The Polar Route

When you have an internship at Microsoft Research – Redmond, apart from wonderful work and stay, you also have an awesome travel experience. When I knew that I have just three hours break at Dubai, and that too from 5am to 8am, I was disappointed. But, life is full of surprise!

When I was trying to search the route of my plane, I was pleasantly surprised: it flew directly over north pole! Well, not directly, but very, very close. Aman had warned me earlier, but I didn’t take it seriously. Who would believe in first go that their plane would fly directly over the pole?

Route map of EK229: From Dubai to Seattle

Route map of EK229: From Dubai to Seattle

The only thing that was worrying me on flight was that maybe flight attendants won’t allow uncovering windows because of blinding sunlight. But again, life is full of surprises! The airline staff was very friendly and on seeing camera in my hand, they offered to take me to back of  the flight near their rooms. There I spent about six hours taking photos and chatting with pilots and other staff (they have two sets of staff for long flights).

Cutting the story short, here are some of the photos.

Somewhere over Arkhanglesk, Russia

Somewhere over Arkhanglesk, Russia

I was getting luckier with time as clouds started diminishing as the plane moved into the polar region.

The arctic sea between Arkhanglesk and Svalbard

The arctic sea between Arkhanglesk and Svalbard

The ice has started to melt, or as Eshit puts it, is it just “spring”?

The mountains of Cape Mary Harmsworth, I guess

The mountains of Cape Mary Harmsworth, I guess

Coming closer to the pole, somewhere in the horizon is our north pole.

North Pole is somewhere in the horizon

North Pole is somewhere in the horizon

The clouds started building up just after the North Pole and continued all the way down to Seattle.

The clouds over Canada

The clouds over Canada

Thankfully, the plane didn’t pass over Iceland, otherwise I would have literally (read figuratively) jumped out of it!

More photos to come after the return flight! Hopefully the plane will have cleaner windows and cloudless sky between Canada and Greenland.

By the way, on closer examination of the route while writing this post, I found that I also flew “near” the magnetic North Pole, will try to capture it in the return journey,!

 

Edit —

Again clouds! So, the maximum time was spent in grabbing 3 contiguous seats, and sleeping.

Some random glaciers, between Cannada  and Greenland

Some random glaciers, between Canada and Greenland

Clouds did take some break, for a change – and the result was breathtaking view!

A region full of glaciers

A region full of glaciers

Last chunk of the Arctic ice shelf

Last chunks of the Arctic ice shelf

The return journey was quite uneventful except Mohit’s brief stint at Dubai airport –  he lost his passport there!

Now, waiting for airlines to start commercial flights over Antarctic! (Though, highly unlikely :( )

P.S: I learned to change brightness controls of my camera in these three months. :D

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