Our World

Bear Grylls on his Northwest Passage Adventure

Earlier this month Bear Grylls and his team completed his latest Arctic adventure to raise awareness of climate change.  They traversed the Northwest Passage – which is a sea route through the Arctic Ocean, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans – in an open-topped RIB.

We supplied Bear and his team with HPX kit for the journey so we were keen to hear how they got on.  He wrote about his journey and you can read his diary entries here.

In his last diary entry, he wrote:

‘Well blow me down, by the Grace of God, we have done it! At 130pm local time we pulled into this small remote village of Paulutuk, our end point, at the tip of Darnley Bay – and all of us are so so relieved!

What an amazing 36 hours.  As we headed North West yesterday through the initial glassy seas we pulled into a small sheltered bay and discovered an abandoned USA earfly warning radar base.  It was a pretty awesome sight, rows of metal buildings, built onto the rock, looking like some lunar base in the middle of nowhere.  I can only imagine what you would have had to have done to get posted to this place!

We left there and as we rounded the northern tip of Dease Strait and entered the infamous Beaufort Sea we began to get hit by what was the beginning of some large beam seas, which are always the most dangerous ones for a small inflatable craft like ours.  But we knew the weather would be worsening the next day.

We took a brief look at our proposed anchorage and together reckoned it would be worth going for gold and heading another 130 miles along this barren, shelter less coast to Pearce point.  (Dave (Pearce) was especially excited by this!) It was make or break time for us.  The sun disappeared and the prospect of being caught out at sea in the beaufort loomed.  As did the gritty prospect of attempting to anchor and find shelter in the dark.

We were now being caught up in some horrible seas and in the words of Tim: “the most terrifying conditions yet!” But this is the Beaufort Sea doing what she is so famed for – wild, windy, confused seas, unforgiving and unpredictable.  But the team all helmed fantastically with great skill and concentration and finally in the half dark we ducked into this tiny small cove protected on all sides by rock.  It would prove the best of all the spots we have used.

I spotted a very big grizzly as we pulled in, which added a slight edge to our night, and we found big fresh spore and some giant paw prints.  (Decision made on the bear watch and armed patrol!)  All was good though and the bear stayed away, and at first light we left Pearce point and headed for our last leg in.  As if the Beaufort Sea was reminding us never to take anything for granted, as we rounded the corner of Darnley bay, hoping for sheltered seas, we got hit by fierce winds and large cresting mixed beam and head seas.  Yuck!

The team knuckled down one more time, and finally we made the RV point.  We are at now anchor in 5 ft of water in a whistling wind, awaiting our supply vessel, whereupon we all intend to open a large bottle of whisky, pack our kit and prepare for a dawn flight out from this tiny dirt airstrip on the coast, in an even tinier plane.  It is then time to head south and back to everything that we all love and have missed so dearly.  Tina, Jane, Shara, Anita and Mrs Jones (!), we are coming home safe and sound – as promised.  You, like me, have good reason to be so proud of what these guys have achieved.  Mission done.’

Congratulations Bear!

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