The open ocean crossing between the Noatak delta and Kotzebue had loomed over us the entire trip. We were exhausted, and collectively we had very little open ocean experience. In line with the spirit of the trip, we made our best assessment, and went for it in the early hours of June 19th, when the winds and seas were the calmest. To our relief no gales came up, no currents swept us to Russia, and we made it without incident back to civilization.
There’s an old saying that goes something like this: “Come back alive, come back as friends, and come back successful—in that order.” These were our loose guidelines for the trip. While we might not have had a specific blueprint for each step, these parameters would at least give us a sense of humility. On paper—and to many people—the trip seemed crazy. It’s this illusion of craziness, the mystery of how to get from point A to point B, and the willingness to pick it apart, which is the essence of any adventure.