Dropping in on a former radar base…

Published on 15.05.2008 - Greenland Northward Expedition 2008

The two Finns are making steady progress with their traction kites, covering around fifty kilometres a day. Along the way, they had the good fortune to visit the former American Dye2 radar base, which appears to be the local tourist attraction...

Whether they are Finnish, French or German, one name crops up time and again in the reports sent back by the expeditions currently underway: the name of the Norwegian Fridtjof Nansen, one of the most famous and adulated of all polar explorers.

Why Nansen? Because it was in Greenland that the young Norwegian zoologist first cut his teeth as a polar explorer. Returning to the Natural History Museum in Bergen to study the nervous system of marine animals, he organised, at the tender age of 26, one of the early great polar expeditions, the east-west crossing of the Greenland icecap.

Nansen's team, made up of six men, set out in 1888. Once on their way, they had to cope with a totally hostile environment. After leaving the safety of the expedition's main ship, it took them twelve days before they made landfall. The men succeeded in making the crossing, reaching the west coast of Greenland in September. Nansen and his team had to overcome obstacle after obstacle throughout their journey, but none of it prevented them from gathering scientific data and any information on the weather conditions that they encountered along the way.

The two Finns are respectfully reminding us of these great moments in history. Their adventure is going well. They are using their kites almost every day, enabling them to achieve a daily average of approximately 50 km. On 9th May, they provided us with another flashback, reminding us that five years previously the same team had crossed the icecap, covering 670 km in 31 days.

And a few days later, they came across the former Dye2 US radar base which, unlike what is commonly reported, is by no means abandoned. Quite the opposite, in fact, because the two Finns were welcomed by a homely-looking lady, who showed them around the place. While they were there, they also met the team from the "Wings Over Greenland" expedition and other tourists passing through...

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