Ship Of Fools Update

Our intrepid explorers have discovered that there is ice hundreds of miles from where it is shown on the maps. And they are worried about it.



Saw our first ICE today on my watch, just an hour ago. What is slightly worrying, it didn’t show up on the Radar. It’s probably good for the big icebergs, but not low ice in the water. I think we will see a lot more of that before the trip is out. You can’t beat that old eyeball.

They say that their mission is to prove that the ice is melting due to global warming”


However they are spending their time waiting, drinking and swearing – and now believe that success of their mission depends on “strong southerly winds.”  Apparently they believe that strong southerly winds never happened before global warming.


Home – The Polar Ocean Challenge

Their route is completely blocked, and the clouds which have been covering the Northeast Passage for the past month are not going anywhere. The sun is getting lower and lower every day and the Northeast Passage is not going to melt this year.


However, the Northeast Passage was navigated 140 years ago, before climate change, before the Internet, before satellites, before radar and before electric light.



Facts don’t matter to climate alarmists. Like all religious fanatics, they maintain their beliefs in defiance of all evidence. But this has been going on since before Professor Nordenskjold  navigated the Northeast Passage,

Screenshot 2016-01-29 at 07.57.07 AM-down

10 Jan 1871 – IMAGINARY CHANGES OF CLIMATE. (Pall Mall Gazette.)

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96 Responses to Ship Of Fools Update

  1. wert says:

    They are not going to make it, but the point is, should they do it, it will be big news when they do it.

    This is a kind of p hacking bias. Sad but people who want something to be true, are susceptible to it. Motto: let’s try again… hey see, I told you!

    see for example

  2. Jmrsudbury says:

    Religion is a belief when there is no evidence. There is plenty of evidence showing we are not the primary cause of recent warming. The warmists are not religious fanatics. They are just fanatics. — John M Reynolds

    • Gail Combs says:

      Fanatics with an agenda. POWER

      Stefan Molyneux, recently made a very interesting comment that caught my attention.

      Studies found that POWER is as addicting as hard drugs*** and as destructive. Once addicted people will do anything to keep power and grab more power even if it is destructive to their country or themselves.

      That certainly helps explain the totally batsh–t crazy decisions we are now seeing, especially as the global government edifice falls apart.

      Pascal Lamy, former Director-General of the World Trade Organization made it clear that a global government has been the goal since the 1930s. Lamy details the hows of getting that global government when he says…

      I see four main challenges for global governance today.
      The first one is leadership…..
      The second one is efficiency, i.e. the capacity to mobilize resources….
      The third one is coherence….
      The last challenge that I see is that of legitimacy — for legitimacy is intrinsically linked to proximity, to a sense of “togetherness”.….
      ( )

      As H.L. Mencken said “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.”

      And Lamy lays out what the new hobgoblins are:

      climate change negotiations are not just about the global environment but global economics as well — the way that technology, costs and growth are to be distributed and shared…

      Can we balance the need for a sustainable planet with the need to provide billions with decent living standards? Can we do that without questioning radically the Western way of life? …

      At the same time, globalization is blurring the line between national and world issues, redefining our notions of space, sovereignty and identity. As we saw during the recent financial crisis, economic turbulence in one country now sends shockwaves worldwide….

      This raises a final challenge: How to provide global leadership? Mobilizing collective purpose is more difficult when we no longer face one common enemy, but thousands of complex problems
      The reality is that, so far, we have largely failed to articulate a clear and compelling vision of why a new global order matters — and where the world should be headed….

      All had lived through the chaos of the 1930s …including the defeated powers, agreed that the road to peace lay with building a new international order — and an approach to international relations that questioned the Westphalian, sacrosanct principle of sovereignty — rooted in freedom, openness, prosperity and interdependence.

