High Arctic Fuel Depot

Well if you don’t already know, the Crew of Empiricus will be attempting a passage that has never been done in history. Route 1 East as it is called is the Eastbound route through McClure Straight.

We do not yet know if conditions will be favorable for this passage but we plan to give it a solid attempt, until the no go Date of September 1, when we will turn for a Southerly route.

In preparation for this passage, I have set about staging a fuel Depot. At this time the location and other details cannot be disclosed. As the oilfield does not have public access.

Even though these are for our voyage.  I have to follow the oilfield labeling and packaging rules for transit through security.
Even though these are for our voyage. I have to follow the oilfield labeling and packaging rules for transit through security.

Ill just say that being a blue collar worker has its advantages in the Oilfield. And also that chasing your dreams becomes contagious. People like being involved and doing so, motivates them to live a little more brightly!

The drums had fuel treatment residual in them.  Perfect for staging near the water.  They were inspected, labeled and banded with steel strap.
The drums had fuel treatment residual in them. Perfect for staging near the water. They were inspected, labeled and banded with steel strap.

Here is a brief outline of the Depot staging process.

1. Call lots of people and have them say “No.”
2. Call more people until someone says maybe…..
3. Stay in touch but don’t become a nuisance.
4. Go meet the person and shake there hand with gratitude and respect.
5. Bring your fuel with you….

In other words. Don’t make it a chore for people to help you. Make it an easy opportunity to be involved in a really cool thing!

I ad to leave some extra room in the drums for expansion.  By the time we get to the fuel it will be much a warmer and greater volume.
I ad to leave some extra room in the drums for expansion. By the time we get to the fuel it will be much a warmer and greater volume.
I got a great deal on the fuel.  As long as I did all the work and staged it on my own time.  Thanks to Colville Inc.  My employer!
I got a great deal on the fuel. As long as I did all the work and staged it on my own time. Thanks to Colville Inc. My employer!
Hauling the fuel down the Ice Road before it melts.  The river could flood the road any day and the road is slimy slick from the sun.
Hauling the fuel down the Ice Road before it melts. The river could flood the road any day and the road is slimy slick from the sun.

The depot is staged in such a place, that if the wind never blew from that point on. We would could motor to Greenland. It may seem excessive. But heat and power have higher value than gold in the Arctic.

It all worked out!  Our fuel will be waiting when we need it.
It all worked out! Our fuel will be waiting when we need it.

Roald Amundsen, (The first to ever transit the Northwest Passage) carried thousands of gallons of fuel for his tiny engine. And after 3 winters in the Arctic, he emerged, still better prepared than the whaling fleet he encountered just East of Barrow. To whom he provided assistance on many occasions.

Less than a mile behind me is our fuel depot, on the edge of a frozen seascape.
Less than a mile behind me is our fuel depot, on the edge of a frozen seascape.

Another puzzle piece falls into place as the North pole pivots back toward the sun.

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5 thoughts on “High Arctic Fuel Depot

  1. Hi Captain Jesse,

    The statement “Being a blue collar worker has it’s advantages” sort of reminds me of the guy who got access to showers in a Yakutat cannery, once upon time. Gotta apreciate a man who knows how to get what he needs … and I appreciated the shower too! Thanks!

    Amudsen’s name was “Roald”, by the way. Spell-check may have got you on that one, since “Ronald” is so much more common on this side of the pond.
    Crossing that “Northern Pond” will be WAY cool (probably down right cold in fact). I hope you make it through and come out healthy on the other side. (Don’t let the big bears bite!)

    You said in your “Crossing the Gulf to Yakutat” blog that I hadn’t decided whether my small adventure was “madness or genius”… Well, whichever it be, you’re taking it to a level far beyond anything I ever imagined. I wish you good luck and fair sailing all the way!
    What then? Re-trace you route back to Alaska, sell EMPIRICUS, or circumnavigate the whole continent and see what’s going on in the tropics and the many points between?

    Reading your account of our “Gulf adventure” was cool too! Thanks for helping me re-live what was the craziest thing I’ve ever done so far. Now all I have to do is scrape off all of the old paint and rust – inside and out – straighten out the dents from the grounding, rebuild the entire interior, add on a pilothouse, and then I’ll be ready for my next bout of insanity.

    Your dinghy is looking really good. (So much better than my “quicky” from behind Deborah’s office.) Even though I’m currently assembling a “stitch & glue” kayak for a nice old fellow, plywood is not my material of choice. Your little boat, on the other hand, shows that plywood is not the problem. All it needs is a well-thought-out design with plenty of atractive and functional curves, not to mention close attention to detail, and plywood can be as beatiful as anything else!

    All the best,
    Ben Louden

    1. Thanks for the props guys! And for the memory Lane Ben.. That was a great trip I’ll never forget! You are right on the Roald not Ronald. What an amazing guy. So when does work on the Rover get underway Ben?

      1. I just figured out how to get into this reply box, computer wiz that I am (not!).
        Work on the Rover starts as soon as I finish some of the details on my six-and-a-half year house-remodel project. Should happen within the next year or so.

        Further reading of your blog entries answers my question of where you go from Greenland … Take the long way home! Sounds like the ultimate adventure, the first leg of which will be the coolest (in both senses of the word).

        “Mashed Potato” indeed! I’m pretty sure my ’95 Chevy’s got your old Dodge beat in the “ugly truck” contest (my tailgate won’t even stay on its hinges and the cows and falling trees have done a number on the rest of her sheet-metal) but we have to appreciate the reliability those old girls have given.

        Safe Sailing!
        Ben

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