Franz Josef Land Expedition: Setting Off

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Team huddle as MS Polaris sets course for Frantz Josef Land. (Photo by Lucie McNeil)

National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala is setting off to explore Franz Josef Land, one of the most remote archipelagos in the world, only 900 km from the North Pole. Home to polar bears, whales, seals and more, the team will investigate how global warming may be affecting this crucial ecosystem in ways we still do not fully comprehend.  Follow his adventures throughout the month. 

We’re finally on our way.  I lightly bounce from the top step of the deck to get my first glimpse of our course, feeling a competing sense of calm satisfaction and high expectation.

Joining the rest of the team I look back behind us at the bay, beyond the fluttering Russian flag and an assortment of dive tanks lining the back deck, the sheer heft of the enormous cargo ships, submarines and bustling tugs scattered about, I catch Dave’s eye and grin.

Dave McAloney has been, as always, a sturdy peg upon which to nail logistics’ needs, issues and obstacle-shattering.  We have him and so many like him in our team, thank goodness.

Turning forward toward the crisp, arctic horizon, the greatest cargo is waiting.

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The team is off and an adventure awaits. (Photo by Lucie McNeil)

NEXT: Read All Franz Josef Land 2013 Blog Posts


The Pristine Seas: Franz Josef Land expedition is sponsored by Blancpain and Davidoff Cool Water. 


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Meet the Author
Marine ecologist Dr. Enric Sala is a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence who combines science, exploration and media to help restore marine life. Sala’s scientific publications are used for conservation efforts such as the creation of marine protected areas. 2005 Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow, 2006 Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation, 2008 Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum.