05/04/2014

Here we go Belgium pour un record mondial en Arctique! Likez et Encouragez!

 
Soyez prêts à suivre durant ces mois d'avril, mai et juin 2014 le si sympathique explorateur polaire belge Dixie Dansercoer (photos ci-dessous) qui se lancera, avec son partenaire d'expédition Eric McNair-Landrypour un nouveau record du monde en Arctique, à savoir de parcourir sur la calotte glaciaire du Groenland plus de 5.000km en kite et en ski et ce en parfaite autonomie…  

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Seulement cette année, la concurrence sera particulièrement rude vu la présence des vents glacés extrêmes de saison, des témpératures basses, des crevasses inattendues, des impacts du réchauffement climatique sur la calotte glaciaire groenlandaise…mais aussi, la présence de deux autres équipes qui relèveront à cette même période le même défi: une espagnole et l’autre, franco-allemande…Les paris sont donc lancés!
 
Dixie Dansercoer est un vrai "modèle sportif" tant pour les jeunes, que pour les managers...qui souhaitent savoir comment améliorer leur performance, leur concentration et acquérir des valeurs indispensables pour assurer du "bien être" au sein de l'équipe dont ils ont la charge. Nous sommes allés à sa rencontre pour une interview exclusive que vous trouverez ci-dessous!  
 
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- You and Eric Mc Nair-Landry will be starting in a few days a "sports expedition" on the Greenland ice-cap with your kites & skis, can you please explain us your goals?

We want to consider this expedition as the sequel to the Antarctic ICE expedition back in 2011-12 (www.antarcticice.be ) and so we have moved up from the Southern Hemisphere to the second largest icecap to be found on this planet, namely Greenland.  

  dixie dansercoer 5
 

- Did you prepare well your physical and mental training to be fit to confront the rough & cold Arctic winds ?

I keep my base fitness level in between expeditions, but in the last phase of physical preparation I am back at pulling tires through the fields of Huldenberg. In addition to that I have trained the specific, intrinsic muscle groups that I now know will be solicited much during an expedition like this. On a mental level, I realize that – once again - we will be faced again with the big unknown of the Eastern part of the ‘mini-continent’ of Greenland, but that keeps me on edge, alert and ready to be resilient. 

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- What's your age Dixie if we may ask ? How do you remain so fit & sharp? Do you see yourself still challenging the Poles at 65 years old ? Any secrets to share with us in terms of attitude, diet, philospohy ?

Ha, that’s a good one.  I remember when driving the zodiac and explaining to Queen Paola during a cruise in NE Greenland all of the little secrets of snow and ice, she suddenly asked me how old I was and when at the time I said that I was almost 50, she blurted out that I would be good for 10 more years of ‘service’. 

So I guess that another 8 years at this moment should not be a problem and we’ll take it from there!  I will certainly be guiding beyond that because I have only just started to structure well these activities.  Since that requires a solid organization, investment and long-term planning, it helps me keep myself fit for many more years to come. But I must admit that comes naturally, since it is more of a life’s vision and attitude.

  dixie dansercoer 2
 
At home we truly believe in a healthy diet and we can be called ‘flexitarians’, only eating meat when people offer it to us as a gesture of friendship and hospitality, something that cannot be refused. I also love sports and focus on running, which I have done ever since I was a kid. I still love windsurfing and have made the transition to kiteboarding as well.
 
Together with my wife Julie, we find much pleasure in a good game of tennis, and when I have time to spare I love long-distance race – or mountainbiking. We also believe that our generation – barring incidents or accidents – can easily live beyond 100 years on condition that we do not abuse our bodies….  

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- Still, you must have weak points...how do you challenge them during an expedition ?
 
Oh, you know, I am just as cold as anyone else, but I believe I can now rely on all these years of experience and with age we can ‘place’ things better. Frame them.  So, even when I dip, I know I’ll crawl out of that short moment of weakness and that is perfectly fine.  But I know I may not lose the focus, and the weight of such expeditions really keeps you on your toes.  It is probably best that there are so many people you have to account to, because if I were just alone, doing my thing, I think I would let go easier and be less ambitious.
 
   dixie 5
 
- Where did you meet your expedition partner Eric ?  Did you train together ?  What did you already learn from him which may help you to achieve your mutual project with great success?
 
