2363 Miles from home
2363 Miles from home
Posted by Martin Hartley

Tuesday, 13 Jan 2009 00:00

Sat inside a small wooden house on the Island of Qikiqtarjuat, 2363 miles from my home in London only 4 or 5 inches separate me and my laptop from the outside where the environment is definitely  Arctic. 


It's my third visit here to Qikiqtarjuat, and my 19th journey to the high Arctic, after 7 days here I am only just beginning to remember the feeling of being on a big expedition in the Arctic. I don't just mean the cold, the physical aspect  of living in the cold is ( thankfully) easy to forget, if it wasn't I probably wouldn't be here.


Living 'expedition life' and preparing for a big expedition involves more than just a partial physical adaptation to the cold. The mental shift from urban to Polar life is a mammoth task, and for me it takes weeks not days.  Right now total immersion in preparing the equipment for this expedition is forming a big part of the necessary change.


The tiny house we have rented is rammed full equipment that is being developed and /or modified so that it can survive the 100 day ordeal it will face. Ian Wesley one of our support team has spent the last few days, drilling, soldering, gluing, taping, adapting almost everything we have brought from the UK.  The house has become a 'tool shed' a kit 'shop' even a  science lab. 

I left the comfort of our 'tool shed' this morning to watch the dawn arrive as it is too easy to forget where we are, with internet access, microwave and  toaster. Behind our modern iglu-come tool shed is a small hill I decided to watch daylight arrive from the top. The deep blue light gradually faded into paler shades of blue and orange, everything was still except for one tiny dot way out on the sea ice. One of the local Inuit had set out hunting for seal on his skidoo, he disappeared into the white, and the sound of his noisy skidoo disappeared with him. I watched the space where he had  gone from my sight - there was a man who is totally at home here,  as much as the Musk Ox, the Caribou and the great symbol of the far North the Polar Bear, and in that vision was another reminder that I am just a visitor.

Category: Preparation
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