      ***The neurochemistry of power has implications for political change by Nayef Al-Rodhan, Senior Associate Member, University of Oxford

      Power, especially absolute and unchecked power, is intoxicating. Its effects occur at the cellular and neurochemical level. They are manifested behaviourally in a variety of ways, ranging from heightened cognitive functions to lack of inhibition, poor judgement, extreme narcissism, perverted behaviour, and gruesome cruelty.

      The primary neurochemical involved in the reward of power that is known today is dopamine, the same chemical transmitter responsible for producing a sense of pleasure. Power activates the very same reward circuitry in the brain and creates an addictive “high” in much the same way as drug addiction. Like addicts, most people in positions of power will seek to maintain the high they get from power, sometimes at all costs. When withheld, power – like any highly addictive agent – produces cravings at the cellular level that generate strong behavioural opposition to giving it up….

      Now that is truly scary!!!

      • Scott says:

        It’s the world of “Big Brother” and the far left that Orwell warned us about. He called it “double speak” a part of “newspeak”…

        Global Warming = Made up = religious fervor in it’s belief.
        ISIS = Real = religious fervor in it’s non existence as a problem.

  3. Leslie Johnson says:

    They repeat that old and mythical tale of the space pen vs the pencil.

    Of course, it is completely wrong, and it is a private company that develops it, makes tons of money, and ends up selling it to both the US and the USSR.

    • John F Hultquist says:

      I know a person that tells me the pencil myth about once every three years when he is into one of his rants about how other countries do things better than the US. {I always suggest he move.} Usually this starts when he is describing health care in Norway or some such thing. Climate change, especially the 97% myth, also sets him off. These things are his religions — regarding a creator, he claims to be an atheist.
      Fixing errors of religion is not something I feel compelled to wallow in, but I do mention to him that his facts are wrong. My comments are ignored.

  4. gregole says:

    “We hope that the ‘success’ of this expedition will draw attention to the issues surrounding the changing Arctic landscape…”

    And the ‘failure’ of the expedition will draw attention to what exactly?

    • Gail Combs says:

      The Failure of the Global Warming Scare…. OH WAIT

      Nothing can show the failure of global warming. That is why they changed the name to Climate Change.

      • Scott says:

        Gail, EVERYTHING scientific can show the failure of global warming.
        Which is why they changed it to climate change.
        If it’s hot = climate change
        If it’ cold = climate change

  5. Jim Hunt says:

    For some strange reason you neglected to highlight this bit of the Polar Ocean report Tony:

    Nikolai and Dennis are having bets. Nikolai thinks [Vilkitsky Strait] will be free on his birthday, the 9th Aug, and Dennis on his, 6th Aug.

    Not to mention this cloud free imagery:

    • tonyheller says:

      Apparently Jim believes their new goal is to navigate the first 20 miles of the Northeast Passage.

      Russians drinking vodka can see the future!

      • Gail Combs says:

        Yeah, Jimmy is missing what his picture shows at the place where the 80° N line hits Russia. ICE

        With luck these people will get to enjoy the hospitality of the Russians just like the Greenpeace Activists did. Putin is not in a kindly mood towards the EU right now either.

        • Gail Combs says:

          OH, and the Snow White CON image does not mention the minimum SIZE of the icebergs that can be detected either.


          …Icebergs in the Eurasian Arctic seas are significantly smaller than those in the Antarctic and
          Greenland. Their average length and width in the Barents Sea amounts to 64 m and 46 m according
          to ship observations, and 103 m and 16 m, according to air reconnaissance data, Their maximum
          sizes amounts to 180 m and 30 m, and 700 m and 50 m, respectively [5].

          …Icebergs are well detected from high-resolution visible images from Landsat, Aster, “Monitor-E” and other satellites, received in light conditions in absence of clouds. From multispectral Landsat TM (Thematic Mapper) images, covering an area of 183 x 182.8 km with 30 m resolution, the fourth channel with a wavelength of 0.8 mc is the most informative [2]. The iceberg identification is difficult when their size is about the sensor resolution, and when their size corresponds to 2-3 pixels (60-90м)….

