We made it!

Published 16.07 in category In the Footsteps of Nansen

It is the 16th of July and Day 76. Our position is N80˚03’01”, E51˚16’46”.

This has been one incredible day! The weather has worked to our advantage. It’s actually been a clear and sunny day – and that has been a long time coming. For weeks now, we’ve been wandering around in ice fog with poor visibility, or beneath a blanket of low clouds. We’ve scarcely seen the sun, but today it was there!

More importantly: the wind was with us. It came from behind us, from the northeast. And we had a perfect start position where we were camped on our little island. All day the wind and weather really worked to our advantage.

Thomas and I sailed and paddled for ten hours to cross De Bruyne Sound. We’ve had to maneuver our way through drifting ice. But by using our binoculars and standing up in the kayak to expand our view, we found a route through it all. After that, progress was easier – and the last 20 km were open sea.

Today’s leg was 37 km. Now we’re camped on Northbrook, our last island – and reaching it today is really quite a milestone for us.

This is the island where Fridtjof Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen met another Arctic explorer, Frederick George Jackson. That occurred at Cape Flora, on the other side of Northbrook Island. We still have 40 km or so to go. Along the way, there are many glacier fronts, so we will need good wind and weather here as well. It would be hopeless to struggle against the wind and current.

Now we have time. The key was to cross this huge expanse of sea called De Bruyne Sound. That’s a great victory for us! It feels like a millstone has been lifted from our shoulders, and we admit that we’ve been worried. Thomas and I would have had an almost insurmountable challenge if the sound had been full of ice. And if the wind had been against us, we would never have been able to move so far by kayak.

We’re overjoyed that we are finally here, and can relax on the shore of Northbrook. We are camped on a small headland on the northeast side of the island.

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