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

Happy Birthday

AGXLouise1

Happy Weblog Birthday Louise

In all the excitement of reading weather and ice maps we nearly missed an important birthday. The AGX weblog has been running for one year. It has allowed Louise to post news of Adrian’s progress quickly and easily and we even got Adrian to send photographs via his satphone. It has expanded the readership with many readers setting up their own RSS feeds. So its Happy Birthday wishes to the AGX readers, Louise, Alpha Global Expedition, the FIRE Project team and all those who have contributed to the project during the last twelve months. It is almost two years since Adrian sailed out of the Solent and into history, but this weblog anniversary comes at the most critical stage of the voyage, after a chain of sailing achievements.

Editor

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Show Me The Way To Go Home

AGXice3008

The ice map as at 22:00 hrs Zulu Aug 30 shows Adrian’s challenge. The Ice Queen’s cold finger is still touching the North Russian coast at one point and that point lies between Adrian and home. It is almost exactly half way along the Russian Northern Sea Route and Barrabas is now at anchor close to the choke point, ready to sail the moment the wind changes and the ice starts to break up. This is the critical point in the voyage. To the South and East of Adrian’s current position lies the port of Tiksi. Tied up in the port are three vessels that hope to pass through the choke point. One is a fully crewed larger yacht that has been imprisoned by conditions for two winters.

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AGX Position and Status Report

AGXPosition3108

To: Western Arctic Marine Operations HQ

Subject: Barrabas

Position Report:

31st August 0737 UCT

Anchored at Ostrov Preobrazheniya : 74.40 N 112.55 E

Barometric Pressure: 1021
Sea Temperature: 4 deg C
Wind: NE 12 knots
Ice: None

Regards

Adrian Flanagan

Can you please send me information about winds around Mys Cheluskina as well
as wind information for my location at Ostrov Preobrazheniya each day so
that I know what is happening with the ice further north. With thanks,
Adrian Flanagan.

 

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AGX Position and Status

AGXArcticMapPlannedCourse1508

To: Western Arctic Marine Operations HQ
Cc: Russian Ice Breaker; Russian Ice Breaker (MSCO)

Subject: Barrabas

Duty Office – West Marine Ops

Position report from sailing yacht Barrabas

23rd Aug 1138 UCT

Position Anchored at Peschanyy Island 74.20 N
116.10 E

Barometric Pressure 1010
Sea Temperature 3.5 degrees C
Wind SSW 15 knots
Sea State Smooth
Wave height 0-1 foot
Ice Drift ice

Regards,

Adrian Flanagan

Western Arctic Marine Operations HQ have advised Adrian to keep careful watch for polar bears hunting the walrus on Peschanyy Island

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