I normally leave the blogging to the boys, but I thought it might be interesting to hear how I’m getting on nearly a month into my first expedition, and in particular the last couple of days, well 60 or 70 hours because the days all run into one up here….
With all the drama of the last few days we really needed to take stock of what it is we are doing and if we are going down a dangerous road. I do feel that while situations we found ourselves in were dramatic we all clicked into gear and made the right decisions at the right times, we all knuckled down and the team dynamic was fantastic. This expedition has been in the planning for nearly two years; very early on we decided the best vessel for the journey was an ocean rowing boat. This would allow us to have a craft that was capable of handling very rough sea conditions we expected on the long crossings some over 150k in length. We didn’t feel this was possible in a smaller more maneuverable craft like a sea kayak. The planned crossings have not been possible because of the ice coverage and the danger of ending up in a soup of massive icebergs. To avoid this we have had to stay much closer to the shore and skirt around the bays like one would in a smaller craft. The difficulty with this is that the ocean rowing boat is much more susceptible to wind. So the danger is that we are blown away form the shore out to the ice that lurks off shore. This is absolutely not an option as the boat would be destroyed and we would be in serious danger. The only available option is to do as we have been doing and to travel when we can. You cannot imagine how frustrating this is, we make light of it but it eats at you every minute you are not moving forward. That is why we dragged the boat along the shore for nearly 100k, and is possibly why we have been flying closer to the wind then we ever intended. We have simply been trying too hard. Traveling in the arctic is about patience. You will not meet any of the local people around here who gamble with the weather, you simply wait, and if the situation doesn’t improve sufficiently you wait some more. There is no sense in pushing on, as Mother Nature is right on top of her game up here. If you make mistakes or push your luck you get punished. We have accepted this and will pick and choose our movement even more carefully going forward.
Having the personalities we have on our team this is possibly the most difficult thing for us, pushing on would be easy… as ridiculous as it sounds.
When I went looking for something like this trip I was told by all the experienced people I met that the mental side is the hardest part. We have proven that we can grind when we need to and we have proven to ourselves that as a unit we make the right calls when the chips are down, now we need to did even deeper and find more patience… not an asset I have possessed in abundance in the past, but I came here to find out about myself I guess and its surprising that with all the action going on it could be a lesson in patience that I find the most valuable..
I have a framed Irish rip off of the good old English saying, keep calm and carry on…. It reads, “Keep going, sure its grand” that won’t be applicable up here………