Hole at the Pole
Published on 13.05.2010 - Catlin Arctic Survey - 2
Ann Daniels, Martin Hartley and Charlie Paton, the explorer team of the Catlin Arctic Survey, have reached North Pole yesterday at 21pm BST. The were on the ice since 60 days.
A team of three British explorers described as 'the world's toughest' reached the North Geographic Pole today ending a gruelling 60 day scientific survey across the floating sea ice of the Arctic Ocean.
The Catlin Arctic Survey's headquarters in London was contacted at 2050 hours (BST) by team leader Ann Daniels and her colleagues Martin Hartley and Charlie Paton to say they had completed their survey work as they reached the Pole.
The team has been collecting water and marine life samples from beneath the floating sea ice as part of the expedition's leading edge science programme which is assessing the impact of CO2 absorbtion on the ocean and its marine life -a process known as ocean acidification.
Their celebrations could not begin until they had taken the last samples through a hole drilled manually through the ice at the North Pole.
"We called it our Hole at the Pole" said Ann Daniels. "Getting the science work done has always been our top priority, but it is absolutely fantastic to reach the Pole as well. We're ecstatic."
Speaking from Catlin Arctic Survey's headquarters in London, the Survey Director and explorer Pen Hadow described the team's achievement as extraordinary. "It's not possible to imagine what this team has had to do to pull off this extreme survey. I consider them to be the world's toughest to have done this. Together they're the face of modern exploration helping to advance the understanding of scientists and the public alike about how the natural world works."
The three explorers have travelled over 483 miles (777 kilometres) since March 14th but to reach the Pole have had to increase the amount of trekking time each day. They made it with only hours to spare before a Twin Otter plane was scheduled to land on the ice to collect them.
Commenting on the harsh conditions Ann Daniels said: "It has been an unbelievably hard journey over the ice. Conditions have been unusually tough and at times very frustrating with a frequent southerly drift pushing us backwards every time we camped for the night. On top of that we've had to battle into head-winds and swim across large areas of dangerously thin ice and open water."
The Catlin Arctic Survey 2010 is a unique collaboration between marine biologists, oceanographers and polar explorers to get vital science field work done which has not proved possible until now.