I met Eric in Cape Town before the start of the Antarctic Ice Expedition and I immediately liked him.  I pretty much have the same feeling as with Sam Deltour, who was also a solid guy on all levels.  So my gut feeling gives me full confidence, especially since he has such a great CV and he is also a super snowkiter, very important for this upcoming expedition. We will be seeing each other in Spitsbergen in March, when I also guide a group of 6 for a ‘mini-expedition’, which is part of my future focus on guiding. 
 
I am certain that Eric has full knowledge of the Ozone kites we will be using and since we only received the new quiver two weeks ago, we’ll have plenty of adaptations to do.  I will listen carefully to his advice!  And he is curious what I have to say about the mega-kites Sam an I used in Antarctica!  
 
 
dixie dansercoer 4
 
- Did you do some training at the Belgian coast, in Huldenberg woods or/& rather somewhere like Iceland? Any good spots you would recommand ?
 
As we are not in the best place for specific snow training in Belgium where we have only little snow in the winter, it is all about simulating. So, yes, I do go out in the fields around Huldenberg to pull tires. Additionally, I do go out to the ice & snow in Switzerland, Lapland or Spitsbergen for specific cold training. Embracing guiding people more also gives me the opportunity to not lose touch with the hard reality of the cold!  

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- Give us please some insight on your next Arctic expedition  in 2015 with Alain Hubert (left in below picture, Dixie on the right)?
 
This is an expedition that will depart from the North Pole at the beginning of April and our azimuth will be the archipelago of Franz Jozef Land. Clearly, this is asking for trouble, as there is less and less ice as you approach this collection of island to the east of Spitsbergen.  We will drag kayaks behind us instead of sleds in order to cross extensive areas of open water. We have no solution as of yet to get away from there, but we are working on that. There is a lot of Russian red tape involved, but we have learned the tricks of the trade to deal with those situations as well!  
 
alain hubert & dixie dansercoer
 
- Where can all Arctic lovers follow you, Eric and your day by day adventure in Greenland ?
 
There will be a dedicated website www.greenlandice.be
 
We will, of course, give updates on Twitter and Facebook and Jullie will be writing the blogs & updates. 
 
  Capture d’écran 2014-03-22 à 11.52.43
 
- Any special message you would like to address to Arctic05/Ice and Green fans ?

Place your bets, because we have competition coming our way for the Greenland ICE expedition with a Spanish team and a French/German team going round as well!

 
dixie dansercoer 3
 

03/02/2013

Into wonderland Sahara: back to basics, freedom & nature!


Discret, généreux et toujours souriant, Koen Kestens a découvert il y a peu la magnificence et la variation des couleurs du désert et de son milieu sauvage. Ce néerlandophone belge de 42 ans est un amoureux de randonnées, d'activités en plein air et de nature. 


Il nous livre et partage en images et au travers d'une interview exclusive pour Ice and Green sa passion pour les impressionnantes étendues désertiques!  

 

Discreet, generous and always smiling, Koen Kestens recently discovered the magnificence and the variety of colours in the desert as well as its wildlife. This Belgian of 42 years old is a lover of nature, hiking & outdoor activities.


He shares with Ice and Green his passion for the breathtaking desert landscapes through an exclusive interview and pictures! 

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The colors of the sand is so beautiful and peaceful!


- You are a great lover of the Sahara and its desert. Why and when did this passion of yours started?

 

Since years, I was looking out to visit the great Africa, with their amazing animals and perfect panorama views. Out of Africa, was also the movie that inspired me to come to visit this continent.


A few years ago, finaly I had the chance to go to North Africa. My first steps into the dessert wasn't easy, because I choose the great South of Algeria. For many people it was hard to believe I picked that country knowing the threats of terrorism. I was lucky to visit Algeria, beacause nowdays, it’s rather impossible to visit that beautiful country without any risks.


But the people – the views & lanscapes – the dessert life and way of living are moments of great outdoors. Be one with nature and feel what nature does with you! So, stunning!  

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Palm trees and camels are living creatures in the desert, but not the only ones !

 

- So, your objective at the heart of the desert is to do some sports hiking, discover the unknown & the infinity and meet locals nomads ? 

 

To become one with nature, you have to feel it and hiking is one of the possibilities to discover a lot of the unknown. Meeting locals and share a moment of their daily life is a great way to understand our own western way of living.


To discover the day, not by the minutes of our clock, but with nature's time is so perfect. Standing up with the sun and follow its rythm and colors is a fantastic feeling.  

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Touaregs taking life as it comes...not like us, always on the go!

