Thursday, June 27, 2013

TheLastFirst Expedition - Do they have the RIGHT STUFF? Not likely and here is why...

The right stuff? Doubtful... here is why...

  • The ARCTIC JOULE is not seaworthy, nor will it auto-right itself if capsized. The video at has been re-edited and the portion from 00:31 to the end has been removed which illustrated that the rowboat would not roll-over if capsized. An upside down boat is a disaster - here is what happened to another ocean rowboat which capsized -
  • The ARCTIC JOULE is not outfitted for Arctic weather and will likely cause the four men to become ill with respiratory illness requiring medical treatment. This could present life threatening evacuation or rescue.
  • You never see the rowers wearing a personal flotation device (PFD, i.e. lifejacket). This single factor is why most people lose their life out on the water. The cold Arctic water will make hypothermia another real threat.

Rowboat Capsized, Men Rescued off Richmond Beach - repeated errors...

  • Witnesses on the beach called 9-1-1 and told KIRO that the men were not wearing lifejackets.
  • Limit the loads of people and equipment carried in boats. Overloaded boats are less maneuverable and more likely to become swamped or capsized.
  • Dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature. Assess the wind and wave conditions to decide if you are prepared for potential cold-water conditions.

  • The rowboat hatches are shown OPEN while underway which is a classic safety issue knowing that a sneaker wave can roll the boat over and the open hatches will surely enable flooding and sinking of their only shelter. The first rule of survival is SHELTER.
Continued mis-representations, become known as willful lies.

  1. The Northwest Passage is a sea route of some 3,500 miles, depending on which of the seven routes navigated between specific geographic points. To complete a Northwest Passage the vessel must cross the starting and finish lines and travel the entire distance on its own bottom between the Bering Strait's Arctic Circle and Davis Strait's Arctic Circle. Depending on direction of travel the vessel crosses the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean Arctic Circles (Latitude 66.5622°N)  Expressed another way you do not get credit for climbing Mount Everest unless you summit the top of the mountain. Start and Finish lines. You don't get to make up the rules or change them - not after 107 years and 185 transits.
  2. Hamlet to hamlet trips of only 1,500 miles between Inuvik and Pond Inlet does not represent a Northwest Passage but rather a short point-to-point trip.
  3. TheLastFirst will not be the first to row in the Arctic. Mathieu Bonnier rowed solo from Greenland to Cambridge Bay in 2010-2011. Other rowers have also rowed in the Arctic.
  4. Charles Hedrich completed a Northwest Passage by yacht in 2009. Today he is waiting for better weather in Wales Alaska with his son to start rowing a full Northwest Passage transit in 2013. This could be the FIRST official rowboat Northwest Passage. Bering Strait to Davis Strait - Arctic Circle to Arctic Circle. Start to finish line.
  • Will rowing in the Arctic make people more aware of melting Arctic ice? The Arctic is actually colder in 2013 than in 2003. The ice is NOT diminishing but rather growing larger... Does the melting of ice make navigation of the Northwest Passage possible? It depends... on your point of reference... but in the last 107 years 135 vessels have completed a full 185 Northwest Passages, some vessels multiple times. Surely in 107 years it was not because of melting ice but rather the desire to win the ultimate Arctic challenge to navigate between Atlantic Arctic Circle to Pacific Arctic Circle through the Arctic Archipelago. Will the ARCTIC JOULE row between Inuvik and Pond Inlet because of melting ice? Definitely not. Only because four men have enough strength, a break in the weather and can overcome the dangers along the way. Will anyone change to renewable resources because of someone rowing in the Arctic? Not likely, but I suspect a few bone heads will use this opportunity to proclaim they are going "GREEN." You can bet the four rowers will all continue to drive their carbon guzzling cars... unless Mainstream RP awards them electric cars... how about more investment MRP?
  • Anyone that thinks TheLastFirst is a world record is encouraged to ask GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS to certify their transit. Please post a daily position by SPOT GPS beacon ( (not by a webmaster handcrafting a bogus track map) and post a copy of your ship's logbook for inspection - a public blog site is a good basis.

Can TheLastFirst make a difference? Not likely at all... NO!

"Exxon Mobil executives care less about Americans’ belief in climate change, Coll suggests, than they do about Americans’ belief in punitive damages from lawsuits. After the next Exxon Valdez spill, or the next Jacksonville spill (in which an Exxon service station leaked 24,000 gallons of gasoline into a Maryland community’s water supply), what a jury decides could subtract billions from the bottom line. Small wonder that after the Valdez, a company representative quietly called a University of Wisconsin professor to offer money if he would write an article for a “respectable academic journal,” arguing against punitive damages. This man spoke up, but we don’t know how many other scholars received and may have acted on the same offer and said nothing." (PRIVATE EMPIRE By Steve Coll)

Liquid carbon called 'oil' is spilled every day on planet earth - preventing oil spills would be a giant step forward... reducing our addiction to oil with renewable power such as solar makes very good sense...  but when you learn that Exxon has been in business for more than 100 years, has seen 19 U.S. Presidents come and go and has remained an extremely lucrative and powerful business... with an attitude described as F_ _ _ you - no apologies, oil is here to stay. 

