Expedition update from 28.05.2013
After reaching the shores of Ward Hunt Island, Fedor and Victor set up a long-term camp waiting for favorable weather for an air lift. The Kenn Borek Air plane will pick them up and fly to Fjord Victoria, north Greenland.
While Fedor and Victor and their 12 dogs were recuperating from 46 days on the drifting ice of the Arctic Ocean, their support team was working on finding the best Greenland huskies for the second stage of the expedition. Finding 22 dogs was only part of the challenge, convincing the owners to sell the dogs was a process that took some patience, ingenuity and a lot of back and forth communications with the locals of Tasiluk town. The Greenland husky is a hard working dog that works all winter long and spends summer gathering its strength. A week is very short time to purchase two teams of 12 and 10 dogs that are all in good shape to run for 2500 km from the north to the south of Greenland. The next challenge was to deliver the dogs and the two new sleds to Fjord Victoria.
The pilots of Kenn Borek Air informed Oscar Konyukhov, manager of the expedition, that the ice in the bay of Tasiluk is not suitable for landing due to the warm temperatures of Spring. Since Tasiluk doesn’t have a landing strip, the team would have to travel north to Kulusuk town that has a small airport. The distance between these two towns is 30 km, and on a good day you can get to the other side in 60 minutes by a boat. However, despite the warm weather the ice in the bay has not melted away and what should’ve been a 60 minute trip turned into a 10 hour adventure. The pictures say it better than words.
Oscar Konyukhov: “To get to the bay was not a problem. However, facing the crushed ice and sparse open water, the local guides decided to picnic on the shore and talked it all out: should we turn back to Tasiluk or take a huge risk and venture into the water, or rather ice in our case. While the guides discussed our options, one of them shot a seal, and in no time he was preparing a large dinner on one of the boats that had a propane stove. Deciding that catching the seal was a good omen, the most experienced guide named Tobias insisted that we should face the ice. We were in no position to argue for the man has successfully hunted 25 polar bears in his life and probably knew a thing or two about a good omen. After dinner was finished, the boats’ engines started and did not stop for a moment all night long. There were times that the boats would run into so much ice that we literally had to pull them on ice. On a few occasions, there was a talk about spending the night on the ice. It’s a good thing that each boat comes equipped with camping gear. Long after midnight we finally reached Kulusuk town and set a camp near the airport.
Right now, we are awaiting the Twin Otter plane scheduled to arrive from Iceland today and take us to Fedor and Victor’s camp up north.”
Translated by Tatiana Koreski