20 August 2013
August 15th was the date Tara had planned to go through the Vilkinsky Strait (Russia) and pass the famous Cape Chelyuskin (point A on the map), northernmost point in Asia and strategic point of the Northeast Passage.
The strait is strategic because ice conditions here vary from year to year. This year the ice present along a 400-mile strip is particularly dense at this point, and Tara can not make the passage on her own. For 5 days Tara has been positioned near this “plug” of ice, waiting to see how the situation will evolve.
At present, a total melting of ice in the Vilkinsky Strait seems highly unlikely, and the schooner will not be able to pass through without the help of a Russian icebreaker with an experienced crew. The Yamal, already in this area, could eventually open the way for Tara as well as other vessels of similar size waiting in the zone.
So the Tara Oceans Polar Circle expedition will be a few days behind schedule, but as it looks now, this will not be a problem for the future. Part of the scientific program will probably be shortened in order to arrive on schedule at our next stopover, Pevek, and then continue the mission in Canada. Stay tuned for further news.
Patience is the primary quality of polar explorers.