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Wednesday, August 28, 2013
FAIRMONT's PASSION rowboat ends 41 day 725nm voyage from Inuvik to Cambridge Bay
20130828 is the end of day 41 and we are...finished!! We arrived in Cambridge Bay a few hours ago, tired, cold but incredibly happy. Time for a hot shower, a cold beer and a warm bed. (17nm/day average distance made good.)
A trip of a lifetime... photographed with cell phones? (Get a GPS embedded 21X Zoom HD digital camera... Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS10 or better and save those memories in both stills and videos.)
After 2000km, 41 showerless days, 3 grizzly bears, and a few near misses, we arrived in Cambridge Bay.
18 months earlier from the warmth and comfort of my living room we had traced our finger over the charts, zipping across bays, down straits, and through passages in no time. It all seemed so do-able. Out here reality quickly proved otherwise. But our last day on the water summed up our journey perfectly, it had it all.
Hoping for a favorable breeze to ease our final run for home, we woke to freezing conditions and an inky calm sea. Our dreams of finishing today looked dashed, before we’d even begun. On painful feet, from weeks of cold, we hobbled around like two old men breaking camp and packing the boat. The sun mercifully poked its head through the clouds occasionally, giving us hope. Steeling ourselves for a long day on the oars we started into our hourly rowing shifts, but sensing we might not make the finishing line today our spirits were low…yet out here ever hopeful of a change in fortunes.
Three hours in our prayers were answered as a breath of southerly rippled the calm seas. Sniffing a chance we had the sails up in a minute and continued to row harder, egged along by the strengthening breeze.
After the odd spot of rain, sunshine our long lost friend, poked her head out of the clouds. Matt and I buzzed with excitement, a good breeze, sunshine and the finishing line in the same day all seemed like a possibility.
As we neared Cambridge Bay cabins began to dot the shoreline and planes buzzed overhead. After 6 weeks of little to no sign of mankind these new sights brought on a weird bittersweet sensation. We were soon to escape our pain and privations for the ‘normal’ world, but we would also soon loose our much loved simple life.
7 hours after setting out we pulled to shore under the incredulous eyes of sailors from boats much bigger than Fairmont’s Passion mere 17 feet. She was dwarfed at the wharf alongside her bigger bretheren, but bobbed proudly. In a funny coincidence we arrived a few hours later than our new found friends from the rowboat Arctic Joule. Both of our journeys were finishing here and we celebrated as only those who have lived to tell the tales can.
Thank you to all for your support and kind words, they were and will be felt and remembered for a long time. Now it’s onto the next adventure…