While The Base Camp Packs Up, The Trio Goes On
Published on 30.04.2010 - Northpolechallenge.co.uk
Even though the condition of the ice is deteriorating every day (and especially in consideration of the pick-up), the Daniels/Hartley/Paton trio is continuing to do a barn dance with the drifting pack ice. One day forward, the next day back.
For the members of the Catlin Arctic Survey's scientific team, the end of the adventure is near. On 29 April, the large mess tent was dismantled and everyone was getting ready to be picked up by the Kenn Borek planes in a day or two, weather permitting.
This mini base has been effectively in place for 40 days. During this time, the tents have seen a succession of six researchers of international repute, five journalists, three polar guides, two chefs, two managers for the base, two communication managers, an Inuit guide, a Japanese skier who happened to be passing by and a guard dog that made sure that the polar bears didn't come too close.
As for the scientific work, it was carried out with success, they say, and the expedition is in a position to deliver hundreds of sea water samples to the specialist laboratories, as well as multiple observations of the water column and invaluable atmospheric data that should be used to create mathematical models capable of forseeing the impact of CO2 on the smallest living marine fauna organisms (copepods). "When a thousand-mile adventure begins", the communiqué of 29 April wrote, "there inevitably has to be a first step. Well, the 'Catlin Arctic Survey' expedition is that first step..."
As for the Anne Daniels trio that's progressing far out on the icecap, it's continuing to head towards the North pole, although it's not obliged to think of going that far. The goal is to cover as great a distance as possible and to proceed with as many sea water readings and observations of the state of the ice as possible. This is why they were not overly upset when they realised that one day, they would advance, and that the next day or even the next night, they would lose all that they had gained.
For the moment, Ann Daniels, Martin Hartley and Charlie Paton are a little bit beyond Degree 88° (which they had already passed, but in the opposite direction twice!); they have already covered more than 270 kilometres since they were dropped on the pack ice. According to big boss Pen Hadow, they should be heading north for one more week.