Epilogue Arctic Expedition 2023
On September 23, the Que Sera crew – Antoine, Megan, Julien, Michèle, Gauvain, Estelle, Manon and Alexis – prepared to set sail again after a 13-day break in Nome. With the arrival of autumn, favorable weather windows are becoming increasingly rare in the north. Initially, the team is aiming for St. Paul’s Island, right in the middle of the Bering Sea. Conditions are easier than expected, allowing the team to reach Unimak Island.
On September 27, the Aleutian Islands finally come into view. The scenery is sumptuous. Incredible light illuminates the mountains, over which a few clouds taper. Some peaks are still smoking, testifying to the high level of volcanic activity on these islands, located right on the Pacific Ring of Fire. One evening, the moon grazes the horizon, almost symmetrically facing the sun. After a few anchorages to take in this breathtaking spectacle, the team took advantage of a favorable wind to hoist the spinnaker and set sail for King Cove.
On September 29, the arrival in the harbor of the island town is somewhat gloomy. The waters are filled with hundreds of dead fish. It was during a hike that some of the team realized that this was the end of the spawning season for certain salmonids. Many die after spawning.
Que Sera is the only sailboat in King Cove. The small town has a population of less than 1,000, but is home to one of Alaska’s largest fish processing plants. Needless to say, the main activity here is fishing.
October 05, after more than a week, it’s time to head east again. The wind is pushing hard, gusting to 38 knots at times. The arrival in Homer is at dawn on October 09, opposite a glacier. The view was magnificent, and a poetic conclusion to the last leg of this sailing season. The whole team pulled through despite the sporting conditions on the way down. Now it’s time to prepare Que Sera for a well-deserved rest: de-boarding, cleaning the boat, fitting the rudders for new rings, etc. Little by little, the crew is thinning out, while the boat is out of the cold Alaskan waters for the winter.
The year-long Arctic expedition draws to a close. Congratulations once again to the two crews who contributed to the success of this Northwest Passage.
Photos: Pacifique – Alexis Blanc & Gauvain Ramseier