Four Americans Set Out to Row Across the Arctic Ocean to Increase Awareness of Climate Change
BELLEVUE, Wash., June 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- For more than 90 years, Eddie Bauer has helped people explore the world by outfitting adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts on many historic expeditions. In mid-July, the legacy continues as a team of four Americans embark on a historic voyage and what they're calling one of the world's last great firsts: a non-stop, unsupported row across the Arctic Ocean.
Sponsored through Eddie Bauer's BE FIRST program, Paul Ridley, Collin West, Neal Mueller and Scott Mortensen will travel 1,300 miles from Inuvik, Canada to Provideniya, Russia to raise awareness of the changes in the Arctic climate. The team will navigate through frigid Arctic waters, which have only recently become passable as a result of climate change and melting sea ice. To power the 29-foot-long, six-foot wide rowboat, the team will rotate between the two rowing positions, each rowing two hours on and two hours off for 24 hours a day. The voyage is expected to take approximately 30 days to complete.
"Eddie Bauer has a long legacy of championing the untamable spirit of adventure and outfitting 'firsts.' Our BE FIRST program was conceived as a way to encourage others to challenge their own limits of what's possible and to accomplish what has never been done before," said Michael Egeck, president and CEO at Eddie Bauer. "We are proud to support Arctic Row in this endeavor as they not only attempt to achieve an amazing feat, but also draw awareness to the Arctic ecosystem and the threats that it faces today."
The Arctic Row expedition presents an unusual opportunity for the team to conduct scientific research with no impact on the Arctic ecosystem. Throughout the expedition, the team will record whale sightings, collect plankton samples, and monitor the salinity and temperature of the water. The recorded data will aid scientists at The University of Alaska Fairbanks andAdventurers and Scientists for Conservation to gain a better understanding of a whale's sense of smell and feeding habits in the Arctic Ocean.
Source: PR Newswire (http://s.tt/1fV2r)
Our mission: to explore strange new waters; to seek out new life and new algae conditions; to boldly go where no kayak has… oh, sorry. Got a little carried away there.
Turns out we get to do SCIENCE after all! In fact, we get to do DOUBLE SCIENCE. We were contacted last week by Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation, who had finally found us a partner scientist from Vancouver Island University who is studying algae blooms. We’ll pick up water samples from blooms and note the surrounding environment and conditions, and ship them back for analysis.
In addition, a paddling buddy from Bellingham found out about our trip and asked if we could take water temperature readings throughout our voyage. He has conducted studies witht the Coast Salish Tribal Canoe Journeys and OARNW, and our readings can help add to his data set. Down to the wire now: I’m picking up the temperature sensor tomorrow, and the vials for water samples should be on Tracy’s doorstep tomorrow.
I like having a greater purpose for the journey.
Tomorrow we will hike to the source and begin our journey down the Colorado River. It seems amazing that we are already leaving. I returned to Colorado on Tuesday and a few things have struck me so far.
First, it is amazing how many little details of planning remain in the last two days before the trip. Will, Carson, and I have working non stop on the front range as we prepare our media equipment. Zach, who has been in Durango, has also been preparing gear and focusing on logistics. We must buy the right amount of food. Yesterday, two boxes of equipment arrived from Northwest River Supply (NRS). How much can we actually stuff into our brand new NRS dry bags as we prepare for the initial leg of our trip? But things are coming together all the same. Soon, all of the compacted logistics and the details of planning will be over and our lives will become simple. Day after day, our only objective will be to follow the river’s course towards the sea.
Second, the distinctly hazy look of the sky in Denver immediately reminded me of the dire situation presented by this year’s drought. The unprecedented size of the fire in Fort Collins has filled the front range with a smokey haze. It is proof of the drought’s consequences. The drought will affect our trip as we must scrape through low water sections of river that should be bursting at their banks this time of year. In a year like this, everyone is screaming for water that just isn’t there.
Finally, I am now realizing how excited I am to embark on the journey. There is no place I would rather be than floating down a river with good friends. On top of this, I truly hope that our effort can inspire others with passion for the river and a more nuanced approach to its issues.
Andrew Schleif, an engineer from Oregon is in the middle of the trip of a life time. He quit his day job and is hiking the Pacific Crest Trail from California to Washington. Along the way he is looking for signs of Pika for ASC researcher, April Craighead. The Pika is an important indicator species for climate change, and the data recorded by Andrew will contribute to an important body of knowledge.
Greetings from the capital of Mongolia! With over 60% nomads, UB (pop. 1 million) is really Mongolia’s only city, with other towns all under 40,000. UB is an interesting, rapidly growing city, with a very eclectic patchwork of old and new.
It looks like we’re all set for an early departure to the Gobi Desert tomorrow. We spent the day changing money, picking up some last minute field supplies and sorting out field equipment. Things here feel pretty similar to last year, but there’s certainly a lot of hustle and bustle into the leadup to the Parliamentary elections on the 28th. With recent issues including the former president being arrested on corruption charges, and a lot of seats up for grabs, there’s a lot of anticipation.
Anyhow, our rough plan is as follows:
We’ll head to the Bayn Dzag, near the town of Dalanzadgad. Bayn Dzag is famous for some of the best dinosaur fossil localities in the world. There, we’ll sample paleosols, ancient soils, for clay and carbonate minerals which can tell us about the climatic conditions when they were deposited. After Bayn Dzag, we travel west into the remote Nemegt Basin, where we’ll continue sampling. After Nemegt, we have planned a very adventurous several hundred mile drive to the northwest to more field sites near Altay. Finally, we travel west to the town of Khovd along a main road (main roads are still pretty wild though!) and sample at 3 or so other sites. From Khovd, we’ll begin the several day drive back across the country to UB, completing our several thousand mile clockwise loop. We plan on being out in the field for about three weeks as we’re scheduled to leave the country on June 8. I’ll check in with brief updates from the field or the occasional town along the way.
Jeremy showing off mad stacks! Those are all 10,000 tugrug notes...there aren't a whole lot of ATMs in the Gobi.
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