An intriguing blend of seafaring yarn and frontline climate-change report—though the app isn’t quite ready for prime time.
Veteran sailor Dueck, a journalist as well as seafarer, here steers his secondhand yacht, Silent Sound, into the fast-melting Arctic, accompanied by a crew worthy of a voyage with Shackleton or Scott (after a few false starts, as he notes). As Dueck recounts, he didn’t have much experience with the vessel in question, though he’d long nursed a “passion for sailing,” and finding sponsors wasn’t easy in the face of the growing credit crisis that hit at about the time he was preparing to mount the Open Passage Expedition, as he somewhat grandly called his adventure in the borning. His reports of what he found in the Arctic are eye-opening, though they won’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s been following the news: Due to melting sea ice, a Northwest Passage long hidden from the likes of Bering, Hudson and Vancouver is now available to anyone with a ship. Dueck’s writing is clear and urgent, with the reader-friendliness of a magazine piece, and his photographs are superb, especially when viewed on a Retina screen. The version 1.3 iteration sports numerous technical flaws, however, including a tendency to crash. Some of the Twitter feeds included—for reasons that aren’t quite clear—have gone dead or are bafflingly irrelevant; the navigation isn’t entirely intuitive (and the instructions not easy to access); there is no obvious way to bookmark material to return to later; and many of the videos are slow to load, which is no surprise for an app that is so big (188 MB). (The app is optimized for iPad 3, compatible with iPad 2 and not recommended for use on iPad 1, but it does run; iOS 5.0+ minimum, recommended iOS 6+.)
Those are all fixable matters, and here’s hoping that this becomes an app worthy of its excellent content in every way. The technical glitches remedied, this ought to be in every anti–climate-change-denier’s toolkit.