Posts from David Buckland

Time Magazine Picture of the Year

By Cape Farewell // Sunday 30 Dec // 15:42:21 // View

Cape Farewell are proud to announce Time Magazine ‘Pictures of the Year’ 2007 features Nick Cobbing’s photograph from the voyage. The end of year issue of TIME Magazine (December 31, 2007 – January 7, 2008) carries the photograph by Nick Cobbing from the 2007 expedition with a quote by David Buckland. The article aligns the Cape Farewell voyage to the NASA space mission (only a bit cheaper) and also carries a feature on Al Gore.
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By David // Monday 8 Oct // 19:55:30 // View

A calm night entrance to Northern Iceland, my last ‘watch’ ended at 6am – a mixture of sadness (voyaging is addictive) and relief that yet again we have all travelled safely. It always feels like a ‘Shakleton’ moment, all accounted for and no damage to life and limb. This expedition will go down in Cape Farewell folk law as the extreme one – the longest sea passage, the hardest physically on all of us, the most violent weather and that dance with ice and more ice. Yesterday Greenland really didn’t want to let us go as we did one of our famous nautical circles to find a way through an endless band of icebergs and sea ice offshore. Eventually we hugged the coast and literally pushed blocks of ice the size of busses out of our way to emerge to seaward just as the night closed in.

Greenland has given us the extreme beauty to match the extreme hardship, days of unimaginable senses which  have beguiled each of us. For me, the overall impression left from this expedition is a sense of awesome power; the power to shift a warm undersea river of water north that would take 100,000 nuclear power stations to generate, the power of wind and sea forces, the power of ice, how it shapes, melts and threatens. There is no human repost for this scale of activity, we have only just managed to witness and survive. We now know without doubt that our human activity and waste in the form of CO2 and other greenhouse gases is destabilising the status quo of the planetary systems – we are blindly stirring a hornets nest with our self obsession and greed and it is getting angry.

Here in the Arctic the temperatures are up 6 degrees Centigrade, weather patterns worldwide are destabilised: witness the floods in the UK, more violent hurricanes, drought in parts of the USA and Australia and recently a solid month of rainfall fell south of the Sahara from Ethiopia to Senegal. Each event on it’s own can be explained as a freak event but this is a pattern of events predicted as a consequence of our heating planet. The changes of climate will increase and become more unstable. If we have learnt anything on this expedition it is that the forces that will be released against us will not be manageable.

And then the magic rides in. We have not seen another human or even a trace of human endeavour for 17 days, we have been beyond any safety net, we have depended on our own resources and have engaged and become overwhelmed by the shear magic of bears, ice, light, emotions and our own shared company. Not totally true – we did manage to get close enough to civilisation to get Brian picked up by helicopter, satellites have fed us with information of position and weather and we have communicated using high tech devices. Escaping is not a desire but I am motivated to try to retain what we stand to lose. Small adjustments to our expectations of what defines our individual lives could achieve new technologies and ways of living that are sustainable.

Somehow embracing this change seems more fun and fulfilling than the status quo of more need, more aggression, more tension. I am doing what we all have agreed is futile – preaching. During this expedition we have all been inspired artistically, new works are in embryonic form and now we need to refine them, get them out into the public domain and hopefully engage, illuminate and inspire.
David Buckland

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Frantic activity and weather systems

By David // Saturday 6 Oct // 10:05:09 // 2 Comments // View

These Greenland days have been full of frantic activity and weather systems. Yesterday woke up to us easing our way through pack ice, grey morning and a perfect half-light for my projections onto the ice surface of a walking, naked, pregnant woman. She walked on ice at the speed of the ice moving past, a hypnotic illusion broken in a cubist fashion by the ice blocks and sea ice. This was followed by the projections of a moving baby that just struggled for existence with the breaking dawn. All wonderful.

We had to force our way out as new ice arrived from the sea into Barclay Sund – it felt quite desperate for a while as we pushed ice flows half the size of the boat out of the way. We headed south to a less ice strewn Sund, a following northerly that rocked and rolled and after four hours we could ease our way in to calm and a shore landing. Both Aminatou and Liam had prepared new music so the afternoon was spent recording two videos from the snow landscape overlooking the most awesome landscape and Hollywood lighting. Liam’s song he had only just finished writing, great music and it looks great in the camera, we should be able to put it on the web next week. We are having trouble sending his last song, 12mb via satellite is not easy this far north. We try again this morning.

The evening was spent projecting texts by myself and Ami onto an Ice Berg, which was the most beautiful one we have found yet. Magic. Finally we motored to our haven of rest for the night only to witness the most amazing northern light display that went on all night. The fiord was also freezing but this morning we are thankful not locked in ice. All that not bad for one day, everyone exhausted and elated.

Today a morning of activity before we head out to sea and head for Iceland across the Denmark Straight. 40 mile an hour winds from the North – easy!

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A Sailor’s Log

By David // Tuesday 2 Oct // 06:00:45 // 6 Comments // View


The first sight of Greenland, a moonlit cloud bank over the distant shadow of land.

Time has this odd circulate quality; I think it was 48 hours ago that expectations of land were high, on a course of west-southwest from Spitsbergen. We had received an ice report that maybe, just maybe, it would be clear of ice to enter Scorsby. A direct course was set and the wind; force five, from the north increasing to force 7 later, snow and poor visibility. We had been warned.

60 miles out and ice flows were sighted on the starboard bow, expected and no threat – we continued our course. 40 miles from Scorsby we are force by the ice flows to change course to south, the ice flow appears to be 2000 meters across, the wind is now force 7 and sleet/snow blows horizontal through the rigging. We are on a number three jig and speed is 7-8 knots. The air temperature is -2 degrees C. By 2 pm we again change course to south east followed shortly by east south east, the ice has now become an alarming lee shore in a force 7 driving wind, still on number 3 jib, holding course and 5 knots – searching for a brake in the ice.
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David Route

By David // Monday 1 Oct // 14:40:03 // 1 Comment // View

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Coversation with David Buckland.
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Everything is falling around my head

By David // Friday 28 Sep // 14:30:01 // 1 Comment // View

Plates, tins of Formaggio, crisps are falling around my head as I write this in the dinning room outside the galley. The past 36 hours have been grim, SW gale, cold driving wind and rain – the stockiness of our team amazes me and I am surprised I haven’t been lynched for subjecting them to such an ordeal. We have continued with our oceanography measurements and oddly lying in the purgatory of my bunk yesterday I envisioned how to make all this scientific visioning into a piece of art. It is difficult not just to illustrate the science but to somehow get across the poetry of this great Greenland Sea ‘tract’ they are conducting. Working this through in my studio on my return will be it’s test but I have been trying to find a way of working the science and art together and the forced prone position of my bunk mixed with endless agitation might have just cracked it.

We are all exhausted and each have found a unique way to suffer, Brian, healthy of body is suffering dark dreams and hallucinations, for Aminatu this place is foreign, the sea frightening and after her deserts she cannot comprehend the fact that the earth is 70% ocean – she is even looking forward to the calmness of ice.

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Coversation with David

By David // Friday 28 Sep // 10:30:24 // View


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Coversation with David Buckland during heavy weather crossing the Greenland Sea.
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At sea

By David // Wednesday 26 Sep // 16:01:52 // 1 Comment // View



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