Here we go again: row, row, row, your boat – Arctic edition

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I must admit, being an oceanic adventurer myself, I do love to read about outrageous voyages. The feats of Shackleton in the Endurance stir my blood. I’ve stood on the deck of the Gjoa, the first ship to make the northwest Passage, and marveled at how tiny it was, and the steel nerves of the men who sailed it into the unknown.

But the latest crop of Arctic adventurers leave something to be desired. Last year we had the “Row To The Pole“, which didn’t … and in 2008 some other fools tried something similar in kayaks. This year, we have “Arctic Row”, whose stated goal is to make “the first, non-stop, unsupported row across the Arctic Ocean”.

Here’s the ocean in question.

Figure 1. Arctic Ocean. Greenland is the white island on the right, Alaska is at the bottom left, Canada is bottom center, Russia is at the left and top left.

Now, when I read that they were going to row “across the Arctic Ocean”, from Canada to Russia, I thought “No way”. There’s always too much ice in the middle of the Arctic Ocean to make that at all possible. But I hadn’t reckoned on their ingenuity. So how exactly do they plan to make “the first, non-stop, unsupported row across the Arctic Ocean”?

I searched all over their web site for a map showing their route, but I couldn’t find one. However, I did find where they are leaving from (Inuvik, Canada) and where they are landing (Provideniya, Russia) , and with the help of Google Earth I’ve plotted out the likely route of their Arctic crossing for you …

Figure 2. Path of their rowing journey “across the Arctic Ocean”.

I guess that the term “across the Ocean” must mean something different where they come from …

They are asking for sponsors on account of their important scientific work. They are going to record all of the whales that they see, and mark down which direction they are traveling, to determine if whales use their noses to navigate to the nearest krill patch. There was no word about how they would know where the nearest krill patch might be. There was also no word on whether they are asking for sponsors who will pay for the ships and planes in case they need to be rescued … although from the looks of their route if they get in trouble they could just wade ashore.

I note that they say that “The Arctic Row expedition presents an unusual opportunity to conduct scientific research with absolutely no carbon emissions or negative impact on the Arctic ecosystem.” I’m not clear how they plan to get the boats and rowers to Canada and back from Russia without using carbon fuels.

I also note that their web site references, without a hint of irony, the discredited Nature magazine claim that the plankton in the oceans is only half as abundant as a century ago … so they are going to “create a thorough zooplankton sample transect along the entire path”. We’ll see how that goes …

I wish them well, and I do not minimize the difficulty of such a long row. I used to fish commercially from a rowboat, and rowing it eight or ten miles a night was a long and tiring pull. I’ve also fished in the Bering Sea, and I know how changeable and deadly the northern waters can be. I admire their courage and search for adventure, and I wish them a safe journey.

But calling that journey a voyage “across the Arctic Ocean”? Sorry, that’s a coastal voyage they have planned, and is hardly “across” anything but the Bering Strait. I can see why they neglected to put a map on their site showing their proposed route …

[UPDATE] An alert reader yclept “climatebeagle” noticed the following:

I wonder if their route will even cross into the definition of the Arctic Ocean?

http://www.iho-ohi.net/iho_pubs/standard/S-23/S23_1953.pdf

Looks like it could just be the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas.

I looked into his excellent reference, and found the following (click on image for larger version):

Note that their route actually doess cross the Arctic Ocean as they claimed … looks like the crossing will take a couple of hours.

w.

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milodonharlani

They are going to row along the western Beaufort Sea & eastern Chukchi Sea coasts. Big whoop! People have been doing that in skin boats for thousands of years. And killing whales from their little boats, not just counting them, without benefit of public or private grants.

Ted

A pleasant coastal cruise disguised as an Ocean crossing = A typical manipulated warmest trick.
Hey what can go wrong???

Urederra

I note that they say that “The Arctic Row expedition presents an unusual opportunity to conduct scientific research with absolutely no carbon emissions or negative impact on the Arctic ecosystem.”

I cannot hold my breath for that long… or my sphintcter.

JM VanWinkle

They will need to watch out for endangered polar bears, polar bears are not cuddly in real life.

So far no one has attempted to waterski to the North Pole. Ski behind an icebreaker? Any takers? Oooh, what fun!!!!