          Icebergs are better detected in early spring, when they are surrounded with level ice and have long shadow due to small Sun angles [2].

          HMMmmmm So detection level is 60 to 90 meters or 197 ft to 295 ft.
          Shadows are used to help detection and this is easiest in the spring.
          It is much harder to detect smaller icebergs in cloudy conditions.

          I am not sure I would trust that CON image…

          • R. Shearer says:

            Yeah, Northabout crew is already reporting “ICE” that isn’t even picked up by Radar.

          • wizzum says:

            There is a company in Canada, (St. Johns) I think that makes a doppler radar for picking out Ice or other floating obstructions.
            In 2009 it was used by Veritas (now CGG) on a scout boat with the images relayed back to the Viking Vision.
            Vision was towing something like a 7 km long and 1.2 km wide seismic array for survey. .

      • Jim Hunt says:

        You also neglected to highlight this bit of the Polar Ocean report Tony:

        We had the latest ice charts for the Vilkitskogo straight. Still blocked and the Laptev still blocked, but big changes from the last set of charts, and encouraging.

        Quoting one Tony Heller:

        The Northeast Passage is not going to melt this year

        Are you a betting man?

    • Lawrenec13 says:

      That’s optimistically over another bloody week hanging about at least. How commercially successful will this brave new NE passage be. This mission has set out to show that the Arctic is now open for business being open all summer round NE and NW.

      Be honest its a stupid bloody joke and if hanging around arguing over the virtues of trade Free earl grey making fresh bread whilst going nowhere for months on end is a sign that all the Arctic ice has now retreated with much due to the Northabouts ‘luvvies’ demanding heating and fresh bread with cappuccinos and releasing C02 in doing so ; then the whole mission is a farcical failure.

      What a pathetic self indulgence the whole so-called expedition is. Its failed to prove the Arctic ice has disappeared and its failed to show that the alarmist are people of integrity and are quite willing to openly lie to keep this left loony mantra going.

      • Gail Combs says:

        They have about a month before the ice starts to increase in September. By hanging around for another week or more that cuts travel time to three weeks or four and they still have to get through the Canadian side.

        Ain’t gonna happen!

        • Rud Istvan says:

          Gail, in fainess they have to at least mid October. Their total voyage is 13000nm. But when you subtract the Greenland to Bristol and the Bristol to now legs, it is really ‘only’ about 6000nm for the polar circumnavigation part. In blue water since Murmansk they have been making 140nm/day in decent conditions. Thats just under 6 knots. Hull speed is ~8 knots at force 4 wind, 7 at 1800 rpm under motor. It will be much less than 6 if they have to dodge ice/follow leads. Lets be generous and give them to end October. From tomorrow, they have 89 sailing days left after excluding the two neccessary port call reprovisioning days in their sail plan. At a generous (wildly optomistic) 6 knots, it will take 6000/6 or 1000 hours of sailing. 42 days. They still think they will be able to make it. But they are not going to be going through blue water. They will be sailing through various degrees of scattered pack ice. I don’t yhink that will be anywhere near 6 knots. NEP still far from open, and NWP is not yet open either.
          Good news is, the longer they wait, the more obvious to their followers that the Arctic isn’t open. And the more they try to stretch October to claim success, the more likely they will get stuck and have to be rescued by a canadian icebreaker. The narrative now and the narrative then both bolix their intended message.

    • Lawrenec13 says:

      OMG Jim You’ve shocked the world with that image of open water in the NE passage . That’ll have every commercial shipping line drooling at the opportunity to uitlise the NE passage every summer . Sorry Jim but you really are talking out of your NW Passage. Have you not the honesty to say that its a complete mission fail?

    • Edmonton Al says:

      Why aren’t you part of the crew?
      With your vast knowledge and superior intellect, you could have guaranteed a successful voyage….

