Saturday, February 25, 2012

Coast Guard Commandant Details Arctic Security Issues

At a recent conference, a Defense Department participant said the Arctic doesn’t represent a security threat for at least the next decade, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr. said last week.

“The Coast Guard has … a much wider aperture,” he added.

Papp told the Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service that the Arctic has economic, energy and environmental implications for national security.

Coast Guard missions there are increasing because Shell Oil Co. has permits to drill in Alaska's Chukchi and Beaufort seas beginning this summer, he said.

Shell will move 33 ships and 500 people to Alaska’s North Slope, and will helicopter some 250 people a week to drilling platforms, the admiral said. That activity has the potential to increase Coast Guard workloads in pollution and environmental response, as well as in search and rescue, he noted.

The Coast Guard will have to station responders in the North Slope, which it hasn’t done throughout its 150-year presence in Alaska, Papp said. Since 1867, he added, Coast Guard cutters have been based in southern Alaska to protect fisheries and marine mammals, give medical assistance to native populations and rescue whalers. The North Slope is new territory for the Coast Guard, with most of the service’s Alaska infrastructure some 800 miles away.

“We’ll take one of our brand-new national security cutters … as the Shell fleet proceeds up there to start their activities,” the admiral said. That cutter will serve as a movable operations center, with worldwide communications, a two-helicopter flight deck and three boats that can launch boarding teams, Papp said.

“For the last four years, we’ve actually been deploying forces up there on a temporary basis to experiment with our equipment [and] see what works up there,” the commandant said. “We will learn lessons … as drilling starts up there, but right now, I’m pretty confident we’ll be able to cover it.”

Climate trends also indicate new missions for the Coast Guard, as former “hard water” ice zones become “soft water” operation areas. The admiral said during one of his early assignments near the Bering Sea, some 36 years ago, a particular location was completely iced in. Two years ago, on a visit to the same place, he said, “there was no ice to be seen.”

In Alaska, fish stock and human activity is moving north as ice recedes, Papp said. But the extreme cold still poses equipment and other challenges for Coast Guard operations, as the Coast Guard’s North Slope experiments proved.

Papp identified two challenges Arctic operations pose: the environment and the infrastructure. With no deep-water ports, inlets for piers or asphalt ramps for boat trailers, “we had to come up with different operating procedures,” he said. And then there’s the fact aviation fuel turns to jelly in extreme cold.

“You don’t want that to happen when you’re flying at 500 feet,” the commandant noted. “We never had heaters for our fuel tanks, because we didn’t need to. So these are little lessons that we learned … that will help us to improve our operations.”

Turning to infrastructure, Papp said the Coast Guard has good command-and-control capabilities linking mariners and shore-based stations throughout U.S. coastal areas. The North Slope is an exception, and when it comes to piers for ships, barracks for service members and hangars for aircraft, Papp added, “there’s none of that infrastructure up there.”

Ships can provide a bridging strategy for North Slope operations, but long-term operations will require investing in shore-based facilities, Papp said.

“I’m going to identify the needs, and I’m going to talk about them,” he added.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Gilles Elkaim aboard S/V ARKTIKA and his sled dogs - Arctic Adventures

Ocean Village in Gibraltar recently had an unusual vessel tie up when Arctic explorer Gilles Elkaim arrived aboard his aluminum expedition vesselArktika on the way to La Rochelle, France, to winter over. Base camp for Elkaim is usually about 185 miles north of the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland, where he breeds endangered species of sled dogs and runs a camp that teaches survival skills to a half-dozen visitors at a time. Elkaim’s adventures have included sailing round Australia, trail walking across New Zealand, climbing mountain peaks in Papua New Guinea, cycling across India and camel riding through Mongolia. But Elkaim is best known for a four-year, 7,500-mile solo dog sled and kayak trip from Norway’s North Cape across the Bering Strait and Eurasian Arctic.

Elkaim has spent six months refitting the 47-foot Voyager-built boat Arktika, which will add a new dimension to his Arctic exploration offerings. Now visitors can sign up for sailing tours of up to a fortnight with four or five people and a small team of huskies on board.

