Polar Race 2005

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Initial Style Explorers' Report on Leg 2 of Polar Race 2003

Start day did 12 hours march over rubble covering 24 miles in good weather. We thought we had a good lead over Polar Team but unknown to us they were hiding no more than 400m from us for the next three days. Saw female bear and two cubs playing about 800m away. After four hours sleep pushed on again through rubble, weather was sunny with good visibility. At midday had close encounter with large aggressive male polar bear. Five warning shots were fired to no avail. Not until Chris with red beard flowing, brandishing his skis and making lots of noise did we see off the bear. Standby for interesting video and photos. Further 27.4 miles covered then camped on shore near Airstrip Point.

Next day up coast striking out across Reindeer Bay. No bears but many tracks and scraps where bears had been attacking seal dens.

Weather and morale sky high, 24 miles covered. Then six hours sleep anticipating a long final push to Checkpoint 2. Strategy paid off as overtook Polar Team on final day. Next day started with seeing polar bear near tent but the sight of Chris again frightened it off. Conditions deteriorated and we contemplated camping after a short rest but we saw Polar Team in the mist, thus we knew we had to go for it. So we dug deep for a monster 21 hour push in very cold wind, thank goodness for spare mittens. Arrived at 0145 hours wearing all clothes and gaining 11 hours on Polar Team.

Phil Ashby     Manley Hopkinson     Chris McLeod

Initial Style Explorers at Checkpoint 2 of Polar Race 2003
19 April 2022

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