Friday, September 22, 2006

Tracking a Svalbardian's Sailing Expedition

For two weeks at the start of September, it was a very exciting time to be part of the Frozen Five expedition. During this time, our good friend and supporter Ulli Neumann, together with his friend Tobias, sailed around Svalbard's largest fjord. Their journey was special in many respects, covering a distance of more than 200 nautical miles aboard the 14-foot dinghy "Alizée" throughout the Ice Fjord, locally known as Isfjorden.

During this trip, Ulli reported seeing on polar bear on his chosen lunch spot and thus had to keep hungry for a bit longer. Avoiding polar bears is the number one priority in the High Arctic. For the Frozen Five team this expedition was doubly interesting. Not only did Ulli and Tobias inspire us further by doing this trip, but they also agreed to test the tracer we have been provided by Guardian Mobility to monitor our progress next week.

Even though the Svalbard archipelago lies well past the usual coverage of the GlobalStar network, the tracer worked perfectly, as seen by the waypoints Ulli transmitted from their campsites. For us, this was a huge relief since many school projects that will follow our progress next year will be able to follow our progress in near-realtime.

As Ulli stays on Svalbard, studying the beautiful glacier Bogerbreen, he agreed to continue testing the unit on more of his fieldwork and private trips, to give us an idea of battery requirements in the cold Arctic climate. But right now, he deserves a good rest, after such an exciting expedition!

Thanks to Ulli for testing the unit, and to Guardian Mobility for allowing us to borrow it!


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