Photo: Renan Ozturk
It’s 2:12 a.m., -39º at Barneo, a volatile Russian ice station high above the Arctic Circle. Against a howling wind, an MI8 helicopter pilot is telling the team, in broken English and between drags off a Belomorkanal cigarette, that this year’s sea ice is forming badly, and their runway, a too-short stretch of sea ice carved only hours before, may not hold together for long. The expedition will have to move fast to reach the North Pole – and get out safely.
What kind of people would put themselves in this situation? An unlikely group of ‘regular’ women from the Arab World and the West - determined, fearful, and already exhausted from a nearly 3-week launch delay in the Arctic outpost of Svalbard.
They have endured grueling trainings in Oman and Iceland, and countless months of working out, to prepare for this moment. “Let's go!” yells expedition leader Felicity Aston, and the helicopter blades shift into a deafening gear....
Photo credit: Renan Ozturk