108-year-old family-run tall ship completes Northwest Passage
Original post: Another World Adventures
We’re thrilled to have helped several sailors be part of history as the crew on board a 108-year-old family-run tall ship that has completed the Northwest Passage for the second time.
This sailing route is only navigable for a limited time each year, hampered by sea ice and ice floes. It’s an area of which we still have little knowledge, and is hardly ever visited. The first ship to navigate the Northwest Passage had to overwinter twice and completed the voyage in 1906, while the owners of this vessel hasve now done it for a second time, each within a summer.
In 2019, the tall ship Tecla and her crew successfully navigated from East to West. This year (2023), it made it through again, but sailing from West to East. Starting in Dutch Harbor in July, the crew of 4 professional sailors and 12 expedition sailors – including a couple of Another World Adventures adventure seekers – completed their voyage in Greenland in September.
Once, the Northwest Passage was sought after to make it easier for ships to sail to the so-called East by a shorter route than around Cape of Good Hope or Cape Horn. Many great explorers failed to find the passage, and many lives and ships were lost at sea and in the ice. This makes it a route that speaks to the imagination, as it did for the crew of the tall ship.
The vessel is a 38-m traditional steel sailing vessel built in 1915, converted into a comfortable sailing vessel with 16 berths and we’ve helped adventure seekers join them for many great voyages from Antarctica, crossing oceans, following in the footsteps of vikings and now through the infamous North West Passage.
The crew set sail in July 2022, visiting the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, Antarctica, French Polynesia, and Hawaii before starting on her second attempt of the Northwest Passage. By sailing this route, it followed in the wake of the sailing vessel the Blossom, with captain Beechey. In 1818, the Blossom had to turn around in the Chukchi Sea because the sea ice was too dense to penetrate. However, with the current ice charts and much more of the sea ice melting in summer, this crew and vessel was able to make it through.
The Scott Polar Research Institute keeps track of all vessels that successfully pass through the Northwest Passage. In 2019, it was the 311th vessel to officially complete the route from Arctic Circle to Arctic Circle on either side of the Passage. Its second successful passage will be listed and awarded a number as the 2023 season closes.
Although much of the sea ice throughout the route melts in summer, it is never certain that it will and how fast the passage becomes navigable. Its melt is facilitated by a number of aspects, including warm ocean water, warm summers, warm winters, and wind conditions. Although an increasing number of freight vessels use the passage, it cannot be used yet as a commercial trading route, as there is no guarantee that the route will be ice-free each summer.
This year’s expedition team comprised 16 adventurous guest crew in total, made up of 8 nationalities and included two of the three owners of the vessel – a sister and brother, Jet and Gijs. The entire route took 56 days of sailing from Dutch Harbor to Illulissat.
In 2024 they plan to revisit some of their favourite ports on the easterly side of the passage. Perhaps you’d like to join them?
Or check out the rest of their amazing schedule as they voyage south from Greenland to the UK, Tenerife across the Atlantic’s north and southern oceans to the Falkland Islands, on to Antarctica, across the ocean to Cape Town and then north to the Azores via Helena and Ascension should the wind be willing!
If you’d like more details or to see a video of life on board this ship just make an enquiry on any of their forthcoming adventures which you can find here.
Hi I’m Larissa, Founder of Another World Adventures. Welcome! If you’re planning an adventure you’re in the right place. Get ready to discover epic travel inspo and a collection of hand-picked trips from my trusted network of experienced adventure experts. Think unusual destinations, expeditions, slow, solo and sustainable travel and epic journeys on land and at sea! Ever got a question? Just get in touch, I answer every enquiry myself. Enjoy!