Live from the HeadQuarters

Published on 04.04.2007 - The Arctic Arc

On the phone

On the phone

© International Polar Foundation

Every day, the expedition contacts the headquarters around 6 pm. Usually Alain is on the phone. Below, you will find the facts he communicates each day.

It is thanks to the satellite telephone, of course, that we are able to receive such phone calls from the expedition each day. We have decided on the Iridium system. Iridium has 60 satellites of its own, rotating continuously in low orbit around the Earth, at 750 km above the earth's crust.

Contrarily to the well-known Inmarsat system which does not cover the Polar Regions, the Iridium system covers, on the other hand, the entire world. This is why all polar expeditions use this system.

Facts given to us by Alain Hubert each day

The figures we publish today, Wednesday April 4, are those we received yesterday evening, at 6 20 pm (time difference between Belgium and the expedition is of +7 hours).

  • Position in the morning: 86°27'44" N / 91°20'38" E
  • Position in the evening: 86°36'23" N / 90°35'11" E
  • Progression during the day: 17 km
  • Progression time: 8 hours
  • Shift due to pack ice drift, occurring during the night: 5.43 km
  • Remaining distance to the North Pole: 379 km
  • Wind force: 10 to 12 km/h in the morning, reaching a strength of 30 to 40 km/h in the evening
  • Wind direction: E/NE
  • Ice characteristics: excellent these past few days, flat and non chaotic
  • Visibility: good all day, not so good in the evening (cloudy)
  • Temperature: - 20°C

During our daily session, we take a little time to talk about subjects other than technical facts. Then, the two men confess. Yesterday, the daily issue was the enormous lead they had found during the middle of the day. "You can't imagine", explained Alain, "It was broken all over. We had to try over and over again before finding the right place to cross it. Often, the ice was both too thin for us to cross over and too thick for the sledges to cut through easily. Anyway, it took us two hours to cross this lousy lead..."

Apart from this, a few words about the frostbites Alain has on his fingers and still disabling him a little, and a few words also about the fact that they are having less breaks. One week ago, they would take a break every 80 minutes. But, since they have lost a lot of time with last week's huge storm, they must now imperatively increase their pace.

At the end of the conversation, Alain admitted: "You need to understand that, even though progression conditions aren't so bad, each day is a fight, and it cannot be won without heavy sweating."


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