 

 

- How tough is it to adapt with the heat, the lack of water & food, the desert winds and the nights which I presume can be quite fresh & chilly (depending on the season) ? 

 

 

The possibility to adapt or not, the answer is to be found in our own body ressources! How good can we adapt to daily situations? Can we think out of the box? Do we have to be clean all day long? Do we know our body? Our body can go more far then we think.


The desert is a clean space where one is invited to go back to the basics of life. We don’t have there the same needs that we think we should have to get along day by day...


For the climate conditions, with the right material, there’s often no reason not to go outdoors…  

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Moon lanscape of the Algerian desert...

 

 

- I have seen beautiful/breathtaking landscapes pictures of yours, what are your 3 most memorable souvenirs out there in the middle of nowhere?

 

Every morning with the upcoming sun, every evening when the sun goes to sleep and every moment of big  and breathtaking landscape views are memorable moments. To hear the silence in the desert is a very special moment too.  

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So endless, so perfect, so balanced…The way of living - "Out of Africa" …

 

- In fact, the desert is for you what the Arctic is for me a Kingdom where one can feel freedom, relaxation, respect and inspiration ?

 

I do believe each instants where one can be in the nature, go back to our roots and think, is a way to freedom and inspiration. The nature needs our respect and we will be respected by nature!


The only question is, do we allow ourself to go back to the basics and respect the way that nature is living?

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 After long days of working in hard conditions, life ends on the plate…

 

- What type of material would one need to bring to do some hiking in the desert for several weeks ? This type of equipment can be found in the adventure shop Kariboe where you are working in Leuven ?

 

The good material that you can take with you are the product that are multifunctional and fits in the layering system. Without that you’ll take to much with you. Knowing the bounderies of the equipment is very important.


Don’t forget the insulation, because it can be very cold in the evening and night – so be a cameleon and adapt as good as possible to the chanching conditions.


All the materials, you can find with us and you will get advice at first hand. Don’t buy to much, but the right stuff!  

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 Koen Kestens at Kariboe's shop in Leuven...

Always happy to help & give the best advice for your outdoor summer & winter adventures! 


- In the Arctic one needs to be respectful towards the nature and its wildlife animals, what are the common sense rules to respect when you enter the Kingdom of Sand?

 

Respect the culture, the feelings around religion, nature is essential. The dessert is a clean environment with lots of wildlife. More then we can imagine. Leave no trace behind, only our footsteps may be the proove of our presents and even the wind will wipe them out after a few moments. 


Always remember that nature allow us to visit some places, but when it is time to leave, then go. Nature will be forever – we, not – so allow our children the possibility to visit nature… 

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Shadow and sun on the dunes...  

 

- Any particular message you would like to address to all Ice and Green visitors ?  

 

Allow yourself to go back to the basics and disconnect from all modern things to understand how we exist. Allow yourself to think out of the box. Respect nature in all its forms, live with nature and not against it.


We only live once, but our world well be there forever. Respect it, but go outdoors and learn from nature… 


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 Mountain of sand dunes...breathtaking!

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 After a day of rain, the desert turns into a river... 

 

Vous voulez en savoir plus sur son expérience au coeur du désert, rendez-lui une petit visite chez Kariboe à Leuven en Belgique...Occasion aussi d'apprécier tout le matériel nécessaire à vos randonnées nature ou autres activités de plein air.


If you wish to know more about his experience at the heart of the desert, go for a small visit to Kariboe in the Belgian city of Leuven...opportunity to check the outdoor & hiking material you may need for your activities. 

26/03/2012

Sensational Antarctica world record - exclusive interview of Belgian polar explorers Dixie Dansercoer & Sam Deltour!

Fabulous...they made itttt! - Tout simplement sensationnel...ils ont réussi! -  Buitengewoon sensationeel...ze zijn geslaagd!  

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Nederlands 

Enkele weken geleden, hebben onze twee poolreizigers Dixie Dansercoer (rechts) en Sam Deltour (links) het wereldrecord gebroken van de langste niet- bevoorrade en niet-gemotoriseerde expeditie op Antarctica. Ze hadden ons reeds voor hun vertrek een exclusief interview bezorgd (dit kan u door hierop te klikken herlezen >>) met een beschrijving over hun voorbereidingen en emoties en hoe deze condities van extreme koude te trotseren.  

