A More Than Fascinating Milieu

Published on 21.04.2010 - Under the Pole.com

The expedition run by the Frenchman, Ghislain Bardout, is continuing without let or hindrance. After receiving their first resupply, they set off towards Ward Hunt while all the time looking for good places for diving and stopping there as and when necessary.

When equipped as the "Deepsea under the pole.com" expedition is, one naturally worries less than the rest about interstitial water channels or compression zones, because these are just possible places, and special ones, for beautiful dives under the icecap.

And it is naturally on the subject of those dives that Bardout and his friends are the most expressive. For them, making headway on the surface is certainly important because they have to make progress, but obviously less so than what they're discovering under the water.

So that you can form a better idea of the milieu that they're discovering, here are some of their comments. On 15 April, from the pen of Emnauelle Périé: "Today, we did the tenth dive of the expedition: Alban, Benoit and Ghislain had some problems that are now par for the course (icing up of the regulators, water in the masks, not enough lead) but the photographs are sumptuous, and the video images unbelievable! They made a big dive for exploration purposes today and went nearly 70 metres from the hole! We are in addition very happy about these six days of break in our progress, which have enabled us to create the images and take the photographs that we were looking for when coming here. Now, we're going to try to do even better and take even more beautiful ones. This evening, we will be thoroughly reviewing the regulators, tomorrow we are setting out again to make more progress and are looking for a heart-stopping diving place, a magical site that will perhaps enable us to have another look at this underwater world and to see some other remarkable things."

On 17 April, from the pen of Ghislain Bardout (at 88°31'51''/ 59°21'28'' W) : "We have dived to a depth of 20 metres, and I reckon that the underwater visibility is about 200 metres: extraordinary. Benoit's photographs today are magical, even better than before: the beautiful Arctic light, the incredible visibility and the ridges when diving at a depth of 15-20 metres are three phenomena that we have all at the same time! Today has justified the entire expedition: we've found what we came for! Under water, there's very little fauna, I filmed a little jellyfish (approximately 2cm long), saw some gigantic crystals and some sublime cliffs of ice. With Samuel, we witnessed a reverse avalanche of ice: the end of the immersed mass of ice became fragmented and therefore went back to the surface in pieces!"

"Each dive enhances the quality of our work and enriches the data that we've collected. Furthermore, we can give you today an example of the data that we're recording: the surrounding air is at a temperature of minus 15°C, on the ground (ice), there are 16cm of snow, and the ice is 50cm thick. We've taken a 12cm core sample of the ice on the surface and the temperature inside it is minus 4.5°C. The water in which we dive is minus 1.8°C. We still have to take a core sample of the ice under the water in order to complete our almost daily measurements. ... "

Their position on Sunday, 18 April: 88°30'21'' N / 56°52'22'' W.

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