Friday, August 19, 2011

Issuma: heading west!

The + marks Bellot Strait.
The big island to the east is Baffin.
Below it is Labrador.
Issuma is so far north that the compass needle points down.  This is looking like the beginning of a northwest passage, NOT a circumnavigation of Baffin Island.  Bellot Strait - which Issuma just traversed westbound - is the northernmost point on the North American continent.  Perhaps wintering at an arctic port is the plan.  The photo is of the Bellot Strait which Richard describes below.  Go directly to Issuma to learn how they did on their passage through the strait.
"Bellot Strait is an 18 mile long passage between Prince Regent Inlet and Peel Sound. It was named after Lieutenant Bellot of the French Navy who came across it in 1852. It has a difficult reputation due to its fast tidal currents and a rock that is awash (so hard to see) near the eastern end of it. While there was no ice when we passed, Bellot Strait has a reputation for quickly jamming with ice. The Sailing Directions note: "The tidal streams run with great strength through Bellot Strait...In the vicinity of Magpie Rock, the currents are highly variable; localised 7-8 knot westerly currents have been reported on the north side of the channel at the same time that equally strong easterly currents were flowing on the south side. Mariners should exercise extreme caution in this area."