Further North Than Expected, the Arctic Sunrise Reaches the Edge of the Ice Cap
The Greenpeace ship must press deeper into the ice to allow the scientists to find the right ice floe to begin their research.
After setting out from northern Norway last week to witness this year’s record sea melt in the Arctic, we reached the edge of the Arctic polar ice cap this morning. It’s far further north than expected, at around 82 deg N, but the annual sea ice retreat here has been nowhere near as great as on the Alaskan side of the ice cap, where it has dramatically pulled back hundreds of miles further than usual.
The plan was to send our Danish ice pilot and a photographer up in a helicopter to examine the ice scape, but it was far too foggy and the Norwegian chopper pilot wasn’t going up for anyone.
There has been much to see, though. Like two polar bears hunting just 150 yards from the boat. We sounded a respectful warning horn as we passed them on our port side but they barely registered us.
More remarkably, we saw distinct human footprints on another ice floe. We are possibly 500 miles from any habitation, so whose footprints were they? Where had they come from? How old were they? Had the polar bears got whoever it was? The consensus view is that they could be a year old on a floe that has circulated hundreds of miles and travelled perhaps from as far as Greenland or Svalbard. They could be those of a seal hunter or a fisherman.
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