Friday, January 20, 2006

Crazy Arctic Guy has trouble on Day One, turns back

Mike Post has run into freakishly warm weather...and El Oso.

Quote of the Day:'A polar bear opened the zipper of our tent - we managed to get rid of him for the moment, hopefully he will not come back...'

Position: N 81°16'29.8' E 95°39'54.2' (Cape Artichesky, Russia)
Temperature: -5°C
Wind: Westerly/warm
Days of food left: 64


The good news came today that the wind conditions had calmed. Mike and Borge left their lodgings at Golomiyanniy, the helicopter motors were heated, and now at long last, they were on their way to Cape Artichesky, the starting point of their expedition.

Conditions were not what they were expecting. The region seems to be experiencing what we could almost call 'A Siberian Heatwave'. Warm temperatures of -5°C had struck the region, never before seen in this area at this time of year.

Another surprise soon became apparent, the recent westerly winds had blown the ice close to land. Mike and Borge were able to walk immediately onto the sea ice - almost too good to be true!! The courageous team waved goodbye as the helicopters flew away. Now they are alone on the ice, far away from any civilisation or shelter.

The excitement was high! Mike and Borge put on their skis, attached their heavily laden sleds onto their harnesses and started walking across the sea ice. Unfortunately the good luck did not continue...about 600 metres further on they decided to turn around. The ice was not stable, almost sludge in places, broken and moving fast in the current. The only option for them was to turn back to land and hope for better conditions tomorrow.

Now is time to put words into practice, to start getting into routine, each person with a specific chore, with the hope to get the tent up in as little time as possible. They were settling comfortably in the tent and then the next surprise came - their first visitor - a polar bear!! They weren't expecting that on their first evening on the ice! The bear put his paw in the door of the tent, stood on and broke the zipper, sniffed around a little, and then turned backwards to the sled. As Mike and Borge got out of the tent they saw that he was walking off with a bag of food in his mouth. They set off a flare, the frightened bear dropped the food and ran onto the sea ice. As Mike said on the satellite phone, 'We managed to get rid of him for the moment - hopefully he will not come back...'

They certainly won't be sleeping much tonight! One of them will need to stay on bear watch - not so easy in the dark, as Mike explains, 'You can't hear the bears come close to the tent because the wind is blowing too hard.'

The broken zipper is now fixed and they are once again comfortably installed in their tent.

Although the start of their expedition is delayed another day, Mike and Borge have no regrets being where they are. They are in high spirits and want to get moving. Let's hope the temperatures will now drop, the northerly winds will appear and the ice will start freezing once again.

For latest news on Mike and Borge go to:


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