The Northwest Passage is officially complete!
The crew has brought the boat Que Sera safely to port and validated the final part of the 2023 Arctic adventure. Here’s a look back at this final leg.
On 5 September, after some quick maintenance work on the boat Que Sera, the team set sail for Bering. It was a gentle start on the Beaufort Sea. On board, Antoine, the skipper, and Noémie Planat, from the Beyond Her Horizons team, organised transects: crossing a geographical area along an imaginary line in order to analyse certain parameters.
The team is carrying out several measurements around Point Barrow for McGill University’s PhD programme. Using the CTD probe, which records temperature, conductivity and depth, Noémie is looking at the exchange of water between the Arctic Ocean and the Pacific. Identified as a key geographical location, Point Barrow is where the warmer waters coming up from the Bering Strait pass through.
The wind is forecast to come from the east for the next few days! Without hesitation, the crew decided to finish the measurements and make the most of the downwind conditions. With renewed energy, Que Sera sped off into the Chukchi Sea. Watch after watch, fatigue accumulated and 72 hours later, it was the arrival at Point Hope. A new transect for Noémie, and the boat was hired for 5 to 6 hours of measurements. In all, 4 transects were carried out for Noémie, a good compromise between science and navigational imperatives.
12 September, the end of summer signals the return of the lows. It was not yet time to rest, and we had to pass through the no less famous Bering Strait. The Diomede Islands soon make their appearance. Shared between Russia and the United States, it is between these two islets that the change of day is set. It’s Tuesday on one side, Wednesday on the other. A few snatches of Russian can be heard on the Que Sera radio.
The Bering Passage takes place at night. Despite the current and a headwind, the crew decided to continue directly to Nome. There was no weather obligation to take shelter, and the desire to set foot on land was growing.
15 September, at dawn and under clear skies, Que Sera finally arrived in Nome. Between rain, fog, wind and swell, the North has lived up to all its promises. The North-West Passage was a success for Pacifique, congratulations to all!
Photos: Pacifique – Alexis Blanc