Arctic Row: Calling It A Day


One of the big adventures we’ve been following this summer is the Arctic Row 2012, during which Paul Ridley, Collin West, Neal Mueller and Scott Mortensen were attempting to travel from Inuvik, Canada to Provideniya, Russia by rowboat. This was to be the first crossing, of sorts, of the Arctic Ocean by a rowing team, but bad weather conditions have conspired agains the crew, forcing them to call off the expedition altogether.

The journey was originally expected to cover some 2100km (1300 miles) and take approximately 30 days to complete. When they set out back in mid-July conditions were actually better than expected and  progress was good. But as the days rolled on things took a turn for the worse and unusually powerful storms began to develop in the Arctic. Those storms proved to be impossible to row in, which slowed progress to a crawl. On more than one occasion, the team had to take shelter in a lagoon, sometimes for days, in order to wait out the heavy seas and high winds that were blowing through their area.

The delays proved costly and a journey that was expected to take about a month began to drag on much further. Today was their 41st day at sea and with their supplies dwindling and more storms on the horizon, they decided to go ashore at Point Hope, Alaska.

In a lengthy blog post last night the team talked about the trials and tribulations of their voyage. It hasn’t been an easy one to say the least and for four men who have been stuck inside the tiny cabin of a small ocean rowboat, I’m sure it felt good to come ashore yesterday.

I’m sure we’ll hear more about their story in the days ahead, as for now they are likely eating and catching up on their rest. It was a valiant attempt on their part, but the Arctic Ocean proved a bit too strong for these men. At least for now.

Kraig Becker