Sense of achievement

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 October, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 October, 2009, 12:00am

Silent Sound has crossed the Arctic Circle - this means we have completed the Northwest Passage and are leaving the Arctic behind us as we head south and towards home.

We entered the Arctic via the Bering Sea about two months ago, and since then we've seen a lot of ice and learned a lot about the Canadian North. We feel a real sense of accomplishment.

The Northwest Passage is the waterway over the top of North America, linking the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. For centuries sailors tried to find it, with hundreds of them dying in the attempt. It was only in 1906 that the passage was successfully sailed the first time.

The Arctic Circle (66 30N) marks the lowest latitude at which the midnight sun is ever seen. There were no signposts or marks in the sea, but it is still an important milestone in our journey. We are now sailing along the coast of Baffin Island in northeast Canada.

By far the most impressive feature of the Arctic has been its people. In every town we visited, we met complete strangers who offered us help, welcomed us into their homes and provided us with hot showers and food. We are leaving a lot of new friends behind as we officially exit the Arctic.

But it's too soon to relax. We are still far from our final port, Halifax.

And the sailing is getting cold and tiring. The nights are very dark and temperatures are hovering just above zero.

But we still have it good compared to those who sailed here hundreds of years ago and discovered this land. We did not get lost, go hungry or get eaten by polar bears, so we count ourselves lucky and hope our luck continues.