Vandaag heb ik hen terug ontmoet voor een nieuw interview dat jullie hieronder kunnen terugvinden zodat wij beter zouden begrijpen wat er achter de schermen van dit ongelofelijk geslaagd avontuur heeft afgespeeld. Zo kunnen we ook besluiten dat de uitdrukking ‘de aanhouder wint’ aan de basis ligt om van onze dromen werkelijkheid te maken. Gefeliciteerd Dixie en Sam! 

Français

Il y a quelques semaines, nos deux explorateurs polaires belges Dixie Dansercoer (à droite) et Sam Deltour (à gauche) ont battu le record du monde de la plus longue expédition en Antarctique sans approvisionnement et sans assistance motorisée. Ils nous livraient déjà avant leur départ dans une interview exclusive (que vous pouvez relire en cliquant ici >>)  les préparatifs et leurs ressentis pour affronter les conditions froides de l'extrême.

Aujourd'hui, je suis allé à leur rencontre pour une nouvelle interview que vous trouverez ci-dessous afin nous puissions mieux comprendre les coulisses de cette incroyable aventure réussie et conclure d'emblé que "la persévérance est le maître mot pour accomplir ses rêves". Félicitations Dixe et Sam!

English

A few weeks ago, both Belgian polar explorers Dixie Dansercoer (right) and Sam Deltour (left) have broken the world record for the longest unassisted and non-motorized expedition in Antarctica. We had already the privilege to interview them before they departure (read here >>) to understand how one needs to be prepared to achieve such expedition in harsh, cold & extreme conditions. 

Today, I wanted to interview them again (here below) for us to better understand the up & downs of such an incredible polar adventure. Above all, let me please already point out the lesson learned of their success: "perseverence is certainly the key word to achieve your dreams”. Congratulations Dixie and Sam!  

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- What a sensational achievement guys, a world polar première...what are the key mental & physical factors to reach such impressive goal in so harsh, so cold, so windy & extreme polar conditions ?  

Dixie=> Clearly, achieving such grand goals can only be accomplished with impeccable preparation, thorough equipment adaptation, a solid dose of desire to reach so-called unreachable goals and a great love for the polar regions.  

Sam=> I totally agree with Dixie. You have to put your whole heart and mind into it, in that order.  

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- Lots of people are wondering how Polar explorers are handling  in such freezing conditions => the accumulation of fatigue after daily skiing, tracking your material, loosing calories, being expose to 24/7 sun... ?

Dixie=> The cold should be your third expedition partner.  Accepting it like a handicap that limits you in your doings is an important first step to this kind of acceptance.  Clearly, you need to know the tricks to combat the cold and that only comes with experience:  one must eat, drink regularly, enjoy enough sleep, know how to dress in specific weather conditions, rely on a well-trained body that is in optimal shape, know the dangers and the red line of low temperatures and strong winds, ...   

Sam=> You just have to do it, and you have to do it right. Don’t whine, don’t complain, laugh at your own misery from time to time and focus on the good things! I know that’s not always easy!  

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- How does it work if you need suddenly to go to the toilet when it can be -20 °C & wearing all your Gore-tex gear? 

Dixie=>  That is a classic question Sourire  FAST is the word!  And it is the worst moment of the day when you come from the relative warmth of the tent.  Again, experience helps:  execute studied gestures, not wasting ANY time to prevent any kind of frostbite and a healthy diet helps you keep a strict routine of going to the toilet so that you can rely to nature’s call to happen at the same moment every day.  Having to ‘go’ in the middle of the day is not something you’ll enjoy because the impact of the cold is much greater and you cannot run back to a tent to ‘re-organize’ things!  

Sam=> Haha, I agree with Dixie!! Fast is the magic word, faster is even better Sourire. You know what, that’s probably the thing I hated the most. If it gets down to -45 and there is a nice wind blowing outside you better be really fast. Having diarrhea in such conditions is something nobody should experience.  

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- Do you have time to wash your body, to clean your socks, clothes...do you use ice you boil then in your tent?

Dixie=> Unfortunately washing can only happen once or twice in those 100 days when there is no wind, when the sun is shining happily and only with temperatures warmer than – 20°C which did not happen at all during our expedition. Our average temperature over the 100 days was minus 31°C...  

Sam=> Yep… that’s it… what can I say, things start to smell. Although it must be said that the cold dulls all bad smells. Also, after a while you just get used to it I suppose. But I was a little worried for my washing machine when it had to deal with my expedition clothing. All windows and doors were wide open while we were taking care of that.  

