Satellite Images, Meteorology, Weather, Space, Planets, Moons, Arctic
Some like it hot. Some don't....
I happen to reside in the second category and have lost my soul to the Arctic. I have made several expeditions and regular visits to various locations in the Arctic by dog sledge, snow mobile, on foot and by boat.
The following is a brief impression from Greenland. Photographic impressions from the Canadian Arctic, the Svalbard Archipelago and Alaska will follow at a later date.
1991: Trip with the Thule Inuit through Avanersuaq
In 1991 I made a trip to the Thule area in northwestern Greenland where many Inuit were still living largely in the traditional way of life. Although present day luxury is commonly available, many of the original Inuit still go out for extended periods on hunting by dog sledge and not by modern means of transportation.
I have had the pleasure to join them on one of those extensive hunting trips in which I have experienced them as one of the kindest and positive people I know. An impression of this occasion to have a close-up look into the life and traditional ways of the Inuit is provided in this image gallery.
1992: Expedition by dog sledge towards the North Pole
In the late winter, early spring of 1992 an Italian friend (Emanuele Peluffo) and myself set out on an expedition into the Arctic with the objective to get as far North as would turn out to be feasible. We Traveled by military aircraft to the Thule airbase in North Western Greenland from where we were transported by helicopter to Qaanaaq, the capital of the North . There we had previously reached agreement with two seasoned Inuit, Ajako and Naimangitsoq, who were willing to make their sledges and dogs available to us and join us as guides in the vast and empty expanse of the North.
With them we crossed the glaciers, plains and sea ice between Greenland and Canadian Ellesmere and the empty ice ocean to the north. We had chosen this early time of the year in order to have the maximum thickness of sea ice, as the very strong currents through the Kane Basin and Baffin Strait frequently manage to break meter and a half thick sea-ice as if it were paper thin. We crossed masses of jumbled ice as well as long stretches of almost perfectly smooth ice. There were days with 5 km of progress and others of 60 km. We lived during many weeks from food stored on the sledges, hunting seal and walrus, with the occasional rabbit, ptarmigan or fish as a change of diet. Lack of food (nothing to hunt in the Arctic Ocean) and time halted our trek north some 270 km away from the Pole.
We experienced some quite stressful moments when on the way back the Baffin Strait started to break open at an incredible speed, barely allowing us to get sledges and dogs lifted up onto ice foot attached to the shore of Greenland. Had this happened while farther away from shore, we would not have been here to tell the tale.
Another moment of anxiety occurred when while crossing a glacier I stepped on a patch of frozen snow that happened to be covering a 100 meter deep crevasse. I barely escaped a certain end by catching on to the shoulder of the crevasse and work myself out to safety.
But all in all the expedition was successful and overly exciting. The following image gallery aims at giving an impression of traditional life in the high north as well as an impression of the conditions en route.
Picture Gallery Expedition 1992: Click here.
Please direct comments to: fvalk @ fvalk dot com