08-Sep-2006 -- On board the chartered vessel "Polar Pioneer", en route from Daneborg (East Greenland) to Hornsund (Svalbard), we struggled through the southern tip of the pack ice at 73 degrees, 30 minutes N, 16 degrees, 7 minutes W. Since Hornsund has its own confluence at 77Nx16E, we would pass close to several confluences. Could I convince Captain Pushkarev to enter one of those as a waypoint on the ship's GPS navigation system? I tried, but his English was of about the same level as my Russian, so he just thought I had a problem with my GPS. A second approach with a sketch did not make him realize what I wanted either.
I carefully watched the navigation output and steering characteristics entered. We would pass 0.9 nm south of 74Nx12W if the ship followed the entered route, but the strong southern wind made it drift considerably to the north of the right course. The allowed error corridor was 1 nm to each side, so if the drift was large enough, we could be close. Mostly we were 0.5 - 0.6 nm north of the centre line, at a few instances as much as 0.8 nm. Maybe there is a chance, without the Captain's help.
I went down to the foredeck and took some waypoints as we approached 74Nx12W. A fellow passenger on the bridge wrote down coordinates from the ship's GPS too. The closest distance I observed on my GPS was 125 m (as photographed), then I took the four required pictures of the sea around the ship. I omitted the overview picture, since this confluence would not be regarded as successfully visited anyway, and an overview would look pretty the same as the other four.
Calculating the minimum distance, assuming a straight course between the two closest observations 73 59.936N, 11 59.941W and 74 00.000N, 11 59.400W, resulted in 115 m. The data from the ship's navigator resulted in a similar 120 m. I was standing on the north side of the deck, so I came a few metres closer.