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Karl Update, July 22, 2022

Karl update: After make two major crossings in the last two days (55 miles on Thursday and 40+ yesterday), Karl's taking a rest day. (Don't worry if you don't see the tracker move) He'll stay put until the wind dies down a bit.


For those who love data, details and the science behind it all: I'm including some screenshots of some of the information Karl uses to help make decisions and navigate. Ice concentration, wind velocity, daylight, etc. and how he uses this data.


The next leg will be to navigate east around the top of the peninsula he's camped on. Seas can get choppy with the bathymetry change (bathymetry is the topography of the ocean floor -- as the seabed rises to become land, the water gets pushed up, and can create chop and swell), so having favorable surface conditions is important.


Karl has been texting current conditions from his Iridium Go (Sat Phone) -- I compare those to the "current" conditions shown on forecasting applications such as Windy and NASA ice concentrations, to see if they match. So far they are matching up, so we are pretty confident on being able to forecast accurately. I then text him back forecast conditions for wind, ice and weather for the next 48 hours.


You can see from the Windy app image below, he has headwinds at about 10 kts, building. Those should die down about 23:00 Tuesday.


We are far enough past the solstice that the sun does "set" -- it never gets dark but it does get twilight-y for a few hours. That means Karl can choose when to paddle, and theoretically, could use that weather window and paddle all "night" to make miles. This opens up more weather windows, which is important. Karl only has three weeks of food on his board. This allows for a few weather days but he'll need to keep making miles to make Paulatuk and his next supply drop.


Then, there is the ice. This is the biggest factor in how fast, and how far, Karl can go. The first image (with the red shapes) is Canada's Weekly Regional Ice Chart showing ice concentrations. I've circled where Karl is now -- you can see there is 1/10 ice with occasional patches of 3/10 ice. As he moves east, he'll get more open water, but after Cambridge Bay, it is all fast ice and 10/10 -- That is that red squiggle on the right hand part of the image -- (from what I understand 10/10 means the ice is feet thick. Ice breakers have created paths and boats are going through but it may not be feasible for small crafts).


The image of the sailboat on ice is from Igor Bely, who is navigating the Passage on his catamaran this year (go Igor! ). Igor is between Paulatuk and Kugluktuk -- I'm not sure exactly where this shot was taken, but shows some of the ice conditions Karl may be experiencing with 1/10 and 3/10 ice.


... I love the mix of modern and traditional in Karl's expedition. Paddling is a method of travel that has been used for millennia in this region. And yet, we are able to use satellite data and communication to help him navigate. Its a beautiful juxtaposition of where we are in the world history of things.







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