Ice conditions are very difficult, with a lot of slush ice that isn’t freezing properly. It would be very difficult to make much progress. But the main reason we’re staying put, is that the ice is drifting rapidly southeast.
If we tried to go out onto the ice now, we would just drift backwards. The guy in charge of analysing satellite photos tells us the ice moved 15 km south and 18 km east yesterday. So Mike and I are maintaining our camp here until the wind abates. As soon as the ice stops drifting so much, we can make real progress.
The weather forecast calls for colder weather Monday and Tuesday, which will freeze the open leads between the ice sheets, making it possible to cross between them. Right now we can neither paddle the dinghy nor ski in the area.
We are camped just 20 m from the point, in a spot that hasn’t proved opportune. Apparently all the polar bears that are wandering along the shore seem to be passing through. Last night, after our first visit, another polar bear came and ripped a gash in one of the rubber dinghies. With the strong wind, it took a while before we heard the bear and could scare it off with a new signal flare.
Since then, they have left us alone. Most of the day we’ve been busy repairing the dinghy. Seems we’ve succeeded – the glue is holding. We may not need the dinghy, but it’s good insurance in case we need to cross open sea to get to the ice.
We’ve placed the rubber dinghies right up against the tent, so we can hear the bears if they try again.
Naturally we’re not sleeping much with the polar bears nearby, but I think that will be less of a problem as we proceed.
A curious polar bear has circled our tent during the night. We hope he doesn’t return with any of his friends. Fortunately, we have seen no sign of bears the last eight hours, but we have had to repair a rubber dinghy that the polar bear ripped apart.View 3 comments