Team Ice Bears and Islands Approaching 80 degrees North!!


As we approach the 80th parallel the wind blows colder and the feeling of isolation intensifies. We are tiny specs of insignificance in this vast wilderness. Yesterday we spent 9 hours battling into the wind, moving slowly forward, past glaciers and barren beaches strewn with logs; driftwood washed up most likely from Siberia. It was freezing and we fought hard for our mere 25km. Now we’re hunkered down in a tiny hut on a small island with the fire cranking, soaking in the warmth of this haven. Seals take guard, lying lazily on rocks and becoming beached as with the changing tide. Arctic terns dive bomb overhead and barnacle geese with their fluffy chicks waddle by.

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At our last campsite a curious polar fox harassed PG for a couple of hours while he was on bear watch, trying to steal our stuff.

When it was my turn to take watch he grabbed Jaime’s sunglasses and ran off with them before I chased him down. Annoying but so cute! When the winds die down we will move from here, but with boats still super loaded any headwind makes progress painfully slow. It’s not a bad thing really as we are only a few weeks paddle away from the ice edge, where we will most likely sit and wait for it to break up further. Outside the hut, the sun creates a halo above us, constantly moving but never setting. The light changes like the clouds that come and go, and the freezing arctic wind funnels up the fiords and over the mountains. I can’t help but think that it will be hard to top this trip in terms of epicness and beauty – Svalbard really is a special place! 🙂 Tara



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