Despite the decisions by the captains of both Suilven and Aventura to turn back east and not attempt the Northwest Passage, the Blue Planet Odyssey’s mission in the Arctic has been handed on to Michael Thurston of the Australian yacht Drina, who took part in the Atlantic Odyssey last year.
Although in many parts of the Northwest Passage the sea ice melted earlier than normal, the crucial middle section remained iced up by the middle of August. Both John Andrews of Suilven and Jimmy Cornell of Aventura made their reluctant decision to turn back due to concerns about arriving very late in the Pacific. Other yachts planning to transit the Northwest Passage this summer have made the same decision.
If the ice does open in the next week or so, some of the few yachts still waiting may only be able to transit at the end of August or early September.”If necessary, I am prepared to over-winter in Cambridge Bay,” Michael Thurston said.
“I can’t think of anyone more suited to represent the Blue Planet Odyssey,” said Jimmy Cornell. “Michael is a veteran sailor I’ve known for over 30 years and for whom I have the greatest respect. He strongly believes in the aims of the Blue Planet Odyssey and, in spite of this summer’s weather, has no doubt that climate change in the Arctic is a reality.
“Michael has agreed to take Emily Penn on as crew, so that she can continue to carry out her ocean plastics trawl. From the samples collected while onboard Aventura, she was pleased to note that the presence of plastic in these pristine waters is still very low. Emily will also continue to take Secchi disk readings, which means that our science program will continue in the north.”