You realize that TheLastFirst is a grain of sand on the seashore unable to make a difference from rowing in the Arctic - why is Mainstream Renewable Power (MRP) not offering incentives on alternative power products which provide renewable power for centuries instead of funding some $250,000 for a dare devil rowboat crew in the Arctic... because CEO Eddie O'Connor is looking forward to greeting the lads at one of the Arctic hamlets as a great funded vacation just like the four lads rowing the boat in the Arctic - it is a free TheLastFirst adventure? The lads surely didn't mortgage their homes to participate or contribute anything except their time to row. All expenses are paid by sponsor MRP? It will likely be “Adventure is just bad planning.” repeated over and over again... four lads rowing in the Arctic is nonsense. 

Are you going to do anything different because of four lads rowing in the Arctic? Please comment below and tell us what YOU ARE DOING BECAUSE OF THIS and WHY.

Lets see if four lads in a rowboat have the RIGHT STUFF? To return home safe and well without risking rescue and loss of life. That would be so sad should it happen but where else are the odds so high as in the extreme Arctic - you have to be touched to even attempt such a dare devil event - mother nature does not give second chances in her remote deep freezer.

God Speed Arctic Joule and her crew!

Better yet - here is what makes sense... 

Rowboats for Retirement

At 48, Kevin Vallely jokes that he is the “old man” on the four-member crew that is about to attempt a human-powered crossing of the icy Northwest Passage.

Here’s what Kevin Vallely’s packed for his summer boating trip: 640 two-serving dry food meals, 960 packets of oatmeal, 700 power bars, 700 chocolate bars, 20 pounds of coffee, 500 packets of ramen noodles, 15 pounds of beef jerky and 360 packs of multivitamins.
OK, so it’s more of a voyage than a boat trip — and he’s not eating alone. On July 1, the North Van adventurer and three teammates — Paul Gleeson, Frank Wolf and Denis Barnett — will attempt to row the Northwest Passage, from Inuvik through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and all the way to Pond Inlet, Nunavut, in a four-man row boat.

No sails, no motors — just human power. ETA is 75 days.

“This has been on the books for a long time,” he says of the sea expedition. 
Fifteen years ago Vallely and a paddler friend were discussing the subject of “the last firsts left to do.”

“Everest has been climbed, South Pole, North Pole — everything,” says Vallely, a father of two who is a Lynn Valley-based home designer by day.

They talked about the historic and daunting Northwest Passage.

“Northwest Passage solely under human power in a single feat was, by far, a great first that was still undone but there was no way it could be done 15 years ago. You know fifteen years ago you needed a steel-hulled icebreaker to make it across the Northwest Passage.”

The only reason they can even attempt the crossing today is because of climate change, he says.
And that’s the overarching message of this modern-day nautical expedition.

“We want to make a really strong statement here in that the only reason we can do this darn thing is because of climate change,” says Vallely, whose team’s main sponsor is Mainstream Renewable Power.

This isn’t Vallely’s first big adventure. He’s tackled Alaska’s Iditarod Trail and trekked from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole, among many other wild endurance-based expeditions in far-flung places
His latest adventure, he says, ranks at the top of his challenge-o-meter thus far.

“There’s a lot of unknowns with everything,” says Vallely, 48.

For instance when he and a team set a world record racing to the South Pole, others had preceded them and documented the experience. “I could read about it, figure it out. Anticipate things. Nobody has ever done this before.”

Still, he’s optimistic they will conquer the ice-riddled passage.

“Hopefully 75 days later we will pop out. ”
Of course, there will be danger lurking at all times.

“Ice and wind. Ice is nasty up there and it’s big and it’s mean and it moves around fast,” he says. “We’re in a very vulnerable boat so we have to be very careful as we poke along. It’s not just like crossing water, it’s water with a lot of obstacles in it.”

In terms of safety preparation, they will be equipped with state-of-the-art navigation equipment, an emergency raft, survival suits and beacons. The boat itself is made with layers of Kevlar, fibreglass and foam “to accept a bit of a bang with the boat with the ice.
Each member of the crew has wilderness first-aid training and they’ve got an ICU doc on call for the duration of the trip who has outfitted them with a comprehensive medical kit.

“We don’t want to be calling for help when we are out there, even if that means poking along slower than we may like; we’re going to do it safely. It’s a very remote location and we don’t want to risk anyone else trying to save us.”

To prepare for the marathon voyage, Vallely has been a fixture on the rowing machine at Karen Magnussen rec centre for months.

During the trip, the plan is to have two teams of rowers rotating every four hours.
“Four hours is required for a true rest,” he explains.

Not that there will be much of that. When not rowing, the members will be writing blogs and journal entries as well as photographing and filming their experience. They will also be collecting data for Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

And while their rowing trip will most certainly be a grind at times, the crew should remain in fine spirits.

“We do have six bottles of single malt as well, its not all misery at sea,” says Vallely. 

To follow the progress of the Expedition, go to at:

Now compare this Charles Hedrich video with any of TheLastFirst videos - do you see the BIG DIFFERENCE - there are men prepared for the Arctic and there are those who say they

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