    • Dan zielinski says:

      Not sure of your point. This expedition’s stated goal is to show that significant Arctic ice melt is opening the sea to navigation. A minor penetration along a sliver of coast line doesn’t prove their point, in my view. And that sliver of possible open water you highlight could have pockets of floating ice that make for dangerous navigation circumstances given the proximity of large amounts of ice.

    • RAH says:

      Sooooooooo Jim Hunt!

      Are you saying that everything is hunky dory and the way is or will be open for them to sail through the NE passage? I mean you’ve been hyping the demise of the Arctic ice for years now but it doesn’t look like it’s happening now does it? I’m no sailor but it looks to me like a person would be foolish to try and get through there even with their tiny vessel. So why isn’t that darned ice gone yet?

      • AndyG55 says:

        With the AMO turning down, and the Sun having a snooze, this will probably be the last opportunity for some decades.

        The El Nino helped a bit earlier in the year, but that is now gone, and the general melt is slower than previous years with the trace gradually crossing to above previous years.

        Day 209 in the Arctic was 7th lowest behind 2012, 2007, 2011, 2013, 2009 and 2015.

        Its a pity really, the people living up there could really do with the Arctic sea ice levels dropping back to the near zero summer levels of the first 3/4 of the Holocene. Some respite from the current high levels would sure be a blessing.

        • RAH says:

          These days for the most part, those that live up there choose to. The only ones other than the military that should be forced to live there are the butt heads that claim it’s where climate refugees should go. If it were a just world every single one of those people would have to go there and live for a whole year.

          There is a discipline to living in places like that which only those that have lived in the rough in really cold weather can understand. It is not something that everyone can do even if their very survival depends on it unless they have been conditioned for it.

        • Rud Istvan says:

          RAH, per previous post Northabout isn’t a tiny vessel. For novice sailors it is humongous. Been there, done that.

          Worst was 4 am when I was wakened off watch to ‘rescue’ an improperly secured downlofted gib off a PJ 36 sloop ( not my later Hunter 35.5) as a gale blew up on the annual round Cape Cod race. We were on the inbound last leg . Thirty minutes of sheer terror, with me in awakened default deck command. We got that waterlogged hunk of polyester/ kevlar off the waterline and back on deck in the dark and waves, while not losing completely the sailboats helmway.
          We eventualy finished third thanks to the sail over rail incompetency disaster, with 7 other boats dismasted DNF (did not finish)). Would have won, otherwise.
          I have never experienced such a crappy weather helm since. Had to put two guys on the tiller watch coming into Boston (weather helm was that bad), plus no way to trim sail sufficiently. Never agreed to race that boat again.

          There are great sailboats ( like mine was) that reapond to the slightest touch, and there are junk sail boats equivalent to garbage cans. Northabout seems more equivalent to the latter.

          • RAH says:

            Until a few years ago this landlubber owned a 22′ pontoon to tool around the lakes of Indiana and Tennessee and Kentucky in. It was not near the size of a lot of vessels that one sees at places like lake Cumberland. That pleasure craft was nearly half the length of the 15 meter long ocean going ‘Northabout’. Even Amundsen’s Gjøa was over 22 meters long.

            It may not be tiny to the crew but for an ocean going vessel that is what it is.

  6. Lawrenec13 says:

    Even being optimistic they have reconciled themselves to hanging about a further eight to ten days before they even move. The other issue is their generator breaking down, its only that which is stopping them all falling apart into two camps , the Guardian reader luvvies who hate ‘big oil’ but can’t wait to use it for ‘fresh bread making’ and the more practical and hardened Russians with H-Adams also being more a realist who’s naivety is probably getting further stretched o breaking point.

    Have to laugh though. The greenie lefty luvvies keep wailing about the fate of polar bears but never mentioned Pandas (the generator) being at risk in the Arctic.

