Arctic Kite Tour 2009 - Diary

Throughout the expedition we will endeavour to update our diary by sending home emails, and the odd photo, to our coordinator in Denmark, Morten Munch-Andersen. He will then update this website at regular intervals.

3 August 2009

Position  : Kangerlussaq (press to see position on Google maps)

This morning we left Qaanaaq (it is correctly spelt with 4 a's). Hans Jensen took us to the airport around 9 o'clock and we shook hands and said goodbye. Hans is a splendid fellow and his assistance has been of great value to us. If you ever go to Qaanaaq, Hans Jensen's hotel is the place to stay - you won't regret it. We flew to Thule by helicopter. Even though we have been on board helicopters many times before we still find a helicopter ride most enjoyable (the first 15 minutes that is. After a while it gets a bit boring and uncomfortable).

In Thule we went to the dining hall at the US Airforce base and bought a meal ticket for around 3,5 USD. You can eat as much as you want and we shovelled food down our necks for nearly two hours! You can really eat a lot if you take your time. We also met one of Sverri's friends from Nęstved, Karen, who works in Thule as a mechanic. We are now seated in  the cafeteria in Kangerslussaq. We have changed our tickets and are flying home tonight. No reason to stay another day as our flight departs fairly early tomorrow. So this is it. If everything goes well, we'll be in Copenhagen tomorrow morning at 5:45 and back at work Wednesday morning. Thank you for your interest and send us an e-mail, if you would like a notification once our final report is ready. So long! - Flemming and Sverri

2 August 2009

Position  : N77.46936 - W069.23183 (press to see position on Google maps)

Today we were tourists and handymen in Qaanaaq. After breakfast we went for a walk with our botanist friend and dug up some samples of the local flora from various places on the outskirts of town. Flemming will try to make them grow in his garden in DK. After lunch we went to the local museum, where we saw "various objects of interest". We also met two German chaps (Michael and Markus) who had nearly perished in Melville Bay. They were kayakkers, and one morning when they woke up, their kayaks had been taken by the tide. All their emergency stuff and food were in the kayaks so they could not call for help and had nothing to eat. After 5 days, by a miracle, they got hold of an abandoned eskimo kayak, and one of them could row for help. They are extremely lucky to be alive. They are by no means novices. They are both very competent and have years of sea kayakking experience. Markus has done five expeditions in Greenland previously. Anyway, when bad luck strikes we can all get hit. Always keep your satellite phone and emergency beacon near you and use a decent mooring rope. In the afternoon we installed a new stove in the hotel kitchen and installed the old one in a nearby house. That went down very well with the hotel manager and we had a nice bottle of wine with our supper. Tomorrow we are off at 9 o“clock in the morning. We“ll arrive at Kangerlussaq in the afternoon and continue to Copenhagen on Tuesday. Good night!
1 August 2009

Position : N77.46936 - W069.23183 (press to see position on Google maps)

We woke up this morning around 7:30. Someone was pottering around in the kitchen and we could sense freshly brewed coffee. We lay there in our soft beds and could see that the sun was shining from a clear blue sky. Perfect! We had breakfast and after having made ourselves presentable, we hiked down the road to the local super market. It was a typical Greenlandic super market offering everything from spare parts to outboard engines and guns to salami and toothpaste. Sverri got his candy and Flemming got his beer. We went back to the hotel and had lunch in the dining room. The view from there is spectacular and you can see ice bergs, glaciers, mountains etc. After lunch we we started packing our stuff. It will be sent to DK by ship to save costs. We were in no hurry and took our time. We ended up with  everything nicely packed in our pulks ready for collection by the shipping company. This evening we had supper with the only other hotel guest, a Danish botanist by the name of Erik Steen Hansen. Lichen biology is his speciality and he has been to practically every corner of Greenland. He knew Eigil Knuth by the way. Tomorrow we are going to be tourists. We“ll check out the local museum, walk through town and probably not much else - no reason to get too ambitious, good night!
31 July 2009

