The voyage of the Arctic Joule will come to an end in the next few days, just shy of the halfway mark. I can’t blame the fellows: It’s been quite a difficult run for them as a result of adverse winds and a boat design not quite appropriate for the attempt. (Too much wind area; they were effectively rendered impotent by any headwind at all.)
But I am a bit annoyed at their “ground crew” — the person(s) running their FaceBook page. On that site, the people keenly following along have been strung along, apparently for ten days, while the moderator knew for at least most of that time that they crew were planning to quit. An article appeared at the Irish Times website Thursday 8/23, and concludes:
However, we will not make it to Pond Inlet. Though the reasons are beyond our control, it still hurts.
As I write, we are 550km from Cambridge Bay, which is only our halfway mark, and it could be the end of August before we get there. If so, this is where our expedition will finish.We are still giving this everything we have but it has been a difficult week.
That distance, 550km from Cambridge Bay, puts them back toward the beginning of the Dolphin and Union Strait. And I remember when they grounded in a small cove there to wait out the wind. This was apparently when they damaged their retractable centerboard, as described in the article.
There are several curious things about this article, which leads me to speculation:
- It is written in the normal style of their blog posts, not their “interview from the boat” style.
- It was written approximately ten days ago.
- All text traffic from the boat apparently goes through the FaceBook moderater(s), at least one of whom is policing the site from her location in Vancouver.
- It typically takes a day or two for a blog post to appear (i.e., the post can be tracked to events two days prior).
From this, I expect that it’s likely that (1) the moderator knew that the Arctic Joule crew was going to quit for at least a week, (2) did not post the blog entry explaining why, and (3) did not mention it on the site.
Even now, when another commenter referred to it, the moderator(s) have said nothing. And after many hours, no comments on that mention have survived. (Just as comments wondering what happened to me are quickly deleted.)
Why not tell the people following the Arctic Joule what happened? Why leave them to find out in an overseas newspaper? And in fact it still hasn’t been officially mentioned on the FaceBook page, nor is there a link to the article. I think that the moderator is playing fast and loose with her role, and I doubt that the Arctic Joule crew is even aware of this.
In the meantime, they had another excellent day, rowing like mad and (were they planning to finish) shaving another day off their arrival time. Yes, there’s ice ahead, but I must admire their efforts, especially under the circumstances.
I’ve updated the charts, but it seems less crucial now.
===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle