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The beaches of the Northwest Passage eventually catch the detritus of the arctic waters and leave it on display for all to see.

Rusty oil cans rank as the hands down leader in arctic rubbish, their matt reddish tinge regularly catching our eye against the steely grey background of rock and stone. The shear number of used drums speaks to the difficulty of motorized travel in the region as does their abandonment to a certain indifference to the landscape.
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Driftwood abounds on the beaches, the massive outflow of the Mackenzie River still being felt as far afield as the Dolphin and Union Strait where we are. There is no lack of firewood when we need it. Styrofoam is an ordinary observance here as well, its properties resisting decomposition like few others.
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We stumble upon a strange device the other day that appears like something from outer space. A stainless steel cage is encircled by six plastic floatation balloons and houses a long blue and white instrument with three orange faced saucers at its end. I’ve never seen anything like it before. We mark the point with our GPS and take down a company identification email to let them know where the device lies.
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An email from the company explains: “What you have found is a device that measures ocean currents. Before breaking free of its mooring it has been deployed about 100m below the surface, measuring current speed and direction for every five meters of the water column. Data from these sensors are used by scientists to map ocean currents around the world, in order to understand our environment better.”

The rock strewn ramparts of the Northwest Passage talk to a a more demanding history as well. In the course of one 24-hour rowing session we sight two shipwrecks, boats of an indeterminate age stranded high on shore, their final act on display, their history unknown.

The last two days have been tremendous for us with the wind dying and our rowing efforts continuous. But good things always come to an end and southerlies have returned with a vengeance. 25-30KN winds are forecast for the next couple days and thanks to sage advice from our meteorological eyes-in-the-sky we’re hunkered down in a relatively protected bay at Cape Young. We travelled over 120kms in the last 48-hours so our spirits are high as we head into our forced layover.