Departing from Qaanaaq for our dogsledge expedition
19 April 2007
The dogsledge expedition to Thule in northen Greenland begins with a departure from Qaanaaq, crossing the Murchison sund until reaching Herbert Island, where the first night is spent in a tent near the limit of open water.
A map showing the entire dog sledge expedition route.
The dog sledges are prepared and loaded, soon after the dogs are tied and the start signal is given. The today's objective is to cross Murchison Sund to Herbert island, driving over frozen sea. The group is made of 5 people, each having own dog sledge and own Inuit guide.
We start to cross some uneven pack ice, just in front of Qaanaaq.
Then, the sea becomes flat, with the dogs running at full speed.
Huge icebergs trapped into frozen Murchison sund.
We stop near this majestic iceberg for a welcome hot tea and snack break. In the meanwhile, also the dogs enjoy some rest.
Soon, we resume the run, alternating with some stop to enjoy the beautiful and unusual scenery of Northen Greenland in winter.
After a few hours, the surface of the sea becomes uneven again.
Thence, we continue driving over a beach.
At the end of the day, we reach the open water limit. Because of the global warming, this limit is much closer to the land if compared to just few years ago. This fenomena is quickly getting worse year after year. The original expedition's plan was to reach Siorapaluk and Neqe further north, but it was actually impossible because of too much open water and thin sea ice along the normal route to these places.
Thence, we stop here or the night (although late in April there is actually no night up here).
I climb a small hill for a beautiful view from the top. I can see lot of open water, regardless this northen latitude, because of the effects of global warming.
This night the group will sleep in a small tent, built over two linked sledges, as the Inuit normally do. Sleeping in 5 in a so small space is not comfortable, but it will be warmer and, after a so long day, I will fall asleep quite soon.