National Geographic : 1983 Jul
On Assignment Though exhausting, it was not the toughest part of their 1,600-mile venture. "The waiting was worse," Dr. Bockstoce said. "Every time the ice forced us ashore, we felt the summer ticking away, and with it our chances to finish the voyage." Finish they did, though it took three sum mers instead of one (see page 100). Fighting severe weather, they were held back from starting their journey until mid-July. By late August, winter winds had begun to howl. The ice was so bad one year it forced them to return after only 150 miles. But they never gave up. Bockstoce has been visiting the Arctic since he was a teenager. His first job was on a boat delivering medical supplies to vil lages. Later he loaded dynamite on aircraft for mineral-exploration crews. PUSHING A BOAT is a poor way to cross Today, as a curator of the New Bedford the far north. But archaeologist John Whaling Museum in Massachusetts, he ex Bockstoce knew it was better than getting plores the ruins of Yankee whaling camps. "I trapped in ice off the Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula. don't know why I love the Arctic," he says. "I So he and his companions leaped into arctic guess it's the stark beauty of white ice, blue slush and for four long days hand-hauled their sea, and green meadows. Besides, it was fun walrus-skin umiak and canvas freight canoe sloshing along in icy waters and getting a sun through meandering cracks in the frozen sea. burn at the same time." Companions in adventure, Jonathan Wright, foreground, and Ashley Long share a moment of relaxationduring their voyage across the Canadian Arctic. Both would soon perishin accidents unrelatedto the journey-Ashley in an explosion in Alaska in 1979, Jonathanin an avalanche while climbing in Tibet in 1980. Another tragic postscript: Crew member Bib Tevuk drowned in Alaska in 1979. Jonathancontributedto a dozen Nation al Geographic Society projects, earning a reputation as a sensitive photojournalist. Born in Aspen, Colorado, where his wife and daughter live today, he was an avid outdoorsman whose work frequently took him to the Himalayas. Says a friend of Jonathan: "He was the best partner a man could have-either on the mountain or off it."