Dodgy Geezer

They ARE asking for donations on their web site. I wonder whether UK law allows someone to challenge this as false advertising?

No negative impact? Will they carry their bodily wastes out with them?
No carbon emissions? How will they get to their launching point? How will they return from Russia? Are they buying no equipment to use on this trip then they already own? What about their calorie consumption? Why would they need contributions if this claim of theirs was true?
In short – all a bunch of BS above & beyond the initial claim as posted by Willis – they deserve all the scorn that can be heaped on them.

BC Bill

After the Top Gear crew drove to the North Pole in Toyota Hiluxes, all these extreme expeditions seem so silly. I cannot erase the image of Jeremy and James driving along in the Hilux eating chocolate and drinking gin and tonic because the “great explorers” told them they would need to take in 5000 calories a day. And they duly noted the lack of open water, contrary to the warmista pedictions. There has never been a more honest Arctic expedition.

milodonharlani

US FWS estimates about 3500 polar bears in the two Alaskan populations, one shared with Canada, through which the paddlers aim boldly to go. If Alarmists are right, & their prime prey species, the ringed seal, is in decline due to loss of landfast ice, then these largest & possibly smartest of terrestrial predators, with amazing senses of smell, might be hungry for other slow-moving, temporarily marine mammals.

The story of the Endurance is one of the most fantastic that I have ever read !!
And no one died on the “adventure” !!!

No carbon emissions? How will they keep warm when not paddling?

dp

It’s sad (so sad)
It’s a sad, sad situation
And it’s getting more and more absurd.
It’s sad (so sad)
Why can’t we talk it over?
Oh it seems to me
That honesty seems to be the hardest word.

Adapted from Elton John

Steve Lohr

Willis,
Great post. I enjoyed your comments. The story reminded me of my younger years when I also dreamed of voyages and the unknown. I even built a boat and with a friend floated down the creek near my house all the way to the mighty Ohio river. Of course back then everyone told me I had to work for a living and I believed them. Little did I know that with some moronic story I could entice even more moronic people to give money to support such a trip. Alas, I have missed the boat!
But, I really can’t think of a better way to piss away a fools money. Hum, where did I leave my krill locator?

jack mosevich

Here is a low resolution map of their route. http://www.arcticrow.com/route/
I read through their website and fear that it is a hoax. No one could be so stupid. I think they are baiting us.

Hey why prove climate change with ersatz facts from a bogus journey when everybody whose anybody already believes? Why not openly celebrate their eco-faith instead? Maybe plant some breadfruit and palm trees along the way in anticipation of the imminent disappearance of the ice cap. Or trade some Hawaiian shirts to the Inuit for that bulky unstylish winter garb they will no longer need.
Or better still, open the Arctic’s first surfing supply shop/ cocktail bar and wait there for business to boom. I would happily contribute to the expedition if that were the plan and they promised to stay and carry it out.

David Larsen

Now a row from Alaska to Denmark, that would be an artic voyage. Outright fraud by greenies. Put them in jail with Al Gore!

Pamela Gray

They’ll be able to see Russia from their rowboat.

Ted says:
July 9, 2012 at 11:41 am
Hey what can go wrong???
========================
Ask Gilligan !!

Interstellar Bill

This self-important stunt abuses the word ‘across’
exactly the same way AGW misuses ‘unprecedented’,
namely, to further a lie just use misleading terms.

I wish there was a way to require them to make a deposit equal to 150% of the Coast Guard’s estimate of actual costs to rescue them.

cirby

BC Bill: After the Top Gear crew drove to the North Pole in Toyota Hiluxes, all these extreme expeditions seem so silly.”
It’s Top Gear. It was silly DURING the drive, not just after.

TRM

“I’ve stood on the deck of the Gjoa, the first ship to make the northwest Passage, and marveled at how tiny it was, and the steel nerves of the men who sailed it into the unknown.”
Yes there are some gutsy people in this world. I loved Thor Hyderthal’s books and as a child was aboard a full sized recreation of a medium viking ship (not the biggest but not the smallest). To think that those crazy nordics navigated the north atlantic in a glorified row boat boggled my mind.

