It is hard to believe that two weeks have passed since we climbed aboard that Twin Otter to begin the long journey home. But it has. After weeks of traveling, Stephen and I have made it back to Rhode Island, to warm nights and shade trees, to stars and crickets, and most importantly – to tomatoes! This farm in the woods is a good place to ponder this journey of ours. It was so much crazier, so much more of an adventure, than we we had anticipated it would be.
The day before we headed out on our journey, we all crowded around the computer in Resolute Bay to look at the latest satellite images of Nares Strait. It was our last chance to see an overview of where we would be traveling. What we saw was lots of sea ice in the Strait. The images did not alarm Steve. From his thirty seasons spent in the Arctic, he expected to see lots of ice in the Strait.
But what the satellite images did not fully reveal to us was the quality of that sea ice. We could not see ‘slurpy’, our term for the mess of jumbled bits of Arctic sea ice that beset us for most of our 33 day journey. The resolution simply wasn’t there. And even if it was, would looking at those images from space reveal the situation in a way that we could fully grasp? Looking at satellite images of Nares Strait is a whole lot different than being in Nares Strait. That much, all of us can tell you. Knowing that the ice in the Arctic is thinning is a whole lot different than experiencing that thinning ice.
We are taking the month of August off! We need a break before we begin the extensive process of reviewing and cataloging footage. Meanwhile we have plenty of time to think about the magnitude of what we witnessed – perhaps, a new phase in the“breakdown of the Arctic Ocean”.
This story is so much bigger than we thought it would be.