Virgile, Mathias and Dixie are still in Longyearbyen awaiting a trip to Barneo Ice Station. The cause of the wait: a dispute between the Russian camp organisers and the Ukranian airline which exclusively services the flights to the Arctic ice runway.
It's a feeling all too familiar for the majority of people around our globe. We are currently at the mercy of a political struggle that has somehow found its way - literally - to the North Pole.
Our trio is choosing to take the high road and stay focused, an increasingly complicated task as the hours of incessant waiting attempt to wear them down. They have been in Longyearbyen for 10 days.
In the spirit of "the glass is half full," Dixie has plenty of preparatory tasks for Mathias and Virgile to complete. They spent extra time practicing for the Arctic compression zones that they will ultimately face on their Last Degree trek.
They've honed their sled-pulling techniques and acclimated themselves very well to the cold. They've shown their ability to embrace difficulty, even in their acceptance of an overcrowded Longyearbyen settlement that is running out of hotel space and increasingly competitive restaurant reservations. Several nights in their hotel lobby didn't seem to bother them ... and they are now back in a proper room at our beloved Mary-Ann's Polarrigg.
The local film cinema had a showing of Free Solo the other night, which provided a welcome diversion and a bit of perspective for our team. Following the movie, Dixie took the opportunity to host a dinner at Kroa, an establishment that offers excellent food in "dude" sized portions, generous brews, and an authentic atmosphere of polar adventure and Svalbard mining history.
Today we are expecting a definitive update from Norpolex regarding the flight logistics situation and the expected eventual departure to Barneo.
Until then, we'll focus our vibes on a world without politicians and power plays ... and ... why not ... peace.
One initiative that gives hope: Mathias Dufour's https://leplusimportant.org.