Before Nansen and his men could even get up on to the ice cap to begin the first crossing of Greenland, they had to reach the shore on the east coast. The sealing ship Jason had transported the expedition team from Iceland and once they were 20kms offshore they launched small boats to reach the coast, the ‘point of no return’, as Nansen called it.
The condition of the sea meant they were unable to land and eventually drifted some 380kms south of where planned starting point …for the crossing! They fought their way north through the coastal ice floes, and covered 200kms in 12 days, when they reached Umivik Bay. Still far south of their intended starting point Nansen realised that they simply had to get underway with the crossing, before the season progressed any further. After four days preparing in Umivik Bay, they stored the boats and some excess supplies in their ‘last resting place’ and began a treacherous ascent on to the ice cap.