    The other thing is what’s happened to young Ben? He seems out of the media picture at the moment, teen strops? Who knows. However cooped up on that boat with tensions building makes me wonder if anyone is wondering why the ice is still there.

    This is like a good soap and should be renamed ‘North East Passage Enders’ . We could have Phil Mitchell played by H-Adams . For our friends outside of the UK , ‘East Enders is a BBC luvvie written soap on every night of the week bar S&S, covering everyday issues that we always talking about as we go on our way. You know homosexuality, racism. seeming to be the only two. The glaring reality East Enders in the scripts of the left luvvies doesn’t cover, is everyone living on benefits and crime.

    NE Passage………….Sorted.

    It hilarious without meaning to be , reminds me of this mission.

  7. richard says:

    “The conclusion from this research is that we should be cautious about using the extent of the ice cover as an indicator of the ice’s climatic “state of health.”

    “The extent of the ice cover is highly dependent on the wind direction, and short-term changes in the ice cover give very little indication of whether climate change is occurring in the Arctic”

    Don’t worry this paragraph is in to keep the funding going-

    “However, he emphasizes that he and his colleagues do not reject the assertion that climate change is affecting Arctic ice cover or that the IPCC is wrong when it states that the Arctic may be nearly ice free in summer towards the end of this century”

  8. Pingback: Update on the Ship of Fools (2nd ed.): Crew Now Noticing that Government Maps are Lying about Arctic Ice » Lysander Spooner University

  9. Yaakov Haimovich says:

    This is turning into a daily soap opera.
    I am having a good time.

  10. Ed Gruberman says:

    They needed an icebreaker to leave Murmansk a couple weeks ago. I’m not sure that counts in saying that it’s ice free. But they are having a tough time with storms and rough seas, so even if the passage was open, it’s no picnic sailing in the arctic. BTW the water is 2 degrees, ice or not.

    • Stewart Pid says:

      Ed where did u get that info? I read nothing of an icebreaker out of Murmansk and the only reference of icebreakers was talking to the ice breaker maintenance workers.
      Source please.

    • AndyG55 says:

      I agree, something odd with that piece of story.

      Maybe a mis-interpretation of the fact that they holed up in Murmansk for a week trying to figure out if to go home, or go and look at some sea ice.

    • Colorado Wellington says:

      They didn’t need an icebreaker assistance to leave Murmansk and it doesn’t make sense for that port in mid-July. It is a Russian Navy base.

      Those were the nice, sunny days of the trip. They wore t-shirts and had pasta with Bolognese sauce and three types of cheeses.

      Hempie‘ reported from there at departure time:

      So, our journey begins. Its been never a dull moment with the red tape, and it continues, I am so pleased we have friends in Moscow. Nikolai was on the radio to the equivalent of port authority or coast guard, we didn’t have pilot boat allocated to us, but they kept an eye on us with radar, as we passed the rusting ice breakers of yesteryear; what tales they could tell.

      Down the river further and past the navy frigates. A massive base, that we stayed well clear off. The fjord was as flat as a mirror. Beautiful scenery, not dissimilar to Norway.

      Click here for a video of Northabout leaving Murmansk.

      • TeaPartyGeezer says:


        Your link doesn’t mention any icebreaker …

        • Colorado Wellington says:

          I remember the thread.

          Admiral Hunt and Commodore Ridge argued forcefully that the expedition was not “stuck” in Murmansk because they could sail out of the harbor whenever they wanted—and presumably go back to Bristol and raise the British school children’s awareness that the their planned route through the Northeast Passage was hopelessly blocked by ice.

          Commodore Ridge was especially stuck on the word “stuck”. It’s also where the good seaman inadvertently admitted he didn’t recognize the Akademik Shokalskiy.

        • Jim Hunt says:

          Did you read the comments???

          • RAH says:

            Well Jim I see that they’ve holed up again and didn’t think it prudent to sail into that 20 mile deep sucker hole that you thought it so important to point out.

