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Full recording, Liam Frost

By Liam // Wednesday 10 Oct // 19:38:39 // 2 Comments // View

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Watch the full version of the song recorded on the 25th September by a cabin-bound Liam Frost, at the beginning of that long sail across the Greenland Sea – complete with crashing plates in the background (duration: 3:57 mins).
Watch a short interview with Liam from the 25th September »

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Hot springs

By Carol // Tuesday 9 Oct // 13:03:50 // 2 Comments // View

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Soaking weary bones and nursing our bruises at the hot springs near Akureyri, enroute to Reykjavik.

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Back on dry land

By Cape Farewell // Tuesday 9 Oct // 09:00:03 // View

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Final crew portrait as we leave the Noorderlicht in Akureyri, Iceland. Massive thanks to the Noorderlicht crew (Gert, Ko, Renske, Barbara and Anna) for getting us to Iceland safely and in style. 

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Iceland

By David // Monday 8 Oct // 19:55:30 // View

A calm night entrance to Northern Iceland, my last ‘watch’ ended at 6am – a mixture of sadness (voyaging is addictive) and relief that yet again we have all travelled safely. It always feels like a ‘Shakleton’ moment, all accounted for and no damage to life and limb. This expedition will go down in Cape Farewell folk law as the extreme one – the longest sea passage, the hardest physically on all of us, the most violent weather and that dance with ice and more ice. Yesterday Greenland really didn’t want to let us go as we did one of our famous nautical circles to find a way through an endless band of icebergs and sea ice offshore. Eventually we hugged the coast and literally pushed blocks of ice the size of busses out of our way to emerge to seaward just as the night closed in.

Greenland has given us the extreme beauty to match the extreme hardship, days of unimaginable senses which  have beguiled each of us. For me, the overall impression left from this expedition is a sense of awesome power; the power to shift a warm undersea river of water north that would take 100,000 nuclear power stations to generate, the power of wind and sea forces, the power of ice, how it shapes, melts and threatens. There is no human repost for this scale of activity, we have only just managed to witness and survive. We now know without doubt that our human activity and waste in the form of CO2 and other greenhouse gases is destabilising the status quo of the planetary systems – we are blindly stirring a hornets nest with our self obsession and greed and it is getting angry.

Here in the Arctic the temperatures are up 6 degrees Centigrade, weather patterns worldwide are destabilised: witness the floods in the UK, more violent hurricanes, drought in parts of the USA and Australia and recently a solid month of rainfall fell south of the Sahara from Ethiopia to Senegal. Each event on it’s own can be explained as a freak event but this is a pattern of events predicted as a consequence of our heating planet. The changes of climate will increase and become more unstable. If we have learnt anything on this expedition it is that the forces that will be released against us will not be manageable.

And then the magic rides in. We have not seen another human or even a trace of human endeavour for 17 days, we have been beyond any safety net, we have depended on our own resources and have engaged and become overwhelmed by the shear magic of bears, ice, light, emotions and our own shared company. Not totally true – we did manage to get close enough to civilisation to get Brian picked up by helicopter, satellites have fed us with information of position and weather and we have communicated using high tech devices. Escaping is not a desire but I am motivated to try to retain what we stand to lose. Small adjustments to our expectations of what defines our individual lives could achieve new technologies and ways of living that are sustainable.

Somehow embracing this change seems more fun and fulfilling than the status quo of more need, more aggression, more tension. I am doing what we all have agreed is futile – preaching. During this expedition we have all been inspired artistically, new works are in embryonic form and now we need to refine them, get them out into the public domain and hopefully engage, illuminate and inspire.
David Buckland

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A calm 4am watch

By Cape Farewell // Monday 8 Oct // 05:35:43 // View

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Lunch at an angle

By Matt // Sunday 7 Oct // 13:05:31 // 2 Comments // View

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Description: Lunch, stairs and stacks at sea. (Duration: 32secs)

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Goodnight, Greenland

By Ben // Saturday 6 Oct // 22:21:04 // 3 Comments // View

No choice but to mail it in today, and offer a simple chronological sequence for a last day in Greenland that was so overwhelmingly awesome on so many counts, that it couldn’t have been scripted this way in any sort of fictional narrative, for sake of believability. Here are (thin samplings of) the highlights.

2:30 – Northern Lights produce a 5-minute sequence that includes rapid flickering, up-tempo wavering, a base of green, and a touch of red.  At least two of our crew find god.

9:00 – Sunrise over mountains, magical light.

9:30 – While Dan is casting a block of glacial ice, the Zodiac is headed for shore with a film crew, and Marcus is about to be thrown in the water wearing a survival suit, three marine mammals are spotted swimming in the general direction of the boat.  After some deliberation, and much disbelief, it is confirmed that these marine mammals are not, in fact, seals, but rather a mother polar bear and her two cubs.  Video with embarrassing commentary is captured.  Incredible luck (unlikely polar bear spotting on final day) is repeatedly noted.

10:30 – As threat of predatory polar bears has passed, Marcus is thrown in icy water wearing a survival suit.  Hilarity ensues.

10:30 – Polar bear progress up nearby mountains is tracked; position relative to Beth and Ko onshore is monitored.

13:00 – Lunch

16:00 – This correspondent takes a nap for the ages.

18:00 – First watch in four days as we make our way from Greenland. Sunshine and flat seas are a welcome reintroduction.  As we later enter coastal fog I say goodbye to Greenland for second time.

18:45 – Coastal fog clears.  Say hello to Greenland again.

21:00 – Sun sets behind mountainous coast of Greenland, light reflects in iceberg filled waters through which the Noorderlicht navigates, for a good while in the wrong direction, back towards Greenland.  Ice seems inescapable.  The absolute beauty of the sunset and it’s reflection off the ice field and the light surrounding could not be more diatmetrically opposed to the reality of what this backtracking (already, merely 4 hours after “leaving” Greenland) means for our voyage across the legendarily harsh Denmark Straight (b/w Greenland and Iceland), where we’d rather not be dodging icebergs at night, and where-according to a recent weather report) very, very strong winds await.

22:00 – Polar bear prints are spotted on nearby iceberg.  Had we not seen real live polar bears earlier today, this would’ve been wildly fulfilling. As we had, it was merely “very neat.”

24:30 [next day, technically]:  Northern Lights provide encore performance. Hooting and hollering emanate from the top deck.  Phospherescents (sp?) stir in the boat’s wake.  Many cameras fail to capture them justly.

Representative quote of the day:
Carole (at sunset): What can you possibly ever do to match this?
Ben: It’d probably have to be illegal.

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Last views of Greenland

By Cape Farewell // Saturday 6 Oct // 19:55:56 // View

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