Beyond The Circle: Rowing, Sailing And Trekking Across the Northwest Passage

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Australians Cam Webb and Matt McFadyen are preparing for what is sure to be one epic journey next summer. The two men are planning to cross the Northwest Passage in a 17-foot boat that they’ll row, sail and drag through the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean, covering more than 2000 miles (3218 km) in the process.

The expedition, which they call Beyond the Circle, is scheduled to get underway next July from Inuvik, located in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Cam and Matt estimate that it will take approximately three months to complete the crossing, eventually ending in Resolute in September or October.

In recent years, climate change has opened the Northwest Passage and made it more accessible than ever before. Where it was once frozen shut, it now opens during the summer, allowing ships to pass through for a brief time. That window of opportunity is often a narrow one however and the large icebergs that choke the waterway are still dangerous to navigate through. That’s why our two adventurers have elected to take such a small ship, designed by Norseboat,  through the tight passage. Not only will it be more maneuverable in the Arctic Ocean, it’ll also be easier to row when necessary and drag across the ice when their is no passage at all.

The expedition will serve as a fund raiser for two California based charities as well. Cam and Matt are hoping to raise funds and awareness for both Save Our Shores and the Coastal Watershed Council, two worthy organizations focused on protecting the oceans.

Once they officially get underway, you’ll be able to follow the adventure through satellite tracking, blog posts, and Twitter. As Cam and Matt describe it, this expedition will be 4 Oars + 3 Months + 2 Men + 1 Small Boat = The Journey of a Lifetime.

Kraig Becker