Northwest Passage paddle: Kevin Valley recalls, while Anne Quemere turns back

Northwest Passage paddle: Kevin Valley recalls, while Anne Quemere turns back

Posted: Jul 13, 2014 02:11 pm EDT

 

(By Correne Coetzer) Today French kayaker, Anne Quéméré, announced that she has decided to head back from Point Atkinson to Tuktoyaktuk (‘Tuk) because of unfavourable strong winds. Wind flow didn’t allow Anne to head to Cape Dalhousie. ”Taking advantage of a Northeaster, 24 hours of straight paddling allowed me to return to ‘Tuk; when in the opposite direction, it had taken 4 days,” Anne explained. She started her kayaking in the Canadian Arctic Northwest Passage, from Inuvik (Northwest Territories) eastward to Pond Inlet (Nunavut), on June 24.

 

In the mean time, Kevin Vallely, sent over some memories to ExWeb, recalling being in the same place the same time a year ago, and writing down thoughts about Anne’s kayak attempt. Here goes:

 

“The wind gusts from the Northeast and from my promontory post, I can see the ocean in its fury.  This means nothing good for me for some time yet. Even the birds stay on the ground, which is bad news in itself.” 

 

A quote from Anne Quemere’s blog as she makes her way up the Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula after leaving the village of Tuktoyaktuk. Anne is attempting a partial traverse of the Northwest Passage in a kayak, traveling over 3000 km from Inuvik to Pond Inlet.

 

This time last year myself and my three team mates (Paul Gleeson, Frank Wolf and Denis Barnett) were in a similar place in similar conditions. We were attempting the same route but instead of a kayak we chose an ocean rowing boat. We were experiencing heavy winds from the North and Northeast and found ourselves battling continuously for all we were worth.

 

I feel Anne’s choice of attempting the passage in a kayak is a good one. The winds are the biggest enemy for the self-propelled traveller. Our ocean rowing boat became uncontrollable on numerous occasions as winds pushed us anywhere they wanted. In an open ocean this means frustration for being blown off track but for Arctic rowers it means the real potential of being pushed into pack-ice. 

 

There are huge advantages to a kayak in the icy waters of the Northwest Passage. A kayak provides much less windage than an ocean rowing vessel and can move much faster into stiff winds. A kayak can be hauled up onto beaches when waters or winds become too treacherous and, as we saw last summer, a kayak can be portaged around peninsulas saving hundreds of kilometers of difficult ocean travel and avoiding treacherous Capes too.

 

But with the lightness and nimbleness of the kayak comes the danger. The Northwest Passage has a series of large ocean crossings that will demand the highest skill from a paddler. Ocean rowing vessels fair better in rough conditions in icy seas. 

 

After rounding Cape Dalhousie Anne would have ventured across Liverpool Bay. We encountered rough seas and strong Northerly winds on this crossing and were pushed down to the Northern shores of Nicholson Island situated deep in the bay. 

 

The Northwest Passage is a ship route, stretching from the Arctic Circle in the Pacific Ocean near the Bering Strait to the Arctic Circle in the Atlantic Ocean in the Davis Strait, or visa versa, along the sea passage of the northern coast of the Northern American continent.

 

Last year Kevin Valley and crew started rowing from Inuvik in an attempt to reach Pond Inlet, but decided to end their voyage early at Cambridge Bay due to dangerous ice and wind conditions.

 

Among his expeditions, Kevin has skied from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole with Richard Weber and Ray Zahab in a record time set by a team in 2008/09 and speed-run across the frozen Lake Baikal in 2010.

 

Anne Quemere

2002: Rowed the Atlantic on the Trade winds route (Canary Islands to the West Indies), alone and without assistance. 56 days

2004: Rowed the Atlantic on the north route, alone and without assistance. 87 days and rowing 6450 km

2006: Kited across the Atlantic Ocean, alone and without assistance. New York area to Ouessant, in Brittany. 55 days, 6700 km

2011: Kited across the Pacific Ocean alone and without assistance from Callao, Peru to French Polynesia. 77 days, 7000 km.

 

 

Previous/Related

 

Anne Quemere to kayak 2500 nm in the Northwest Passage

 

2008: Ocean kiter Anne Quéméré rescued

 

ExWeb interview with Kevin Vallely, the Northwest Passage, the iconic crux to the northern sea route

 

2010: ExWeb interview with Kevin Vallely, On an expedition like this the mental component is everything

 

ExWeb interview with Kevin Vallely: It awoke something in me that I'll never be able to put to sleep.

 

 

Anne Quemere’s pages:

Website

Arctic Passage Facebook

 

Kevin Vallely

Mainstream Last First website

Vimeo Videos

Kevin’s website

 

 

#Oceans #AnneQuemere #northwestpassage #northwestpassagekayak #KevinVallely #Polar

 

 

 

 

Kevin Vallely: "Our ocean rowing boat became uncontrollable on numerous occasions as winds pushed us anywhere they wanted. In an open ocean this means frustration for being blown off track but for Arctic rowers it means the real potential of being pushed into pack-ice."
courtesy Kevin Vallely / Mainstream Last First, SOURCE
Kevin Vallely (right) and his three team mates, Paul Gleeson, Frank Wolf and Denis Barnet, were in a similar place in similar conditions last year as Anne Quemere this year. Image, stormbound in the rowboat cabin.
courtesy Kevin Vallely / Mainstream Last First, SOURCE
Kevin Vallely: "With the lightness and nimbleness of the kayak comes the danger. The Northwest Passage has a series of large ocean crossings that will demand the highest skill from a paddler."
courtesy Anne Quemere, SOURCE
Anne Quemere, July 8: "Since I left, I’ve been fighting strong northern winds, gusting to 25 knots. If yesterday I gave it my all, paddling for 18 hours, I barely moved forward." Image in a hunting shack taking cover against the wind.
courtesy Anne Quemere, SOURCE
Anne's route.
courtesy Anne Quemere, SOURCE