The disappointment of a setback to an expedition, and especially one where a retreat enforces a delay of a whole year, is a bitter pill. It is the reaction to that bad taste though which I think defines how the story ends.
The Nares Strait in summerAfter barely three weeks in the High Arctic region of Thule, The Dark Ice Project's first phase (a three month depot-laying journey along the Nares Strait) had to return early due to an emerging medical problem on the part of my teammate. Aside from the strains of that episode, I had to focus on the future - rebuilding the project with a new team and trying to limit the damage of a lost season. In order to keep the second, main, phase of the winter journey to the Pole from Thule on schedule, the food and fuel has to be laid up the Strait somehow.
Somewhat out of character with the 'Dark' bit of 'The Dark Ice Project', the decision has been made to repeat the aims of the first phase, but not on skis in the winter. Instead, I will work with a small team of local Greenlanders and potentially the new Dark Ice team to lay the gear by boat. For a fleeting time window, shortly before the Arctic sea ice minimum, it is possible to use boats to delve north amongst the floating ice. Using the benefits of 24 hour sun and direct access to the rocky shoreline of NW Greenland, the depots will be laid for the main phase which is still scheduled for this winter. More details will follow, including footage and images from the summer, plus the new team lineup.
Wilki and me using boat access in East Greenland in 2011