But the day is not yet over. A day we will not forget so soon. If including the "missing link" — King Point — in our Amundsen voyage was only a distant wish yesterday, we seem to be paralysed inside after today. The overture for this 28/8 was fireworks for the millennium in the depths of our feelings. Black-red-gold waving over King Point, the third winter camp for Amundsen's GJÖA which had never been visited. Never before have these colours seemed to be luminous as they were in the sky today. Not yesterday, not tomorrow ... no, today ... and we are there. There is no "Why?"
I had to tell our Swiss guests today that a comparable tribute for the Swiss will be very difficult to achieve. When an entire armada of Zodiacs leaves the ship at 6.00 am, lands 1,000 metres away and suddenly stops dead as if all of the boats had damaged motors, then there is a reason. Everyone just wants to look and take pictures. The sky is on fire ... it burns this day deep into our memory. The reason for the landing becomes almost secondary. Will we find any traces of Amundsen's last winter stay in 1905/06? The ice will prevent him from sailing any further in five days. In ten days, he and his followers will be able to bring the supplies from the ship to land without getting their feet wet — by crossing the ice.
Logbook of the Northwest Passage by Captain Mark Behrend
28/8/2006: Destination - Point Barrow
... no idea where this day will take us. All I can say is: we are on the right course.
We left Herschel Island on a west-northwest course at 5.30 pm, clear destination Point Barrow. It took the ships we contacted today six to eight days for the route. We will not have this much time. I am sure: ... we will not need it. We are now sailing at top speed towards a point about 60 nautical miles north of the coast which guarantees us ice-free water towards the west for as long as possible. Estimated arrival in about ten hours (8.00 am board time). We will then change our course to head south so that we find the gap 5 nautical miles wide between 8/10 and 9/10 ice at a right angle. Fog? Perhaps, very light southerly winds ...
"Finally the current will win," our ice-master Capt. Norman Thomas said to me once two weeks ago. But what does "finally" mean when I have a backpack with 130 return plane tickets on my back? We are looking for an earlier opportunity. Tomorrow and the day after tomorrow will decide. We have finally broken through the pack ice and the satellite communications, which in the past week sometimes drove us to despair.
Logbook of the Northwest Passage
|15/08/2006||On the way from Greenland to Pond Inlet||read|
|16/08/2006||Departure from Pond Inlet||read|
|21/08/2006||The BREMEN reaches Gjöa Haven via James Ross Strait||read|
|23/08/2006||The BREMEN has left Gjöa Haven via Simpson Strait||read|
|28/08/2006||Six more days to Nome||read|
|28/08/2006||Destination - Point Barrow|
|31/08/2006||"Vessel in sight"||read|