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.  


Iceberg in the middle of the sea

The ice slides down the corridor from the North Pole and the Humboldt and Petermann glaciers rolling everything in their path. But – as I could see – there were some safe points in the letters. Like the south of Pim Island or Baird, Dobbin and Wright Bays.

“We could,” I said, “take the ship from one safe spot to another.” Move forward when the ice flow gives way and take refuge when it rains. 

Northabout entre el hielo

Northabout between the ice

Everyone – as I’ve said- has a plan until it gets spoiled.
And -how kindly made me see Mike Stewart, our captain-mine was not bad. But this requires some luck.
Nicolai opined:
“The problem is that the Smith Strait is still blocked. The two years passed by these dates was unlocked. But this year the thaw has been postponed for two weeks. The plan is not bad. But as long as we have this picture, not even that is viable.

However, on the 29th, the ice chart offered a truce. We went north, to the Bay of Etah, the last place that reached the Inuit culture and starting point of many Arctic expeditions. We set off again to the north, with the courage on a pair of wings. If it is opened to the east, maybe we could reach Pim Island in Canada, one of my safe spots.

But the opposite happened. The ice front advanced in our direction like a coordinated and relentless army. We had to leave the Smith Strait again in the middle of a storm in which even a small tornado made its appearance.

Refugee at Cape Alexander the Northabout withstands 50 knots. Then the wind brought the ice and we fled again south. There is an Inuit saying that says: “Wheather is in charge”. The fishermen of the place, in fact, warned us:

“It is unlikely that the Strait will open this year, there is more ice than in previous years, and the next few days it will rain a lot.”


Otra vista del Northabout entre el hielo

Another view of the Northabout between the ice

On the 30th, in the midst of a small exploration, we landed on a large iceberg. There, on the piece of ice, I thought the paradox of the situation: fight every day against a friendly ice of which the health of the whole planet depends on. It was the last moment of rest. Then the storm was devoured. With it went the plans and the morale was maintained with barely and not in all the cases.

Everyone – as I said at the beginning- has a plan until it gets spoiled.

And although we felt that we were losing three to zero in the overtime, we were determined to throw the rest until the referee’s whistle marked the end.


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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