AGX Position and Status

AGXconcentration-nsraugust2007

To: Western Arctic marine Operations HQ

Subject: Barrabas

Hello Nikolay

Position 74.05 N 114.49 E 1133 9 Sept UCT

I have just come to thick drift ice 40 miles south west of the rendezvous. The drift ice extends across the horizon. My thinking is that there will be more drift ice further north. Also, the light is going dim. I have taken the decision that it would be too dangerous to proceed into ice in semi-darkness. Also, I see form your latest weather forecast that winds in the north sector are expected for the next 3 days. The problem is that I do not have any idea how dense or how extensive drift ice may be between my position and the rendezvous location. With the change in the winds from the north, I suspect the master of the icebreaker is more likely not to proceed with the caravan. Therefore, with regret, taking these factors into account, my decision is to stay where I am and tomorrow to head for Tiksi to meet the cargo vessel which can transport the yacht. So, I will not to going to the rendezvous with the icebreaker. Please advise.

Regards

Adrian

Today could see rapidly changing situations – changing almost with each new communication. There is a constant flow of communications. Adrian made visual contact with the three ships. He has been unable to talk with the three small merchant ships in his area because they do not speak English. Latest satellite images suggest new options but these have to be fully assessed and new forecasts made. During the day it is expected that direct contact will be possible with the Captain of the icebreaker heading towards the RV. First consideration is safety of all concerned.

Editor

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AGX Position and Status Report

AGXicemap0609

To: Western Arctic marine Operations HQ
Icebreaker

Subject: Barrabas

Position Report

Thursday 6th September 0425 UCT

Anchored off Ostrov Preobrazheniya

Wind NNE 25 knots
Pressure 1007
No ice

Regards

Adrian Flanagan

Hello Nikolay

The most recent satellite image from the Arctic and Antarctic Research
Institute (AARI) shows a clear inshore channel along the eastern and
north-eastern coast of the Tyrmyr Peninsular. However, I cannot get access
to this channel because there is a line of ice at the southern end
connecting the ice massif to the land in the area of 75.25 N 113.48 E, just
south of Bukhta Pronchishcheva. I estimate this line of ice to be about 8-10
miles wide. The inshore channel appears to be clear, open water. Would it be
possible for an ice breaker to make a rendezvous with me south of Bukhta
Pronchishcheva and break a path through this thin line of ice? The ice
breaker could then go along this inshore channel with me following. The
route would go to the east of Ostrov Kleshnya and Ostrov Severnyy as far as
Ostrov Koshka (76.46 N 111.06 E). This is a total distance of 100-110 miles
which we should be able to travel within 24 hours. If the ice breaker was
then to go north at Ostrov Koshka, it would bring me into open water in the
south-eastern part of the Vilkitskiy Strait and I could proceed from that
point on my own.

AGXicemapRus0609

Current position on 113dE south of ice tongue

>From the satellite pictures this looks to be very possible. This also means
that while I am in the inshore channel with the ice breaker, if anything
went wrong then the ice breaker would be close by. It looks as if any drift
ice in the channel is not more than 10% which means I could follow the ice
breaker. Please let me have your consideration on this plan.

AGXAARI0609

The area to meet the ice breaker is approximately 80 miles north of my
current position, so I would be able to meet the ice breaker with 24 hours
notice.

Regards, Adrian

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AGX Position and Status Report

AGXicemap020907

Adrian has been coping with the effects of a new cyclone and considering the options. His current holding position is the red dot. The green dots trace his course back to the original exposed holding position a Ostrov Peschanyy and the Port of Tiksi is off the satellite image to the right. The satellite image shows that the inshore route past Vil’kitskogo is almost open. It would not take much weather improvement to create a narrow window of opportunity.

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Spot the Moron

AGXresearchstation-ostrovpreobrazheniya

After a badly written piece for a French news wire service, a false story has started circulating through the Internet.

Amazing how rapidly inaccurate information can spread.

