The Challenge Continues

Published on 06.06.2007 - The Arctic Arc

Alain Hubert in chaotic ice

Alain Hubert in chaotic ice

© International Polar Foundation

While the Greenland coast is approaching, the two men's progression is getting harder each day.

We wrote yesterday "Today, more than yesterday but less than tomorrow". Last night, as soon as the line was established between Brussels and the expedition, A. Hubert declared out of no where, even before giving us the daily figures: "Our day has been worse than ever. To get an idea, over our 11 hour progression, we didn't come across a single ice sheet that was any more than 100 m long! We fell into an open water zone with leads twirling into all directions. I don't understand anything anymore. I have never seen such break up in the Arctic before! It's probably due to what happened in the Lincoln Sea last week. As a matter of fact, what has happened here is quite recent, that's clear. And then of course there is also the bad weather and the heavily clouded sky which, by the way, makes it hard for us to take any satellite pictures..."

The expedition is thus caught up in water (see picture); they are forced to jump from one ice sheet to another and follow somewhat of a treasure hunt consisting in not loosing their direction while they jump over the obstacles. Nonetheless, they are progressing, but clearly more slowly than several days ago. Yesterday they progressed 12 km in 11 hours, bringing the two men 59 km away from their point of reorientation (see map) and about 120 km away from their final goal.

No worries concerning the aptitude of the two men to reach the Greenland coast without trouble. But once they are there, what about the pick up by Twin Otter? When we see the pictures that Alain sent us yesterday, we wonder how a bi-motor will ever be able to land on such a surface! As a matter of fact, the head of expedition gave us himself the answer by satellite telephone yesterday. "It is out of the question for any plane to land here..."

The Website of the Day

Today, a very interesting article has been published in the June edition of the renown National Geographic : « The big Thaw ». This monthly magazine of twelve million members poses the following question: "From Greenland to Antarctica, the world is losing its ice faster than anyone thought possible. Can humans slow the melting? » The article was written by Tim Appenzeller.

In the same edition, another article ("Life at the Edge", written by Paul Nicklen) explains how Arctic warming can lead to the extinction of polar bears. "Polar bears could face extinction", writes Nicklen, "whales go hungry, and seals have nowhere to rest—all because of the warming Arctic".

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