Seldom in life do we get the opportunity to participate in a ‘first.’ This summer, VMware’s own Neal Mueller, Product Marketing Manager for business critical apps, and a team of three others, will attempt to be the first people to row a boat across the Arctic Ocean. This is will be a first for mankind and a Guinness Book World Record once completed. I should also note that Neal is a serial adventurer — 6 years ago he completed the Seven Summits when he climbed Mount Everest and he has also swam the English Channel!
Arctic Row is an adventure and an effort to be the first to achieve a feat, but it is also an expedition to benefit the Arctic ecosystem, the most pristine and vulnerable in the world. The route across the ocean was ice covered just 7 years ago; a mark of global climate change. The publicity that the team receives for their adventure will be a platform from which they can raise awareness of the changes. The rowers have also partnered with Professor Hopcroft from the University of Alaska Fairbanks to conduct scientific research whales olfaction in feeding habits in the Arctic Ocean and will collect plankton samples to increase understanding of this key food source for marine mammals. Without Arctic Row, the research lacked sufficient grants (it costs $25,000/day to charter a 24-hour research vessel). It turns out that the relatively slow rowing speeds create ideal conditions for plankton collection, and Arctic Row offered to do the research at no cost. The New York Times featured their scientific plans on the front page of their website in March.
You can learn a lot more about the expedition at http://www.arcticrow.com/ and you can join them in their journey along with the VMware Foundation by contributing financially and posting comments at indiegogo.com/arcticrow until June 15. Arctic Row will use the proceeds to pay for scientific and expedition costs and to create an educational documentary film on the Arctic. Without Arctic Row’s research and film, mankind will have a diminished understanding of how to protect Arctic animals as climate changes.