Journey to the North Pole with Sarah (2007)
And her (ancient) Garmin  Legend! ° Text by jack yeazel ° Photos by Sarah Gilboe ©

Her cruise started from Murmansk. Russia and traveled to the North Pole on the nuclear-powered
Russian icebreaker, Yamal, used as a 100-passenger cruise ship during the summer.
You might be interested in reading how to set your GPS to UPS Polar Coordinates (HERE)
 The cruise was provided by Quark Expeditions.

(Click on the pictures below for larger sizes)

Sarah Guides the Russian Nuclear-powered Icebreaker to the Proper Spot!

90° North
Sarah is standing over the North Pole (which is under the ship).  Here Longitude has no meaning.

Making a GPS Chart of the North Pole

First, one must find a good chart of the North pole
This IBCAO.jpg chart comes from (HERE).

Next we rotated the chart 30° clockwise, so that the starting point (Murmansk) would be at the bottom.

The hardest part was registering the chart with Ozi Explorer, since it didn't support Polar Coordinates.
After much experimenting, the Equidistant Conic (EQC) projection and the WGS 84 Map Datum gave the best results.

Here we have used seven known points on the chart to "force feed" the registration with Ozi.
For a fully registered DRG chart compatible with OziExplorer, get (THIS) file.

Sarah's waypoints and tracks can now be placed on this GPS map of the Arctic.

The trip starts from Murmansk "EMBARK" (red track), and then back to the Franz Josef Archipelago (magenta).

NOTE:  Sarah turned on her Legend only for short periods of time to record waypoints, thus the track segments are too short to be visible on the Arctic maps.  G7ToWin was used to splice these segments together in order for the ship's track to be displayed.

This is a more detailed view of the northern tracks

Murmansk to the Pole
(Click on thumbnails below for larger sizes)
The first waypoint, EMBARK (July 22, 2007)
Murmansk, Russia Seaport ° Floating Dry Dock ° Harbor Guarded by a large Statue

WHALE-1 (July 23, 2007)
Cold water doesn't bother these creatures.

BEAR-1 (July 24, 2007)

This fellow had a nice breakfast.

NEPTUNE (July 25, 2007)
Passengers are treated to a helicopter ride. °  The Yamal grinds along.

King Neptune summons his helpers and has to make sure the people going to the pole are worthy.  He then gives them the
key to the north pole.  Actually, the story of King Neptune is a sailors story and is for when they cross the equator,
but somehow the Russians use it for going to the North Pole too.  After being deemed 'worthy', the guests all dance in circles!

THIN-ICE and 7-27-07-9A
Yep, the ice is thin. ° This fellow looks a little young to be piloting an icebreaker! ° Here the ship is about 50 miles from the pole.

July 27, 2007, the day the ship made it to the North Pole
The GPS indicates 5 miles from the pole. ° North Pole? It must be out there somewhere.  ° Hey, we made it; let's celebrate!

OK, everybody out. ° Doesn't look like the captain is the last to leave his ship! ° Now, let's find that Pole.

Everyone is searching for the Pole. ° Yamal would rather 'eat' the Pole. ° The Pole is actually under the ship, 240 feet from Sarah.

Oh heck, let's call it HERE! ° (Sarah is from Madison, WI)

The Pole back to Murmansk
Accommodations aboard the Yamal are First Class!

July 29, 2007
Another Sight-seeing Helicopter Ride which can carry 10 to 12 passengers at a time.
(A model of the Yamal's sisiter ship is in the Murmansk Museum)

BEAR-TRACK (July 30, 2007)
Bear Tracks about 150 miles south of the Pole

OK, so what's all the excitement about? ° -A beautiful bear posing for his picture!

Approaching the Franz Josef Archipelago

Interesting reflection of the ship in calm waters.
Sarah is the faint tan smudge at the top of the white taking the picture.
Aug. 2014 detailed National Geographic map of Frans Joseph Land and route of Chasing Nansen's Ghost
by Børge Ousland and Thomas Ulrich (below)

July 30, 2007 Ashore
The Trusty Three-engine helicopter lands on Champa Island.  The ice-capped mountains are the highest on the archipelago.

 -To observe huge geodes, one of which was eventually transported back to the ship.  And there aren't many left!

SEDOV-STA (July 31, 2007) Named for Rudolph Sedov, early Arctic explorer, who is buried there.
Hooker island and the abandoned Thikaya station -which has "Hazardous" Comfort Facilities!

Rubini Rock in the distance is actually a rookery for thousands of birds.

Another Helicopter ride to Cape Flora on Northbrook Island.
Here they met National Geographic explorers, Børge Ousland and Thomas Ulrich, who walked, skied, sledded, and
canoed from the North Pole to Cape Flora.  Now waiting to be picked up by ship.  See (HERE) for the complete story.

Wild life hangs on even in severe conditions.

The Bear Guard?

For even more information about Franz-Josef-Land, see Andreas Umbreit's web page (HERE)

WHALE-2 (Aug. 1, 2007)
There appears to also be two calves traveling along.

This is as low as the sun got on the whole trip

Aug. 2, 2007
These Russians have lots of rosy cheeks °  The Last dinner aboard the Yamal went off with a BANG!

Murmansk Harbor,  Aircraft Carrier Kuznetsov ° Similar Varyag during conversion ° The New Chinese Carrier, Liaoning
The Chinese carrier, Liaoning, is the retrofitted Russian carrier Varyag

The "Welcoming Committee" back Home

Added Information:
Since the ship apparently 'parked' over the North pole, Sarah had to walk around the deck of the ship to find 90°N.
The camera used for the photographs was a 10MP Canon Digital Rebel XTi.
The photographs were color-corrected, sharpened, and re-sized with Photoshop Elements.
Photographing snow and ice in dim light is quite difficult.  Click (HERE) for an original of the bear 'close-up'.