Towards The Final Leg

Published on 07.07.2008 - Greenland Northward Expedition 2008

Following the Hibbert-Bullard duo's example, the two Finns have embarked upon their descent towards the west coast of Greenland. On the way, they have raised some rather interesting topics of conversation.

Usually, adventurers talk neither about politics nor about disturbing subjects. They are often possessed only by an iron will to overcome, an absolute desire to accomplish the feat and/or the imperative need for scoring a "first" on their CV's.

Not so with the two Finns. When preparing for their decent towards the coast, they talked about the impact that, in the past, the United States had had on Greenland's life and economy. They mentioned not only the many US military bases on the west coast and the radar tracking stations such as Eye 2 ,but also the ensuing population displacement and the accident, in 1968, involving the American B52 that crashed near Thule. We thus learn that out of the thousand or so locals who were tasked to clean up the area at the time, more than a hundred have since died of cancer. It was only in 1995 that it was finally learnt that the bomber in question was carrying six kilograms of plutonium. In 2000, it became clear that one of the four atomic bombs that were aboard had still not been located.

On 30 June, when giving these explanations, Pete Mäkelä noted with a certain amount of cynicism a touch of humour: "If in the next days we notice that our beards are starting to fall out, it'll be because we've been sleeping above that missing bomb! ..."

Perhaps, one day, an explorer will talk about the people wounded in the Korean War (at the time of the war of 1964) who were then brought, in the greatest secrecy, to the western coast of Greenland as guinea pigs for surgical operations intended to test new drugs and new medical techniques in American hospitals long since destroyed.

A few days later, the two Finns upped the pace and managed to complete more than 30km in a single day (34.1km on 03 July). On 05 July, that had covered 2,251.3 km since their departure. And they were losing altitude by about a hundred metres per day. Two days later, that figure had already been doubled.

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