Position  : N77.46936 - W069.23183 (press to see position on Google maps)

We have reached civilisation! Today we were picked up by a very friendly and cheerful local chap in an open boat with a 40 HP outboard. The boat ride lasted two hours and at approximately 21:50 we arrived at Qaanaaq, where our "main man" (Hans Jensen) picked us up in his Toyota Land Cruiser and took us to his hotel (Hotel Qaanaaq). We have had a handful of open cheese sandwiches, fresh coffee and a warm bath. Needless to say we feel pretty much on top of the world right now! We hope this feeling will last for some time, before we inevitably are dragged back into the rat race of daily life in DK. Tomorrow we are going sightseeing and shopping. Flemming is gagging for a beer and Sverri for a bag of mixed candy!
30 July 2009

Position  : N77.7366 - W069.0717 (press to see position on Google maps)

As requested by friends and family, we will continue sending bulletins until we are back in Denmark. Right now we are about to hit the sacks after a long day hauling our stuff to the location, where we will be picked up tomorrow, the weather permitting. We carry out everything and have to carry in four tempi. This means that one km in the terrain equals 7 km effective walking. Today we shifted 150 kg of equipment 4 km totalling nearly 30 km of walking!
28 July 2009

Elevation: 120 m
Position: N77.7366 - W069.0717 (press to see position on Google maps)
Distance: 0 km

This will be our last bulletin. Expedition Arctic Kite Tour has now ended! We have achieved our objectives and are quite pleased with ourselves. During the next couple of days we will haul our gear to a meeting point from where we will be picked up and taken to Qaanaaq by boat and from there return to Denmark.
27 July 2009

Elevation: 120 m
Position: N77.72910 - W069.10626 (press to see position on Google maps)
Distance: 20 km

WE DID IT!!! - We completed the Narsaq - Qaanaaq Passage in 29 days! - We reached Terra Firma at 16:00
26 July 2009

Elevation: 1087 m
Position: N77.90820 - W068.95916 (press to see position on Google maps)
Distance: 106 km

We started late last night and kited until lunchtime today. We saw land around 8 AM and for the first time in one month, we saw a different scenery. And what a scenery - Truly breathtaking. We can see the Bowdoin Fjord and the Qaanaaq Peninsula from our current position. There are 27 km's to our pickup point in Mc'Cormick Fjord, so after 2300 km's we are nearly there!
25 July 2009

Elevation: 1585 m
Position: N78.27267 - W064.71253 (press to see position on Google maps)
Distance: 87 km

The wind is back! We started early (3AM) and went through the worst band of Sastrugi on the whole expedition. Our feet are sore but spirits are high.
24 July 2009

Elevation: 1939 m
Position: N78.03059 - W061.09521
Distance: 10 km

Another day with no wind. We tried to fly our big kites with 90 meter lines, but to no avail. There was to much drag from the lines and the kites would not fly properly.  After a long break, we decided to walk 10 km.
23 July 2009

Elevation: 1964 m
Position: N78.00716 - W060.67981
Distance: 95 km

Yesterday's strong wind had died out when we started this morning. Light wind and Sastrugi slowed us down and our aching feet took a severe punishment from the uneven surface. We are now resting in the tent and feel OK.
22 July 2009

Elevation: 2121 m
Position: N77.48888 - W057.51381
Distance: 189 km

Another day with very good kiting. Today we touched 70 km/h - what a superb feeling! We did 60 km in only one hour. We are now only 322 km from Qaanaaq. Our SPOT position is now received again by the satellite!
21 July 2009

Elevation: 2202 m
Position: N76.18177 - W052.98936
Distance: 204 km

204 KM IN 10 HOURS!! The early start bore fruit. We did 204 km's in 10 hours including breaks. Hopefully we will se more of the same tomorrow!
20 July 2009

