Yes, this is our report for 2 July, Day 63 of our expedition. The position is N80˚59’42”, E54’43’.
It has been a good day, and we managed to reach our goal. We’re camped on the southern side of Salisbury Island. The distance we covered may not be impressive, but it was a day of varied challenges. Thomas and I started by paddling our kayaks into a strong headwind. It was sunny – but that wind came straight at us. The cape we rounded was completely exposed. I think it’s called Cape McClintock, with sheer cliffs and an uninviting glacier front. There was no way to walk along the shore here. So we had to do it by sea, paddling 6 km or so at an excruciatingly slow 2 km per hour.
After we entered a sheltered bay, we had no desire to continue by sea. Ahead of us lay a new cape – Cape Fisher – with more cliffs, another glacier front, and more of that same draining headwind.
Instead, we decided to walk across the glacier. It was a pretty good climb up to 260 metres or so, and it looked fine while we were ascending. But on the way down we got stuck in some very difficult ice. Fortunately we were able to climb a little ways back up, and by hugging an icy slope, and both of us pulling one pulk at a time to keep it from slipping, we managed to cross over to the top of a cliff.
That’s where we are now. It’s kind of a plateau – a magnificent area with lots of wildflowers and moss in splendid colours. We were also pleased to see that there is a safe descent, down a snow-covered slop.
Right now we’re camped at the edge of the cliff here, enjoying the view. We’re satisfied with our day’s work. Well, that’s our report from Franz Josef Land.
Preparing to round Cape McClintock – with the .44 Magnum readied for frightening off overly curious walrus or polar bears, if absolutely necessary.