Finally: Russian Arctic passage imminent

Suddenly, an opportunity opens up! During the coming days, I will be sailing The Arctic on a 39-footer. It will be along the very same coast where I have been last summer (Murmansk, Kirkenes, past Submarine cemetery waters and The city of flying dogs, and a bit in White Sea but not revisiting Solovki this time).

Happy that I was not sailing the area during the past 2 weeks, during the Russian military exercises in Barents Sea. Tankers, fishing boats and cargo ships had to standby and wait during the drills. Current Russian navy exercises are expected to end by now, so with proper lookout there could be some boat spotting. No further navigational warnings are given, hope to be unaffected by such things during the passage. Most of the crew know Russian, so proper radio contact is assured day and night. The football cup is still ongoing too, so I guess the authorities will be somewhat friendly to tourists. After this leg, I will decide whether to go further on, and join several legs in the Arctic, or return home for other projects.

Fishing boats in Teriberka. Only well-equipped long-sailing boats can make the vast distances of NE passage
The sailing boat I am joining is en route for a circumnavigation of Northern Europe. As long as the customs are cleared, an offshore passage along Kola peninsula is possible between Kirkenes and White Sea. However, Kara gate would still pose a permit problem, so the Northeast passage is off limits until further notice. The only way to complete the NE passage right now seems to be finding a Russian boat willing and able to stand to the challenge. There are not many such boats. And those that exist, may have trouble getting permit to enter port in Alaska.

In addition to this trip, I have recently been contacted by a skipper looking for crew for the Northwest passage, so I will be exploring that possibility further. If I cannot do the full Arctic circumnavigation because of sailing permits, then I will break the trip up in parts and complete them one by one! That means I’m always open for Arctic expeditions and other extreme adventures, so it’s just a matter of contacting me and agreeing on the conditions. I am also constantly looking for possibilities to sail in Asia and Indian Ocean, hoping to do a passage to and around Cape of Good Hope any time soon. And naturally, I have made myself available for offshore racing boats – both as competing member and for deliveries. Who knows – maybe the encounters and discussions at Volvo Ocean Race will bear fruit and I’ll join the teams for delivery after the last leg. Fingers crossed!

An iceberg in the Barents Sea

Last year, my trip was supported by Polar Cape. I’m still very grateful for that, and while I am revisiting the area I am thinking about this company and the great people that I’ve met during my collaboration and the Eureka lecture. This year, Polar Cape got the European trophy for being the #1 Best Place to Work in Europe, not only in Sweden. Now that’s excellently done. Not many companies can deliver this level of effort, responsibility and care for the employees. Hope that others, both within IT and otherwise, will continue to follow their lead.