Blocked on the Pack Ice

Published on 13.07.2010 - The Great Drift

The four Robinsons-on-Ice have finally packed up and left Tassilaq in their kayaks. But for the moment the overly tight pack ice is keeping them within the Tassilaq basin.

One wonders whether the four members of this unprecedented expedition will finally one day be able to realise their dream, that of drifting on a bit of pack ice… Because this year again, things are looking pretty unfavourable. Already last year, the pack ice thwarted them. This season, notwithstanding the fact that they’ve finally decided to embark in their kayaks in search of a suitable ice floe, they’re unable to go very far…

Extracts from their logbook:

Wednesday, 07 July: Sedentary on the Pack Ice

We’re blocked to the west of Kulussuk, under the route of the helicopters that operate the shuttle with Tassilaq… they’ve spotted us and observe us whenever they pass overhead.
An insuperable ice-barrier has closed the bay (see this barrier and the Robinsons’ position on the map), no boat can leave… not even the hunters who are however used to threading their way through… We’re prisoners of the ice… Currently, we’re on a fairly thick, compact sheet of 300m², which amounts to about 15 x 30m. We’ve set up camp on it and Anne has begun her readings… Life goes on nevertheless.

As for the weather, it’s been really bad for 10 days. It rains every day. Each drop of rain freezes as soon as it comes into contact with the ice, which makes our platform pretty slippery… the temperature is 3/4°.

Tomorrow, we’ll try to thread our way towards the south of Tasiilaq… We still have until the end of the month to get out of here!

Friday, 02 July

We left yesterday at the end of the morning despite the locals’ advice, which was strongly against our going out to sea… The weather is overcast and the ice is very tight, all pushed back on to the east coast…

And yet, here we are at the heart of the action… We paddle, we take photographs and especially we are able to thread our way through the ice…

By chance, we’ve discovered a lovely ice floe, approximately 2,000m²n with beautiful concretion peaks. So we’ve decided to install ourselves on it.

This night, we did look-out rosters per quarter… But it’s hard… The weather is cold, it’s pretty uncomfortable…

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