Arctic Mission

Calmer waters

Words by Jaap Van Rijckevorsel

Photo: Conor McDonnell

The last two days on Snow Dragon II have been routinely uneventful, in the best kind of way. Our current focus is to reach the Central Arctic Ocean as well-rested and prepared as possible, which is exactly what we seem to be achieving. The violent weather and seas of the Bering Strait have made place for a light variable breeze, long rolling swells, and a good routine.

The entire crew has found their sealegs, with our lead scientist Tim Gordon shaking off the final bits of seasickness by hand steering us throughout his watch at a slightly faster pace than Bagheera. Obviously we’re not in this to race each other, but as a cure for the stomach and booster for morale the challenge was highly appreciated. In the meantime, Bagheera was minding her own business, probably unaware of the important role she played in Tim’s recovery. Research assistant Heather has been teaching us about the different bird species that circle the boat, with a definite highlight being close to a thousand short-tailed shearwaters in a feeding frenzy only a few meters besides our boats.

The two yachts are in constant contact through VHF radio, with conversations ranging from weather- and ice updates to news that comes trickling in via our satellite email. We’re very happy to hear that, even at these early stages of our mission, our updates are being read by a growing audience. Do keep sending your questions and feedback, they make their way to the boats and we’ll promise to address them in due course!

We’re due to sail off the continental shelf about 2.5 days from now, entering deep Arctic waters. This is where we will start our scientific programma. Details are being discussed, weather windows assessed, and cameraman Teg has already made arrangements to transfer boats in due time so he will not miss a second of footage. We’re all looking forward to the next chapter of our mission, and hope to reach it in a perfectly uneventful way.

Jaap Van Rijckevorsel is the co-skipper on Snow Dragon II. 

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For media enquiries:Kate McAuley +44 7872 593 955

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For all other enquiries relating to Arctic Mission, please contact Victoria Nicholson 07801 418014

Arctic Ocean and portrait images by kind permission of Martin Hartley:

Yacht and wildlife images by kind permission of Erik de Jong:

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