Elevation: 2444 m
Position: N74.64993 - W049.05498
Distance: 101 km

We started a bit too late this morning and did only 101 km's. We will start tomorrow at 6 AM to recover the "lost" distance. For those of you who follow our route on the SPOT web page please be aware, that we now are so far North that the satellites for the spotting system may not receive our signals anymore.
19 July 2009

Elevation: 2488 m
Position: N73.76749 - W048.26789
Distance: 141 km

The wind was not so strong today, but our big kites did a good job - 141 km's is not so bad!
18 July 2009

Elevation: 2560 m
Position: N72.52637 - W047.53658
Distance: 158 km

NEW DISTANCE RECORD! 158 km covered in one day - otherwise nothing new to report. We are making good progress and are looking forward to reaching land.
17 July 2009

Elevation: 2369 m
Position: N71.17553 - W046.30411
Distance: 126 km

The weather is still fine: Cold, windy and sunny with a good surface. Today we only used the ski sails.
16 July 2009

Elevation: 2262 m
Position: N70.09007 - W045.39694
Distance: 137 km

Things are cool! We made 137 km today using ski sails. A fine but very cold day. We are tired, but spirits are really high!
14 July 2009

Elevation: 2050 m
Position: N67.39884 - W046.04068
Distance: 102 km

All is well. We had to stop earlier due to wet and heavy snow - However, 102 km ain't that bad!
11 July 2009

Elevation: 2444 m
Position: N65.07036 W046.03202
Distance: 105 km

All is well. We are going to hit the sacks now. We start at 2 AM tomorrow.
7July 2009

Elevation: 1.828
Position: N61.87392 W047.15846
Distance covered: 41 km

We woke up at four o'clock this morning to check if there were any wind. There wasn't, but at 6 o'clock things had improved. A North-easterly wind was blowing at 5 meters per second, so we rushed out of the sacks, poured some spaghetti with meat sauce down our necks and off we went an hour later flying our 11 square meter Libre Speedy kites on 60 meter lines. As the wind gained force the speed increased and soon we had to use all our skills and energy to stay on the ground and go in the right direction. We changed to ski sails to get more control and later we changed back to kites when the wind started to drop. All in all we did 41 kilometers today, and we are now relaxing in the the tent having something to eat. Hopefully we can start even earlier tomorrow and cover a greater distance. That's all for now. Have a nice day.
5 July 2009

Elevation: 1591
Position: N61.50399 W047.18285
Distance covered: 21

Things are well but we've got email problems. Nothing further for now. Will get back with more info once the problems have been fixed.
4 July 2009

Elevation: 1300 meters
Position: N 61.34245 W046.96728
Distance covered: 5 km

It is very warm and the snow is too "slushy" during the day, so we are going to hit the sacks now and then start again tonight. Apart from that we are fine and in good health and spirit.
3 July 2009

Elevation: 1220 meters
Position: N 61.29485 W046.96406
Distance covered: 8 km

We woke up at 4 this morning and started doing the usual chores such as boiling water, making breakfast, preparing lunch, taking the sleeping bags outside to dry out any moisture etc. There was a hard crust on the snow, so we decided to take out the ski sails and give it a try. As it turned out the wind was not strong enough, so we had to walk again. We have now reached a large plateau at 1200 meters above sea level and pulling the pulks is not too hard. We do, nevertheless, hope for kiting conditions tomorrow and we have started turning night into day as the night wind is stronger than during the day. At the time of writing, six o'clock Greenland time, we are relaxing in the tent and charging batteries for our various electronic devices. The sun is shining, there is no wind and you could wear a bikini without freezing (for reasons that are hopefully obvious, we did not bring bikinis). That's all for now. So long.
2 July 2009 (2nd)

Elevation: 1031 meters
Position: N 61.23218 W046.90349
Distance covered: 12 km

Another fine day greeted us when we woke up this morning. When we started at nine o'clock the surface was still firm from the night's frost, but in the afternoon the snow got softer and made pulling the pulks harder. Tomorrow we'll get up around four in the morning so that we can make use of the good snow conditions. We have not done any kiting yet, but hope for some wind from the right direction. In the meantime we keep moving North and gaining altitude. Good night.
2 July 2009 (1st)