Great thing about Arctic is that it follows directions from deep inside the Earth (possibly as far as the core) and not from anti CO2 fanatics and now defunct Chicago Climate Exchange.
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/Arctic.htm

otsar

They should be encouraged to rescue any poor bears they find swimming in open water far from land.
This reminds me of a story my brother told me years ago. One day was paddling his kayak between islands out in the Aleutians, when he ran across a Kodiak swimming in open water. He said he followed it for a while to see where it was going, and got closer and closer. Up close he could see that the bear was becoming disturbed. Suddenly the bear dove. He said that that was the fastest paddling he had ever done.

leftinbrooklyn

Wonder if they’ll last as long as it would have taken the ‘HOAX?’ ice to melt….

Ian Wilson

Shackleton’s Endurance expedition was one of the most remarkable feats of survival of all time, but perhaps Matthew W’s statement that no lives were lost might be qualified by noting that three fatalities did occur among the Aurora party preparing for Shackleton’s never accomplished arrival on the far side of Antarctica. Their achievements and suffering are too often forgotten.

Gary Hladik

‘This year, we have “Arctic Row”, whose stated goal is to make “the first, non-stop, unsupported row across the Arctic Ocean”.’
Heck, that’s nothing. Last month my wife flew ACROSS THE SOLAR SYSTEM.*
*from California to Taiwan

henrythethird

They may have to reconsider this – remember, there are people that are easily upset at the sight of melting ice, especially those suffering through the “heatwave” in the Washington DC area.
Then again, maybe Bill McKibben found his available source of ice. After all, does it matter if this ice melts in the Arctic, or on the Mall in DC – as long at it makes money for the “cause”?

jorgekafkazar

jack mosevich says: I read through their website and fear that it is a hoax. No one could be so stupid. I think they are baiting us.
If it were a hoax, they’d have put the route straight across. Nothing is impossible to one who doesn’t have to actually do it himself.
JM VanWinkle says: They will need to watch out for endangered polar bears, polar bears are not cuddly in real life.
But surely the explorers’ noble intentions will assuage the bears’ carnivorous predilections.

I think they’d better find a little better map…. Inuvik is NOT on the Arctic Ocean. It’s on the MacKenzie River about 100 kms south of the ocean and that’s about 100 kms of very confusing delta. They’d probably get lost before they ever reach the ocean. I’d suggest they start at Tuktayuktuk right on the Arctic Ocean – and that is what their rudimentary map seems to show. There’s a small town with an airport. Or they could do as I did: take a barge up the MacKenzie from Inuvik and enjoy the river. (This was the terminus of a bicycle trip from the Gulf of Mexico/Corpus Christi.)

Jeff (of Colorado)

They’ll be able to see Alaska from their detention cell.

Man Bearpig

If their route was a few miles south, they would be able to walk across.

commieBob

grumpyoldmanuk says:
July 9, 2012 at 12:05 pm
No carbon emissions? How will they keep warm when not paddling?

No problem actually. If it’s real cold, you keep moving to keep warm and, when you want to quit moving, you climb into your sleeping bag as quickly as possible.

David Schofield

“Dodgy Geezer says:
July 9, 2012 at 11:59 am
They ARE asking for donations on their web site. I wonder whether UK law allows someone to challenge this as false advertising?”
It’s fraudulent misrepresentation. Not negligent or mistaken.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misrepresentation

mikemUK

It’s a “historical feat”, Willis, but not as we know it.

Fred

I hope they pack a whistle in their kit so they can do something useful during their voyage by making some noise.

Kev-in-Uk

I would never knowingly wish anyone any ill wind – but this is blatant tagging along on the ‘Global Warming’ bandwagon as can be possible – and frankly, I hope they struggle to get any funds at all.
Research my ah$e !! Hmm, perhaps that’s the only way they will get anything outta me!
If they had said, ‘hey folks, fancy sponsoring a darned good pish up as we row around the edge f the Arctic’ – I’d have been far more tempted to put my hand in my pocket at the honest approach than the Bulldust publicity stunt they are trying to pull !