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- Is the distance with your beloved family and friends something which can at a certain point have a sudden negative effect on your daily performance ?    

Dixie=> No, on the contrary.  Having contact with our headquarters and occasionally with friends and family gave us a big boost.  

Sam=>Yep, I wholeheartedly agree!!! It is always special when you get to hear the people you’ve been thinking about all day long. I never really missed those at home in a negative way, rather on the contrary. Being out there I realized how much they meant to me and how much I appreciate and love them. 

Sam, for you this Antarctica expedition is a première... what was the most difficult daily thing to overcome during your expedition ? The presence & proven expertise of Dixie Dansercoer was certainly a “booster” for you... in which way?  

The presence of Dixie was a huge booster for me to say the least. Dixie is a very nice person to live with. There was a lot of time for laughter and good talks. Also, I learned so much from just watching Dixie. His calm, trust, positive attitude and general good-natured behavior were a real privilege to experience.

The most difficult thing to overcome during the expedition was dealing with the inevitable aches and pains. My knee and ankle were giving me a really hard time. Ah, and also, as I said, going to the toilet!  

antarctica,pôle sud,expédition,perseverance,polar circles,voyages polaires,poolreizigers,sam deltour,ski,polaire,north pole,kiting,arctic,arctic05,gortex,iceberg,winds,snow,explorer,banquise,record du monde,calotte,explorateurs polaires,www. antarcticice.be,mobistar,dixie dansercoer-  Dixie, you have been many times to the Antarctic...did you notice the effects of climate change ? Where you then confronted to dangerous new unknown situations ?

Dixie=> No, as we had very low temperatures and ‘normal’ temperature conditions, I could not say that global warming is manifesting itself to a degree where I would be noticing it.  Where I must believe the trends of global warming involving more and higher winds, that I can confirm.  Especially the enormous amounts of sastrugi (deformation of the ice surface due to high winds) are proof of that.  

Sam=> Yep, totally true. If you look at the written accounts of previous expeditions nobody mentioned the kind and the amount of sastrugi we encountered over there. It could possibly be explained by warmer temperatures at the coast and the colder temperatures on the plateau. This is proven and caused by global warming and the hole in the ozone layer. This greater temperature-difference would create stronger katabatic winds and thus more sastrugi. Something for the scientists to figure out…

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- What was the most beautiful souvenir you had during this long adventure ?  

Dixie=> Having a good laugh with Sam, resulting in tears and stomach cramps!  

Sam=> The great moments of true team-spirit out there! 

- During these 4 months, you had also the possibility to dream of new Polar projects...Dixie, this wasn’t your last “polar record”...any new goals you plan to achieve next year ? Sam, do you see yourself in the coming years as being the Belgian “successor” of Dixie & having the desire to conquer new Polar lands by yourself...what are your wishes in the field of polar activities ? 

Dixie=> I will concentrate on guiding trips to the North Pole and ski-touring in combination with ski-kiting in Antarctica so that I can share my extensive experiences.  Still too young to let go of my ambitions, but keeping these silent for a while...   

Sam=> Good question but I am afraid it will be up to the future to answer it. We’ll see. I definitely really liked being out there and probably there’s still some stuff left to do in the polar regions. Time will tell. 

Wij nodigen jullie allemaal uit jullie boodschappen hieronder neer te schrijven om Dixie en Sam te feliciteren met deze ongelofelijk geslaagde Pooluitdaging.

Nous vous invitons tous à écrire ci-dessous vos messages pour féliciter Dixie et Sam de la réussite de cet incroyable défi polaire.  

We invite you all to write here below your messages to congratulate Dixie & Sam with the success of their incredible polar challenge.  

antarctica,pôle sud,expédition,perseverance,polar circles,voyages polaires,poolreizigers,sam deltour,ski,polaire,north pole,kiting,arctic,arctic05,gortex,iceberg,winds,snow,explorer,banquise,record du monde,calotte,explorateurs polaires,www. antarcticice.be,mobistar,dixie dansercoer

You wish to know more about Dixie Dansercoer, I invite you to surf on his polar website www.polarcircles.com and if you wish to participate with Dixie himself to a guiding trip to the North pole or even a ski-touring in combination with a kite-touring in Antarctica...it's really possible...just click here for more info...you will "love" the man and certainly learn from him many polar tips & tricks....enjoyyyyyyyy your new project with Mr Dixie!