At 17:00 local time today, we are more than half way through Prince of Wales strait, at 72.26 N 118.48 W
Both Captains Rose and Grandy said on different occasions that "boring is good" when it comes to navigating in the Arctic. Of course, boredom is relative. There is nothing boring about being in command of a modern ship in the Arctic. Here, boring refers to not having to spend hours or days beating through difficult ice. The easy life, relatively speaking.
The conditions have been almost ideal, good visibility under grey skiesstill (a recurring theme on this voyage so far). Barely any serious ice to speak of serious at least for the Nunavik. Captain Rose is delighted with the conditions—made to order, really. The winds today pinched the 5/10th concentration to the south side of the strait. The ship is slipping through barely impeded, but for one small section. That small section however is a reminder of the unpredictability of shipping in the arctic. One patch, even a small one strategically placed, would make the route impassable by the vast majority of ships.
Boring can be bad, however, as it leads grown men towards silly endeavours. Silly things like an Arctic Ice Bucket Challenge. So, while the ship very briefly mired in a thick floe, the gauntlet was thrown—boys being boys, a few took the challenge. Some, braver than others, stripped down to basics— one brave soul went two rounds.
The water, drawn from the Arctic Ocean was invigorating to say the least. Salt water freezes only at -1.8°C, so the drenching was beyond freezing as was the air temperature at -5°C. No ice cubes required here.
Forgotten in all the revelry, was the issuance of a challenge. So, to all who dare, the challenge goes to other mariners (and hangers-on), in the north and elsewhere.
PS A corrector to yesterday's entry—the Nunavik will be the second commercial vessel through the strait. IN 1986 the Kalvik, a Canadian Flag icebreaking anchor-handling tug plied these waters. The vessel later became the Arctic Kalvik in the Fednav fleet and sails still today as the Vladimir Igantiuk. Apologies.
Senior Manager, Arctic Operations and Projects