I am saddened by the failure of the North Pole Camera to start transmitting pictures, and the failure of O-buoy cameras to transmit pictures as well. However my addiction to scanning the ice, and using my lying eyes to appraise the situation up at the Pole, has found all sorts of other sites that allow you to scan the sea-ice and to decide for yourself if it is in a “death spiral.”
I have already mentioned in earlier posts the Russian airstrip and camp, which gave us this great picture:
Many more pictures of life at that place can be found in archives at http://translate.google.ru/translate?hl=ru&sl=ru&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fbarneo-polus.livejournal.com%2F
However, with that camp closing down, I feared I’d go into withdrawal, until I discovered the site http://www.explorersweb.com/ and focused on the polar tab at http://www.explorersweb.com/polar/ and especially the news update at http://www.explorersweb.com/polar/news.php?url=north-pole-update_1397760868
Now, I am not going to editorialize. I am not going to say such people have more money than brains. I am not going to say that, if they are going to spend more on a hike than I make in a decade, I could show them some darn fine mid-winter hikes in my neck of the woods. I am not going to say such sums would be better spent on supporting my poetry. That would be in bad taste, especially as I get such joy from the views of sea-ice they share.
I’m not sure they should be called “explorers” as much as “adventurers.” They do need to find some sort of excuse for their adventures, and I suppose the Russians who drove across the Pole to Resolute Bay last winter in amphibious contraptions are “testing the vehicles capacities.” Now they are driving from Resolute Bay across the ice of the Northwest Passage and north of Bering Strait back to Russia. Here’s a picture:
There are also the more
suicidal adventurous sort who ski with sleds. Here’s a day in their life…or maybe a second that felt like a day.
This site “explorerweb.com” site eventually asks you to pay a few bucks to keep viewing, but it seems well worth it to me. I just don’t happen to have a few bucks today, but as soon as I do I think I’ll sign up.
It is hard to call the wealthy men and women adventuring on the Pole “fat cats” considering they are testing the limits of human stamina, but the fact of the matter is that with a cell phone call they can arrange a rescue by helicopter. Another fact is that the helicopter may arrive too late. The sea-ice they are traversing is by no means stable and static, and can buckle and heave into a jumble right under their feet, or dissolve to a dotted ocean of stray bergs. They do have guts. I tip my hat to the lunatics for that.
But mostly I thank them for the actual data they constantly send back about the sea-ice thickness, and its motion. When they bed down each “night” the motion of the ice may move them miles the right way, towards their goal, or miles the wrong way, away from their goal until they must feel they are running up a down escalator.
I suppose a true scientist would ignore the humanity involved, and focus only on the drift of the ice. And I do focus on such things. However, (when no one is looking), I privately pray the lunatics will stay safe.