Nine months after leaving saviorthe sailboat Fraternidade brought home the feat that it was the first ship of its kind to leave Brazil to complete the Northwest Passage, a dangerous connection between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, via North Pole🇧🇷
The pass is located near the Arctic Circle, in northern Canada, in the area that makes it possible to cross strait Bearing to Davis. Almost 5,000 kilometers can only be crossed in the hot summer months.
“When I left here,” said the captain of the schooner, “I did not know if I would return alive. But so we went. On the way, I had many doubts, but in the end it all worked out.” Ukrainian based in Bahia Alexo Belov, at his disembarkation on Saturday (12), in the capital of Bahia.
The captain left Brazil, accompanied by sailor Osvaldino Doria (Lito), oceanographer Larissa Nogueira, photographer Leonardo Babini, student Elaine Brito, mechanic Hermann Brinker and civil engineer Mauricio Pitangueras.
Belov’s fear is justified, because expeditions through the pass, if not aborted, often end in tragedy. The The most famous of these resulted in the disappearance of 128 people Under the command of English explorer John Franklin in 1845.
To get there, Beloff says, the seven-man crew passed through Natal (RN), the Caribbean — where it crossed the Panama Canal — and Hawaii. After rising to the coast of Canada across the Pacific Ocean, it passed through Alaska in the Bering Sea until it reached the North Pole.
On the way back to Brazil, the expedition continued through Greenland, the archipelago of the Azores – the independent territory of Portugal – and again Natal, and finally, El Salvador, a journey totaling 20,000 nautical miles (or 37,000 km).
With five trips around the world under his belt, three of them alone, Beloff says the latest expedition has a special flavor because of the stakes. To get an idea, in 2018, of the 23 ships that attempted the route, only one was able to successfully complete the course.
“Across the tropics, it’s a lot easier. First, because the route is well known, it’s full of ports to stop in. Good weather forecasts, good nautical charts,” he explains. “there [no Ártico]All frozen. Opens quickly. Either you pass or you get arrested,” he continues.
In early August, Belov says, the schooner ended up stuck in a block of ice for ten days, waiting for a break at sea to continue its journey. “I bought food for a year and a half, because if I get stuck, we won’t be out until spring next year,” he says.
In addition to teamwork, the success of the voyage is also due to the 80-ton sailboat, with a 20-meter-long steel hull covered with 12 centimeters of heat-insulating foam, to protect the crew from the cold.
He said the ship, which was designed by Belov himself – he is a civil engineer and was a professor at the Federal University of Bahia – also has a powerful engine with a cabin as comfortable as a home, with a hull that holds a total of 12 people. .
“The boat is fine, and fitted for anything, but when a storm came, with huge waves, we had nowhere to hide,” he recalled. He notes that “the small boat will most likely take cover, even if it is pulled over the ice block”.
Pre-planning for the expedition was also fundamental to the success of the mission, says the navigator. “Actually, I thought about it 20 years ago, but the planning was detailed three years ago and we hadn’t gone before because of the pandemic,” he explains.
In addition to the labors experienced by the crew leaving Bahia, the trip was full of beautiful landscapes, polar ice caps, sightings of different species of whales, endangered polar bears, and birds native to the northern region.
Disembarking some of the crew made room for Argentine navigator Igor Stelle, therapist Ilda Stelle, physician Fabio Tozzi, businessman Antonio Pareto, engineer Delson Assumpasao, sailor Alberico Soares and German student Luisa Stekhane.
The route was also marked by meetings, such as that with Beto Pandiani from São Paulo and the French-Brazilian Igor Pelli, who were part of the journey on a sailing boat without a motor, from Canada.
In his bags, in addition to the stories, Belov brought some items obtained from the Eskimo communities, such as elk antlers and bear skins. “That will go into the museum’s collection,” he said, referring to the place that bears his name in the historic center of Salvador.
Belov was born in 1943 in Mereva, Ukraine, during World War II, when he left his hometown at the age of seven months. The son of a Ukrainian mother and a Russian father, he arrived in Brazil in June 1949, at the age of six, after wandering around Europe.
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