Things are often better with butter

David Reid’s Sunday, April 7, Blog Report

Steady, ‘no complaints’, progress continuing to ski up along the western side of Committee Bay today under a bright blue sky, a reasonable temperature in the minus teens, and very little wind. Out of necessity, we’re keeping approximately 2 kilometres offshore on the sea-ice where the skiing was best.

Yesterday, sometimes fighting our way over and through the broken up tumble of erratic, heaving shoreline sea-ice, we came across a stretch of defined beach that had a bit of an ice-shelf formed that actually made skiing more pleasant, but generally the shoreline where terra firma and sea-ice meet makes for a rough, tough, sometimes brutal slog that is… best avoided.

Tonight we’re camped a couple of kilometres shy of having achieved Swanston Point, which lies roughy (via GPS) at Latitude: 67.5677º N, Longitude: -87.8161º W (in the northeastern quadrant of the Kitikmeot region, Nunavut). Am estimating that the northward trajectory we’ve been holding the last few days will continue before we are in position to turn West toward the Kugaaruk, (formerly Pelly Bay) area. 

Still very little wildlife seen, but for the one raven that flew directly overhead today, as if it was checking us out. Despite these sparse sightings we remain cognizant of where it is we are,  and how all that could change any time, travelling out here on Committee Bay.

[Team thoughts]: Attempting to anticipate what lies ahead in terms of wildlife, terrain, snowstorms, sea-ice and lake or river conditions, weather and the like, on a self-sustaining, human-powered expedition such as Arctic Return, is really not our department … we deal with what we have to deal with, when, and if, the time comes; just as Rae must have done in what were his (even more extreme) explorations into the Arctic unknown in search of Franklin, over 170 years ago.] 

In all, it was another good day. Morale remains high and given a further major boost still — by the additional 1/4 pound slab of butter, we each included in our dinners tonight, proving, once more, the old adage that just about everything — well, everything out here on the sea-ice at least —is better with butter…even sleep.  David (and Richard and Frank)


To fellow explorer, and founder of The Polar Academy, Craig Mathieson. He and a group of young people from Scotland will soon be heading to East Greenland for a Polar Academy expedition. The entire Arctic Return Team extends its support and wishes them well! 

[ To learn more about the great work and program that Craig runs, Polar Academy, can be found on Facebook: @thepolaracademy ]