Fantastic early morning reflections and three pronged rainbow, zodiac tours of cliffs, birds, icebergs.
PRINCE WALES STRAIT
Day at sea, tense navigating. We became only the 17th ship to navigate Prince of Wales Strait!! Lots of ice to battle through, ice gets clogged between Banks and Victoria Islands, rare to get through!! The KK has accomplished the feat twice
BANKS ISLAND - WALLACE POINT
Helicopter ride to Banks Island, Wallace Point for three hour walk followed by another helicopter ride to Parker River and viewing a variety of ice visible from helicopter.
JESSE BAY / DE SALIS BAY
Three hour hike, snow bunting and fox in distance / DE SALIS BAY - another walk, patterns in mud, small stream, stormy sky
Huge archaeological discovery has been made, the wreck of HMS Terror has been found in pristine condition in the waters of King William Island, Terror Bay, in the Arctic. It is in 24m (80’) of water.
The ship was abandoned in 1848 off the coast of King William Island. All 129 men aboard died, the worst naval disaster of the British Royal Navy in its polar explorations.
The sister ship of the ill fared expedition, the HMS Erebus, was found two years ago and day …. it was in 11m of water.
AMUNDSEN GULF / SACHS HARBOUR
Zodiac landings, welcoming tea, 135 population, 27 year old Melissa, married to an Inuit hunter, Welcome Center, crafts.
Southwest of Cape Bathurst in Franklin Bay, at the easternmost end of the Beaufort Sea. Helicoptered to the burning hills. Strata of hydrocarbons, oil shales ignite spontaneously when exposed to air, have been burning for at least 12,000 years!
The phenomena is fascinating .. .how can the hills “burn” for so many thousands of years? Pyrite FeS2 “Fool’s Gold” (fire) unstable, self perpetuating combustion, sulfur combines with Oxygen = sulfur dioxide, sulphate combines with water = sulphuric acid …. pyrite absorbs oxygen and releases heat.
When partly burnt, lignite shale becomes yellow; when fully burnt it becomes red. There were all sorts of colors. Great views helicoptering over and then walking along the cliffs. Franklin Bay.
Helicoptered to KAY POINT
Between Canadian territory of Yukon and US state of Alaska, used to be a relatively narrow passage but with global warming, it has enlarged greatly
Rainbows in waves crashing into our ship.
Separates Asia and North America. We crossed International Date Line and the Arctic Circle, accomplished the circumnavigation. Two iles apart, BIG DIOMEDE (Russia) and LITTLE DIOMEDE (USA)
used to be 10,000, busy port, supported from Moscow. Now 1,970, a “forgotten city.” CUSTOMS very officious folks, not allowed to leave ship, PURGATORY of Providenya
most picturesque in SE Chukotka within the Beringia National Park. Autumnal colors. 5:00AM Reindeer herders camp, a rare sight for tourists. 20 freshly killed reindeer carcasses, piles of livers, hearts and tongues headed for market. Also piles of heads, antlers and skins being cleaned. They also the reindeer and kill them with a knife. Quark took 20 kilo bags of flour and sugar as well as several parkas to give to the herders. We were offered steaming cups of tea.
380 pop. Drab, run down buildings. Modern school. My Final POLAR SWIM!!!!, not as icy as Leg Three. Lots of whales breaching.
BACK TO ANADYR
We 14 Circumnavigators were invited the Bridge to steer the ship! Pretty thrilling! End of journey, disembarkation. Beautiful day, helicopters to the airport
END FOURTH LEG: 17 Days - 2,824 Nautical miles. TOTAL - 14,212
Expedition travel can be challenging, physically and mentally. I am exceedingly aware of the privilege of being on this expedition, appreciative and thankful for the experiences we’ve had.
Shackleton’s definition of qualities that make an EXPLORER...
Physical stamina, Courage, Endurance, Idealism, Patience