What a wonderful life ...

Published on 11.03.2007 - The Arctic Arc

Despite minor inconveniences -Alain has damaged his thermos and has some frostbites on his fingers- everything is running smoothly for the Belgian pair, and ice conditions remain pretty decent.

Expeditions are never quite the same. You might recall the catastrophic departure of the last Hubert-Dansercoer Compaq Pole II Expedition in 2002. The ice was terrible, the weather horrendous, and progression painfully slow. This time it's quite a different picture: since the start, the ice has been young, smooth and relatively unbroken (they have not seen a single lead on the 10th of March). Overall, Alain and Dixie only encountered a few leads, a couple of which were big ones. This is quite surprinsing considering they are walking on young ice. The temperature is still quite low (-36°C), but not unusual for this time of year. The drift has been generally favourable and, despite the unrelenting wind, they are making good progress. The Belgian duo is moving along at a healthy pace: since the departure they have completed 171 km (by Saturday evening, 10th of March). Observations for the European Space Agency have also begun. The snow cover having increased, they can now provide interesting data to the Cryosat team, in order to develop better algorithms.

Of course, Arctic landscapes and luminosity are as awesome as ever. "For the first time," explained Alain via Iridium satellite phone on Saturday afternoon, "the sun was shining for 6 consecutive hours, a large red orb suspended above the horizon. It was amazing. Apart from that, everything is going well and life could not be better".

Daylight hours are extending rapidly. By the spring equinox, the sun will be above their heads for almost 12 hours, providing them with enough solar energy to recharge phone and computer batteries.

Other Info.

  • Progress on Friday, 09 March: 10 km in 7 hours;
  • Progress on Saturday 10 March: 10 km in 6 hours;
  • Progress on Sunday 11 March: 10 km in 7 hours;
  • The first measurements of the thickness of the snow: Saturday, 10 March
  • On Saturday 10 March, for the first time, the drift has been negative as the wind veered to the North, and they lost 1.5 km during the night (Friday to Saturday).
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