My October QST arrived the other day and I noticed VY0 DXpedition had front page coverage. This was the first article I wanted to read. Cezar Trifu VE3LCY went on a DXpedition to Pen Island in Hudson Bay it is considered an Arctic island. I have been involved in many northern Canadian hiking and camping trips both winter and summer. Most were either one or two weeks trips at a time. With my outdoor experience I had a great interest in reading the East Pen Island DXpedition. I will be honest I finished reading the article and I was in disbelief. I'm not sure why Cezar got himself into the situation he did....a potentially deadly one for sure!! VE3LYC upon arriving in Fort Severn temperature being -29 C (pretty normal) he found his guide was not really as ready as he hoped he would be. That's ok this happens to all of us but as the adventure went on the wheels started to fall off and the warning bells were sounding loud and clear. Now Cezar began his 120km snow machine trip to the Arctic island it was a balmy -17C felling like -25C with the wind chill. Five hours later they were only 22k into the trip....because the guides snow machine was having mechanical trouble. It was then his guide informed him this was a known problem......one wheel on the car just fell off. The person you are depending on is not dependable. They now had to turn around and get another snow machine, when they made it to Pen Island the wind was blowing between 90-100km's antennas were setup and gear working and contacts being made. Pretty normal for any DXpedition one would say. Another BIG wheel on the car is about to fall off...His guide Tommy informed Cezar that he is LEAVING!!!! As an experienced outdoors person this is were Cezar should had shut down and gone back with Tommy and cut his losses. Number one rule in the wilderness never never ever be there alone. Mind you Tommy did tell him that another guide would be with him in a few hours. If someone is not with you your on your own (bad news) being told someone is coming is not a sure thing and for Cezar it turned to not be a sure thing. If Tommy was an exspiranced guide he should of waited until relief made it, he did not. The other guides snow machine broke down (go figure) and he could not come. Now two wheels are off the car and the fast downhill slide begins to happen. Tommy did leave him a rifle and Cezar did find some anti bear spray. Anti bear spray does not work well in the cold and not at all when windy. Polar bears are smart if you are their next
scooby snack, they wait for a nice snow storm to pay a visit. They are white the storm is a white out, before you know it Yogi is sitting beside you. Now the weather was changing as it does up there he was now experiencing heavy rain and was finding out his tent leaked as well. This is wheel number three falling off. Oh a word about the tent it looked like it was from the times when the wild west was in full bloom and not Arctic grade at all. Wooden poles lashed together with canvas more or less thrown over.
After the rain the weather would go back to being very cold.(just great if your wet) It was not until Cezar went for 36 hours without GAS, POWER, WATER OR FIRE before he would call SOS. I had to re-read that 36 HOURS!!! Folks up there if you don't have just one or two of the above items its game over. Now things are just out of control all four wheels are off and it's a downhill tumble. It ended well for VE3LYC he had a land team arrive thanks to many hams who spoke with him and assisted with help. It upsets me to read a story like this, a DXpedition and should be for challenge, sport and fun not potentially deadly. His guides let him down big time and that could of cost him his life.