Olympic Rower Shows The Absolute Beating His Hands Took On A World Record-Setting Expedition In The Arctic
Six world-class rowers were forced to end their record-setting journey through the Arctic Ocean on Monday after being stranded on a faraway Norwegian island.
The rowers, including two-time Olympic gold medalist and five-time world champion Alex Gregory, set out on a month-and-a-half expedition to raise money for a school in the Himalayas. The dubbed their mission the Polar Row.
The crew, made up of citizens from Britain, Iceland, India, Norway and the United States, started from the northern coast of Norway on July 20 and headed north to an island on the Svalbard archipelago, the New York Times reports. They worked on a 90 minute rotation for 12 days and nights to reach the Arctic ice shelf — the first rowing crew recorded as making it that far north.
After reading the ice shelf, the international crew headed south to Iceland when the elements got the best of them. The skies were totally grey for days at a time, draining the 30-f00t boat’s solar-powered batteries and the electrical equipment. Without the help of navigation, the crew had to rely on manual steering.
Alex Gregory, possibly the most seasoned rower on the planet, described the dire conditions in an Instagram post.
“I’ve never been so wet and cold for so long. It’s seeping into my bones, there is absolutely no escape from it.”
After the task became too daunting, the crew abandoned the mission and headed for the small volcanic island of Jan Mayen, located between Norway and Greenland. Despite calling it quits, the men achieved 11 of 12 world records, including distance traveled and location in the Arctic.
Since private airplanes are not allowed to land on Jan Mayen, the crew is currently chilling on a beach with massive whale bones and beachwood until an evacuation mission can be finalized.
[h/t New York Times]