At the dive site

Published on 13.04.2010 - Under the Pole.com

Ghislain Bardout's team has finally arrived at its second dive site. The scheduled resupply drop has also gone well.

Here's what the editor has gleaned from the reports coming back from the expedition -which, like all of the others this year, is complaining about the wide open condition of the sea-ice and the stretches of open water slowing down their trip to the South.

"This is our second day of diving. We did two dives yesterday and two today. Things were very difficult to set up today because this morning the temperature was minus 39°C, with the wind whipping snow up everywhere around us. As a result, we decided to move a tent to within 1 metre of the hole so that we could get the divers kitted up. Unfortunately, by the time we were finally ready, the hole had sealed up again. So we drilled a second hole. The wind was blowing strongly from the West. The icescape changed gradually but significantly over a space of several hours, with our hole opening up, then closing again and moving position. Then a lead opened up and closed again, and so on."

"The two dives today had different specific goals in mind: one to take photographs and the other to video. Dive one was undertaken by Alban and Benoit (photographer), while dive two was with Ghislain (undersea cameraman) and Samuel, who are still under the water now. They were able to see some very interesting things down there: the play of the light when the leads opened up, 6 angelfish and the changing seascape all made it possible for them to capture a whole range of fascinating contrasts and reliefs under the ice. ...There was a blizzard going all day (wind 25 km/h, with gusts up to 35 km/h) and that dumped the snow back on to freshly refrozen leads, adding to the changing landscape..."

"As for the resupply, the DC3 passed overhead several times as part of a very meticulous manoeuvre. They did everything they could to drop the supplies as close as possible to the camp. Even so, 2 parachutes landed in the water, but the crates they were carrying fell on to the ice, 3 metres from a lead. The final two parachutes were dropped a bit further away – just to be on the safe side. Having said that, everything arrived in good condition, both in cartons (food and other supplies) and plastic crates (petrol). ...We also received 5 additional shovels to help us cross the leads. We had only planned to receive these in resupply number 2, but given the state of the pack-ice, we didn't have a choice: now, having 1 shovel per person will enable two of us to paddle when we're 'rafting' with the sledges."

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