The first corrections are starting to appear and we liked the postings by Dan Xavier. One is reproduced in full on BSD – The Detector

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A typical false story can be found at tinyurl.com/3992TQ

Casting the Bones

AGXicemap02Sep07 61746 01

Today is with the soothsayers – brought up to date. Instead of casting bones, or divining waters darkly, its down to careful study of the satellite images as they download

Plan A is to wait for a break in the ice.

Plan B is to meet a Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker which will lift Barrabas aboard and carry her through the heavy ice and relaunch her on the other side.

Adrian will now be faced with a number of decisions.

Sponsorship of the Alpha Global Expedition by mda and KSAT is providing high quality satellite images taken from polar orbiting satellites. This process started two days ago and is starting to build trend information. The early indications are that a narrow band of thick sea ice is blocking both ends of a shallow intercostal waterway. If the weather forecasts turn out to be accurate, these blocks will be removed for up to eight days, allowing Adrian to enter the intercoastal channel. If the wind is steady from the South for several days, the ice in the NSR, following the line of the intercoastal in deep water, may thin sufficiently for Adrian to stay outside the line of islands and sandbars that separate the shallow channel from the Arctic Ocean – but there are some big ‘IF’s.

Taking the landward channel offers two risks. One risk is that the sea ice reforms at both ends, trapping Barrabas. This is a big risk because there is no way in which an icebreaker can come into the shallow channel to recover the yacht before it is crushed. There is one further major risk. The area attracts large numbers of polar bear and Adrian would rather not find himself on the breakfast menu. Polar bears do present a potential risk even when he is aboard Barrabas, but this risk increases dramatically if the sloop becomes trapped in ice and Adrian has to use his rescue dinghy as a sledge to cross to the land.

Today discussions are continuing with the Western Arctic Marine Operations HQ, the Russian Arctic Research Institute, the icebreakers, and a number of other organizations and individuals. Careful analysis of the mda/KSAT images as they come in everytime the satellite passes over the area may give confidence to wait it out and make a dash through the PKV Strait or use the shallow inland route. However this consideration has to be taken against the status and position of the icebreakers.

The Russian Authorities have confirmed that they can lift Barrabas onto an icebreaker. Lifting the yacht out onto the icebreaker deck, in a condition to allow it to be relaunched once through PVK Strait, is one consideration. There is a decision to be made on how long to postpone the lift and where to RV with the icebreaker which today is three days steaming from Barrabas’ current position. One option may be to sail Barrabas North towards the icebreaker to a holding position while ice conditions are assessed further and final decisions taken.

Adrian naturally would like to make the voyage in Barrabas but a major consideration is his safety and the safety of others. That makes the next few days a tense nail-biting period for Adrian and those supporting him from ashore.

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AGX Position and Status Report

AGXresearchstation-ostrovpreobrazheniya

To: Western Arctic Marine Operations HQ

Subject: Barrabas

Position Report:

3rd September 0500 UCT

Anchored at Ostrov Preobrazheniya : 74.40 N 112.55 E

Barometric Pressure: 1021
Sea Temperature: 3 deg C
Wind: 0 knots
Ice: None

 

Regards

Adrian Flanagan

 

The latest satellite ice image shows an open water channel inshore
along the coast of the Tyrmyr peninsular. Is this the best likely route.
Please advise soonest. What are your considerations about Barrabas being
transported through the ice?

Regards

Adrian

AGX Position and Status

AGX20070902 0345GMT envisat1km

The situation at the PVK choke point shows some promise but much depends on the wind direction and air temperature during the next eight days.

AGXlaptev3d 20070901

At smaller scale the island where Adrian is at anchor is just visible as a tiny dot immediately North of the large island Ostrov Bol’shoy Begichev

(third grid square from left five square line – lower centre of image)

To: Western Arctic Marine Operations HQ

Subject: Barrabas

Position Report:

2nd September 0500 UCT

Anchored at Ostrov Preobrazheniya : 74.40 N 112.55 E

Barometric Pressure: 1019
Sea Temperature: 3 deg C
Wind: E 20 knots
Ice: None

Ostrov Preobrazheniya is covered with frost. Air temp is sub zero.

Regards

Adrian Flanagan