Leaving Chinook and heading back to Canada - 49° 38' 27" N 01° 37' 00" E

 Yep, you read correctly.  Our plans have changed, as plans often do and our 2024 is looking somewhat different from what we wrote in a previous post - A Rough Plan for 2024

Chinook will be left safe and sound at Port Chantereyne Marina - with her Garcia friends!

We still plan to head to the UK and Ireland after Easter and will spend until mid-June cruising around, exploring the area and putting Chinook through her paces.  Our plan is to sail to Alderney, just off the coast of Normandy, on Easter Monday or Tuesday.  It is a short hop but has some major tides that can run up to 10kn so we need to time our departure well. 

We bought the "Aurigny' (Alderney to the English-speakers) courtesy flag from the local chandlers here in Cherbourg

We will then cross the English Channel to Portsmouth and work our way west along the coast of England to Wales and Scotland before heading south along the eastern Irish coast.  We need to be back in Cherbourg by mid-June for the 3-month warranty check and to catch our flights back to Canada. 

... So why the change of plan???


... keep scrolling

... building suspense

... we are changing plans because 

... we have been asked to join Marisa and Adriano aboard their Garcia Exploration 45, Voyager, to transit the North West Passage!  We are so excited for the opportunity that we are prepared to desert our brand-new-boat to sail on another for a few months!

The North West Passage is a sea route through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago that is iced in for the majority of the year.  The search for a way through these icy waters defeated many an expedition including Martin Frobisher in 1576,  John Davis in 1585, Henry Hudson in 1611 and Vitas Bering in 1728. Their names, now familiar, grace bays, straits and seas along the route.

Captain Cook also had a go at finding a passage as did Vancouver and MacKenzie. And so on through to the infamous Franklin Expedition, that ill-fated attempt that looms large in the annuals of Canadian history.  Ironically, the first transit of the Northwest Passage was made by the McClure Expedition (1850-1854) which was a search party for the Franklin crew.  They also got themselves into a bit of a pickle by being trapped in ice for three winters.  They were finally rescued just before they all starved and as the rescuers came on sledges from the opposite direction and returned the way the rescuers came, McClure's gang has the glory of being the first to transit the NWP, even if a wee bit was done by sledge rather than ship. 

The first successful transit solely by boat was by Roald Amundsen in 1906, yep that very same Norwegian who pipped Scott to be the first to the South Pole. His three-year journey was east to west and finished off by an 800km ski to Eagle,  Alaska. He sent a telegram to say he had succeeded, turned around and skied the 800km back to his boat.  Bit of a legend! The next transit didn't happen until 1940-1942 by the RCMP so it shows what a great feat Amundsen pulled off. 

Since (and including) Amundsen's success to the summer of 2023, a grand total of 392 attempts on 283 vessels have successfully transited the NWP.  This includes ALL vessels, including ice-breakers (60 transits), passenger vessels (83 transits) and cargo ships (40 transits). 229 have been east to west (the way we are going) and 163 have been west to east.  To put this into context, Mount Everest has been summited 11,996 times to Jan 2024.

A couple of the main routes through the
North West Passage

We are meeting Marisa and Adriano in St John's, Newfoundland in mid June.  We will spend some time finalising preparations before heading across the Labrador Sea to Greenland. The west coast of Greenland tends to have less ice than the Canadian side so we should be able to get further north before we hit ice.  The waiting game starts and as soon as it looks like the ice is clearing, we will head into the Davis Strait and then Lancaster Sound.  The route from there will depend on ice. 

With global warming, the North West Passage has been navigable for short periods in the summer since about 2006, with some exceptions.  If we cannot get though, we will back to Greenland and onto Iceland.  None of us have any desire to winter-over on a boat stuck in the ice! If we can get through, we will jump ship in either Tuktoyaktuk or Nome and head back to Chinook in Cherbourg.

So, we have an excellent and most exciting reason to abandon Chinook and head back to Canada! Stay tuned for further details!


  1. Wow! You two don't do anything by the half-measure. Look forward to watching your exploits.

  2. Wow! Keeps the wear and tear off Chinook! And what a great opportunity.

  3. Wow indeed, we are not jealous. Oh nooooo of course not. Gulp. Simply amazing ! Very very cool ! Power to you and your skipper friends. Wow. Thank you for sharing !

  4. You two never cease to amaze me! Have a wonderful and safe adventure 💕 J&D

  5. Sounds exciting!!

  6. Gord updated me on this the other day. Sounds like an awesome adventure!

  7. I cant wait to hear about your adventures, what an incredible voyage you are doing! Rachel Gurney

    1. Thanks Rachel! It's been a lot of fun so far....


Post a Comment

Check out our most popular posts!

Moving Aboard - 49° 38' 27" N 01° 37' 00" E

Garcia Boatyard - 49° 38' 48" N 01 35' 47" E