Northwest Passage Expedition

trawler Grey Goose

trawler Grey Goose

A group of eight adventurers are planning a four-month voyage through the Northwest Passage from Greenland to Alaska in the summer of 2012. The 17-meter trawler Grey Goose will power out of Mobile, Alabama, in May 2012, calling at Halifax in June, a half dozen Greenland and Nunavut ports in July, and Alaska in August, before finishing at Astoria, Oregon, in mid-September.

This trip is being organized by Captain Douglas Pohl with the assistance of Admiral Michelle in the galley. BlueBelle, their 12-year-old blue-eyed rag doll cat, is going along for the ride, as are crew members Dan, Howard, Jay, Kate, and Rob. At the time of writing, one or two crew positions are still available. Says Doug, “This is not a cruise for tourists – several companies offer summer Arctic cruises – but likewise you do not need to be a professional mariner or adventurer to join us. We are all people who love cruising and boating. I am planning an epic home voyage through the Arctic to celebrate retirement after 26 years of professional maritime service as a ship’s master. This voyage will take the time to stop and enjoy bays, anchorages, villages, and wildlife along a road less traveled. It’s the prelude for a snowbird retirement – Alaska during the summer and Southern California and Mexico during the winters. Its a new chapter in our book of life for the Admiral and Captain.”

The Northwest Passage is in the process of changing forever from the polar ice field we have always known into an open water navigational shortcut between Europe and the Orient. The Grey Goose crew are all keen on experiencing “The Last Arctic Voyage” aboard a private power yacht. Doug Pohl has driven ships around the world three times. Now it’s his turn to celebrate retirement with this 10,000-nautical-mile expedition along a route that has consumed mariners for hundreds of years. Says he, “Don’t get me wrong. I’m not planning to attempt to push through pack ice but rather I am planning to anchor often and enjoy going ashore while waiting for winds to move advancing drift ice in a more favorable direction.”

Pohl estimates that food and fuel expenses will be around US$88,000 for the trip, to be divided equally between the eight persons on board. Costs could fluctuate based upon supply and demand, in which case additional contributions from the paying crew may be required as the voyage progresses. But this is not a for-profit trip and those aboard will be welcome to use their personal skills as writers, photographers, scientists, or environmentalists as they see fit. Anything is possible at this stage of planning.

UPDATE: On September 1, 2011, Douglas Pohl sent me this news: “The deadline for firm commitments to join as crew is December 1, 2011.  Without a good crew I cannot consider a 10,000 nautical-mile voyage “over the top”. Waiting until May 2012 to see if interested crew materializes is not feasible.”