Position: N 78° 10′, W 094° 16′
Distance Traveled: 0 km/ 0 mi
Who was the Ayles Ice Shelf Named After?
Second rest day today (on Day 21) and we are all busy doing repairs and resting sore muscles. The dogs are being fed twice the amount they usually are and they are taking the opportunity to sleep as much as they can. Tomorrow we are heading north for the remains of the Ayles Ice Shelf. The Ayles Ice Shelf was named after the young Chief Petty Officer Adam Ayles who was a sled commander during the Nares expedition to northern Ellesmere in 1875 and 1876.
The Nares expedition did not use dogs but the sailors of the expedition dragged the sleds around the north coast of Ellesmere while their health slowly deteriorated due to scurvy. At 82°N 80°W, at the entrance of what was to be named the Ayles Fjord, Adam Ayles erected a cairn before the expedition had to turn back due to scurvy. In the Ayles Fjord there was an ice shelf that later was named Ayles as well. It is the remains of this ice shelf that we now have our course set towards.
After the Ayles broke loose in August 2005, a piece the size of Manhattan drifted south before it devided in two pieces north of the Ringnes Islands. Two other explorers that were important for the exploration of Northern Ellesmere were American R. Peary and M. Henson who made extensive dogsled jouneys in the area during several expeditions between 1896-1909. Like Otto Sverdrup, Peary realized the importance of the dogs to be successful in arctic exploration.
Today we are also looking at our route further north of Ayles. I am carrying with me on the expedition, a 100 year old reprinting of a map originally drawn by Otto Sverdrup. Using this map we hope to find traces or evidence of Sverdrup’s expedition along the west coast of Axel Heiberg Island. I carry the map very safely with me on the sled and I only take it out in a warm and dry tent. It is with admiration that I look at the achievements of young men like Adam Ayles and all the members of the Sverdrup Expedition who for very long periods and under a lot of strain explored the region of the High Arctic that we are now in.
All is good here. We are ready to get started again tomorrow.
All my best, Toby Thorleifsson
This dispatch was created and posted using Dispatch 1.0 – an expedition dispatch software developed by Climate Generation and Global Warming 101 Expeditions.