Ice near Taloyoak, Nunavut, has prevented a French adventurer from completing his rowing trip across the Northwest Passage again this year.

Charles Hedrich, 56, started rowing in the Bering Strait last year. Bad weather forced him to dock in Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T., for the winter, and he had hoped to complete the 7,000 kilometre journey this year.

"This year was absolutely awful ... in terms of ice," he said.

It took Hedrich 53 days to row from Tuktoyaktuk to Taloyoak. Heavy winds also slowed his progress.

Rower Charles Hedrich meets a seal

A seal checks out French adventurer Charles Hedrich's boat as he rows the Northwest passge near Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, this summer. (Charles Hedrich)

"I put on my survival suit, go in the water, and with a rope, drag the boat along the sandbank," he said. "Ten hours, two and a half kilometres. Until I find the open sea."

He said at one point, when the wind died down, he encountered a whale that passed beneath his boat, lifting it from the water.

"I was doing a coffee. I hear the sound of the whale. The whale is against the boat," he said. "After some minutes the whale goes down, then takes the little rowing boat outside the sea. Very smoothly outside the sea. Absolutely incredible."

Hedrich says he is still determined to finish the trip. He plans to return to Taloyoak and resume his trip next July, hoping to row into Baffin Bay by the fall.