As for Strickland, she joins the crew to observe and learn about life aboard the boat and the incredible geography they will be passing through. The plan is for her to stay with the crew until they reach Boston. I have to admit, I wish I were an educator so I could have had the opportunity to join the team. I would love to have the chance to sail the North West Passage. What an incredible experience that must be.

Hopefully they’ll be back underway soon, as it should be great to read their dispatches while crossing the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean. Good luck team!

Kraig Becker

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