On Arctic Sea Kayaking Phase, Duo Battered By Their First Storm


Briton, Robert McArthur and Scot, Poldy van Lynden are attempting an all-human-power ultra-triathlon from Marble Arch in London to Svalbard in the Arctic. The journey will consist of 1) Three marathons from London to Dover; 2) swimming the English Channel; 3) cycling from Calais, France, across Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and then to Tromso, Norway; and 4) rowing from Tromso to Longyearbyen, Svalbard in the Arctic. They are doing this to raise money for The Scouts, young adventurers in the UK.

Poldy has a warm drink off-shore from Torvag, Norway as the two wait for gale-force winds to pass.

Rob and Poldy are off onto the 4th, and last, leg of their ultra-triathlon journey, the Arctic sea kayaking portion. In their two-man sea kayak, Lady Susan, they embarked from the northernmost tip of Europe: Tromso, Norway. Then it was off across the Barents Sea to venture a further 600 miles north, en route to their final destination, Svalbard, an island group at the edge of the North Polar ice cap.

One of the two at the helm of the kayak. The captain of a seismic streamer vessel discovered the two in their survey area and sent them the photos as a kind gesture.

Their first day in, they decided to pull into the fishing village of Torvag to wait out storm-like gale-force winds. A few days later, they were off again, alternating rowing and sleeping on a schedule of 2 hours on/2 hours off.

Rob shows off a new sponsor while the two wait in Torvag, Norway at the beginning of their sea-kayak phase, waiting for gale-force winds to pass.

They had a sighting of a rare Greenland shark, which was actually larger than their kayak. It circled and swam under them, and then tailed them.

Rob and Poldy can only send photos that are very low resolution, but here is their shot of a huge Greenland shark.

They had been enjoying great 30 mph tailwinds, improving their progress, but on August 20 they began to get pummelled by their first storm, which featured 40 mph headwinds and rough seas. They had no choice but to deploy the para anchor which drags the kayak, preventing lost mileage but also pointing them toward the breaking waves, reducing the risk of capsizing. It’s not unlike riding on a roller-coaster or in a washing machine, quite the challenge while awake or asleep.

Click here for Arch2Arctic’s base page that explains the expedition, contains the latest news, the best photos, expedition links and previous updates.

The Best Quest provides visual experiences of journeys. One by one you see the latest updates from the best expeditions and journeys currently under way around the world. Click here for more details.

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