Greenland Snowkite: Day 5

Date 10/05

Day 5

Location N69 40.80 W 046 18.27

Distance (day/total) 24/204 miles

Weather Strong wind and whiteout for most of day Wind 40 – 0 mph Temp -6c

The storm buffetted us all night and once again this morning we had to dig out the pulks and tent. We weren’t sure if conditions would allow any progress but as a faint horizon began to appear and the wind dropped we broke camp and set off on the big 15m chrono’s on a slight tack NNW with a SSW winds. 200m visibility and the need to keep a safe distance apart to avoid tangling the kites was quite stressful. We had to work the kites hard in continuingly easing wind to generate painfully slow progress covering 2 miles of ground for every 1 mile of straight line distance. As the visibility improved the wind dropped until the kites dropped out of the sky after covering a measly 24 miles after 3 hours of hard work.

Right now it is dead calm and sunny. First chance we’ve had to really admire this unusually featureless landscape without the driving wind or imperative to move.

So far we are making far slower progress than we had hoped. This is the first time I’ve undertaken a long polar journey and it’s hard not become obsessed with crunching miles and judging the whole experience in terms of ground covered per day. This sunny calm offers a welcome chance to reflect on this great white horizon and how far removed we are from everything else. As far as the eye can see in every direction is flat white nothing. Strangely beautiful and kind of spectacular in its emptiness.

Although of course our target is the distant town of Qaanaaq and our objective to cover 1000 miles on the wind, it’s important to remember that to experience this landscape, the joys and frustrations of riding the wind, to get away from civilisation and return to fundamental needs is the real reason we are here. The destination and then distance are simply an excuse to come out here and enjoy an adventure, although it would be nice to clock up a few miles and get home before the summer solstice.



Writer and expert