Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thursday Nov 13

After 6 weeks spent mostly at sea we are about to complete our pursuit of Endurance. We have been sailing from South Georgia for the last five days and the Falklands Islands are in sight under a beautiful sun at 5am this Wednesday morning. We will be staying in and around the Falklands until our return flight this week-end.
Stay tuned: More reporting, flashbacks, photos, videos and future steps in the next few days and weeks.




You can follow the expedition on:

- Youtube

- Twitter

- Facebook

- Pax Arctica's website

You can also follow the team's position in real time here

Monday, November 10, 2014

Thursday Nov 6

After a very windy night (but not as windy as Camp 1 where we were forced to all sleep in one tent and were almost blown away) we got up at 5am. The sky was rather sunny and the wind had died down. It was time to go although it always manages to take an hour and a half to get ready (packing, melting snow for water and preparing a strong breakfast, undoing tent, redoing bags and sleds, …). We still had not decided which pass to take so Bertrand, our cameraman but also a very accomplished climber, proposed to check a couple of options while we finish getting ready. When he came back we decide to take the pass we had originally planned on based on his discovery that the other one was much further away.
The passage of the pass was very windy, which is typical, and the slope getting to it quite steep but we all make it without too much trouble.
The remainder of the climb down to Fortuna Bay was a series of patches of snow and rocks and tiny water flows that had to be crossed. This would not have been much of a problem with lighter equipment, but with our sleds it was much more of an ordeal.  We helped each other lower the sleds with ropes and together carry them across rocky areas.  In any event, we were glad that we had not attempted to finish this section the night before: we were tired, it was getting dark and we would have had to do everything with headlamps - not worth the risk. This is neither a re-enactment nor a competition.

Eventually we made it to the ‘beach’ of Fortuna Bay after more than three hours of strenuous effort. Penguins and seals are waiting for us and the Australis, our support boat, was anchored in the bay.
We finally ended the most important leg of our crossing and congratulate ourselves on the beach.

Approaching Breakwind Pass

Keith and Ollie, the British soldiers, crossing Breakwind Pass

Going down Breakwind Pass

Approaching Fortuna Beach

Arrived! With my sled – and the welcome committee in the background.

You can follow the expedition on:

- Youtube

- Twitter

- Facebook

- Pax Arctica's website

You can also follow the team's position in real time here

Friday, November 7, 2014

Friday Nov 7

Two days ago, Nov 5 was very exciting: We left the ship at 6:15am from Possession Bay to resume our climb and traverse. We were treated to a glorious morning, hardly any wind, blue sky. (This was consistent with the most recent weather forecast Ben received from his meteorologist friend in Chamonix.)
At 9:30am, we made it to the first landmark on our route, the Trident Pass. On our way there we could see two dots on the Trident mountain to our right: Bertrand and Geraldine had left two and a half hours earlier to climb this mountain (1947m) and ride it. They succeeded and rejoined our group at 12:30pm as we were traversing the long plain (15km) between the Trident Pass and Breakwind Pass, our next planned stop. That section was very long, monotonous and cold, especially since the morning sun disappeared behind clouds at midday. We reached a point just before Breakwind Pass where we decided to camp for the night as it was getting late (6pm), the visibility was low, it was cold and most of us were very tired after almost 11 hours of hiking. It would have been a risky to attempt to do the pass that evening and continue down on the other side to Fortuna Bay (another few kms). The end of the traverse will have to wait for the next day!

En route to the Trident pass, in the distance.

Arriving at the Trident Pass: cold, beautiful, windy…

 Arriving at our second camp in  the evening.


You can follow the expedition on:

- Youtube

- Twitter

- Facebook

- Pax Arctica's website

You can also follow the team's position in real time here

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wednesday Nov 5

Weather permitting we will depart for our camp 1 early Wednesday morning (6am). The equipment we recovered yesterday will be ready for us. We should have two full days of heavy skin skiing and hiking up and down the mountains and passes of South Georgia to reach Fortuna Bay on Thursday evening.
We are planning one night of camping in the mountains. The altitude is not very high (300-600m) and the terrain not that difficult. But ultimately we have no idea what the weather will be like even though we’re getting good weather forecasts at this moment. The weather changes constantly.


You can follow the expedition on:

- Youtube

- Twitter

- Facebook

- Pax Arctica's website

You can also follow the team's position in real time here

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tuesday Nov 4

We reached our initial camp this morning at 9am after an hour and a half of climbing.
As you can see in the photo, except for the few skis still sticking out our camp was totally buried in snow. It took us two hours to shovel all this snow out and uncover the sleds, duffel bags and the tent. We returned back to the boat this evening and will try to resume the crossing tomorrow morning.


You can follow the expedition on:

- Youtube

- Twitter

- Facebook

- Pax Arctica's website

You can also follow the team's position in real time here

Sunday Nov 2

At sea, somewhere between the South Sandwich Islands and South Georgia. A rare view of the sun setting.



You can follow the expedition on:

- Youtube

- Twitter

- Facebook

- Pax Arctica's website

You can also follow the team's position in real time here

Monday, November 3, 2014

Saturday Nov 1

On November 1, Zoe, our on board scientist, releases the 6th of 7 Surface Velocity Program Buoys (SVP). See this video.
 
We were sailing between the South Sandwich Islands and South Georgia where we hope to resume our crossing of the island which was interrupted due to bad weather on Oct 23.  These buoys measure surface temperature and salinity of sea water for approximately two years. Long term, they most likely follow the ACC (Antarctic Circumpolar Current). To follow the buoys over time, go to this link.

SOPRA , √† travers son engagement sur l’eau, soutient l’exp√©dition Pax Arctica Shackleton 2014


 Release of ARGO profiler float #6


 
You can follow the expedition on:

- Youtube

- Twitter

- Facebook

- Pax Arctica's website

You can also follow the team's position in real time here