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Image: Snowshoes with metal crampons on the base Snowshoes with metal crampons on the base

Could this be Global Warming?
9 April, 2006    86.6833N, 78.0000W
We suffered a setback 3 days ago, when we discovered that our damaged fuel container from a couple of weeks back had contaminated our food. We are not sure how much food is involved. The taste is unpleasant, but JUST palatable; however, the worst effect is that it makes you belch with a fuel-tasting burp? DISGUSTING!

Our decision not to bring skis and to rely on snowshoes with metal crampons on the base seems to be a good one and they work incredibly well in the rough ice. It remains to be seen how they compare with skis on the slightly flatter snow near the pole. The rough ice has been hard on the crampons and we have had to replace them on all 4 snowshoes. We have no more spares.

The last 6 days, we have had very bad visibility (near whiteout) and the surface conditions of soft snow have slowed progress, but we have been lucky with some frozen leads, heading north, which have allowed us to maintain mileage. We are over ½ way and less than 200 miles to go.

In over 20 years' experience of the Arctic Ocean, Richard has never seen such bad conditions: could this be Global Warming, with May- type weather in April?

Previous Dispatches

Only 240 miles to go!    5 April, 2006
Keeping warm in the Arctic is critical for survival. Richard's wife Joseé came up with idea of having a ball of muskox wool inside our mittens to prevent frozen fingers. The wool fills in all


Cravings for pure butter    2 April, 2006
A clear sign that we are working hard is that we are each consuming 7000 calories a day & still tightening our waist bands a notch or two!! Our diet consists of pasta and pemmican. The pemmican is a m

Whisky levels dangerously low    29 March, 2006
Monday was spent resting bodies and repairing equipment, especially Conrad's sled that needed major surgery to hold it together. Tuesday presented no major obstacles and we made 8½ nautical m

Later dispatches - Previous dispatches