A team of Norwegian rowers may have become the first ever to complete a row across the Arctic Ocean from south to north. But, this impressive achievement is just one small step in their plans, which include covering more than 2000 km (1242 miles) of open ocean.
The aptly named Polar Row got underway last month from Tromso, Norway with the intention of first rowing to the archipelago of Svalbard before eventually turning back south and rowing to Iceland. The crew consists of 9 men, led by skipper Fian Paul, who has already rowed across the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indiana Oceans. They completed the first leg of that journey last week, arriving in Svalbard for a short break. After that, they returned to the ocean to continue along their way. They even continued further north to reach a milestone before pointing their boat towards the finish line in Iceland.
Rowing 12 hours per day and in 90 minute shifts, the team managed to make history when they reached the Polar Ice Shelf at 78ºN latitude. It is believed that in doing so, they became the first people to actually row across the Arctic Ocean, dodging icebergs, shifting weather patterns, and high winds as they go. Their eventual goal was to touch 80ºN before turning back. After that, it was nearly impossible to continue to make progress in such a small boat.