Polar Bear Sighting Ahead

The team got started a little earlier today, as the conditions were ideal. In fact, West was able to shed his shirt while setting up and taking down camp. The sun hitting the water made the weather quite warm for the area.

The weather report today included strong, gusty winds as they headed north along the eastern side of Navy Board Inlet, the waterway they are traveling. They knew after they took a jog in the coastline they were going to encounter 17-19 mph winds with higher gusts. They had to determine where to cross. Their initial plan was to cross over from “Captain’s Point”, at the end of the westerly jog in the landscape. Unfortunately, they would have to paddle through those winds. Today, as they were paddling the glasslike water, they decided to go ahead and cross ahead of the expected winds. It worked out perfectly. As soon as they finished the crossing, the winds started whipping up and slowed them down.

Also, as soon as they crossed, a very large polar bear jumped up out of the water ahead of them and ran up the beach. Occasionally, it would stop and look back at them, then keep running. It got about a mile ahead of them before they lost sight of it. West said the bear did exactly what they wanted it to do…run away from them. They set up a bear fence each night surrounding their camp. The idea is for the bear to trip over it, set off an alarm and either run away or give the team a chance to grab their bear spray deterrent. They are carrying a rifle but that is to be used only as a last resort.

They are passing icebergs daily. West described the icebergs as large as tall buildings and absolutely beautiful. He said they are experiencing some patches of surface ice but easily navigable.

–Barbara Edington

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