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You know things are getting serious when….

We hope they stay in the case for the duration but polar bears are a real danger on our journey and we need to be prepared. In addition to a separate flare gun as our first defense, we’ll have bear bangers in the chamber as the first round, a rubber bullet as second and a series of slugs as lethal force if all else fails.

Less than a month to go!

In less than a month we head north and the Mainstream Last First expedition begins. I write this with a sense of disbelief, the frenzy of a year of planning and preparation still raw in our minds.

Our boat, The Arctic Joule, is on the water and is moored at the Vancouver Maritime Museum in Kitsilano. We encourage anyone who’s interested to drop down and take a look. We’ll likely be there as we’ve been spending lots of time out on the boat making our final adjustments and tweaks. The Arctic Joule is performing well and moves surprisingly fast considering here bulk and size. We can manage a 4kn pace without much difficulty and are satisfied to know that when we need to we’ll be able to move swiftly and efficiently.

On June 25th we load The Arctic Joule atop a trailer and start driving north. Our road to Inuvik, some 3700kms in distance, would fall just short of Toronto if stretched from Vancouver east.  The journey should be an adventure in itself with the punishing 736km gravel–surfaced Dempster Highway guaranteeing excitement. We’ll make a requisite stop in Dawson City, Yukon just before the Dempster to drink to our luck with an infamous Sour Toe Cocktail, a cocktail which contains an actual alcohol-preserved human toe. As the saying goes: ‘You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow—But the lips have gotta touch the toe.’

If everything goes to plan we’ll be launching The Arctic Joule in Inuvik on Canada Day, July 1st

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Our choice of route.

After reading the most recent Globe and Mail article about our expedition we noticed a comment from an individual claiming that what we’re doing is in some way untrue. In a nutshell the comment stated that our expedition is a row between two arbitrary villages rather than an actual transit of the Northwest Passage. Typically, we don’t respond to such comments but believe that this posting deserves to be answered in a more detailed manner in our blog (even though we’ve already provided clarification throughout our website.)

What we’re trying to do this summer has never been done before. We are hoping to row, without sail or motor in approximately 75 days, through the maze of islands and ice sheets of the Canadian archipelago that once represented a closed door for mariners attempting to navigate a sea route over the Americas in a single season. The Northwest Passage was anything but a passage in those days and presented a seemingly impassable route across the top of the world. Read More

Training in Deep Cove

We headed out to the Tuesday night paddle race in Deep Cove on May 28th. A big thanks to event organizer Bob Putnam of Deep Cove Canoe and Kayak for inviting us. Great fun and a super opportunity to showcase The Arctic Joule. We averaged a speed of 6.5km/h (nearly 4 knots) for the training loop…a very satisfactory speed for a boat of the Joule’s size.