Nightmare: The Polar Row team (pictured) had endured freezing temperatures and almost constant soaking in their fibreglass boat, which has neither an outboard motor nor sails
By Paul Homewood
h/t AC Osborn
The Mail reports on yet another Arctic expedition that has come perilously close to real grief:
Three British rowers attempting a record 1,200-mile voyage across the raging seas of the Arctic Ocean are stranded on a remote volcanic island after being battered by fierce storms.
The trio, part of a six-man crew, were forced to land on the tiny island of Jan Mayen, just 340 miles from their destination on Iceland.
The Polar Row team, including British double Olympic gold medallist Alex Gregory, had endured freezing temperatures and almost constant soaking in their fibreglass boat, which has neither an outboard motor nor sails.
Having landed on the island, the three Britons and another rower refused to continue because of safety fears. Only the boat’s Icelandic skipper and an American crewman wanted to keep going.
It is understood the stranded crew may not be evacuated from the 144 square mile island until next week but are being looked after by an 18-strong Norwegian military contingent based there.
Last night the Maritime & Coastguard Agency confirmed it had received an SOS.
Gregory, 33, a father-of-three who won rowing gold medals at the London and Rio Games, wrote on Twitter: ‘I truly believed I wouldn’t see land, my family or anything again.’
The team was being led by Icelandic athlete Fiann Paul, and also featured Gregory, fellow Britons Sam Vye and Danny Longman, and Americans Tyler Carnevale and Carlo Facchino. The expedition set off on July 20 from Tromso, Norway.
Gregory posted an emotional video message on Twitter after arriving on Jan Mayen on August 19, in which he described how the crew had been taken in by Norwegian military personnel who had ‘saved our lives’.
A post on the expedition’s Facebook page, from August 18, said the crew had a ‘phenomenally tough 72 hours’. It quoted Gregory saying: ‘We never seem to be getting very far, nothing changes. I’ve never been so wet and cold. It’s seeping into my bones, there is absolutely no escape from it. I have to wait for land. It’s getting worse though, the colder I get, the more I have to work during my shift, the sweatier I get, the wetter I get, the colder I get.’
The bravery of these guys is astounding, and at least on this occasion the purpose was a charitable one, to raise funds to build a school in the Himalayas.
But time and again we find these expeditions set out totally unprepared for what to expect, lulled into a false sense of security by fake claims of Arctic heatwaves and icemelt.
Sooner or later, these fraudsters will have lost lives on their conscience.