Wow what a crazy past week or two it has been, but the time has finally arrived – the team have left Ireland and are making their way up to Northern Canada , but more about that later. Firstly lets tell you about what has been happening over the last few weeks.
Firstly lets talk about money – after all this expedition couldn’t happen without the help of our sponsors. As we announced in our last blog post we are delighted that LifeProof have come on board as our headline sponsor. They have been brilliant to work with and have really helped us get the word out there about our expedition on social media. We also love our new hoodies – keep an eye on our Facebook page or Twitter on how you can win one over the next few weeks. In the weeks since we have gotten some more amazing sponsors from loads of different industries and areas. A huge thanks to SAS Watches , The Great Outdoors , Kevin O Leary Centra, Siltex Limited , Saorgus Energy , Stormtec Marine , International Warehousing & Transport , Garveys Supervalu , Kerry Climbing , 747 Travel and Juice Plus – all of their support had been vital for this expedition to get off the ground. Over the course of the expedition there will be some guest blogs from our sponsors who will tell us a bit about how they have supported the expedition.
Last Tuesday saw Mike & Clare pack up the van with all their equipment in Cork and head to a giant deep freeze in Dublin. The huge warehouse of Molloy & Sherry is chilled to -25 degree centigrade and is usually used to store frozen food produce , but Mike & Clare decided to sleep in it! This was a vital opportunity to test their new equipment at low temperatures , and ensure that the new sleeping systems that they are using work as expected. The night went well and all equipment worked as expected , check out the video here http://vimeo.com/86498710 by Sean Curtin Photography which gives a great idea of what the team got up to .
After coming out of the freezer on Wednesday morning then it was time for two busy days of interviews with the media , its really important that we spread the word about expedition. I have put a list of links to some of the interviews below so you can check them out. On Thursday evening Mike did a talk in the Great Outdoors which was a great opportunity for people to hear about past expeditions and also ask questions about the upcoming North Pole trip. Huge thanks to all our friends and supporters that came along.
On Friday morning (very early) Mike & Clare checked in at Dublin airport , this was without doubt the easiest checkin ever , which is quite something when you consider that the team had over 150kg of luggage! This was mainly down to Dorothy at 747 Travel who had everything sorted – so a HUGE thanks to her. The team flew Dublin – London , London – Ottawa where they spent the weekend doing the final food shopping for the expedition and grabbing the last few pieces of kit. They hit gold at a shop called CostCo, a membership based discount store which they blagged their way into , where they managed to get everything at great prices!
On Sunday the team went to visit the Canadian Ice Service where all the Ice forecasting for the Arctic is completed. It was amazing to be given descriptions of the way the ice is currently, what leads have appeared recently and to analyse the weather for the last month. In short it is warmer at the minute, with northerly wind which is keeping the ice nice and packed, but also giving a 14km crumble zone from hell, and it is clearly visible on the data that is currently available, so the start is gonna be real tough, but there is more multi year ice which will make things more stable, but that can all change in the next two weeks, so its a waiting game till we are ready to go, but overall its very positive.
Monday saw the team meet Michele (an Italian who is going Solo to the Pole) at the Airport, he was flying direct to Resolute, so they hung out for a little while and chatted. Next it was their turn to hop on a flight up to Iqaluit but as Mike puts it “We had the usual calamity with the sleds, even thought we had months of organising, but at the desk they didn’t know what to do with us and 20 mins before the flight was to take off I was still at the check-in desk, trying to sort things, some serious panic making the flight, and our sleds and all bags even made it.”
“We met up in Iqulait with Danny Osbourne (http://dannyosborne.com) who did the sculptor of Oscar Wilde in Merrion Square, Danny has lived between Ireland and here for over a decade, so it was good to catch up with him, we then head over to meet Matty McNair and Sarah, for a chinwag on whats happening and met up with our old friend Yasu Ogita (Japanese) who shall attempt a solo trip to the North Pole, ”
Over the past day or two in Iqaluit Mike and Clare have been out getting used to the cold ( about – 30 c) and getting back out on their skis. They have also been sorting out all their food portions , removing excess packaging etc . They are in good form , and really starting to get into serious expedition mode now.
The tracker is now up on the website , and this will be updated once the team are on the move with their location each day and any additional details we have etc. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the details.
We are still searching for a sponsor to help in funding an additional supply flight for the team when they are on the ice. This extra flight would mean that the team could travel faster and lighter , thus improving their chances of success. You can support them through our online shop , or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .