Sailing the Northwest Passage at night

Polar explorer Børge Ousland (How'd you like to have that as your job title?) is on a sailboat making its way through the Arctic Ocean. This has never been an easy place for boats, and this video gives you a good idea of why. The captain of Ousland's boat explains the hazards of this area a little more in-depth, while simultaneously making an important point—thanks to warming trends, traversing the Northwest Passage isn't has hard as it used to be.

It is obvious that the conditions met by the early explorers such as Vitus Bering, Fridtjof Nansen, Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld and Roald Amundsen no longer exists. We passed through in a few weeks, while our predecessors were forced to overwinter once or even twice. Still, it is not an easy passage for any kind of boat or vessel. There is still ice, although not to the extent there used to be, but plenty to make conditions unpredictable for ships. In addition many of the seas you have to pass are very shallow. In the East Siberian Sea, the shipping lane is located 50 nautical miles off the coast, in order for there to be sufficient depth for bigger ships. Lights, buoys and nautical markings are scarce.

You can follow Ousland's progress on his blog. Today, he reached American waters and changed his underpants, and we learn that changing your underpants on special occasions is a fine, old Norwegian tradition. To which I can only say, "Good."

Via Climate Progress