Incredible things have happened here at Cape Flora! So we’d better give you a report today as well, Wednesday 1st of August.
While we were eating dinner in our tent around 8pm last night, we suddenly heard a strange. It was mechanical, and Thomas went outside to check what it was.
“Børge, there’s a large ship out here!”
As soon as I came out, I saw it myself – a large icebreaker full of tourists. They were on their way south after an excursion to the North Pole, and had decided to visit Cape Flora. Soon there was a helicopter in the air, flying shuttle between the ship and this southwestern promontory of Northbrook Island. I must confess that neither of us expected that American tourists would be the first human beings we would see after three months out in the ice.
There were a hundred tourists here outside our tents. They bombarded us with questions and snapshots and everything that’s obligatory when tourists try to preserve two curiosities for posterity – for curiosities is what we had become. Naturally they were astonished to see a pitched tent with two kayaks outside here on Cape Flora. And they wondered how in the world we had gotten here.
So did representatives of the Russian shipping company, who checked our papers thoroughly. Fortunately, everything was in order. There was not a moment of peace during the two hours they were here, but we gladly answered all their questions. It was lots of fun; it’s not every day you meet people up here.
Before they left, they stuck cigars in our mouth and a bottle vodka in our hand. And they gave us a load of fruit and bread. There is red wine, and coffee and cheese, egg and flour and lots more. We’re going to make pancakes. But idiots that we were, Thomas and I totally forgot to ask for the most important thing of all …
Something to read! We’ve read every book we have at least twice. And then when there’s a floating library less than a kilometre offshore, we forget to ask ’em kindly for a few magazines and a book or two. That would have given us something new to rest our eyes on in the evening.
Well, we are very grateful for what we do have. We’re savouring the taste of melon and look forward with glee to eating fresh vegetables again. And I guess I’ll have to learn German in order not to have to read the same paragraphs over and over. The language lessons should be easier, since I already know the contents – the diaries of Fridtjof Nansen.