They say that any polar adventure involves some kind of suffering. On July 27 we started our first major battle against ice. And we lost it. I will never forget the crash of the ice against the helmet. Runs from the beds to deck. And the long hours of hopeful and nervous glances trying to peer out into the ice maze.  


Northabout atrapado en el hielo

Northabout in the middle of the ice

Two days earlier we entered Inglefield Bay-a vast opening sixty miles away-as Vikings in Paradise. Admiring the white winter light shimmering in the water where the little Guillemot birds dived for prey. The midnight sun warmed our spirits; So when we anchor in Qaanaaq, our starting point, we celebrate it with tastings of Berezka vodka in the Russian style.

In Qaanaaq we came upon a fascinating world, a breakwater where Inuit culture struggled hard to survive the wave of global culture. Modern constructions followed the script of possibility. Everything in the village of 700 inhabitants is made to survive the boreal winter. There was no port, no roads, no bars, no infrastructures beyond the hospital, the museum – which was once the home of the explorer Knud Rassmussen – and a huge fuel tank. In the first one, a single Danish doctor, Maria, confessed to us the austerity to which the place. 

Qaanaaq behind an iceberg

“I’m alone here with two nurses. When there is an emergency it takes three days to evacuate a sick person by plane. And that in good weather. Many died here while they waited.


View of Soriapaluk

In the nearby village of Soriapaluk, an authentic border stop where dogs are still sledged and the walrus, the narwhals and the musk ox are hunted, the days and nights of almost uninterrupted sailing began to make a dent in us (we worked in pairs, in shifts Of three hours every six hours, doing everything).

The water-maker showed visions of exhaling its last breath and the depth marker worked no day and in between either.

Both in Qaanaaq and in Soriapaluk we were forced to fight with the ice every time we anchored. Pulling away huge ice with two poles of fiber. But we still did not know what it was waiting for us. 

La tripulación de la Mars Gaming Expedition

In the foreground Miguel Gutierrez

We knew in Soriapaluk thanks to a guy who would say that he came out of a Kurosawa movie; Responded to the name of Ikuo but it is difficult to find out more data about him, because he did not want to appear, nor to be photographed. He was Japanese; Married to an Inuit, carried in the village – which is disputed with the capital of Svalbard the title of the town more to the north – four decades of hunter, like a modern Dersu Uzala, between icy seas and inhospitable hills.

He told me: I know the area to which you will go tomorrow. I usually go there for musk oxen. If you navigate in that direction you will be trapped.

It is expected for this night southwest wind. The whole area will be in a few hours a pack ice. A week ago two fishermen were trapped there for three days in a boat. And that was a small boat and very fast. 

I told the information to our captains Stewart and Litau. The Englishman showed his willingness to depart. The Russian’s eyes were impenetrable, like two blocks of perpetual ice. He shrugged and said, “There’s a way.” The decision, they told me, was mine. And I took it. We marched towards the danger of the ice. Straight to the Smith Strait, it opened its jaws like a bloody winter gigantic.


Grise Fiord
23 AUGUST, 2017

12.- The Inuit: a people at the crossroads

Grise Fiord is a grain of human sand on an immense island the size of England. Only 140 people inhabit this village which is the only settlement of Ellesmere, the northernmost insular of the Canadian Arctic. The rest is unleashed nature and implacable severity.

Read More…

North York Land
16 AUGUST, 2017

11.- Towards the mountains without a name

On August 8 we marched up the glacier carrying the equipment on pulkas or sleds. We wanted to climb the highest peak in the area. We were in the mountains that surround the Manson polar cap, the so-called North York Land. It is a remote white territory on the map.

Read More…

Cape Norton Show Bay
14 AUGUST, 2017

10.- A lost world

There was a movie – an adaptation of a Jules Verne story – that marked my childhood. The movie was about explorers flying over unexplored Greenland in an airship. They discovered, among other wonders, a surviving Viking community, plus a bay lost in time and mist where the whales were going to breathe their last breath.

Read More…

13 AUGUST, 2017

9.- Weather is in charge

Everyone has a plan until it gets spoiled. I had a plan. I had been watching the ice charts, the satellite images of the Sentinel – sent and analyzed by the expert Íñigo Orue – and the charts and had observed the following: the Strait of Nares is like a bowling alley.

Read More…

Familia Inuit llegando al Northabout
9 AUGUST, 2017

8.- Soriapaluk, a village on the border of the cold

On day 1 a speed boat was presented in front of the Northabout. It was a visit. The hunter Pullaq Ulloriaq and his daughter Bebiane honored us with their presence on board.”The Inuit are tight and distrustful of foreigners. It’s hard to get in touch,” some experts had warned.

Read More…

Northabout entre el hielo
1 AUGUST, 2017

7.- Defeat in Smith Strait (Chronicle 2)

The ice chart, an indispensable tool for anyone traveling on icy seas, gave rise to some hope: even Cape Alexander, the westernmost point of Greenland, only a third of the surface of the water was covered with ice. Enough for us. So we marched through a white maze dodging icebergs thanks to the skill as helmsman of Aitor Basarrate.

Read More…

Northabout atrapado en el hielo
1 AUGUST, 2017

6.- Defeat in Smith Strait (Chronicle 1)

They say that any polar adventure involves some kind of suffering. On July 27 we started our first major battle against ice. And we lost it. I will never forget the crash of the ice against the helmet. Runs from the beds to deck. And the long hours of hopeful and nervous glances trying to peer out into the ice maze.

Read More…

iceberg en la niebla
28 JULY, 2017

5.- Ghosts of the Baffin Sea

There are few experiences in life more disturbing than seeing an iceberg appear in the fog. We saw it on the third day of navigation from Upernavik to the north by the bay of Melville; Of course, it was not the first floating block of ice we came across; But this was veiled in mystery by an oleaginous haze, typical in this area of ​​the Baffin Sea.

Read More…

boda inuit
26 JULY, 2017

4.- Shipwrecks and beluga carpaccio

An Inuit wedding is a strange mix between tradition and modernity. They emphasize the traditional costumes: The grooms dress old fashioned, he with white anorak and she with a colorful coat; And both in sealskin pants and boots. We were fortunate to be invited to his wedding by Nunarleq Mathaussen, a pure Inuit who married Ane, a local girl with Nordic features.

Read More…

Pájaros sobre iceberg
26 JULY, 2017

3.- Quixote things and other unforeseen

People come to the Arctic in the hope of seeing new and wonderful things; To bring in his pocket money to tell that really worth it.

The lucky ones attend a northern aurora, spot a formation of whales or discover the polar bear at the time of breakfast with a seal; But what is really unusual is to see is two Basques carrying on a dingui – a standard Zodiac – and with a poke in their hands fighting against an iceberg.

Read More…

12 JULY, 2017

2.- The Strait of Nares, the gates of the White Hell

If the Mars Gaming Northabout Expedition succeeds, it will be the first time a Spanish team has reached the Geomagnetic Pole. But the most interesting is the territory where the bet will be developed. Authentic “door of the white hell” the Strait of Nares (which the expedition intends to cross) was the passage chosen by numerous expeditions throughout history to reach by sea the North Pole, because it was mistakenly thought that behind the ice barrier, a warm sea existed.

Read More…

David Hempleman-Adams
7 MARCH, 2017

1.- Mars Gaming Northabout Expedition

Adventures begin in the most unlikely places. The Mars Gaming Northabout Expedition came to being one haunted night, in the middle of the countryside, somewhere between the English cities of Bath and Bristol.

Read More…