Happy Toby

by Tobias Thorleifsson

It is now Day 10 of our expedition and as the expedition historian, I am carrying with me Otto Sverdrup’s original diaries from his planned trip in these areas in 1902.

And he was traveling in pretty much the same region of Ellesmere that we are in right now and I’d just like to sum up our experiences the last 10 days and compare them a little bit to Otto Sverdrup’s experiences. First of all, the temperature, our temperature has been extraordinarily high compared to what he experienced. In just a few examples: he had -41 on the 3rd of April, -42.2 three days straight after that and -39 as late as the 12th of April, all these temperatures in Celsius. So as know, we’ve had pretty hot temperatures with up to -11 Celsius during the daytime at a certain point, that’s a major difference.

We’ve also encountered lots of polar hares and polar bears. When we meet these animals, we enjoy the moment and it’s a great time for us and we enjoy it. Whereas for the Sverdrup expedition, polar hares and polar bears were food, and they invariably depended on killing animals on the land to get north. So when Sverdrup was coming up the Regent Bay and Baumann Fjord where we are now, he was dependent on killing bears to make it further north. We are obviously carrying all our food, all our dogs’ food, with us in our pulks.

The other major difference is the sea ice. We have been traveling exclusively on first year ice since we got up here in the Arctic. And that is ice that was created in the fall of last year and this winter. We’ve got quite nice surfaces, quite like the ice you get on the Great Lakes during the winter. Whereas Sverdrup in his diaries writes how he was constantly traveling over multi-year ice that presented them with great challenges to get their dogs and teams through. Multi-year ice can be anywhere from 2 to 6, 7, or even 8 years old.

So that was a short comparison of the 10 first days of the Sverdrup experience in 1902 and our first 10 days in 2013. We are looking forward to the next 62 days of the expedition, and I will do more blogs where I compare our experiences with that of Sverdrup and his men in 1902.

This is Toby, signing out. Hope everyone is having a great spring down south.

Daily Expedition Data:
Date: 4/11/13, Day 10
Location: N78°04', W85°32'
Traveled: 13.6
Temperatures: 12°F am, 0°F pm