“Of what use is this Journey?...”

Published on 22.03.2010 - Save the Poles

A succession of good and bad days have highlighted recent progress by the expedition with Eric Larsen and Antony Jinman.

Antony Jinman has not quite fully recovered from his fall the other day in which he managed to injure his knee. But the most important thing is that he has been able to keep up with his two companions and despite the pain, he is not complaining. "When we stop for a break," writes Larsen, "we are all immersed on our own little world, in deep thought and we don't generally speak. It's important to be able to be alone like this and have these moments of privacy. Of course it's not like that when the three of us are together in the evening, virtually on top of one another inside the tent..."

But no two days are the same for the trio, with the ice not too bad one day, then jumbled and chaotic beyond belief the next. But there is one frustration they can't get away from: each night for the past few days, the negative drift has pushed them over 3 km in the wrong direction (southwards) and Eric Larsen is even convinced (although he hasn't told his companions yet for fear of discouraging them) that even while they are on the move during the day, the pack-ice is moving in the opposite direction to the one they are going in!

Which is frustrating and demoralising. The saving grace though -and all explorers agree on this point -is that they all know before they even set out that negative drift in the Arctic is a fact of life, ready to sap your courage and take you in the direction you don't want to go in. And often, even if they don't talk about it they tend to wonder what the hell they are doing there. Hence the heading for Larsen's update on 18th March: "Of what use is this Journey ?"...

And if the negative drift didn't make its presence felt too much during the first two weeks of the trek, it is now back with a vengeance just as they are out in the middle of the ocean. But despite everything, the men are still making progress.

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