Explorers rowing to the Magnetic North Pole

A few days back, a crew of six adventurers set out in a specially designed rowboat on a 450-mile journey to the Magnetic North Pole. The six-week long journey began in Resolute Bay, Canada and will end when the team becomes the first to row to the Pole, which is located in a remote area of the Arctic Ocean.

Not to be confused with the Geographic North Pole, the Magnetic North Pole is actually the location on the surface of the Earth that a compass points to in the Northern Hemisphere. Over the years, that point has been known to change and move, but it is currently located at the coordinates of 78°35.7N 104°11.9W. The Geographic NP is, of course, found at the top of the world, at exactly 90°N.

This expedition is led by Jock Wishart, a veteran polar explorer and ocean rower. He is joined by a crew of experienced sailors and adventurers that includes Mark Delstanche, Billy Gammon, Rob Sleep, David Mans, and Mark Beaumont. The plan is for the team to row in three hour shifts, as they make slow, but steady, progress toward their goal.

According to the expedition’s website, the crew launched amidst good weather on Saturday, with low winds and temperatures hovering around 55°F. That is quite warm for the Arctic, and those conditions aren’t expected to last, as even in the summer, the temperatures can fall well below freezing and high winds can make travel extremely challenging.

If all goes as planned, the team should reach their goal sometime around the middle of September. You’ll be able to follow their progress at RowToThePole.com, which includes blog updates from the water, live GPS tracking, and plenty of information about the boat and her crew.

[Photo credit: RowToThePole.com]

Scotsman completes epic ride from Anchorage to Ushuaia

Scotsman Mark Beaumont completed his Cycling The America’s expedition yesterday, reaching Ushuaia, Argentina 268 days after he set out from Anchorage, Alaska. Mark crossed through 12 countries on his journey, racking up 13,080 miles, and climbing two major mountains, in the process.

While this would seem like an incredibly long ride for just about anyone else, for Mark it’s only his second longest ride. Back in 2008, almost two years ago to the day, he finished circumnavigating the globe on his bike, a journey that took him just 195 days to complete, which was a record at that time.

To spice things up on his latest adventure, the Scotsman decided to throw a couple of new challenges into the mix. Not only did he climb the 20,320 foot tall Mt. McKinley, in Alaska, he also reached the summit of Aconcagua, which stands at 22,841 feet and is located in the Andes mountains of Argentina. The two peaks are the tallest in North and South America respectively.

While he peddled away the past eight months, Mark has also been blogging his experiences extensively, and it has made for an interesting travelogue. He clearly enjoys spending his time on the road, exploring the countries he passes through, and getting fully immersed in the local cultures. For their part, many of locals that he met along the trail thought that he was a little crazy for making such an epic journey on just his bicycle, but Mark was often touched by the kindness of strangers, who were usually curious about his expedition.

For certain sections of the ride, Beaumont was accompanied by a camera crew, but he also carried his own camera, and filmed much of it himself as well. All of the footage will be edited together to make a BBC documentary that will air in the U.K. later this year. No doubt it will be a fascinating adventure to watch unfold.