I made mention of Norwegians Børge Ousland and Thorleif Thorleifsson who are attempting to sail both the Northwest Passage and the Northern Sea Route in one season (this season) for the first time in the blog post Passing the Passages.
Over on their blog Olav Grinde has been adding their position to blog posts for a while now. Despite adverse weather conditions (lots of head wind) it is clear that they are starting to approach Vilkitsky Strait after which they will be confronted by a narrow band of ice that is the only serious obstacle blocking the Northern Sea Route. Now that part of the area surrounding and following Vilkitsky Strait has become (barely) visible on MODIS satellite images as of yesterday, I was wondering how far they are from the main obstacle in the Northern Sea Route.
I've drawn in the contours (more or less) of the Siberian coast. Here is their position:
I guesstimate they will reach the band of ice in 2-3 days. Hopefully atmospheric patterns will make sure that last bit of ice gets blown apart and away from the coast. I'll report on Ousland and Thorleifsson's progress every once in a while. For daily updates and fantastic pictures, check out their blog over at ousland.no.
Here's a geographical map of Siberia:
Over on his blog Marc de Keyser provides an excellent weather report for the coming days:
Last convulsion of the powerful high pressure system as the small scale depression tracks from the Russion mainland in the the Southeast corner of the Kara Sea. As a consequience the wind will veer from ESE to S/SSW over the entrance to the Laptev Sea.
I wonder if those expected winds will blow away that last ice blocking the Northern Sea Route?