We got flown off the ice just in the nick of time. A new weather system was approaching us and if Troy the pilot didn’t land we would have been stuck another week before they were able to get to us. The pick up it self was nail biting. It took many attempts to put the skis on the surface, test it and then take off again, come back and do it again. No place was great to land and they were searching hard to make it work in low visibility and bumps.
We landed at Cape Discovery for a refuel – at least I got to see the fast ice and the mountains of Ellesmere Island – before we headed to Eureka where we spend the night.
Next day off to Resolute Bay, repack our sleds, washed clothes, did email and took long showers. A new much stronger weather system was approaching, this one now spreading all the way from Alaska to Siberia with the low sitting right over the Arctic. A report of the Canadian Ice Survey called for 95 km/hr southwest winds by next week. The drift and leads would so challenging that we couldn’t possibly out ski the drift or pass the leads that would be enormous. So is it a mixed blessing to have to leave?That is the challenge with expeditions; safety planning and covering yourself for “the what if” scenarios, especially if you don’t know what they might be and then make a responsible decision based on that. I am still grasping it all, processing my experience, mending my frostbites and painful fingers, and feel utterly tired and drained. But the media can’t wait for it to settle on my time frame. After spending 24 hours in airplanes (just in Canada), a three hour drive home to Fernie and a 3 hour sleep, journalists were haunting me via skype and phone the next morning to know one thing: “Was it all worth it?”
The Arctic is an amazing place, as hostile and violent as it seems with the relentless storms we faced, we also experienced incredible beauty and serenity. Martin captured this is his photographs and film and that is what we need to show to our audience. This place is worth it. The film project continues, the next step is a scientific underlay of our experience with the reality of climate change and how this will impact the North Pole in the near future. Who are the players and what is at stake if we don’t act soon? Stay tuned.