So you’d like to sail the Northwest Passage but can’t get away from the office, haven’t got a boat, don’t like cold water sailing? Now here’s the next best thing: You can do it on your iPad!
The fabled Northwest Passage was sought for centuries by explorers looking for a shorter trade route between Europe and Asia, but the efforts of explorers gave it an allure for sailors that it has never lost, even now that global warming has brought the great Passage within reach of the hardiest of sailors.
It was first navigated with greatest of difficulty and in a small ship by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen between 1903 and 1906, and then the normally ice-choked passage first opened up because of the first really dramatic ice melt in the summer of 2007.
Two years later, Canadian journalist and filmmaker Cameron Dueck and a crew sailed the passage on his yacht, Silent Sound, which led to a documentary film and a book about his trip.
His voyage from Victoria to Halifax carried the crew through raging storms and mechanical breakdowns and took them into sea ice that threatened to crush their hull. But more importantly it brought them face to face with modern Arctic life in tiny, isolated Inuit communites where the challenge of climate change is added to the already crushing load of social and economic woes.
Each person they met along the way added their story to this colourful tale of life in the Arctic; a unique place where the climate change experience is affected by the critical and ongoing debates over sovereignty, resources and cultural assimilation.
Now, iPad and iPad mini users can interactively sail with Dueck in a new app developed in concert with the conservation group the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
‘The book is about how life in the North is changing, both in terms of the environment and how communities live up there,’ Dueck said in a statement. ‘The new technology available today allows me to retell that story with a richness never possible before. The interactivity really makes you feel as if you’re part of the adventure.’