            Always a different perspective for those actually there that have some sense when their own precious asses are on the line compared to those sitting at their computers looking at satellite images and maps and blogging and commenting and cheerleading.

          • Jim Hunt says:

            Who said that it was “prudent to sail into” the Vilkitsky Strait at the moment? I certainly didn’t.

            I did however think it was relevant to point out:

            1) Where the Vilkitsky Strait is, since our host was seemingly unaware of that, and

            2) That there are satellites up there that can “see” through the clouds, since our host is seemingly unaware of that also.

  11. Stewart Pid says:

    Decently clear sat photo here currently and lots of ice is visible blocking the path of the adventurers.

  12. Brian D says:

    Yes, another week of bad weather ahead.
    Today’s weather map:

    • Brian D says:

      The current area of low pressure in the NE passage will move into the western arctic, as new low pressure moves in to replace it.

      • Brian D says:

        And by the end of next week, those 2 lows on the Russian side will come together over the N Pole.

        So will the Aug 9th birthday bet be the one to let them sail? I wouldn’t try it with all that ice. Even if an opening develops, it could close up and trap you pretty quickly.

        • Brian D says:

          OK, here’s a teaser @ day 10. I don’t put much stock into it that far out, but the way it has been going, the following week is showing ridges on each side of the basin. That will keep winds out of the north in the Laptev. Again, if they try this, they are foolish, IMHO. So we’ll see at the end of next week how the next weeks pattern works out.

          • Caleb says:

            It looks like there may be south winds ahead of the second storm. A very gutsy captain might try to hug the shore and get through the strait before the winds turn back to the north. Monday would be the day.

            I wonder what the top speed of the Northabout is? How far could they get in 24 hours? 200 miles?

          • Rud Istvan says:

            Hull speed is just over 8 knots. But thats near impossible with a nonsailing crew that doesn’t know sail trim. It is reckless if you are in scattered pack ice. Blue water from Murmansk they were making about 140-145 nm per day according to ships log. Say 6 knots. They are not heading into blue water.

    • Rud Istvan says:

      That chart explains why the captain is seeking the lee of an island up by the strait. Drop sails and anchor off. He now knows he has a green, seasick prone bunch of amateurs manning helm watches. They have no clue how to alter sail trim to alter course to dodge ice. If he lets them dodge ice under motor they run out of fuel before the next pitstop in Alaska.

  13. Menicholas says:

    Mr. Heller,
    I used to share many of your posts on my Facebook page, and they always sparked intense conversations, and got a lot of notice.
    I am wondering if you can get a FB link to go with the Twitter link you have here?
    If i just copy and paste the URL, for some reason FB does not give a preview, and few people click on a post if it is just a bare URL.
    I would love to be able to post this and several others over the past few months so my friends and argument-buddies can discuss them.
    But mostly so I can point out to my liberal warmista peeps how ridiculous they are being to buy the malarkey.
    Any way or chance you can do it?
    I would settle for any advice on how to get FB to open a preview when I paste one of the URLs from your blog to a post.


    Nick M

  14. wizzum says:

    Even if the NEP does open up later this year I think their only hope for a circumnavigation is to get to the Chukchi sea and take a right, all the way to Panama and come back up the east coast of the US.

  15. Javier says:

    Oh dear!

    I hope they don’t become casualties of Arctic sea ice. They would probably get a Darwin award for that, but it would be terribly sad for such young enthusiastic people to meet such untimely fate. Besides all those search and rescue expeditions in such a remote place would cost a fortune to taxpayers. Best if they just call it a day and turn around back to the UK. As usual they can always blame the failure in foul weather brought about by human induced climate change.

  16. Brian D says:

    For those interested in my source of those GFS models, here’s the link.

