Longyearbyen

Luggage finally arrived at 5 p.m. and immediately  we started frantically cutting our bars, cheese, chocolate and putting it into our 75 bags for our lunches on the ice.

What a job, the three of us in a tiny kitchen of Mary-Ann Pollariggen but now it is done and stored in our sleds.

We still have lots to do: putting our skins on and screw them in so they don’t come off, going through our repair kit, and testing and retesting our communication.

I am sure we can use a few more days here just to sort it all out.

 

That is the problem coming from different countries and checking each other’s kit to make sure it is not redundant or forget any important item, like the cable for the satellite phone.

 

Tourists are starting to trickle into Longyearbyen for snowmobiling and dogsledding and seal watching.

They are dressed like they go on a polar expedition with their heavy boots and jackets.

At night they wonder off with cameras to photograph the spectacular polar light and twilight darkness we still get here at 78°, ever so hoping to get a glimpse in their lens of the Northern Lights.

I would be out there too if I had the time because on the North Pole we won’t see any darkness for 25 days.

But I am doing admin and emails instead enjoying the warm atmosphere of the living room of our guesthouse .

 

Barneo drift

22 hours ago: Coordinates: 89º44’N, 065º47’E.
Weather: clear sky with slight haze, northern wind 8m/sec, and temperature -36ºС.

It is cold at the North Pole – the arctic has returned.

The drift of the ice camp where we are flying to on Saturday is fast so we would like to get dropped off at the  west side of the North Pole to avoid the southern and easterly drift.

Arrived in Longyearbyen with no luggage, still sitting in Oslo.

This is a setback since we can’t do much without my gear for preparation of the expedition and  I carry all the important things like ziplock bags, skins for skis, chocolate, clif bars, etc.

What better excuse than to catch up and drink a beer with polar friends like Eric our mate from the trip of 2014.

1250 sneeuw metingen

De afgelopen dagen was ik op een conferentie in Banff met wetenschappers van de ESA en NASA.

De conferentie ging over de CryoSat satelliet en de arctische campagnes die wetenschappers komende maanden uitvoeren.

Verschillende Universiteiten bundelen hun kennis en financiële middelen om de satellieten te kunnen afstellen met metingen op het ijs.

Deze ingewikkelde logistiek zorgde voor vele drama’s in de wandelgangen.

Spullen die naar Groenland  gestuurd zijn maar nu naar IJsland moeten of kosten die 3x meer zijn dan begroot.

Dit alles resulteerde in nog meer samenwerken en kortere vliegtijden.

Het zijn dus niet alleen de poolreizigers die de hoge transport kosten niet meer kunnen betalen, ook wetenschappers lijken voor hetzelfde blok te staan.

Andrew Sheppard van de Universiteit van Leeds gaf een somber beeld over de ijsdikte in het Arctisch gebied op dit moment.

Er is bijna geen ijs in Rusland (start van onze expeditie) en veel ijs in Canada.

Voor het accuraat meten van ijs moet je ook weten hoeveel sneeuw erop het ijs ligt en dan doen de flyovers van ESA en NASA in de komende maand.

Flyovers in Groenland, Canada en Svalbard.

De laatste van NASA vliegt boven ons in April.

Met radar technology meten ze de rand van het ijs en weten ze door het oppervlak te meten hoeveel sneeuw erop ligt.

In bijgevoegd plaatje zie je dat weinig sneeuw (0cm) gepaard gaat met weinig ijs en andersom.

Toeval?

 

what is wrong with this picture?

Shouldn’t I be pulling a sled instead of paddling it?

Just because the conditions in the Arctic are unusual this year and preparing for the worst case scenario,  I dragged my sled to the Elk River today and took it for a paddle.

The swirly and fast moving water made me nervous and since it is still arctic here in Canada the thought of a flip in freezing water was enough to put a safety line on the end.

I am amazed how easy it is too paddle and have more confidence now to resort to this method in case we need it.

Large leads in the past have been expedition stoppers because you can’t swim across larges stretches of water.

But with an empty sled and sitting in the kayak it will work.

Still I am going to wear a survival suit – just in case I am tipping over.