Elevation: 761 meters
Temperature: 2 degrees
Position: N 61.12964 W046.84006
Distance covered: 8 km

We woke up at five o'clock this morning after a night of heavy rain constantly pounding the tent. Sverri had sealed all seams of our Bibler Bombshelter prior to our departure and not a drop of water went through. It had stopped raining and judging by the bright light in the tent the sun was shining. When we got out we saw a clear blue sky and the most fantastic scenery. Excellent conditions for a day out. After breakfast we pushed further up the glacier. We had to put on crampons and all our ice climbing gear as the terrain had become more challenging. We passed several crevasses where we belayed each other in order to avoid a fall into the abyss. Later today we put on our skis with skins fitted underneath and we have now left the icy conditions behind us and moved into snow. All in all we have had a good day out and hope that tomorrow will be equally fine. Good night.
1 July 2009

Elevation: 480 meters
Temperature: 5 degrees
Position: N 61.05790 W046.84180
Distance covered: 2 km

We started around 9:30 this morning. At first things looked good. We had had some light rain during the night and although the sky was a bit greyish, it did not rain. After a few hundred meters the terrain steepened and we had to pull in tandem. We crossed several crevasses, some of which were real "man-eaters" and had to exercise extreme caution maneuvering. At 12:30 we had a delicious Pasta Primavera for lunch and as we geared up to continue, a few drops of rain started to fall. A few minutes later it was lashing down and we put up the the tent to wait it out. That was seven hours ago and it is still pissing big time. It looks as if we are stuck here until the weather clears. Apart from that we are quite happy. We are warm, dry and well fed :-). That's all for now. So long.
29 June 2008

Time: 23:26
Elevation: 380 m
Temperature: 5+
Position: N 61.04515 W046.82993
Distance covered: 4 km
Wind: No info

We woke up today around 7 o'clock. The sun was shining and conditions were ideal for hauling our equipment further up the glacier. We have reached 380 meters above sea level and all in all we are quite pleased with our achievement. We have crossed several crevasses - some of which were very deep - but they are quite easy to spot and we have not yet had any drama on that account. Right now we are stuffing our heads and when we have had our evening coffee, we will hit the sacks. Tomorrow will bring more hard work and we do not expect kiting conditions for at least another three days. But that's s ok. We are gaining altitude, and that's what is important right now. Over and out.
28 June 2009

Time: 23:50
Elevation: 127 m
Temperature: Probably cold
Position: N 61.02614 W 046.77057.
Distance covered: No info yet
Wind: No info

Today has been a hard day. At 9:30 this morning we were taken by boat to the bottom of a fjord where it is relatively easy to access the Inland Ice. We arrived around 11 o'clock and after a quick lunch we started carrying our gear up the glacier from the beach. As there is a lot of gravel on the ice, we have decided to carry our things until we reach clean ice or snow in order to protect the pulks. Needless to say this is hard work. We have managed to find a decent spot to pich our tent so we are now ready to crawl into our sleeping bags and get some sleep. Good night.
27 June 2009

Time: 23:00 local time
Elevation: 0
Temperature: ?
Position: Narsaq
Distance covered: Not much
Wind: Unknown

At 14:15 local time we arrived at Narsaq. We left Copenhagen at 09:50 local time and approx. 4 hours later we touched down at Narssarssuaq. After a short break we continued no Narsaq by S61 helicopter. Our handler, Helgi Jonasson, picked us up at the heliport and took us to his place where we began sorting out our stuff. Tomorrow, at 10 o'clock in the morning, a local chap will take us by boat to the inland ice where the hard work of hauling our stuff up the glacier begins. It's been a long day and we are going to put our heads down now and get some sleep. Good night.