G. Karst

M.J. Snyder says:
July 9, 2012 at 12:44 pm
Or they could do as I did: take a barge up the MacKenzie from Inuvik and enjoy the river. (This was the terminus of a bicycle trip from the Gulf of Mexico/Corpus Christi.)

Wow! Now, that’s a trip, worth talking about! GK

Toto

“First Arctic Crossing”? Looks to me like the arctic part of that route has been done many times.
On the website given by jack mosevich, look at the diagram showing the solar panels. Looks pretty minimal for that latitude and doesn’t hint at any mechanism to aim them at the sun (hint: not up).

Communication: The boat’s instruments are powered by solar panels mounted above the cabins. These solar panels will charge batteries which connect to a VHF radio, GPS, and navigation system. The team will jam out to an iPod for music and use a laptop to track the weather, update a blog, and tweet.

VHF contacts might be few and far between; there is no mention of satellite communication (except EPIRB) even though they obviously plan to stay connected. Do they know how much power the laptap will need? Looks to me like their own awareness needs raising.

KnR

At least this time there not claiming its only possible to do this row thanks to global warming /climate doom

oldseadog

Willis,
I looked at their web site and there is a map of their route; just the same as the one you worked out. And no, it doesn’t cross the Arctic Ocean.
I have to defend my old sailing buddy John Wishart on the “row to the pole” trip last year – he himself never said anything other than that they were going to row to the position that the N. Mag. Pole was in whatever year it was that he organised a race over the ice to that position. The PR of the trip kind of took over and made it look like something different.
As usual, don’t trust the MSM.
Regarding kayaks, I understand that there are reports from medieval times of manned kayaks being found near Faroe and Shetland.

They’ll need to keep their eyes open for the tankers and barges taking materials to and from the North Slope.
Oh, and watch out for the drilling platforms, boys!

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

From Gary Hladik on July 9, 2012 at 12:38 pm:

Heck, that’s nothing. Last month my wife flew ACROSS THE SOLAR SYSTEM.*

What’s the big deal with that? I circle around the Sun once a year!

climatebeagle

I wonder if there route will even cross into the definition of the Arctic Ocean?
http://www.iho-ohi.net/iho_pubs/standard/S-23/S23_1953.pdf
Looks like it could just be the Chuckchi and Beaufort Seas.

Scarface

Only thinking of the plan created more CO2 than necessary, let alone rowing there, or, as mentioned, bringing your stuff there. Just shows how total nonsense non-CO2 events are.
And as noted bij others, ALONG the arctic ocean.
Willis, how in the world can you stay calm when reading and then blogging about this pathetic plan. Did you have some sort of training, like anger management or so? If so, please leave a link. I can use it. The green BS is getting under my skin lately. *squeezes stressball*

Regarding the Top Gear expedition, just to clarify, they went to the (1996 location of the) magnetic north pole, which is on the northern end of the Canadian Archipelago, not the geographic north pole. They were well over 1000 km (600 miles) from the geographic pole. Still an impressive feat, but driving vehicles along the coasts and the fast ice of the archipelago is a far different animal than going across the pack ice to the geographic pole.

Nigel Harris

Re Top Gear: it was, of course, the Magnetic North Pole that they drove to. On the TG website it gives the coordinates as 78 degrees 35.7 north by 104 degrees 11.9 west. This is the “certified” 1996 magnetic north pole location that the “Row to the Pole” expedition that was previously roundly lambasted on WUWT had as its target destination. This is within the Canadian archipelago, just offshore, or possibly just onshore Ellef Ringnes island.

As Robert Service put it, “There are strange things done ‘neath the midnight sun..”
Could there be a put-to-poetry legend in this story? What rhymes with plankton?

AnonyMoose

The route map could be found in WUWT Tips & Notes:
Route map: Canada, west along Alaska’s north shoreline, to Russia.
http://www.arcticrow.com/route/
Should be called Alaska Row.
[Moderator’s Note: Yes, you were the first to submit something about this. Didn’t realize Willis had also spotted it. Kudos and a hat-tip. Yer a good guy and a book-worm (some of our more vociferous trolls might not recognize the term “gentleman and scholar”). -REP]

NeedleFactory

“row across the Arctic ocean”
This use of ‘across’ crosses the bounds of normal usage, doing violence to the English language.