An island closer to our goal

Published 15.07 in category In the Footsteps of Nansen

Good morning! This is our report for 15 July, Day 75. Our position is now N80˚20’, E52˚18’.

Finally we managed to continue! It didn’t turn into a really hard storm like the weather reports indicated. Conditions were acceptable as we pressed on last night. Paddling against the strong headwind and current limited our progress – it was rough going, even though our mileage doesn’t show that. After winning 10 km by sea, Thomas and I pitched camp on one of the islands west of the Arctic station of Tikhaya Bay.

We’re in a good now. From here, as we look out over De Bruyne Sound, we can glimpse Northbrook Island for the first time. It’s the last of the islands in this archipelago. Cape Flora is situated on the distant shore of Northbrook. After all these weeks, it feels great to see that island!

There is just a single crossing left now – but that one is quite a stretch, a real challenge! The distance is 37 km. Fortunately there is just open water, with a few icebergs and floes floating on currents. We need good weather to cross that sound, and preferably more than a little help from the wind. We’ll hear the report from our weatherman Hans Ambühl later and make our decision then, to continue or wait. Hopefully we can give it a try, but we really have to do it all in on go.

Today we saw walrus, a mother and child who came a bit too close for comfort. They surfaced and huffed and puffed only a metre and a half from our kayak. The mother reared in the water and shook her head back and forth while she looked at us with a challenge. I tell you, those tusks look fearsome up close. Then they retreated peacefull and we never saw them again.

Walrus are quite exciting. Anyone who has read the stories of Fridtjof Nansen’s expedition know that you are never safe. But so far we’ve been all right.

We’re camped here waiting to see what the weather will bring. We have to do this right, and in a safe manner.

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