Monday, June 02, 2014

Greenland Circumnav Update: Closing in on the Finish

It has been a few weeks since we last checked in on the progress of Eric McNair-Landry and Dixie Dansercoer, the two explorers who have been attempting to circumnavigate Greenland by kite-ski. Since then, they two men have been covering surprisingly long distances on a daily basis, and edging ever closer to the finish line of their journey, and while they are not done yet, it is only a matter of time before the complete this historic expedition.

You may recall that this polar journey didn't get off to the fastest of starts. Eric and Dixie initially set off on April 11, and were immediately beset by massive storms that kept them tent-bound for days. In fact, the first two weeks of the expedition saw them standing still more than they were moving forward. But eventually the weather did clear, and they were able to use their kites more effectively. That helped them to start to pick up speed, and cover long distances on a daily basis. That helped to boot morale greatly, but still left the boys wondering if they would be able to finish the 5000 km (3106 mile) journey in the 80 days that they had originally estimated it would take to travel around Greenland.

Those fears are long gone at this point. Now on Day 53 of the expedition, Eric and Dixie are closing in on the finish line well ahead of schedule. Yesterday they managed to cover an amazing 300 km (186.4 miles), and their total distance stands at 3834.6 km (2382.7 miles). While that still leaves them 1100 km (683 miles) left to go, that could be just a few more days out on the ice if the weather cooperates. Considering all of the challenges they have faced along the way, I'm sure they are looking forward to wrapping things up.

Meanwhile, Dixie and Eric aren't the only ones attempting to kite-ski around Greenlandt this spring. German adventurer Cornelius Strohm and French guide Michael Charavin are also making the same journey, although they estimated it would take them 60 days to complete their circumnavigation attempt in what they have dubbed the Wings Over Greenland expedition. They are 39 days into that journey, and have covered a total distance of 3528 km (2192 miles), so they actually have a shot at finishing up in the time they estimated. Clearly they benefited from starting later in the season, when the weather was much better.

It seems that we'll have two teams complete the circumnavigation of Greenland by kite-ski this year. Look for both of them to wrap things up in the next week or so, depending on wind conditions.

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