Friday, July 10, 2009
I received a message on my phone Tuesday evening from Audun, the Norwegian who was attempting to row to Diomede, or thereof. I was surprised to hear from him and knew it couldn't be good if he was already back in Nome. I caught up with him the next day and found out he had to be rescued by the coast guard.... second in a row for the CG. 0/2 for the international kayak / row team and 2/0 for the coast guard. Apparently, after patching his boat he rowed to Brevig then Wales and then made the effort to Diomede. What many folks don't realize is that the Bering Strait is a natural funnel squeezing the Bering Sea between less than 55 miles of land with Diomede in the middle. The current is tremendous and highly volatile. There are three different currents that flow around the island, throw in some wind and you have a dangerous cocktail. Even in good weather it's sketchy. I'll never forget passing the cape toward Wales in a kayak and my GPS said I was going 8 knots and I wasn't even paddling. In any case Nordun was getting in over his head with waves and said he was getting blown towards Siberia (southwest). After struggling for 15 hours he decided to activate his emergency beacon. It sounded like the Hercules plane buzzed him, dropped flares and then a helicopter swooped in with coasty swimmers and put him in the basket. He said it was just like on TV and actually I found a website that documented it, pretty cool. I will try to hold judgement on the ongoing debate of the taxpayers paying for these rescues. It's a double edged sword. Anyway, I wish I was writing my adventures instead of others...
picture taken previously as the boat is currently lost at sea.
Posted by Phil Hofstetter