Larsen: “Polar Bears? Few and Far Between, I Reckon”
Published on 31.03.2010 - Save the Poles
Eric Larsen and his two companions have now crossed the 86th Degree. Their morale is sky-high despite two forced swims and some traces of bear in the vicinity.
On 28 March, Eric Larsen made a very interesting observation: what has surprised him the most since he left the Canadian shore (in terms of his observation of the extent of the pack ice) was not that he was not encountering suitable ice where he was expecting it (for example, close to the shore, it is usually old ice that is encountered rather that the young ice as was the case this season), but rather the many different kinds of ice that he was crossing over a given distance.
"Today", he wrote on 29 March, "we advanced for two hours in what I would call a "canyon", i.e. we encountered old sheets of ice bristling with higgledy piggledy blocks of ice certainly resulting from the drift. Then suddenly, we were crossing sheets of ice that were much larger and distinctly flatter. Further, we were in the presence of enormous congestions with vertical walls that had collided into each other - a strong compression zone, which goes without saying. And finally, we ended the day alongside frozen channels and fissures that were hardly a metre wide... Astonishing..."
However, the trio's latest news trio is good because they have just passed the 86th Degree and seem to be in good shape. Despite the fact that, on two occasions -once Antony on 28 March and then Darcy the following day-, they both fell into water up to the waist and had to be quick to extract themselves from dangerous situations. On the 30th, they crossed really fresh traces of bear (Larsen is always astonished to see that these traces are so large) without actually seeing the animal.