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Geographic North Pole wrap-up: French divers off the Arctic ice

Posted: May 12, 2010 01:43 pm EDT

The French Rolex divers have been picked up from the ice after a complex logistical operation involving two different planes. They have spent 45 days on the ice and made 51 dives; one as deep as 35 meters.

The Catlin ski team, who experienced a negative drift, had seven miles to go to the North Pole.

Near North Pole to Ellesmere Island (Resupplies)
Deepsea Under the Pole by Rolex team

The French divers arrived near the North Pole on March 26 and spent 45 days on the Arctic ice, skiing southwards and undertaking dives observing the fauna and flora under the ice.

After two weeks of logistical planning and hoping that the weather would clear, the team got news from the pilots and meteorologists that they would be picked up from the ice.

In a press release they described the complex logistics for the evacuation. The final strategy was to send a Twin Otter plane on Saturday 8 May to Eureka - the furthest the plane could fly from its base in Resolute Bay on its fuel reserves.

A larger DC3 plane then flew to Eureka early on the morning of Sunday 9 May to refuel the Twin Otter, which was then tasked with locating the expeditions position (at 87°53'01 N, 55°01'24 W), picking up four of the team members (with equipment) and flying them to Cape Discovery, Canada.

Once there, the plane was refueled before taking off to pick up the rest of the team.

Only when all the adventurers were in Cape Discovery they boarded the DC3 plane that flew all of them to Resolute Bay where their logistics team waited.

The team undertook 51 dives, reported Ghislain Bardout, leader of the expedition. The images that we are bringing back show a good testimony of the reality of the world that surrounded us here they are magical and surreal.

The expedition collected almost 40 hours of video footage of the under-world of the polar ice cap and took over 10,000 images. The deepest that the divers went down was 35 meters, said Ghislain (he and Samuel Audrain reached that depth). This gave us a very different prospective and we discovered a new underwater life, again a little different than before. It would be very interesting to study also this world at this depth.

Partial expedition, 85°N to 90°N
Assisted (Resupplied), Unsupported
Ann Daniels, Martin Hartley, Charlie Paton

The home team reported in a newsletter, as the final week of the survey gets underway, the Catlin team is back on the polar treadmill and suffering from the negative drift that has forced them backwards by 34 nautical miles in the last two weeks. Ann said in an audio dispatch that they sometimes went backwards while skiing.

In the latest update on their website it is reported that the team was just less than seven miles from the North Pole, which they hoped to cover in one day.

The team was nearing 60 days on the ice.

Links to:
Polar Rules and Definitions
Polar Statistics
What is solo?

Near North Pole to Ellesmere Island (Resupplies)
Deepsea Under the Pole by Rolex - Ghislain Bardout (leader), Emmanuelle Périé, Alban Michon, Samuel Audrain, Benoit Poyelle Clément Infante, Vincent Berthet, Pascal Rey, Kayak, the Siberian husky and Valentine Ribadeau Dumas at base camp in Resolute Bay - France, Canada
Deepsea Under the Pole by Rolex photos

Other Arctic expeditions:
Ann Daniels (leader), Martin Hartley, Charlie Paton - Catlin Arctic Survey team, 85°N to 90°N, UK, Assisted (Resupplied), Unsupported

#Polar







The French divers exploring the magical and surreal world underneath the Arctic ice (click to enlarge)
Image by Benoit Poyelle / Deepsea Under The Pole by Rolex courtesy Benoit Poyelle / Deepsea Under The Pole by Rolex, SOURCE
(click to enlarge)
Image by Benoit Poyelle / Deepsea Under The Pole by Rolex courtesy Benoit Poyelle / Deepsea Under The Pole by Rolex, SOURCE
(click to enlarge)
Image by Benoit Poyelle / Deepsea Under The Pole by Rolex courtesy Benoit Poyelle / Deepsea Under The Pole by Rolex, SOURCE
Ann Daniels taking a break (click to enlarge)
Image by Martin Hartley / www.martinhartley.com courtesy Martin Hartley / www.martinhartley.com, SOURCE
Ann, Charlie and Martin inspecting a lone ice sculpture (click to enlarge)
Image by Martin Hartley / www.martinhartley.com courtesy Martin Hartley / www.martinhartley.com, SOURCE
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