We encountered our first “ice lead” today and it was cutting right across our route to the North Pole. Leads are caused by movements of the ice due to wind, or to currents in the underlying water and, may open and close again within a brief period. They are beautiful because of their deep blue/black color, but they are also very dangerous obstacles because you never know if there is solid ice below. Ben tested it with his poles and decided that crossing at this location was not worth the risk. We walked further along the ice lead until we came to an area of open water. Tying two pulka's together we used them as bridges to cross the water. Unfortunately Ben's boot and ski got wet, so the boot froze to the ski and Ben's foot froze in the boot - he is fine now but suffered for the last couple of hours of the trek. Alexandre pitched right-in, taking over many of the duties of setting up camp.
We covered 18 km and our location tonight is 89˚40'. The temperature is about -25/27˚C. I am sharing the mess tent with Ben and those of you that know me well can understand why I feel right at home.