Friday, April 26th, 1985 (Day 9)

A Night in the Igloo and Arrival at the Magnetic North Pole

I did it! I spent the entire night sleeping in the igloo we watched being built. There were 3 of us who decided to brave the elements. We covered the snow covered ground in the igloo with foam mattresses and animal skins. We then pulled in the sleeping bags. The Inuits had cut a breathing hole in the top of the igloo. We covered the door with garbage bags and sleeping bag holders.

The 2 other people who joined me were Van and Bob Kaller. We were given half a bottle of Napoleon brandy that we finished as soon as we got inside. When we finished the bottle, we tried to go to sleep. But just like little kids on a camping outing, we told jokes and laughed.

Then we heard some footsteps and voices outside our igloo. There were little kids investigating this new large house. We said "hello out there" and they ran away.

Before I went to sleep, I took off all of my clothes and slept naked inside the sleeping bag. It was cold on any exposed portion of skin. I tried to sleep with my head out but it was too cold to breathe. I used my heavy arctic pants as my pillow.

I got entirely inside the bag but found it difficult to get any oxygen. So I ended up with making an air hole in my bag and then had no problem at all. This is also going to be a time of my life that I shall never forget.

Van got cold about 6:15 AM and came in. Bob Kaller left after him at about 7:30 AM. I slept like a baby until 8:15 AM. I got dressed (which is an art if you don't want to get cold) and walked back to the hotel.

All of my traveling companions were eating breakfast then. I joined them for a hearty meal of Raisin Bran, scrambled eggs, sausage and apple juice.

After breakfast, the 3 "igloo men" went out to their lodging and made their beds. We folded sleeping bags and rolled mattresses. We had to carry our equipment back to the hotel. It was a perfect ending to a perfect night.

A comment about the little kids. They do not have any idea of time. With the sky always bright, kids will play outside at all hours of the day and night.

Bob Burns brought a lot of Chicklets chewing gum with him. He hands it out to any kid he sees. They really love the gum.

We left Grise Fiord at 1:30 PM. It was sad to wave good-bye to the igloo - it was my home for the night and was very comfortable. We flew straight towards the Magnetic North Pole.

We arrived at the Magnetic North Pole at 3:30 PM Resolute time. We gained an hour as we flew back from Grise. We had to circle the pressure ridges to look for a safe landing spot. Our pilot found a relatively "smooth" landing area and set the plane down. I will have a picture of the northern-most year round body of water prior to our landing at the pole.

When we got out of the plane, the pilots told us to stay close, as we were in Polar Bear country. The first thing I did was to set my compass down on the ice and take a picture of it. It was not exciting - it did not go crazy - it did not spin wildly. The North Magnetic Pole is rather boring. The geographic north pole was beautiful!

Pat then had all of us group together so we could take group shots again. It was cold here. The temperature was 1 degree below zero Fahrenheit with a wind. And it was a piercing wind, too. We didn't stay long here.

When we got back in the plane, I took a picture of the latitude-longitude indicator to show our position at the Magnetic North Pole.

Magnetic North Pole
77 degrees 08 minutes North, 101 degrees 55 minutes West

We had a very smooth take-off and headed back towards Resolute. On the way, I took a picture of the northern-most lead-zinc mining company and air strip.

I also shot a picture of Resolute as seen from the air. We landed at Resolute and were issued new rooms. My new roommate is Earl Wilkinson. I have a nicer room now than I did when I first got here.

The very first thing I did was to take a long hot shower. It felt great! I also changed out of the long underwear and insulated gear I have been wearing for so long. I feel clean and new. It is about 8 degrees below zero Fahrenheit right now. The National Geographic guys came back from Eureka early and have gone home. Apparently, they got some very good pictures of the wolves. They were nice guys.

Some interesting facts:

Camp Opal
85 degrees 59.2 minutes North, 87 degrees 54.8 minutes West

Also, it was Elsieanna's birthday the day we went to the pole. What a beautiful birthday gift. When we got back to Hazen, Debbie had a birthday cake waiting for her.

copyright (c) 1985, 2000 Robert A. Antol

For more information, contact Bob Antol
URL: file - polarDay9.html