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