Stormy Weather

Published on 15.04.2007 - The Arctic Arc

Stormy Weather - Copyright: IPF

Stormy Weather - Copyright: IPF

© International Polar Foundation

Remember we had left Alain and Dixie after a white day and a stormy evening? Well, at 3am, they were awakened by worrisome sounds: a series of loud cracks, ice moving somewhere close!

After a quick check, they found out that some huge cracks and leads were progressing behind the tent, eight meters wide, less than ten meters away. And huge ice blocks were moving in right in front of it! Camp was packed in less than ten minutes and they moved away to go back to sleep and gather energy for the next day at 4am.

After a short night, Sunday was another white day, adding to it a severe storm with a quick wind shift from southern to northern, 40 to 50 km per hour, with gusts at 60+. Visibility is still lousy, but not as bad as the previous day as they now can spot the blue ice 100 meters away. But the ice is thin, and the strong wind generates mechanical stress which in turn creates cracks and open water stretches. A short alert happened when Alain sank a leg knee-high into water: no major issue other than having to dry up salt water soaked pants.

No sunlight means no battery charge, and the daily call is short and to the point.
The barometer is inching up, and both hope the storm is moving away. However the weather pattern remains quite unpredictable.

The pole is 146 km away, but the main concern is that the northern gale will push them back through the night at a rate of about 800 meters per hour. Spirits are high and they look forward to a good night to make up the past, eventful one.

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