More of the Gilles Elkaim story...

Why a boat?

Territories wild are still the best . Because of their remoteness from civilized areas of difficult access, they kept their pristine beauty where landscapes, fauna, flora, and (more rarely) Indigenous peoples have still not been disturbed by the omnipresence of man. How to reach them? if not by logistics and low cost environmentally friendly such snowmobile, airplane, helicopter, ship touring that go against the harmonythat we, explorers and travelers trying to establish with the environment.

In the High Arctic, communication channels, and therefore the logistics are mainly maritime . In summer, the lands discovered by the snow are swampy, too steep or barred river impassable. In winter, the ice provides a surface acceptable for travel by sled. So by the sea, boat and sleigh , I chose to continue my explorations.

The dog sledding is my specialty. For over ten years, I raised my dogs and conducted special on the vast territories of the Far North. The expedition Arktika me across a continent (Eurasia) in its entirety, from the Atlantic to the Pacific halfway around the world four years and 12 solo 000km north of the Arctic Circle.

Following on from this long and rich experience, balancing the boat dog sledding, I wanted to gain independence (almost) complete, autonomy (almost) perfect in the Arctic. My idea was therefore to adapt and equip a solid ship navigation in ice, shelter dog sled and independent living in extreme conditions to make it a platform for polar exploration as summer qu'hivernale.

The concept

The boat "ARKTIKA" is somehow an extension of CAMP ARKTIKA, sled dog camp located in Finland, whose originality is to propose raids committed by dog-oriented learning of wildlife in the North companions with exceptional Siberian huskies primitive (Nenets and Taimyr Laika).

This global approach to the polar environment demand at a time, a physical commitment because we do not support motorized, some mental strength because you have to accept the hazards associated with the real adventure and finally philosophy to understand the why the first two points and grasp the meaning of things in Nature. On this last point, our dogs, well trained and extremely affectionate, are the best guides. So it is with them that we intend to explore the shores of the polar seas.

The boat

Under sail ARKTIKA is a b ateau Shipping designed to sail, live and overwinter in a stand-alone in the Arctic, by hosting six people on board and 10 sled dogs. Its strength, its shallow draft (1m) and autonomy allow it to consider the most advanced programs of Arctic exploration.

ARKTIKA is a boat-like Voyager 47 '14.30 m constructed of aluminum by the yard META in Tarare (France).

Wetting MéditéranéeIts main characteristics are:
strength : thick aluminum shell, process Strongall (12mm thick at the edges)
Reliability : 2 engines 2 x Nanni 62 HP, 2001, 1400 hours of operation
economy : 1l/mile cruising at 7 knots with sails of support.
Autonomy : 6000 nautical miles at 7 knots or two winters (6300l gas oil)
energy independence : two wind turbines, solar panels 4, 12 gel batteries
Safety : draft of 1 m, boat runs aground
comfort heating, insulation, inner wheelhouse, kitchen and bathroom

"ARKTIKA" is registered in Finland. It is approved in an era category, for 6 people.

The crew

Our crew is human-canine.

Gilles Elkaim , half man, half-dog is the commander on board.
He is an explorer and Yachtmaster (Anglo-Saxon version of Captain 200).
It introduces you to the adaptation to the North.

Loret governed , more human than dog, is the skipper.
Owner-skipper patented state (BEES sailing) and Merchant Shipping (Masters 200, PPV, CAPA, PPN). He puts his 30 years of experience in the sea to our boat and you know its instills great sailor.

Guy Bush , 100% man, skipper.
Patented Merchant Shipping (Patron Yacht PPV, PPN, PCMM 250kW, CRO).
In addition, kayaker and photographer

Pouchok , half-dog half-man, the lead dog to retire from my shipping Arktika.
Excellent self-taught.
He sends all his wisdom canine.

Kotch , 100% dog, while fat and muscle, the pet dog (not graduate!) Camp Arktika.
It amuses you and you cuddle.

