Alain’s Knee and Dixie’s Foot

Published on 30.05.2007 - The Arctic Arc

Crossing a lead

Crossing a lead

© International Polar Foundation

Though they are getting closer to the Greenland coast, the two men are more cautious and circumspect that ever.

Totalling 1433 km on their milometer with just some 217 km left, one would think that the atmosphere within the expedition would be more relaxed and that the two men would be thinking about victory and about the after Arctic Arc.

On the contrary, it is quite different! Knowing that the slightest error could cause big problems to occur and that they would penalize the end of the trip, the men are staying extremely focussed on their work. "In this kind of adventure, explains Alain, and especially in this sort of terrain with the snow covering all traps, we can never know what exactly is awaiting us. Moreover, we can never declare victory before victory is won. A wrong move in a difficult passage, a snow layer covering a big hole in the ice which was poorly judged, or a fall in one of those small leads zigzagging through the sea ice, could be an absolute catastrophe: a broken member, a serious sprain, a deep cut or what have you more."

"As a matter of fact, the reason why we stay so cautious at the end of the expedition is that we already have small health problems which could easily get worse if we are not careful. I am hurt at the knee, on the kneecap, and Dixie is hurting at his foot. And, even today, he almost fainted after having knocked his head against a huge block of ice. You must understand why we cannot say that we can smell our home yet. Up until the last meter, we shall stay extremely prudent...".

The First Birds

Nevertheless, on the ninetieth day of this expedition, the vision of a dream came true. At the end of the day, with the phantasmagorical light of a covered sun mixed with a black sky and white mist in the background, Dixie and Alain saw two petrels fly by, obviously coming in from the coast. The two birds made circles above them for a little while before turning around and heading back to the coast.

Concerning the terrain, it was as usual a curious mixture of chaotic zones, old ice plates, entangled narrow leads which were frozen yet humid, and scattered fallen ice blocks. Despite these difficulties, Alain and Dixie found a way to progress 18.5 km, bringing them now only 217 km away from their arrival point.

The Web Site of the Day

The article chosen this evening for better understanding the melting Arctic sea ice was published on May 2, 2007, in the Times of India. It rumours the scientific study which was published in April 2007 by the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), showing that the Arctic sea ice is melting three times faster than that which was originally predicted by the mathematical models, and that the ice should come to disappear completely – during the summertime, it is specified – between 2050 and 2100.

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