Thursday, 3 September 2009

High North

For many of us this is the day that was supposed to make it all worthwhile. To be sure, we had Neptune baptize us beforehand.
Canada and Greenland at equal distance, this is how we traveled to get up here, feeling very much in the footsteps of the ancient and famous expeditions. The weather decided not to spoil our adventure, an amazing sunset made Canadas mountains gleam bright orange and covered Greenlands coast with a magical blueish sheen. You could literally feel the atmosphere on board, everybody was so exited!
And then the shout from the bridge - polar bear! There he was, quite in a distance but certainly visible, prowling the drift ice, stopping here and there to sniff. Of course everybody hoped that the galley boys on FRAM were coincidentally preparing fish for dinner… And he came closer, and closer yet, and - then he lay down and decided not to move anymore. Well, that's how they hunt, isn't it? However, we had it, our eyes had seen! So we push the throttle again and keep going north, aiming for high.
Only one hour later: This is it. Finally we have to stop. The GPS shows 79°40,9' North when we encounter the Big Ice, impenetrable for us. This is the highest latitude FRAM has ever reached! It means that we are now just a little more than 1150 km away from the pole. It may sound a lot, but it isn't: Except military personnel and a few handful of scientists, we are probably the northernmost people upon this planet. What a thought…
Of cause this calls for a celebration, and so the Captain proposes a toast on deck seven, ships horn is sounding - Whew!