Update: The team is just a few days from reaching their goal, and little did I know when I first posted this story that my friend (more of an acquaintance, but I like to think of everyone I meet as a friend) and fellow world cyclist, Mark Beaumont is on the boat as both an oarsman and cameraman. Good luck, guys. And Mark, hope you brought your bike because you can do several quick laps around the world up there.
British explorer Jock Wishart and Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch Whisky have unveiled a remarkable mission to conquer what could be one of the world’s last great “firsts” — the first rowing attempt to one of the world’s Poles.
The challenge will take place in July/August 2011 and is of global significance as both a pioneering maritime adventure and an environmental expedition. The planned 450-mile route across the Arctic sea starts in Resolute Bay in Canada with timing being of the essence as the final section of the journey is only navigable for a few weeks of the year before refreezing. It has only become possible to consider an attempt like this in recent years due to the increase in seasonal ice melt and the much-documented deterioration of the Arctic landscape.
Preparations are already underway for their August 2011 attempt:
- A “recce” (reconnaissance) of the route took place by plane in August 2009.
- An advanced rowing boat design is being constructed to make it possible for it to be man-hauled across the ice. At a later date, this specially designed boat will be unveiled – believed to be the first ‘ice boat’.
- Jock has begun the challenging process of selecting his crew who will activate a ‘three on, three off’ rowing and resting regime.
- Planning has taken place with scientific research partners to deliver environmental data and insight from the journey
Follow their adventure here: www.rowtothepole.com.