[ASC-media] Media release: world's first crossing of Arctic ocean

JCA Media jcamedia at starclass.com.au
Wed May 4 11:10:53 EST 2005


Rolex Media Release

May 4, 2005


WORLD'S FIRST CROSSING OF ARCTIC OCEAN


The world's first expedition to cross the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean in summer, will set off next Thursday, May 12, 2005, from Siberia's Cape Arctichesky on a 2,250 kilometre journey, without external support. 

On each day of their 100-day expedition, Lonnie Dupre, a 2004 Rolex Awards for Enterprise Laureate, and fellow explorer Eric Larsen will have to overcome the challenge of constantly shifting fractured sea ice and open water in one of the most hostile regions on the planet.

"Lonnie Dupre is not simply crossing the Arctic Ocean in summer, he wants to warn the world about global warming," says Sir Christopher Ondaatje, an explorer and member of the judging panel for the 2004 Rolex Awards.

"I can't think of a better way of raising public awareness of global warming than paddling two kayaks in a place that was covered in thick sea ice in summer just a few decades ago," says Dupre.

Dupre, 43, knows the Arctic well. Over the past 17 years he has covered 25,000km in the Arctic on skis, by kayak, by dog sled and on foot, has led five polar expeditions and with Australian John Hoelscher accomplished the first complete circumnavigation of Greenland by sled and kayak. Hoelscher is field logistics manager for the current expedition and his experience is proving critical in the lead-up to its launch. 

Dupre and Larsen plan to reach the North Geographic Pole around mid-July and to make landfall on Ellesmere Island, Canada by the beginning of September. As a large amount of the ice cover melts in the summer, 30 to 50 per cent of their journey will be over water. The two explorers have designed sledges that will double as kayaks for crossing the vast expanses of water.

"At that time of year, temperatures range from 14°F to 39°F [-10°C to +4°C], so it won't be too cold," said Dupre as he was preparing for the expedition. "On the downside, at those temperatures it will be humid and damp with dense fog. This will make it hard for us to stay dry and a constant fight to ward off hypothermia. The fog will make navigation extremely difficult." The two men hope to cover 22 kilometres a day, putting in 10-hour days. They will consume up to 6,500 calories per day - double the normal daily intake. Laden with four months of provisions, each sledge/kayak will weigh 140 kilos at the outset.

Greenpeace is sending a ship to accompany the two explorers for a few days at the beginning and end of their journey. 

Thanks to satellite technology, Lonnie Dupre will provide texts and photos for the expedition's website (www.OneWorldExpedition.com), making it possible for people worldwide to track the explorers' progress on a day-by-day basis.

Lonnie Dupre, 43, knows the Arctic well. Over the past 17 years he has covered 25,000km in the Arctic on skis, by kayak, by dog sled and on foot, has led five polar expeditions and with Australian John Hoelscher accomplished the first complete circumnavigation of Greenland by sled and kayak. Hoelscher is field logistics manager for the current expedition and his experience is proving critical in the lead-up to its launch. 

It was during the Greenland expedition that the idea for the current polar crossing was born. 

In 2001, on reaching the eastern coast of Greenland where, according to his map, there should have been a glacier jutting out into the sea, Dupre confronted hard evidence of global warming: the glacier no longer existed. It was one example of many, but it triggered an alarm bell which he wants to keep ringing.

The Rolex Awards are given every two years to five exceptional men and women whose innovative projects improve the quality of life on the planet and have a real impact on humanity. Other 2004 Laureates include Claudia Feh, of Switzerland, a world expert on the behaviour of free-living horses who has reintroduced Przewalski horses to their native Mongolia, and the Japanese Kikuo Morimoto, who is revitalising parts of rural Cambodia by reviving traditional silk-making. 

NOTE: Australian applications for the 2006 Rolex Awards for Enterprise close on May 31, 2005. For details see: www.rolexawards.com.  For an application form, ring Rolex Australia on 02 9251 8988.


For more information, please contact:

Professor Julian Cribb FTSE
Julian Cribb & Associates
ph 02 6242 8770 or 0418 639 245
email: julian.cribb at work.netspeed.com.au
http://www.sciencealert.com.au

Media note: 
A feature article and high quality images on the Dupre expedition are available.




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