    Select “Model Guidance”, then Model area “Arctic”, then Model type “GFS”. You then see the various parameters. Current model time will be in red. I select “10m_wnd_precip” for the above maps. You can also select “10_wnd_temp” to get forecast temps instead of precip. Once you select your time and parameters, the model hours will come up. You can loop them, or select individual times. Check to see if they are all blue. Black numbers mean they have not updated.

  17. OrganicFool says:

    “We had a couple of days of rolling along. We use a lot of power this year. Chart plotter, Radar, Comms coming out of our ears, bread maker, water maker, In fact, we should have a small nuclear reactor on board.”

    He starting to make sense.

    • AndyG55 says:

      And they haven’t even reached the difficult part yet, just open water. :-)

      Did Amundsen have a diesel engine, comms, radar, bread-maker etc etc in 1903? ;-)

      Why is it so, so difficult 100+ years later?

      • Colorado Wellington says:

        It’s the damn pasta. Amundsen and Nansen were Norsemen and didn’t need pasta with Bolognese sauce and three types of cheeses.

        What’s wrong with cold lutefisk three times a day? It fortifies the stomach and builds character.

        • gator69 says:

          I hear it goes well with lots of vodka.

          • Colorado Wellington says:

            I hear Nikolay and Denis would testify to it. Just never, ever drink Scotch with that thing.

            “But wait, there’s more! Morton decides to try to finally make peace with the sheriff and the two set about to drinking. Eugene speaks frankly of his time investigating the aftermath of Pan Am Flight 103 in Lockerbie and Dan calls him on his attempt to exchange war stories. But after Morton plays for Dan Henry’s message accusing the sheriff and governor of orchestrating the murder of Pettigrew and Stoddart, Dan tells Morton what really happened to Billy Pettigrew. Sort of. He tells Morton a version of events that have Pettigrew being eaten by a bear and the sheriff mercy killing him. Morton, rightly, calls bullshit before retiring to his room to vomit scotch and lutefisk. And then discovering that Billy Pettigrew was almost certainly killed in his hotel room. All in all, not a bad day’s work.”

        • Gail Combs says:

          My father-in-law called it THAT …. STUFF!

  18. CheshireRed says:

    Hi guys.
    You’re fucked.
    Lots of love….sceptics everywhere. XXxx

  19. Stewart Pid says:

    Anyone know what that white thingy is in the background :-)

    • Colorado Wellington says:

      I wondered if Captain Litau was heading to the sheltered bay of Pilot Makhotin Island but it looks like they got some relief from the storm and the seas.

      • AndyG55 says:

        I’m not seeing your pic, CW.

        • AndyG55 says:


          IE is giving a blank space , or is it a picture of some ice?

          Firefox has no space before my reply.

        • Colorado Wellington says:

          I don’t know what happened. I converted the PNG to JPG and it posted correctly below. Not sure it should matter.

      • Colorado Wellington says:

        Well, I guessed that one right. They may be finally getting some sleep.

      • Colorado Wellington says:

        Pilot Makhotkin Island. Named after this far north flyer:

        Vasily Mikhailovich Makhotkin (1904–1974)

      • Colorado Wellington says:

        V.M. Makhotkin after whom the island is named was one of two pilots making the first exploratory flight from Moscow to Franz Josef Land in 1936:

        A flight was made from Moscow to Franz Josef Land by two Soviet airmen, M. V. Vodopianov and V. M. Makhotkin, in the early spring of 1936.

        The two men, each in a plane specially fitted for Arctic flying, left Moscow on March 29 at 10.45 a.m. and reached Archangel the same day at 5.43 p.m. The planes were equipped with skis, tents, sleeping bags, two rubber boats and provisions for 6 weeks, in case of a forced landing; and had wireless and radio bearing sets, with necessary spare parts. On March 30, after a call at Marian-Mare, the two men flew over the Barents Sea to Amderma, which was reached after a difficult flight through snow-storms, with a head wind. The bad weather continued, and forced the pilots to remain at Amderma until April 3, when they set off for Cape Zhelaniya; but were forced by a severe snow-storm to turn back. Pilot Vodopianov landed at the polar station on Vaigatch Island, while Pilot Makhotkin managed to reach Cape Bolvansky, 15 km distant from the wireless station. They both returned to Amderma the next day. During the flight they had observed stretches of open water amidst the hummocky ice in the Kara Sea.

        The flight was resumed on April 6 at 9.30 a.m. and about 1.0 p.m. Vodopianov reached the aerodrome at Matochkin Shar, followed the next day by Makhotkin, who had been obliged to turn back to Varnek Bay on Vaigatch Island. Cape Zhelaniya was reached by both planes on April 9. In places fog was met with, and the flight was made at a height of 1000 m. At Cape Zhelaniya the pilots were again delayed by bad weather until April 16, when they left for Calm Bay; but damage to one of the skis of Makhotkin’s plane turned them back, and they made a second start later in the day. Makhotkin then found that his speedometer had sustained some damage, and he turned back for the second time, reaching Cape Zhelaniya three hours later. Vodopianov proceeded in a dense fog, taking his bearings from his direction finder, and 2 hours and 40 minutes later, having lost his course, landed on one of the eastern islands of the Franz Josef Land archipelago, which was afterwards identified as Graham Bell Island. Here he remained until April 21, when fine weather set in. He flew over Wilczek Island and Hall Island to Hooker Island, where he landed at Calm Bay safely 1 hour 15 minutes later. Meanwhile Makhotkin waited at Cape Zhelaniya until April 21 when he started at 1.50 p.m., and reached Calm Bay, after an uneventful flight, at 5.15 p.m.

        This flight is a notable achievement, being the first time Franz Josef Land has been reached by plane.

        The Polar Record, printed in Great Britain 1986 for The Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge University

        Makhotkin was denounced in 1942 for “anti-Soviet propaganda” and sentenced to 10 years in the Gulag. He served his full sentence and was let out in 1951. After Stalin’s death, he was fully exonerated in 1956.

        I believe Alexander Solzhenitsyn mentions him in The Gulag Archipelago.

        • gator69 says:

          Pilot Makhotkin Island? Interesting story. Curious that Hooker Island only names the profession, and not the professional.

    • AndyG55 says:

      A foretaste of MUCH MORE to come. ! :-)

  20. Colorado Wellington says:

    Let’s try reposting the island image, it burped on it the first time:

  21. AndyG55 says:

    In 2009 the sea ice in the area was like this.

    • AndyG55 says:

      And there was traffic

    • AndyG55 says:

      2016 looks somewhat more difficult ;-)

      • AndyG55 says:

        Maybe they are thinking they could sneak along the south shore of Vilkitsky Strait, but that aqua/greenish colour indicates 2m or so thick ice.

        If they try that and the wind turns to come from the north, they will be well and truly STUCK !!

    • AndyG55 says:

      But at least they will have some cuddly new friends waiting for them if they are forced ashore.

      • Caleb says:

        Also 1,000,000,000 mosquitoes.

        One fellow who worked on the Alaskan Pipeline told me, “You didn’t need toilet paper, if you kept your pants down long enough to use any.”

        It is such a sad state of affairs. You long for the shelter of land, but when you get there all you want is to get the heck back out to sea. You’ve been longing for calm, but suddenly hunger for a gale.

        Buzz. Buzz. Buzz.

        This is no luxury cruise they’re on. They’ll be singing “The Sloop John B”: “I feel so broke up; I want to go home.”

  22. RAH says:

    A little WW II history about the bombing of the Tirpitz (sister ship of the Bismarck) by staging out of Yagodnik that occurred in the general area in 1944:

    617 squadron were the famous “Dambusters”.

  23. R. Shearer says:

    They are close to where Eduard Gustav von Toll discovered numerous fossils and vegetation including alder stems and leaves under peat permafrost. Of course, it’s too cold for that vegetation today.

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