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Pole to Pole

Day 1: The North Pole

Michael Palin - Pole to PoleIt's too late to ask the producer now, too late to begin to speculate why I so eagerly agreed to come here, and completely out of order even to mention that if we survive this ice landing we have only another 12,500 miles to go.

At two minutes past four our De Havilland Twin Otter, designed in the fifties and much loved and trusted by Arctic flyers, is finally over the North Pole. One almost looks for a point, a peak, a curve offering tantalizing glimpses of those huge land masses - Alaska, Siberia, Scandinavia and Canada - which back on to the Arctic. But all there is to see is ice and the nearer we get to it the more evident it is that the ice is not in good shape. Russ, a self-contained, taciturn man about whom I know nothing other than that my life is in his hands, leans forward from the controls, scanning the conditions below and frowning.

Technology cannot help him now. The decision as to how, when and ultimately whether to drop the plane onto the ice is for his judgement alone.
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  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 1
  • Country/sea: Arctic Ocean
  • Place: North Pole
  • Book page no: 11

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