Thursday, April 12, 2012

There and Back Again

The team has returned from the extreme Polar wilderness of the icecap back to civilization. Although Longyearbyen is pretty extreme in its own right. At  78 degrees north latitude it is well within the Arctic Circle (the southern boundary is 66 degrees, 32 minutes) and one of the northernmost towns in the world.

Tonight the team will enjoy a delicious dinner and toast the past couple days' Polar memories. The girls might need to catch up on some sleep after pulling a celebratory all-nighter at Barneo!

Be sure to listen to Johnny's audio update and check back for more expedition photos. You can watch a video of Johnny skydiving over the Pole on our facebook page.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The North Pole

The weather cooperated and the team arrived at the North Pole by helicopter at about 5 PM local time! Well, by the team's watches it was 5, but of course time gets a bit muddled at the Pole. First off, the sun will not set tonight. At this time of year it will trace a big circle in the sky, and, provided there's little cloud cover, keep the icescape nice and bright 24 hours a day. Secondly, all the Earth's lines of longitude and time zones converge at the Pole, so who is to say what time it really is!

What's the weather like at Pole today? It's about -22 Celsius (-7.6 Fahrenheit) with light winds and clear skies. Just about the perfect day to be at the top of the world.

To top it all off, today is Hans' 50th birthday! Now that's a birthday party--celebrating with your family at the North Pole.

Also, immediately after landing, Johnny and two Russian paratroopers donned parachutes, flew to 2,500 meters and skydived over the Pole. After a 20 second freefall they pulled their chutes and over the course of five minutes glided down, eventually landing about 200 meters from the actual Pole. That's pretty darn good accuracy!

During the freefall, Polar Explorers guide Rick Sweitzer is reported to have been chanting, "Pull, Johnny, pull..." No doubt that Rick was relieved to have Johnny back on the ice safe and sound.

The team will spend the night back at Barneo. Don't worry about the cold though. The Arctic airstrip has a small village of very comfortably heated group tents. Anna, Sophia and Laura plan to celebrate by staying up all night. Why not? There'll be plenty of light!

Thanks again for following, and stay tuned for expedition pictures. 

Bound for Barneo

As expected, the North Pole Flight Team embarked on their adventure this morning at around 7:30 in Longyearbyen. So what does that mean? What does their day look like?

The adventure begins like a typical, civilized air travel day. After arriving at the Longyearbyen airport, checking in and clearing security, the team waits at the gate--just like a regular travel day. That's about where the normality ends. The team then walks out onto the runway, and boards plane. Everyone finds a seat in sight and directly in front of the cargo: skis, tents, food, expedition gear, etc.

From there it only gets stranger. After about 2.5 hours in the air, the plane touches down, not on asphalt, but on the groomed ice runway of the Barneo Airstrip! Landing a plane on floating ice?! Pretty wild. It's hard to describe the surreal feeling that grips the team members as they step out onto the Arctic Icecap, an ever-changing landscape pitched, crunched and ground into place by the immense forces of wind and ocean currents. Suffice to say that the icecap inspires awe.

From there, the team grabs something to eat from the mess tent, and, weather permitting, boards a helicopter bound for the North Pole. Check back for updates on the team's progress. Thanks for following.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Almost there!

After so much anticipation the North Pole Flight team is in Longyearbyen, Norway and ready to go. Everyone is excited and eager to see the North Pole first hand. A pre-flight briefing this afternoon got everyone up to speed with the schedule, including a tentative 7:30 AM departure time. The flight to the Barneo Basecamp is approximately 2.5 hours. No information yet on the temperature. We'll keep you posted!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Just a few more days...

Welcome to PolarExplorer's 2012 North Pole Flight Expedition Blog! We are delighted that you are visiting and we hope you follow the activities of our team as they head to the top of the world! This blog will officially begin on April 9th, so check back again then. In the meantime feel free to contact PolarExplorers if you have any questions about this expedition. We look forward to seeing you again soon :)