Lancaster Sound

Croker bay was a very interesting experience, the mountains look like something you would see in southern Utah or northern Arizona – very desolate. The mile wide glacier at the end of the bay is constantly making icebergs, some are the size of a house, but mostly they’re between the size of a semi-truck and the size of a shopping cart. There were a couple hundred bergs in the bay floating around this way and that. It was quite weird to drift around with the ice for two days. For the most part the ice minds its own business but once in a while I had to fend off a piece with my boat hook. I was able to collect ice with my fishing net and melt it by strapping a pot to my engine. I also took the chance to have a Scotch on the rocks, the rocks coming strait off a glacier and had been frozen for a millennia. Now thats a good drink! The sides of the bay were lined with cliffs and most of the bay was 900-1000 feet deep. Ice is loud!! tucked back in the bay I could hear the ice cracking and popping. Every half hour or so I would hear a berg run aground. It sounded like a mack truck hitting a brick wall at 60mph. I was able to get some good rest but because of all the ice I slept with one eye open.

Right now Im heading down Lancaster sound on my way to Peel sound. As of today Peel sound is 50% open at the top and only 5% open near the bottom. South of Peel sound there is a narrow channel along the west coasts of Somerset and Boothia but thats because there have been easterly winds for the last 4 days. So once Peel sound opens at the bottom I’ll make my push. I’m still two to three days from Peel sound so I might have to hold up a day or two or it might be open when I arrive. Its hard to say. All in all, I’m right on target.

In order for this to be a non-stop trip I must stay within the guidelines given by the US coast guard for a vessel under way. To be a vessel under way I can not tie off to anything attached to the ground, a dock, seawall, or a mooring. I can not drop anchor, I can not tie off to a boat thats dropped anchor, I can not tie off to a boat who’s engine is in gear (because then I would be a vessel under tow instead of a vessel under way). I can not tie off to a ice berg that has run aground and I cannot run aground. I can tie off to a floating iceberg, I can tie off to a boat if they agree to turn off there engine or keep there engine in neutral so we both drift. I can hove-to on my parachute sea anchor because thats not attached to anything but water. As long as I do this I will be a vessel underway and the trip will be non-stop. The reason for the non-stop part of the trip is simple – for some time I’ve wanted to sail alone around the world non-stop in the southern latitudes. I’ve also wanted to sail the Northwest Passage. So I combined the two and this way I can sail both the Northwest Passage and Cape Horn. The distance is about the same as sailing from Australia around the world back to Australia, so I still get a long non-stop trip. Other boats have circumnavigated the Americas but as far as I know no one has ever tried to do it non-stop and singlehanded. I could be wrong but I think im the first to try.


9 thoughts on “Lancaster Sound”

  1. Matt,

    The picture is awesome.

    When you get back to Annapolis I would be honored if you(and a guest) would join my wife and I at Ruths Chris Steakhouse for dinner.

    We’re praying for you.

  2. Matt you are amazing! Love your informative updates! Have been following you and am both impressed and inspired by your spirit of adventure.

    Sail smart, sail safe.

    Janell in Oklahoma

  3. Hi Matt,
    How are you doing with your foods? I noticed that you could make coffee, so I’m wondering how much water are you able to heat to prepare the soups, vegetables, etc? I might suggest the Thrive Baked Potatoe Cheese Soup with added freeze-dried carrots and also peas. It’s really good and would warm you up good. I suggested to Shelf Reliance an easy smoothie if you can find a way to crush some ice. I get concerned about how you are maintaining a balanced diet with enough Calories. With all the physical strength you require to accomplish this tremendous feat, I suggest you give as much thought to your own healthcare as you do the care of your sailing vessel. If you need assistance with adjusting amounts in recipes to prepare your serving sizes, please don’t hesitate to request whatever information you need. Take good care of yourself.
    Karol Harlan, M.S.,R.D.

  4. This is amazing! I’m so glad you are able to update the blog so much. I know it takes time and energy, but I love sharing in your adventure. We all appreciate it (especially your parents…?) Glad you brought some scotch with you to celebrate how far you’ve already made it – you deserve it. And glacier ice?! Brilliant.

    On my most recent journey, I would always somehow get Disney songs stuck in my head. I never knew all the words, so it drove me crazy in two ways, but I never got to Christmas carols… Keep singing. Keep sailing.

    Carrie (friend of a boat club friend)

  5. The pictures are wonderful, but what makes your blog is the fine writing. Very descriptive and personal. I always feel that you’re speaking just to me. That must be why you have so many followers, (besides your great adventure!)

  6. Matt, I’m owner of the same kind of boat, the Albin Vega, and dreaming about making the NW passage for years! Was just thinking I need a bigger boat for this, made from steel, so need to save much more money etc. . I’m speachless looking at your website today. What a courage!
    Alex van Dusseldorp, Netherlands

  7. Matt, I just read your story in the Post and it really resonated. I would love to buy you a drink after you’ve returned and gotten reacclimated, if that’s even possible.

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