Et .. you who dream of participating in a hell of a voluntary approach that respects and integrates the polar nature.
The platform for exploration

ARKTIKA offers cruises in small group (3-4 participants) as part of responsible tourism focused on the exploration of polar regions. We maintain the philosophy of Camp Arktika based on the discovery and learning about wildlife in the North except that the base camp becomes a boat around which we radiate in a sea kayak, on foot, on skis or dogsled. No need to be a sailor, our boat is there to ensure our logistics and our accommodation for the return of excursions or raids. (See 2012 cruise program below)

ARKTIKA is a platform for exploration safe and comfortable to carry various scientific studies on the environment (marine or terrestrial) in the most inaccessible areas and under the most extreme climatic conditions of the Arctic.

ARKTIKA provides logistical support reliable and inexpensive for missions and expeditions summer or winter. In winter, our dog sledding take over for travel on the ice. It should be emphasized that, unlike a snowmobile, dog sled, led with experience progresses smoothly through the chaos of ice and ice fragile. It starts in the lowest temperatures and never falls down. It carries 400 kg of material (twice a snowmobile cutter). It is certainly slower, but it is environmentally friendly. Also dogs warn of the visit of the polar bear and give us all their affection.

ARKTIKA prepare in the near future, the great expeditions started only a few extreme participants for a program or a la carte.
The cruise program ARKTIKA - 2012 First season!
Spitsbergen , north-western exploration, trekking and sea kayaking from 16/06 to 28/06, from 30/06 to 12/07, from 14/07 to 26/07
East Greenland , Adventure at the end of the stem, from 11/08 to 23/08, from 25/08 to 06/09, from 08/09 to 20/09
Lofoten , Northern Lights and Orcas, the 06/10 to 13/10, the 13/10 to 20/10
Spitsbergen to East Greenland, from 28/07 to 09/08
The East Greenland via the Lofoten Jan Mayen , from 22/09 to 04/10
Download below the detailed program brochure.


 Explorations cruises Arktika 2012 - 363.612 bytes, 393 downloads
edited by Rair on January 13 · details
 Terms of sale Explorations Cruises - 81.367 bytes, 94 downloads
edited by Rair on January 13 · details
 Bullet registration Explorations Cruises - 73.216 bytes, 60 downloads
edited by Rair on January 13 · details

Camp Arktika adopts a platform dedicated to the exploration of the Arctic in areas as diverse as sports tourism and responsible research, logistics, shipping, watching film or photographic exploration.

"ARKTIKA" is an expedition ship designed to navigate the polar seas, live independently and to winter in the Arctic, by hosting six people on board and 10 sled dogs.

ARKTIKA is a boat-like Voyager 47 '14.30 m constructed of aluminum by the yard META in Tarare (France).

Its main characteristics are:
thick aluminum shell, process Strongall (12mm thick at the edges)
Two reliable engines (2 x Nanni 62 HP, 2001, 1400 h)
economical cruising speed: 1 l / mile sail at 7 knots with support.
autonomy of 6000 nautical miles at 7 knots (6300l gas oil)
Energy independence: two wind turbines, solar panels 4, 12 gel batteries
Its shallow draft of 1.00 m
Comfort heating, insulation, inner wheelhouse, kitchen and bathroom

The Voyager 47 'was designed to safely navigate in the Arctic and across the oceans. A complete refit of the boat is made in 2011.

ARKTIKA "is registered in Finland and is registered in the first category, for 6 people.

In 1984, during its maiden voyage, Voyager 47 'has made the crossing Lyon-New York round trip without refueling. ARKTIKA is the sister ship of the vessel

Under sailLifting the boatfor transport to the site complete refit
2 62cv Nanni engines, cylinder 5, 2001, 1400hwheelhouse and saloon than the passageway and the two superimposed berthstarboard cabinKitchenThe forward cabinIt's bathroom with hip bath

Plan outsideof the Plan within
SpecificationsType: Voyager 47 '
Builder: Meta, Tarare, France
Architect: Michel Joubert and Nivelt
Year: 1984
Dimensions: 14.30 x 4.44 m m
Draft: 1m, boat runs aground
Material: Aluminum Strongall type (bottom 15mm, 12mm shell , Bridge 10mm)
Steering system: double rudders protected crapaudine
Displacement: 19 t charge
Engines: 2 x Nanni 62 HP - 1400 hours, 2001
Trees oil bath method Meta
Cooling: indirect
Propellers: 3 blades Radice 500 mm
Gas oil tank: 6300 l total
Cruising Speed: 7 knots
Consumption: 1 l / mile at 7 knots
Water tank: 1200 l
Mat: Alu 8.20 m
Mainsail, furling genoa, staysail furling
Windlass: Lofran Falcon 1500W
Manual windlass Rear Goiot
swim platform
Alu Hard top
Tent cockpit
Anchors: Brake 40 kg, 25 kg CQR, + 1 spare - 100m of chain 12 mm
20mm plexy windows 18 + 8 panels with vents Goiot
Isolation : 65 mm foam
heating and forced air heaters
Pumps: Electric 3
Cabins: 1 double, 1 Single
Beds: 5-9
Gas cooker: 2 burner + oven
Fridge, freezer
Bathroom: small bath with shower and
water heater: 75l
WC: 2 (1 electric)
GPS: Magellan
Radar: Furuno
VHF: Navicom RT 650
HF SSB Radio: Sony
Loch - 2 pollsters Digipack
Pilot: Autohelm + 1 spare
Compass: Silva
Batteries: 12 x Frost Odyssey 215A / h
Wind : 2 x Eclectic Energy D400
Solar Panels: 80 W x 4
Appendix: 2.50 m with 2.2 hp Suzuki motor
Survival 6 people

Bon Voyage !

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Arctic 2012 Expedition - Request for Crew


by Malte Humpert The M/V GREY GOOSE is outfitting for a 10,000 nautical mile voyage in 2012 from Mobile Alabama 'over-the-top' through the Arctic Northwest Passage to Astoria Oregon. The 55 foot steel Motor Vessel GREY GOOSE ('GG') is planning to depart Mobile Alabama on a 10,000 nautical-mile voyage of discovery up the USA eastern seaboard, Canada and Greenland before staging at Pond Inlet Nunavut Canada to challenge the fabled Arctic Northwest Passage 'over-the-top' during the minimum ice season to Alaska then down through British Columbia's breathtaking 'Inside Passage' on the way to our homeport in Astoria Oregon. Departure is scheduled for May 14, 2012.

Everett-based sea captain Douglas Pohl has announced his intention to sail his 55-foot expedition motor vessel, the Grey Goose, through the fabled – and dangerous – arctic waterway known as the Northwest Passage in the summer of 2012, and is offering six fellow boating adventurers “share-the-ride” berths for contributing to the expenses of the voyage. Captain Pohl plans to leave from his outfitting port of Mobile, Alabama in May 2012, and then sail northwards along the Atlantic coastline of the United States and Canada before crossing over to Greenland. By late summer he expects to complete an east-to-west traverse of the Northwest Passage, and by the fall reach his new home port in Astoria, Oregon.

Potential crew mates may join Captain Pohl for the entire voyage, or board the Grey Goose for just a leg of the voyage. The Northwest Passage along the northern coastline of Canada and Alaska, is widely considered by mariners to be one of the most difficult sea passages in the world. It has been ice-blocked throughout history, and only with the recent impact of global climate change has the waterway been free of ice long enough in the summer for a successful crossing. In August 2011, twelve small vessels are reportedly traversing the Northwest Passage, and the waterway is expected to again be ice-free next year in 2012. Captain Pohl estimates that the Grey Goose will be one of the first hundred vessels in history to complete a single season passage of the fabled Northwest Passage. “It’s a chance to do something that very few people have ever done,” said Pohl, adding that those who partake of the adventure will stand in an exclusive circle among nautical enthusiasts. (The above text was adopted from a Press Release from November 1, 2011).

For more information, please refer to, contact the Captain at (425) 971-5765, or email him at