Kara Sea, 9th of August 2002,
Vagabond left Dikson this morning, exactly 124 years after Nordenskjold, and keeps heading to the North-East. About 450 nautical miles ahead, Cape Chelyuskin, the northern point of Asia, which will mark our entrance in Laptev Sea, if ice conditions are fine.
We are not sailing alone. Not only the first cargos and icebreakers of the season, but also Arved Fuchs and his crew, onboard Dagmar Aaen, who want to pass the North-East passage this year as well, fourth attempt since 91. The 2 yachts are following each other, and a nice friendship started in Murmansk between the crew members.
On evening of 30th of July , after all formalities at least completed, with 2 pilots on board, Vagabond went out of the long fjord of Murmansk. The good back winds gave us some speed to cross the Barents Sea, and to reach the Kara Strait on 3rd of August. The New Zemble island only showed us 2 beacons in the fog, and a strong current was pushing us into the Kara Sea where we met our first drifting ice, for our great pleasure. A lot of seals very curious welcomed the unusual visitors we are. In the middle of the pack, the Sovietsky Soyouz, nuclear icebreaker, was watching out for safety of the seldom ships. By radio, the captain recommanded us to sail north around drifting ice, and soon, the Kara Sea was offering us all open water. A Russian hydrographic vessel passsed us the following day, and gave us the chance of a very unexpected contact with the ex-mountaineer and now film-maker Jean Afanassief, on his way to Tiksi. On 6th of August, Vagabond reached the White island, north of Yamal Peninsula. Then the sea became brown because of water from the Ob River, and from the Yenissey River, and we had to watch out for floating tree trunks.
Dikson was an important harbour of the Northern Sea Route before, 6000 people were still leaving there 10 years ago, not many more than 1000 today. Samuel, cameraman, joined the crew after some adventures to meet us here, while Karen, our interpreter, having some little health trouble, decided not to go for the most difficult part of the expedition. Thanks to Boris who is sailing with us from Murmansk, communications with other ships and with authorities are without problem. There are 4 hours difference between Murmansk and Dikson, but we are not changing time onboard to keep the tempo !
More info on www.vagabond.fr or by direct phone with the crew, +881 631 413 274.