The calendar shows the 11th of August and we are still here at Cape Flora. We’re getting a bit eager to move on, frankly. I’m sure we’ve taken every walk there is here, most of them more than once, since arriving here on 24th of July. The boat was scheduled to pick us up yesterday, but the Barents Sea is experiencing a bout of bad weather, so they’re struggling against rough seas and a nasty wind.
We just talked to the skipper, Thorleif Thorleifsson, and he’s clinging to the wheel, steering the rudder as best he can. They certainly won’t be here before tomorrow evening. I’ve asked him to offer his reports from the “Athene” – that’s the boat that is picking us up. Thomas and I are all packed and ready.
Not much is happening here. Yes, well, except for two polar bears that came to visit us again, a mother and her cub. They’re finally keeping a respectful distance now, up the hillside three or four hundred metres away. I suppose we’ve reached a sort of truce, an understanding of sorts. We’ll stay down here if they stay up there. At least that’s where they’ve been all day, lying there and relaxing, no doubt hoping that a young razorbill will wander within their reach. The bears are very hungry – but so far their presence has not posed a problem for us.
We’re glad the boat is finally coming tomorrow, because we’re down to just a few squares of toilet paper. Thomas and I brought four rolls for this expedition. Every item of equipment has to be planned to keep the weight down, and even such things carefully rationed. Today it’s 100 days since we departed from the North Pole. We’re crossing our fingers that Thorleif Thorleifsson will sail into the bay here tomorrow. Then we’ll paddle the kayaks out, board the boat safely, and be on our way home.
We shall see what happens. With a bit of luck my next report will be from the cabin of the SS “Athene”.