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Magnetic North Pole Exp – Day 11

Sliding though the endless bright snow over the Arctic ocean, we tow our 50kg sleds around and over huge chunks of pack ice which tower above us. Pulling the sleds through pack ice is a bit like pulling a kayak over big sand dunes with planks tied to your feet. Its tough. But, unlike at the beach, the towering ice shafts distract us with a sense of awe at the powerful forces of nature that create them.

It's these same forces which are causing our beautiful world to warm and our climate to change. All around us we can see the effects that our fossil fueled society is having. Dark clouds loom on the horizon. For us this indicates open water formed when the ice packs break up. Its something which is happening sooner and sooner each year; according to Inuits we've met who've lived here for millenia and scientists who study the sea ice with super computers. Next to us is a 5m high ice berg, indicating the thickness that the ice should be at the north pole. But, from the seal breathing holes we pass, and the snow profile measurements we do, we can see that the ice we're walking on is less than 50cm thick.

After mentally preparing for freezing cold temperatures, for the past few days we've experienced relatively warm weather with days of -15 to -10*C with clear skies and the sun searing down on us and reflecting off the fresh snow into our eyes and faces. Its the same sun which is causing the ice to melt, and the climate catastrophe around the world, is also putting our expedition in jeopardy with the risks of painful sunburn and snow blindness.

Much like the challenges we will face in our lifetimes, the journey to the pole is full of uncertainty and risks with pack ice, storms, polar bears and open water ahead of us. But, like the thousands of young people around the world carving their future creating positive change, as a team we know we will make it.

Rick Zwaan

You could ask me what Saskia was doing in the tent at midday. She had to stay in the dark because of sore eyes. This situation shows us one more time how small things can play a big role. Saskia's example taught us. First result you can see immediately: we look like turtles. Almost all of us have two layers: glasses and goggles at the same time. But the main result is that we changed something in our mind. We are trying to care not only about ourselves,but also about others.

We didn't spend the whole day sitting in our tents today – afterall we are explorers ! The beautiful iceberg, floated ice attracted us. And one common wish come true. We looked at the pack ice from the high observation. When you're on the top everything seems unreal. However it's not a dream, it's our life for now. Few minutes on the iceberg definitely cost few hours which we spent walking to this place.

It wasn't easy, my sledge fell down more than 30 times. I also often was following it. It doesn't matter how often you fall down, but it's really important how many times you stand up after it! This rule works in Arctic. And we're the team, we're going to help each other. There are 7 of us and it means that everyone can be stronger in 7 times.
… Now I 'm sorry, but I'm going to sleep. As a late sleeper I have a unique opportunity to listen a special "tent music": 4 people snoring around me.


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