Imagine how you’d feel if you’d spent five years and a small fortune in pursuit of becoming the first person to solo circumnavigate the North Pole, only to be turned back midway by inflexible bureaucrats. That’s exactly what happened to West Coast sailor Gary Ramos early this month when Russian authorities flatly refused to allow him to transit their northern waters.
"Implementation of this expedition is regarded unreasonable according to the conclusion of the Counter-Intelligence service of the Federal Security Service of Russia." When Ramos’ additional plea to the Russian Tourism Agency got no traction, he reluctantly gave up on his goal — at least for this year. Monday night he began the 2,100-mile crossing to Maine from Iceland, where his steel-hulled, 39-ft cutter Arctic Wanderer has been laid up since last season. She is one of only about 40 private vessels to have transited the fabled Northwest Passage, and would have been one of the very few to transit Russia’s Arctic waters.
We’ve never met Ramos, who is a San Jose native. But we know from talking with him that he is tenaciously determined. So don’t count him out completely. We’d bet he hasn’t given up on his dream despite this shattering setback.