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Apr 8, 04 - What's that noise?  Global SchoolNet
 Apr 09, 2004 10:29 PDT 

Apr 8, 04 - What's that noise?

Much better day today. I had lots of good ice and my spirits are back to
normal. For those that don't know me personally, I tend to be a very
upfront and honest person. Which also probably comes across in my
dispatches, as I relay how I feel, and what is going on with me.

With my injuries, and the other issues (bad ice and weather, pain,
Dominique) I got to feeling a bit down. But at no point have I ever
thought about quitting. If I can't make any forward progress for some
reason (further injuries, etc...), then I might consider stopping. But
rest assured, I am not going to quit!

I also just spoke to my basecamp manager and he said honestly that I
have a very good chance of reaching the pole. So, I'll continue to try
my hardest. My ankle is painful with each step, but I don't dwell on the
issue, I can't afford to.

After about an hour of nice ice I came to a lead with ice too thin to
walk on, and water in the center. I got out my dry suit and decided to
'paddle' while lying on my sledge. A risky maneuver because my sledge is
easy to capsize, and if that happens it can mean serious trouble. I made
it across the 35-foot wide lead, almost tipping several times, but
kicked with my legs to stay upright. Halfway across I thought to myself,
if any polar bears are watching they are probably thinking that this is
strange. I chuckled to myself.

I reached a floating 'island' of ice and slid off my sledge onto it. As
soon as I did, that piece of ice started to move, and sink. I quickly
stepped onto another piece of ice and it sank faster. Finally with about
4 or 5 hops to and from ice pieces I made it to firm ice.

Several hours later, I came to a very large thin-ice frozen lead, about
three-quarters of a mile wide. After about 10 minutes across it I
stopped as I heard an unusual squeal noise.

My first thought was it was a submarine , and I looked all around for
one. Nope. Then I thought it might be the sound of whales beneath me, it
sounded like it. It made me nervous so I continued on my way. Maybe my
dragging a sledge across the ice sounds interesting to whales, I thought
to myself as I hurried across.

Then about in the middle of the lead the noise was more prominent. I was
heading closer to a crack, and happened to see movement, and open water.
As I got closer I realized the sound I had been hearing was the ice in
motion. The lead was moving and swaying, and standing still it felt like
being in a mild earthquake.

The 'crack' was opening wider at one place, and getting narrower at
another. I quickly made my way to the narrow spot and crossed. The ice
was moving about an inch a second, half going one way, while the other
half of the lead was going the opposite direction.

I quickly continued on my way across, resting once I reached firm ice.
The rest of my day was filled with a few pans, some dense pack ice, and
more leads and pressure ridges. An interesting Thursday....

Today's update is dedicated to my basecamp managers, Tom and Tina
Sjogren (T&T), of Explorersweb.com The only couple in the world to have
conquered Mt. Everest, and both the North and South Poles - together.
They are a true inspiration to me and have generously helped in many
ways for this expedition. Thank you so much!
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