Under The Pole

Hi Frothers!


I am going to explain to you what a day in the office looks like with Under The Pole, and how I have temporarily replaced the Sydney morning surf & sunrises.


After a decent breakfast to get the necessary calorie intake, time to prepare the gear to go diving. The part of the sea ice that we are currently exploring is about 4km away from base camp, so it requires us to have all the necessary equipment with us, not only to be able to dive efficiently, but also to manage any resuscitation (oxygen, defibrillator, a doona kept warm…). With the cold, even the smallest issue becomes a challenge, especially when talking about safety.


Once all this gear is loaded on the sled, time to hook it up to the snowmobile and cruise to where the sea ice becomes too rough and chunky to go through with it. One way only: pushing the sled through to the dive site, carving a path in between icebergs and blocks of ice.


It’s been about 1 hour already since we’ve started loading the sled at base camp, and we’re just arriving on site. Time to re-open the holes that have re-frozen overnight before getting ready to dive. Putting a drysuit, when it’s -20ºC outside, is really something! Add strong wind to the mix, and you need some kind of shelter or you risk major cold exposure, which could become a real danger later when underwater. This is why we’ve set up a small tent to get changed. Some kind of polar fitting room.


The cold can be so intense that we actually leave the tanks in the water overnight, hanging at the end of a rope. You think the water is cold?!…Well, at -1ºC, the water is actually the warmest place around here! We only take out the gear from the water only seconds before going under, or all the systems would frozen in minutes. With a little help from our surface safety support, time to jump in the little square hole, linked to the surface by a long rope in the hands of the person staying dry (but cold…). This rope is our life line: the only way to find the way back to the hole, and the only way to get back to the surface if things would turn sour.


After exploring the those frozen natural wonders, taking samples of the icebergs for scientific analysis, checking for new (un)identified life and taking images, the tanks are empty, time to follow the lunge and go back up.


Getting out of the water is the worst moment of the day. Within minutes, the drysuit is totally frozen and rigid. Time to take it out and get changed, before refilling the tank with the compressor we took with us. After attaching the tanks to the rope, time to drop them in the water and leave them there, to be used for further explorations the next days.


It is now time to push the sled again through the icebergs and find our snowmobile that will give us a comfy ride home. Arriving at base camp, across from the small village of Ikerasak, it is critical to unload all the equipment. The cold would damage any gear left outside, especially all the medical stuff. It has been more than 6 hours since we started loading the sled. We only dived for about 50 minutes. I saw ice-diving as a real challenge before I got here. I now realise that diving is actually the easy part.


Dinner time. A fun and comforting moment, with the Team, before going diving again, meters away from base camp this time. Tonight, there is a forecast for Northern Lights. It’s actually already happening. I grab my camera, and leave this warm meal behind, unfinished. It’s a real festival in the sky!


2am: time to go to bed.


Another day in the office.




Instagram: @franckgazzola / @frothersgallery



Hi Frothers,

Whilst Sydney was looking at 30 degrees, I was on my way to 60 degrees (!!!) colder weather.

To be honest, it is not as bad as I imagined. The air is so dry, that the cold is somewhat bearable, with the right gear of course (thanks Patagonia!).

I arrived in Greenland a few days ago, and after a couple of internal flights, I flew over by helicopter to Uummannaq, the last town before heading out to the middle of the sea ice the next day with my guide named Chimi.

Half a day of snowmobile across the ice. The landscapes are beyond description. The space is immense. The light is elegant and soft. As much as I love the tropical climate of Australia, I am falling in love with the Arctic. It is hostile, but extremely rewarding. You need patience, perseverance and flexibility for everything you do.

The last days have been very intense: getting used to my new base camp – a boat called WHY (…don’t ask me why…), learning about the safety procedures and rules to help face this hostile environment, getting to know the diving procedures, and of course diving, and shooting underwater (stay tuned). All of that make our days extremely busy. Everything takes a long time here, and the toll on the body is very strong. When the night comes (there is still a night…but it will soon disappear), we all take a glance outside, despite the -30degrees and the strong winds, just to see if there would be Northern Lights activities, and the last 3 nights, we’ve been extremely lucky. Long days…

Stay tuned for more, or follow my instagram @franckgazzola



Instagram: @franckgazzola / @frothersgallery

White water…

Hi Frothers !

I missed you guys…It’s been a while.

I am now on the other side of the Planet, where the rain is white and the water solid blue. Winter. A real one.

Still, people froth the same on gliding object, nature and action sports. I bumped into those hybrid sliders the other night, making the most of the breeze and a flat mountain top surrounded by white peaks. This is their equivalent of our after-work surf. Same same, but different.

I realized in the last few days that Australia has tropicalized me. I remember that the first Winter I spent in Sydney, I was laughing at people talking to me about the ”cold” Winter in Bondi. 4 years down the road, I started calling 8 degrees ”cold” as well, and keep the wettie until the water is 20.

Stopping over in France before heading out to the North Pole was the best idea. Not only because It was an opportunity to witness the beauty of my home country, but also to get used to the mild European cold. I was frozen for the first few days. 0 degrees felt like -50. And then the body gradually adjusted, and a couple of days later, I was diving under the ice whilst the temperature outside was about -17 degrees. Yes, cold. But it felt better already .

Tomorrow, me and my extra layer of fat (blame the  from the French cheese and cured meat…), we will be landing in the real cold. The -40 degrees cold. Where the sea water is hard and white. After months of preparation, I’ll finally be joining the Team of Under The Pole. The adventure is really starting now.

Frothing !


Instagram: @franckgazzola / @frothersgallery


Hi Frothers !

After a few weeks of endless rain and storms the water clarity is finally back. I am excited !

I went down my favourite spot on the Coffs Coast  (top secret) to try and capture some unique images, something different, something FRESH .

Taking advantage of the insane clarity, experimenting with different angles, shutter speeds and apertures I’ve managed to capture some surreal ocean portraits. 

I love shooting waves, such raw power and beauty. No two waves are the same, once they break they are gone, the end of the road. So capturing this  moment is something very inspiring for me as an artist. I call them Wave Portraits .  

You can hang them on your wall and have something unique an inspiring in your house, office or business. 



Instagram: @surfvisionsphotos