Sailing the Northwest Passage – and then some |
Kathryn CorazzelliSummit Daily News

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Sailing the Northwest Passage – and then some

Special to the Daily/David ThoresonExpedition photographer David Thoreson aboard the Ocean Watch, a 57-foot sailboat he spent 13 months on traveling around the Americas.

Experience a 28,000 mile sailing journey around the Americas – in only an hour – with expedition photographer David Thoreson. Thoreson is speaking Friday at the Breckenridge Colorado Mountain College about his sailing adventures throughout his life (which amount to 65,000 miles traveled), and most recently, a scientific journey around the North and South American continents. In 2007, Thoreson and the crew of Cloud Nine became the first American sailors in history to transit the Northwest Passage from east to west. In 2009, Thoreson became the only American sailor to ever navigate the Northwest Passage in both directions. In June of 2010, Thoreson – who fell in love with sailing as a boy on a lake in Iowa – completed the 28,000 mile circumnavigation around the Americas.That trip, which started and ended in Seattle, was “partly an adventure, but really about science and education,” Thoreson said. “We were doing this as part of an ocean and sea awareness program.” The sailboat was scientifically equipped to study various ocean issues along the way: water quality, aerosols in the atmosphere, jellyfish tissue samples and Arctic sea ice, among other things. Besides the four-man crew, the boat always had a scientist and educator aboard. Thoreson was the photographer and videographer on the trip. He took more than 70,000 still images and 100 hours of high-definition video, which have been transformed into a new photo book, “One Island, One Ocean,” and an hour-long documentary recently nominated for an Emmy. Besides amassing an impressive photographic collection on the voyage, Thoreson also took away some lessons. The issue of climate change in America is politically divisive, he said, but around the globe people are moving beyond that to think about how they’ll exist in the future. “They’re already adapting to it, especially up in these small Arctic villages where they’re having to completely change their whole outlook on how they’ve lived for generations,” Thoreson said. Another lesson: the connection between the land and the water.”So much of what we do on the land is affecting the seas and oceans in so many ways,” he said. “We don’t often think about that all of our weather in Colorado originates on the Pacific Ocean … what we do on the land, like how we dispose of our plastics, affects these things.” It’s something he hopes Friday night’s attendees will take away, along with a sense of adventure.”Maybe pique some interest in people, if they have an opportunity, to get out and explore,” he said.

What: David Thoreson around the Americas presentation When: 7 p.m., Friday. Presentation will run about one hour, followed by a short Q&AWhere: Colorado Mountain College, BreckenridgeMore info: A dessert reception and a chance for more personal time to chat with Thoreson and ask questions will follow. He will also be signing copies of his book. Tickets to the presentation are $10 and $20 to attend both the presentation and dessert reception. Proceeds benefit The Summit Foundation and CMC. Tickets may be purchased through The foundation’s website, Or RSVP by calling (970) 453-5970. For a glimpse of David’s work and journeys, visit his website at